Summary

  • Mark Gatiss, co-creator of Sherlock, will adapt Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story Lot No. 249 into a Christmas ghost story special, with Kit Harington and Freddie Fox cast in lead roles.
  • Lot No. 249 is a classic end-of-Empire chiller that revolves around Oxford students and the secrets of Ancient Egypt. It’s been adapted before for television and film with a horror-comedy twist.
  • This macabre entry in Doyle’s bibliography has influenced stories involving reanimated mummies, including the iconic film The Mummy. Gatiss and his team may revive interest in this neglected monster.


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The co-creator of Sherlock is returning to the world of Arthur Conan Doyle with a new special starring a Game of Thrones actor. Mark Gatiss teamed with Stephen Moffat on the BBC’s highly acclaimed Sherlock Holmes series, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as fiction’s most famous detective. Gatiss also had a hand in another hugely successful TV adaptation of a major literary work, playing Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

As the world waits for news on a possible Sherlock season 5, Gatiss will turn his attention to a different Doyle work, adapting the author’s short story Lot No. 249, with Jon Snow actor Kit Harington taking on the lead role. Freddie Fox of The Great will also star in the planned Christmas special (per THR). Check out Gatiss’ statement on the new project below:

“It’s a serious delight for me to delve once again into the brilliant work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this time for the Christmas ghost story. Lot No.249 is personal favourite and is the grand-daddy (or should that be Mummy?) of a particular kind of end of Empire chiller: a ripping yarn packed with ghastly scares and who-knows-what lurking in the Victorian closet …”


Lot No. 249 Has Been Adapted Before

A reanimated mummy with a skeletal face in Tales From the Darkside the Movie

The synopsis for Lot No. 249 reads as follows:

…revolves around a group of Oxford students, one of whom undertakes research into the secrets of Ancient Egypt, which become the talk of the college. Can these experiments truly breathe life to the horrifying bag of bones which is the mysterious Lot. No 249?

Written at a time when Egyptology was all the rage in Britain, Doyle’s original story is widely seen as influencing later tales revolving around sinister reanimated mummies, including the classic Boris Karloff film The Mummy, as well as serving as an inspiration for zombie fiction. The story’s influence indeed was directly felt by horror author Anne Rice, who dedicated her story The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned to Doyle.

Lot. No 249 for its part was first adapted for television as part of the 1967 BBC program Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was also one of several stories featured in the 1990 anthology film Tales From the Darkside: The Movie, where it was given the horror-comedy treatment in an episode starring Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore and Christian Slater. Given Gatiss’ prior experience with the works of Doyle, it will be fascinating to see what he does with this particularly macabre entry in that famous writer’s bibliography. Mummies may not currently be a hot commodity after 2017’s Tom Cruise-led The Mummy tanked at the box office, but perhaps Sherlock co-creator Gatiss, Harington and company can spark a revival for the neglected monsters.

Source: THR

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