A lost Hammer movie leads a quartet of spooky productions in Radio 4's 2017 Fright Night season (thanks for the spot Blackoak!). Mark Gatiss directs Hammer Horror’s Unquenchable Thirst Of Dracula, an unmade movie script set in 1930s India. Lewis MacLeod (Dead Ringers) channels Christopher Lee as Dracula, whilst Michael Sheen narrates. The cast includes Nikesh Patel (Indian Summers, Midnight’s Children), Meera Syal, Kulvinder Ghir, Anna Madeley, Ayesha Dharker and Raj Ghatek and is adapted for radio by Mark Gatiss and Laurence Bowen.
Hammer Films claimed the horror genre as their own with movies such as Dracula, The Curse Of Frankenstein and The Mummy. This new Radio 4 dramatisation is the first new Hammer Dracula production in 43 years and is part of Radio 4’s ongoing Unmade Movie series.
“What better way to celebrate Hallowe’en than with a lost Hammer movie?” says Mark Gatiss. “And not just any Hammer movie! Anthony Hind’s thrillingly titled The Unquenchable Thirst Of Dracula is a wonderful, rich and atmospheric script and way ahead of its time - set in the 30s, a sort of ‘Heat and Dust and Fangs’! It was nearly made in the early 70s on location in India and I was thrilled to assemble a fantastic cast headed by Nikesh Patel, Michael Sheen, Meera Syal and Anna Madeley to bring this forgotten gem to gory life.”
Michael Sheen added: “The prospect of a long lost Dracula script offering itself to me like a succulent pale neck was just too tempting. I devoured it in one sitting and cannot promise I won’t strike again.”
The following week, Life on Mars co-creator Matthew Graham brings a taut psychological thriller to Radio 4 that can only be told in sound in Jane Lake.
While at university Meggie lost her sight in an acid attack. Fifteen years later, she has learned to cope with her situation through pure grit and tenacity, making a success of her life as an audiobook director. Now an invitation to join her old college friends at a country cottage offers a chance to mend some broken bridges. But it is not long before the shadows of her past begin to re-emerge. Told from the perspective of a blind person, the play follows Meggie’s terror and confusion as she strains to understand a series of shocking events and the silences in between.
Jane Lake features a debut radio drama performance from comedian Georgie Morrell, who herself lost her sight in her early twenties. The cast also includes Tom Bennett, Sophie Stanton, David Kirkbride, Nicola Grier, Kitty Smith and Margot Cargill.
Listeners can also catch up on Owen Teale reading The Omen at Book At Bedtime (9-13 October) via the BBC iPlayer Radio app.
On Radio 4 Extra, Diane Morgan - famed for her investigative powers as Philomena Cunk - trawls the BBC archive for the best real-life tales of ghost hunting, hauntings and unexplained phenomena. She is joined by guests who have all had paranormal experiences, including Toyah Willcox, Steve Punt and Maxine Peake.
9-13 October, 10:45pm, BBC Radio 4
Producer: Karen Rose for Sweet Talk Productions
Hammer Horror’s Unquenchable Thirst Of Dracula
28 October, 2:30pm, BBC Radio 4
Producer: Laurence Bowen and Peter Ettedgui for Dancing Ledge Productions
Diane Morgan Believes In Ghosts
28 October, 9am, BBC Radio 4 Extra
Producer: Laura Grimshaw for BBC Radio 4 Extra
4 November, 2:30pm, BBC Radio 4
Producer: Russell Finch for Somethin’ Else
All of these items will be available on iPlayer after broadcast.