Peter Capaldi to star in classic ghost story Martin's Close on the BBC this Christmas

Peter Capaldi in Christmas 2019's Martin's Close on BBC4
(Image credit: BBC/Can Do Productions/Adorable Media/Michael Carlo)

Things are getting spooky this Christmas

Former Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi will star on BBC4 this Christmas in an adaptation of the classic M.R. James ghost story Martin’s Close.

The 61-year-old actor will play Dolben in the chilling tale set in 1684, which sees John Martin on trial for his life.

Facing the infamous “hanging judge” George Jeffreys, Martin's hopes look bleak, however, the innocent girl he is accused of killing has apparently been seen after her death….

The 30-minute drama has been adapted and directed by League of Gentleman and Sherlock star Mark Gatiss, who’s also involved in the new upcoming version of Dracula.

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Mark said: “After the delightful success of last year’s 'The Dead Room', it’s a fantastic privilege to continue the tradition of the Christmas Ghost story on BBC4 - and what better than one of my favourite stories by the master of them all, M.R. James?"

Starring alongside Peter Capaldi are Game of Thrones actor Wilf Scolding as John Martin, Simon Williams (The Archers) as Stanton, Sara Crowe (Four Weddings and a Funeral) as Sarah, James Holmes (Miranda) as Snell, Fisayo Akinade (A Very English Scandal) as William, and Elliot Levey (Murder on the Orient Express) as Judge George Jeffreys.

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Cassian Harrison, Channel Editor of BBC4 added: "I’m delighted to welcome another of Mark Gatiss’ ghostly escapades to BBC Four after the success of last year’s The Dead Room. With a stellar cast and a plot to send a shiver down the most resolute of spines, this is a guaranteed treat for the winter nights.”

The adaptation of Martin's Close, which was first published in 1911, will be shown on BBC4 this Christmas. An exact time and date for broadcast has yet to be announced.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!