12 Shows at Christmas: The Tractate Middoth

Mark Gatiss on set of The Tractate Middoth Mark Gatiss behind the scenes on The Tractate Middoth

Producer and director John Das says we shouldn't miss Mark Gatiss's spine-tingling adaptation of a ghost story on Christmas Day.

Why should we watch?

To see Mark Gatiss's thrilling directorial debut - adapting a classic tale by the Victorian master of the supernatural, author M R James. And then in Ghost Writer, which I produced and directed, Mark goes back in front of the camera to explore the life and times of this extraordinary man.

What moment shouldn't we miss?

The Tractate Middoth has a wonderful set-piece scare on a train. In the following programme, Ghost Writer, Mark's visit to the spooky French cathedral that inspired M R James's first-ever story just drips with atmosphere. Really, you shouldn't miss any of it.

John Das John Das: Don't watch The Haunting if you want a good night's sleep
Why do you think people like being scared?

M R James spoke of a "pleasing terror". It's the shiver down the spine that makes you pull your chair that bit closer to the fireplace, and double-check that you've locked the front door - but doesn't keep you awake all night.

What's your favourite scary film?

The Haunting (1963), a psychological horror film, directed and produced by Robert Wise. That did keep me awake for most of the night.

Will the programmes fill us with Christmas spirit or scare us witless?

They'll do both. The drama and the documentary are full of humour, and nostalgically evoke days gone by - then make you jump out of your seat.

What fills you with Christmas spirit?

Traditional carols. And a fortnight's leave.

  • The Tractate Middoth, 9.30pm, and M R James: Ghost Writer, 10.05pm, Christmas Day, BBC Two


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