Two chilling dramas come to Radio 4 this Halloween as the station celebrates Fright Night: Jayne Lake and The Unquenchable Thirst Of Dracula.
Mark Gatiss directs Hammer Horror’s Unquenchable Thirst Of Dracula, an unmade Hammer Horror 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 is synonymous with horror, after defining the genre in Britain with classics including 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.
Mark Gatiss says: “What better way to celebrate Hallowe’en than with a lost Hammer movie? 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 says: "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, one of Britain’s finest TV writers Matthew Graham comes to Radio 4 with a taut psychological thriller that can only be told in sound in Jayne 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.
Jayne Lake features a debut radio drama performance from comedian Georgie Morrell, who herself lost her sight in her early twenties. Matthew Graham is the co-creator of Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes. He has also written for, among other things, Spooks, This Life and Doctor Who.
The cast also includes Tom Bennett, Sophie Stanton, David Kirkbride, Nicola Grier, Kitty Smith and Margot Cargill.
Jeremy Howe, Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction for BBC Radio 4 says: “Fright Night is back. Be afraid, be very afraid as Radio 4 takes you from the utterly disturbing Jayne Lake through to a brand new Hammer Horror in Unmade Movies.”
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.
The Omen 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
Jayne Lake 4 November, 2.30pm, BBC Radio 4 Producer: Russell Finch for Somethin’ Else