The Mezzotint: Star reveals real-life story behind horror special Still creeps me out

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The Mezzotint is due to arrive on BBC Two this evening (December 24) and it is a TV adaptation of the M R James story of the same name. Set in 1922 in the heart of an old English college, Edward Williams (played by Rory Kinnear) receives an eerie engraving of a country house. The cast spoke to about the “creepy” show and some real-life horrors.

The Mezzotint has been created with M R James’ trademark terror in mind and is guaranteed to have viewers on the edge of their seats.

The latest ghost story for Christmas follows antiques expert Edward as he receives an unusual piece of art.

Throughout the show, his sanity starts to spiral out of control as he delves deeper into his ancestry.

He is connected to the engraving in a way he would never have imagined to be possible.

Nikesh Patel plays the academic Nisbet in the special and he admitted the show “still creeps him out”.

Speaking to and other media, he said: “I came to it with just Mark’s [Gatiss] script which just lept off the page.

“It was so nice to see, it feels like something inseparable from the pandemic.

“The plan was to shoot it in September and it kept getting pushed, but it does feel really claustrophobic and I still feel quite creeped out.”

The rest of the cast echoed his opinion that the ghost story has left a lasting impression.

Frances Barber plays Mrs Ambrigail, the village gossip and she too said she was frightened watching it back.

The actress said during a question and answer session: “I didn’t know the story but I would walk through hot coals to work with Mark.

“I didn’t know it but it scared the life out of me and I haven’t seen it until this evening with all of you.

“And it’s even scarier on screen than it is on the page, it’s extraordinary.”

The actress went on to explain how she may have witnessed some paranormal activity in real life.

She explained: “I still don’t really know if I believe it or not, but I was doing a thing in Bristol.

“We were all put in a particular hotel where they kept saying it was haunted.

“I thought it was room service and I looked at the clock and thought ‘no, I haven’t ordered anything’.

“It was four in the morning and the light was on and the door was open, and I knew I hadn’t done that.

“I don’t think anybody really knew [what happened] except something untoward had happened in that particular hotel.”

The show’s creator, Mark Gatiss, said even some of the filming locations brought chills to the crew.

Most of the show was filmed at Harrow School, which was founded in 1572.

The director said: “We were very lucky because of Covid to get Harrow outside of term.

“We used it for everything, it was like a studio and the chapel was stunning.

“It has an extraordinary monument to all these dead boys, all of whom died on the premises.

“There was a surname there I recognised so I rang him up and said ‘I think one of your ancestors died at Harrow’, and he said ‘Oh yes, he died in the swimming pool’.”

The Mezzotint airs on BBC Two on Christmas Eve at 10.30pm.

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