The BBC's new adaptation of Dracula, which was
screened after Christmas 2006 is, of course, based on Bram
Stoker's landmark horror novel, which in turn is said to be
loosely based on the real-life exploits of Vlad the Impaler.
The character has arguably spawned more books and movies than
any other in history - some rewriting their own take on the
myth, while many others have waxed lyrical with the idea of
nests of more active vampires.
idea of a TV drama version of Dracula is not exactly
a new concept for the BBC who, you might say, has had several
stabs at it. While Count Dracula, their late seventies
version, stuck pretty rigidly to Stoker's book, this latest
adaptation attempts to push the characters and situations
in a slightly different direction. Harker is killed off reasonably
quickly so that Dracula can use his documents to travel to
England. However, the biggest change here takes place in the
first third of the story, wherein Arthur suffers from a hereditary
form of syphilis. He is afraid to consummate his marriage
to the lovely Lucy, and sees his father die a horrible creature
of madness and disease. He is then approached by the leader
of a cult that claims Dracula can cure his blood illness.
a period drama handled by the current blue-eyed boys at BBC
Wales, and a sterling cast consisting of Marc Warren, Sophia
Miles, David Suchet, Stephanie Leonidas and others, you would
think this had all the ingredients of a fine soufflé.
Unfortunately, rather than rise to the occasion, Dracula
simply collapses in on itself. Warren (best known for Hustle,
and the only good thing about the Doctor Who episode
Love and Monsters) is wholly unconvincing in the title
role, and David Suchet's Van Helsing is almost reduced to
a bumbling laughing stock. Even the special effects seem below
the standard we've come to expect.
is the key word here. Aside from the aforementioned, you can
only blame the script, which should grab you at every turn
but instead causes your mind to wander and not care about
anything that is happening on screen. Quite simply, this is
Dracula by numbers.