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ITV Commission New JEKYLL & HYDE Fantasy Drama

Written by Paul Mount Tuesday, 25 November 2014

TV News

Hot on the heels of their previous recent smash hit fantasy dramas PRIMEVAL and, err, DEMONS, ITV have announced their long-awaited return to STARBURST’s favourite playground with the commissioning of a new ten-part series, JEKYLL AND HYDE. Charlie (FAST SHOW, RANDALL AND HOPKIRK {DECEASED)) Higson will be writing and executive producing, with Foz Allen (WOLFBLOOD, ROBIN HOOD) as series producer.

“Inspired” by Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE, the new series is set to be a much more dynamic retelling of a familiar story more recently reinterpreted by Steven Moffat in his six-part 2007 series JEKYLL (starring James Nesbit) and in the short-lived 2013 US drama DO NO HARM (starring Steven Pasquale).

 Says ITV, Set in 1930’s London at a time of Hollywood glamour, aerodynamic cars and monster movies, the drama will pay homage to the Stevenson novel, and focus on the young, attractive, troubled hero, Robert Jekyll, the grandson of the original doctor. At the heart of the drama is Robert Jekyll’s quest to discover his real identity, his true family history and the nature of his ‘curse’. One actor will play the lead role Jekyll transforming into Hyde in moments of extreme anger, stress and when his or the lives of others are threatened.

Higson’s Jekyll is a young, sensitive and naïve man of intellect and morality, a well meaning if slightly repressed character who slips between his two personas unwillingly. Hyde is a totally different person; a superhero with super powers, great strength, speed and invulnerability. He is confident, risk-taking and lives life on the edge. His self-destructive nature gets him into trouble, and yet he is an incredibly powerful force. He is a man of action who gets things done despite the consequences! Throughout the series we will witness Jekyll wrestling with the dark, brooding personality of Hyde as he struggles to come to terms with his superhero alter ego.

In the opening episode Jekyll is a newly qualified doctor living with his foster parents in India. He knows nothing of his family history or his inherited condition, which his foster father, Dr Vishal Najaran, is controlling with medication. The drama follows his path to discovery, which coincides with the transformative powers of his condition growing stronger and more disruptive. His journey will take him into a dark and unforgiving place, as his alter ego seems capable of anything. At the same time there are shadowy forces trying to find Jekyll and the source of his powers.”

 On the show, Charlie Higson said, It’s an exciting challenge to take Stevenson’s work and use it as the basis for a new JEKYLL & HYDE. So many superheroes with secret dual personalities have been brought to life thanks to JEKYLL & HYDE. He’s one of literatures most important and influential characters and it’s a privilege to be rediscovering him.”

ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November says, “Charlie’s vivid and compelling scripts cleverly introduce a brilliant set of characters to a new generation of viewers. We’re thrilled to be commissioning JEKYLL & HYDE for a modern day audience. CGI will play a huge part in the main character’s transformation from Jekyll into Hyde and the subsequent superhero sequences when the darker side of our hero emerges and demonstrates extraordinary strength and agility. Certain characters will also be created by CGI techniques, as there are no limits to what will be imagined by the production team. JEKYLL & HYDE will feature several recurring characters, some human, and some freaks of nature. Monsters will thrive throughout the series and there’ll be spooky creatures, ghouls, zombies, werewolves and vampires.”

No word yet on casting on this one but Colin Teague (DOCTOR WHO, TORCHWOOD, SARAH JANE ADVENTURES, BEING HUMAN) is down to direct. Production starts in India in January 2015 and then in London from February until July with transmission expected on ITV in the UK next Autumn.

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