Writer/actor Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who, Sherlock, League of Gentlemen) writes and hosts this fine documentary on the greatest ghost story writer of them all: medievalist and Biblical scholar Montague Rhodes James. Special treats include locations from James stories (such as St Bertrand de Comminges, stuffed crocodile and all), a passing shot of a tombstone for “Mrs Mothersole” from his childhood home, some fantastic medieval illumination, and more. I have to give credit to Gatiss (who is himself gay) for exploring James’ sexuality while declining to impose modern ideas of homosexuality. (James is best described as wholly asexual.)
If I could be any character in literature, it would be a medieval scholar in an MR James story, without the madness and death part, of course. Regular readers of this blog will notice I share most of my own obsessions with the great old master, right up to the PG Wodehouse.
Any man who quotes Wodehouse on his deathbed is all kinds of all right.
As a special treat, he is Gatiss’s new adaptation of The Tractate Middoth, followed by classic adaptations of Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad.