Not so long ago, author and screenwriter Stephen Gallagher was commissioned by the BBC to do a new take on Dracula.Â Cue weeks of epic thinking and slaving over the script to produce what was, by all accounts, a scary, refreshing approach.Â On the day of delivery, he was called up by an executive to say the project had been cancelled.
Apparently the BBC’s major rival, ITV, had a similar project in a more advanced state of development.Â With Martin Kemp as Dracula and the Cheeky Girls as his Brides.Â Now that’s something to give you sleepless nights.
Not wanting to appear Johnny-come-latelies, the BBC understandably pulled the plug.Â Except the BBC executive had been conned over lunch.Â ITV hadn’t even prepared a script.
Stephen maturely chalked it up to the machinations of the TV industry and moved on.Â Though he might have felt a twinge of bitterness when Martin Kemp announced in a radio interview that the ITV Dracula was a non-starter because the script ‘wasn’t working’.
To prove the value of Stephen’s Dracula script, the BBC got back in touch and asked if they could use it to teach structure on the in-house script editors’ course.Â It’s nice to get that kind of recognition for a fine piece of work.
So why have the BBC commissioned ITV Productions to go ahead with the Martin Kemp Dracula script (now to star Marc Warren) when they’ve got such a fantastic script sitting in house?
Within the last few months ITV also screwed up Stephen’s Eleventh Hour science-adventure drama.Â He must be feeling that the BBC and ITV are now teaming up to give him a good kicking.Â Ya big bullies, leave him alone!