Ghost stories at Christmas are a tradition in the UK dating back centuries and particularly popularized by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present & Future that we know so well from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. In the 1970s, the BBC produced a number of adaptations of ghost stories based on the works of M.R. James to carry on the tradition for modern audiences. In his time, James redefined the genre and many of his tales were written to be read aloud on Christmas Eve. The tradition has been revived in recent years by Mark Gatiss, and BritBox North America will exclusively premiere 2021’s holiday haunt, The Mezzotint starring Rory Kinnear on December 24. 2019’s Martin’s Close starring Peter Capaldi was the most-watched program on BBC Four when it debuted.
The Mezzotint follows the macabre misfortune of Mr. Williams, the curator of the university museum in Cambridge, who receives a mezzotint from a London art dealer. To Williams, it is merely an uninteresting picture of a large country house at night. However, Williams’ friends see intriguing qualities, including a figure in the corner. Williams starts to realize that the disturbing engraving is changing each time he and his friends look at it. He sees the dark figure making its way across the lawn, entering the house and finally leaving with what is believed to be a small child. Upon researching the history of the picture, it is suggested that the engraving depicts a vengeful poacher named Gawdy, returning from the grave to kidnap and murder the infant heir of his master who had him hanged. Williams burns the picture however it reappears unscathed the next day, only this time the mezzotint is of his own building, and there in the corner…the dark figure approaches.
With the addition of 20 ghost stories to BritBox this December, viewers are sure to feel the Holiday “Spirit”.
Complete list of titles:
- The Mezzotint
- Martin’s Close
- The Dead Room
- The Tractate Middoth
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: A View from a Hill
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: A Warning to the Curious
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: Lost Hearts
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: Number 13
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: Stigma
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Ash Tree
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Ice House
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Signalman
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Stalls of Barchester
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: The Treasure of Abbot Thomas
- A Ghost Story for Christmas: Whistle and I’ll Come to You [Plus other ghost stories]
- Midwinter of the Spirit
- The Secret of Crickley Hall
- The Small Hand: A Ghost Story
- The Blue Boy