news Mark Gatiss: ‘The way the government has embraced cruelty as a badge of honor is horrible’ | Mark Gatiss
When Mark Gatiss and his cast were preparing their stage play of A Christmas Carol last year, they would come out of the rehearsal room in east London to be confronted by the line
for the food bank. “You just think: 'Scrooge and Marley live,'” he says. That was last year, before the play opened; it was filmed, and this year will be shown in cinemas, when
the ghosts of the Cratchits seem ever more present.“The way that the current iteration of the government has embraced cruelty as a badge of honor is horrible,” says Gatiss.
“You think: 'Are we locked for ever in this cycle of compassion and then absence of compassion?'” Gatiss loves Dickens's book – he reads it every year. “It always amazes me
how much anger there is [in it]. It feels sadly timeless.”We are about to be deluged with Gatiss's work, which, in the worst of times, is at least something to be cheerful about.
There is the cinema screening of A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story, which Gatiss adapted and in which he played Jacob Marley, a dream ever since he saw the 1970 film Scrooge, with
Alec Guinness in the role (“It just seared itself into my brain”). There is a new half-hour drama: Gatiss has done the last four of the revival of the BBC's 70s series A Ghost
Story for Christmas, an event that now feels as integral to the season as mince pies. This will be another MR James adaptation. How many more does he have in him? “As many as
they'll let me have,” he says. “It's my favorite thing to do.”From left: Reece Shearsmith as Peter, Frances Barber as Elsa, Amanda Abbington as Debbie in rehearsals for The
Unfriend. Photograph: Manuel HarlanThen there are two plays: first, in January, the West End transfer of The Unfriend, which Gatiss directed, written by his longtime collaborator
Steven Moffat. A month later, The Way Old Friends Do, written by his husband, the actor Ian Hallard, and directed by Gatiss, opens at Birmingham Rep. Then, Gatiss will play Larry
Grayson in the ITV three-parter Nolly, and he has a role in the next Mission: Impossible film later in the year. He doesn't think of himself as a workaholic, he says with a laugh,
“because I do like resting. But there's a lot to do. I've been very lucky in things coming my way.”Earlier this year, Gatiss had a sudden panic. He was writing “a big series,
which was absolutely definitely happening and then suddenly didn't. Then a couple of projects stalled and I thought: 'Oh, is this it?'” He messaged his friend, the writer and
producer Russell T Davies, to share his angst that his career was over. It is a career that has included co-creating the phenomenally successful League of Gentlemen and Sherlock