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Mark Gatiss

Last updated 27 July 2014


Mark Gatiss
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Mark Gatiss

Born: Mon 17th October 1966 (age: 47)

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Mark Gatiss is an English actor, screenwriter and novelist. He is best known as a member of the comedy team The League of Gentlemen. 

He is one of a small group who have both written for and acted in Doctor Who.

Gatiss was born in Sedgefield, England. He attended Heighington CE Primary School and Woodham Comprehensive School in Newton Aycliffe.

Following his childhood interest in Doctor Who, Gatiss's early writing was devoted to the series. His earliest published fiction was a sequence of novels in Virgin Publishing's New Adventures series of Doctor Who stories, beginning with Nightshade in 1992. In these works, Gatiss tried to correct the problems which had led to the show's decline in the late 1980s.

The first television scripts he wrote were for a BBV video series called P.R.O.B.E., four low budget, shortDoctor Who spin-off films which were on video. Although the films featured the ex-Doctors Jon Pertwee,Colin Baker and Peter Davison, they have not been reissued on DVD. Gatiss said in a 2004 interview that he would not authorise their re-release as regarded them as having been a learning exercise.

His other early contributions to the Doctor Who franchise included four novels, two audio plays for BBV and two audio plays for Big Finish Productions.

Gatiss is perhaps best known as a member of the sketch comedy team The League of Gentlemen (along with fellow performers Reece ShearsmithSteve Pemberton and co-writer Jeremy Dyson). He first met his co-writers and performers in his late teens at Bretton Hall, West Yorkshire, a drama school which he attended after finishing school and having spent a gap year travelling around Europe.

The League of Gentlemen began as a stage act in 1995, which won the Perrier Award at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1997. In the same year the show transferred to BBC Radio 4 as On the Town with the League of Gentlemen, and later arrived on television on BBC Two in 1999. The television programme has earned Gatiss and his colleagues a British Academy Television Award, a Royal Television Society Award and the prestigious Golden Rose of Montreux.

In 2005, the film The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse was released, to less enthusiastic reviews. The comedy team has never split up, and may work together again in future.

Outside of the League, Gatiss' television work has included writing for the 2001 revival of Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) and script editing the popular sketch show Little Britain in 2003, making guest appearances in both. In 2001 he guested in Spaced as a villainous government employee modelled on the character of Agent Smith from The Matrix film series. In the same year he appeared in several editions of the documentary series, "SF:UK". Other acting appearances include the comedy-drama In the Red(BBC Two, 1998), the macabre sitcom Nighty Night (BBC Three, 2003), Agatha Christie's Marple as Ronald Hawes in The Murder at the Vicarage, a guest appearance in the Vic & Bob series Catterick in 2004 and the live 2005 remake of the classic science fiction serial The Quatermass Experiment. A second series of Nighty Night and the new comedy-drama Funland, the latter co-written by his Leaguecohort Jeremy Dyson, both featured Gatiss and aired on BBC Three in the autumn of 2005. He appeared as Johnnie Cradock, alongside Nighty Night star Julia Davis as Fanny Cradock, in Fear of Fanny on BBC Four in October 2006, and featured as Ratty in a new production of The Wind in the Willows shown on BBC One on 1 January 2007. He wrote and starred in the BBC Four docudrama The Worst Journey in the World, based on the memoir by polar explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard.

Gatiss has also appeared twice in Doctor Who. In 2007, he played Professor Lazarus in The Lazarus Experiment and in 2011 he returned in the Series 6 episode The Wedding of River Song as a character known as Gantok.

Also in 2007, he appeared as Robert Louis Stevenson in Jekyll, a BBC One serial by his fellow Doctor Who scriptwriter Steven Moffat. In 2008 he appeared in Clone as Colonel Black. He also made a guest appearance in Pemberton and Shearsmith's comedy series Psychoville.

In 2010 he portrayed Malcolm MacLaren in the BBC drama Worried About The Boy which focused on the life and career of Boy George, and also appeared as Mycroft Holmes in the BBC drama Sherlock, which he co-created with Steven Moffat. He adapted HG WellsThe First Men In the Moon into a television film of the same name for the BBC, also playing Professor Cavor. He also made a three-part BBC documentary series entitled A History of Horror, a personal exploration of the history of horror cinema.

Gatiss appears frequently in BBC Radio productions, including the science fiction comedy Nebulous andThe Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes story The Shameful Betrayal of Miss Emily Smith. In 2009 he was The Man in Black when BBC Radio 7 revived the character (originally played by Valentine Dyalland Edward de Souza) to introduce a series of five creepy audio dramas. He is also involved with theatre, having penned the play The Teen People in the early 1990s, and appeared in a successful run of the play'Art' in 2003 at the Whitehall Theatre in London. In film, he has starred in Sex Lives of the Potato Men(2004) and had minor roles in Birthday Girl (2001), Bright Young Things (2003), Match Point (2005) andStarter for 10 (2006). The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse, a film based on the television series, co-written by and starring Gatiss, was released in June 2005. He also plays the recurring character of Gold in the audio revival of Sapphire and Steel produced by Big Finish Productions. Gatiss also appeared in Edgar Wright's fake trailer for GrindhouseDon't, a homage to 70's Hammer Horrors.

From December 2010 to March 2011 Gatiss was playing the role of Bernard in Alan Ayckbourn's Season's Greetings at the Royal National Theatre in London alongside Catherine Tate.

In December 2011 he appeared in an episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage in an episode entitled The Science of Christmas, alongside Brian CoxRobin Ince and Richard Dawkins

Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Gatiss has written four episodes for the 2005-revived BBC television series Doctor Who. His first, "The Unquiet Dead" was only the third episode of the revived series in 2005; the second, "The Idiot's Lantern", aired the following year in the second series. After a sabbatical from the third series (in which he acted rather than wrote for), and his submitted script for the fourth series, involving Nazis and the British Museum, remaining unmade, he eventually returned to the programme in 2010, writing "Victory of the Daleks" for the fifth series, and "Night Terrors" for the sixth.

Gatiss has written two episodes of Sherlock, a modern Sherlock Holmes series co-produced by himself and Steven Moffat. The unaired pilot was shot in January 2009 and a full series was commissioned, eventually airing a three-episode series in August 2010 (including Gatiss's episode "The Great Game"). A second series (featuring Gatiss's second contribution "The Hounds of Baskerville") aired in January 2012.

In mainstream print, Gatiss is responsible for a biography of the film director James Whale. His first non-Doctor Who novel, The Vesuvius Club, was published in 2004, for which he was nominated in the category of Best Newcomer in the 2006 British Book Awards. A follow up, The Devil in Amber, was released on 6 November 2006. It transports the main character, Lucifer Box, from the Edwardian era in the first book to the roaring Twenties/Thirties. A third and final Lucifer Box novel, Black Butterfly, was published on 3 November 2008 by Simon & Schuster

Gatiss also wrote, co-produced and appeared in Crooked House, a ghost story that was broadcast onBBC Four during Christmas 2008.

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA






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