TV Review: A Ghost Story for Christmas – Lot No. 249

Like that Christmas present you’re never quite sure what to do with, Mark Gatiss returns with his ghostly festive offerings, this time in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lot No. 249

“What the devil have you been up to?”

I mean, it’s great to see John Heffernan on the TV, especially in a high profile slot like this. But Mark Gatiss’ A Ghost Story for Christmas series has been a bit variable for me and Lot No. 249 ended up at the wrong end of the scale. Adapted from a Arthur Conan Doyle short story, Gatiss directs as well as writes this half hour curio, as superfluous as it is supernatural.

Kit Harington plays Abercrombie Smith, an Oxford toff who we first meet banging on the door of his neighbour, played by Heffernan and implied to be Sherlock Holmes (I think). He suspects his other neighbour, Egyptology student Edward Bellingham (Freddie Fox in full-on fop mode) of owning a mummy that is killing students and regales us with the story.

It’s occasionally creepy, more often than not very hammy, and all a bit of muchness to me, if I’m completely honest. Colin Ryan’s Monkhouse Lee appears in the flashback as the latest to interact with Bellingham but there’s little substantive characterisation, which is all the more frustrating given the coded queerness going on with so much of these relationships.

Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of ghost stories in any case so perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered. It’s just, as I said, how could I snub anything that sounds the Hefferklaxon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *