Philip Glenister (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes) returns to stv in a fantastical new drama series: a contemporary spin on the legacy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula set above and beneath the streets of modern-day London.
Glenister plays Rupert Galvin, a larger-than-life American with a tragic past and a zero tolerance policy to the rabble of mythical “half-life” entities that exist all around us. When he bursts into the life of his teenage godson, Luke (Christian Cooke – Echo Beach, Robin Hood), whose father died in mysterious circumstances 15 years before, little does Luke know what will be thrust upon him.
There are supernatural forces of evil at work and it is Luke’s destiny, as the last descendent of the Van Helsing line, to smite the half-lives that stalk our streets.
While trying to juggle an ordinary life of school exams, parties and learning to drive – not to mention keeping it all from his mum - Luke is catapulted into a world of vampires, demons and zombies, along with his best friend Ruby (Holliday Grainger – The Bad Mother’s Handbook, Waterloo Road). But he remains cool – it’s in his blood after all…
Helping Galvin to train Luke in his quest is the beautiful but icy cold Mina Harker (Zoe Tapper - Affinity, A Harlot's Progress) a blind concert pianist with a history, who is also the foremost authority on the undesirable entities preying on humanity. The sinister and mouldering Father Simeon (Richard Wilson – One Foot In The Grave, Merlin) is Luke’s other source of information on the lore and myth behind the creatures he faces.
But before they have time to properly prepare Luke, he is faced with a daunting opponent in the form of the villainous Gladiolus Thrip (Mackenzie Crook -The Office, Pirates of the Caribbean) a sinister vampire with a burning hatred for the Van Helsing line and all they stand for.
Throughout the series Luke faces an array of terrifying adversaries – including the half-man half-rat Mr Tibbs (Kevin McNally – Pirates of the Caribbean), who bears a deep and personal grudge against a member of the team…
Producer Julian Murphy explains what attracts him and fellow producer Johnny Capps to the supernatural genre.
“It’s simple; the script and storytelling process allow us to use our imaginations in ways that simply aren’t acceptable in your average cop show. And then there’s the challenge of realising that vision. It’s much more exciting when you don’t know how to bring something to the screen!
“We focused on the Van Helsing legacy because it gives us a ready made mythology and experience has taught us that this is very important in dramas of this kind. But perhaps the most important inspiration was London itself and, more importantly, the secret world that lies beneath those very clean and modern streets.”
Johnny Capps continues: “The most difficult thing to achieve was Gilgamel in episode two. It involves a man in a full body prosthetic doing stunts on a wire in an abandoned church which at times looked a long way from the 15th century demon we were trying
“And the closest we came to disaster was when Christian Cooke, who plays Luke, nearly got hypothermia after spending the whole day in a tank when he and Galvin were supposed to be trapped down a sewer. Apparently it was because he'd been doing so much training for the physically demanding fight scenes that his body fat was very low so he had nothing to keep him warm. He got better quickly though and was fine.”
The new show is produced by International Emmy Award winning Producers Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps (As If, Hex, Sugar Rush) and directed by Tom Harper (Cherries, Spoil) and Matthew Evans (Robin Hood, Rebus). Dean Hargrove is the executive producer for Sony Pictures. The series is written by Peter Tabern (Johnny and the Bomb, Hex), Howard Overman (Hotel Babylon, New Tricks) and Lucy Watkins (Sinchronicity, Hex).