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M.R. James: Ghost Writer (BBC Four Sunday 4 February 2024)



M.R. James

In an exploration of the life and works of M.R. James, BBC Four presents “Ghost Writer,” an intriguing documentary hosted by Mark Gatiss. Airing on Sunday 4 February 2024 at 11.15pm, this episode delves into the enigmatic mind of the renowned English writer who mastered the art of supernatural storytelling.

M.R. James was a Victorian bachelor known for his conservative nature and devout Anglican beliefs, making it all the more fascinating that he created tales that continue to send shivers down readers’ spines over a century later. Gatiss embarks on a quest to unravel the secrets behind James’s uncanny ability to craft chilling narratives.

The journey begins in Suffolk, James’s childhood home, as Gatiss sets out to understand how this seemingly ordinary man became one of England’s most celebrated authors of ghost stories. Venturing from Eton to Cambridge and even into France, Gatiss takes viewers along atmospheric paths that lead through ancient churches, shadowy cloisters, and resonating libraries—the very settings that inspired James’s vivid imagination.

“Ghost Writer” seeks to shed light on the sources of inspiration that fueled James’s macabre creations. From childhood memories to academic pursuits and personal experiences, each step offers insight into the mind behind some of literature’s most haunting tales.


As Mark Gatiss immerses himself in M.R. James’s world—combining historical context with literary analysis—he invites us all on a captivating journey through time and space. By examining how external influences shaped his writing style and subject matter, viewers are given an opportunity to appreciate not only James’s enduring legacy but also gain an understanding of why his stories continue to captivate readers today.

Tune in to BBC Four on Sunday 4 February 2024 at 11.15pm as Mark Gatiss explores the depths of M.R. James’s remarkable imagination in “Ghost Writer.”

Featured Image Credit: BBC Four


Isabelle aka Izzy Jacobs is the UK previews specialist at Isabelle is particularly drawn to crime dramas, but she also has a not so secret love for all things reality TV. In addition to her work at, Isabelle is also an avid traveler and a devoted foodie.

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