With The League of Gentlemen back on our screens this month, we’re taking a look at what the group’s four members have been up to since the original TV series ended in 2002. Now that Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton have been covered, Sophie turns her attention to Mark Gatiss…
During the two years after The League of Gentlemen‘s third and final series aired, Mark popped up in TV shows including Catterick, Marple and Little Britain, plus films such as Bright Young Things and Agatha Christie: A Life in Pictures. After meeting Julia Davis while filming Sex Lives of the Potato Men, Mark was then cast in her BBC Three dark comedy Nighty Night which ran for two series in 2004-2005. Mark recently mentioned on the Museum of Comedy Podcast that his character, Glenn Bulb, was originally supposed to appear in just one scene – the blind date in episode 1 – but he and Julia got on so well that his part was increased.
In 2005, Mark played Paterson in a remake of The Quatermass Experiment, reunited with Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton to voice some Vogons in the film adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and had a role in Funland, a comedy thriller series created/written by The League’s Jeremy Dyson. The same year year also saw the release of The League of Gentlemen’s Apocalypse – the group’s first and only outing on the big screen – and the film’s release was followed by their second major UK tour, The League of Gentlemen Are Behind You.
A lifelong Doctor Who fan, in 2005 Mark got the opportunity to write an episode (‘The Unquiet Dead’) for the newly relaunched show with Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor and Russell T Davies at the helm. The following year he wrote another episode (‘The Idiot’s Lantern’) for David Tennant’s first series as the Doctor. Also in 2006, he worked with Julia Davis again in Fear of Fanny, a BBC Four drama about the chef Fanny Craddock, played Ratty in Wind in the Willows alongside Matt Lucas and Bob Hoskins and appeared in James McAvoy film Starter for 10 as Bamber Gascoigne.
During 2007, he wrote and starred in The Worst Journey in the World on BBC Four, based on polar explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s memoirs. He also took to the stage in All About My Mother, guest starred in Doctor Who episode ‘The Lazarus Experiment’ and appeared in other TV shows such as Jekyll.
In 2008, Mark wrote and starred in three-part supernatural series Crooked House on BBC Four and had roles in BBC Three comedy Clone, an episode of Poirot and a BBC adaptation of Sense & Sensibility. The next year saw him make an appearance in Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s Psychoville, showing up in series 1’s three-hander (four-hander if you count the dead body!) episode that was filmed in just two long takes, in addition to having roles in Spanish Flu: The Forgotten Fallen, Purves & Pekkala and Midsomer Murders.
Mark co-created, co-wrote and played Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock, which has so far had four series and a special since 2010. In the same year as Sherlock‘s first series, Mark took to the stage in Seasons Greetings with Catherine Tate, wrote another episode of Doctor Who (‘Victory of the Daleks’), turned HG Wells’ The First Men in the Moon into a TV drama – in which he also starred with Rory Kinnear – and wrote/presented documentary A History of Horror. Over the next two years, he would also write/present follow-up documentary Horror Europa, write Doctor Who episode ‘Night Terrors’ and appear as Gantok in ‘The Wedding of River Song’, return to the stage in a production of The Recruiting Officer and have TV roles in The Crimson Petal and the White, Being Human and Inspector George Gently.
In 2013, Mark wrote An Adventure in Space and Time for BBC One, about the origins of Doctor Who starring David Bradley as William Hartnell, and also wrote Doctor Who episodes ‘Cold War’ and ‘The Crimson Horror’. During the same year, he guest starred as Joan Crawford in an episode of Psychobitches, directed by The League of Gentlemen‘s Jeremy Dyson.
2014 saw Mark star in a production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus alongside Tom Hiddleston and appear in Steve Pemberton’s BBC adaptation of Mapp & Lucia. He also made his first appearance in Game of Thrones representing the Iron Bank and wrote Doctor Who episode ‘Robot of Sherwood’. Over the next year, he was in big BBC dramas Wolf Hall and London Spy, wrote Doctor Who episode ‘Sleep No More’, which guest starred Reece Shearsmith, and played Peter Mandelson in Channel 4’s Coalition. He also had theatre roles in The Vote and Three Days in the Country, for which he won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Following a Sherlock special at the beginning of 2016, Mark was in BBC drama Against the Law as well as four films – Denial, Our Kind of Traitor, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and the big screen reboot of Dad’s Army. He returned to the stage once again in The Boys in the Band, starring alongside his husband Ian Hallard. Most recently, he played the Prince Regent in Tom Hardy’s Taboo and Robert Cecil in Gunpowder, plus he wrote ‘Empress of Mars’ in the latest series of Doctor Who. He also curated the Queers series of monologues that aired on BBC Four this year as part of Gay Britannia season.
Mark has upcoming roles in the 2017 Doctor Who Christmas special and two films – Christopher Robin and The Favourite – which are due for release next year. Knowing him, he probably has plenty more in the pipeline as well!
The League of Gentlemen returns to the BBC on December 18th, 19th and 20th. Stay tuned for our look at Jeremy Dyson’s post-The League of Gentlemen career coming soon…