Mark Gatiss: Wikis


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Mark Gatiss
Born Mark Gatiss
17 October 1966 (1966-10-17) (age 43)
Sedgefield, Durham, England
Other name(s) The Cast/The League of Gentlemen/Sam Kisgart
Occupation Actor, writer, producer, philanthropist, cameraman, editor, narrator and comedian
Years active 1993–present

Mark Gatiss (born 17 October 1966) is an English actor, screenwriter and novelist. He is best known as a member of the comedy team The League of Gentlemen, and is one of only three people to have both written for and acted in Doctor Who.


Personal life

Gatiss was born in Sedgefield, County Durham, England and attended Heighington CE Primary School.[1] He currently lives in Islington, London, with his partner Ian and their Labrador, Bunsen. In 2006, Gatiss was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by the University of Huddersfield.


The League of Gentlemen

He is best known as a member of the sketch comedy team The League of Gentlemen (along with fellow performers Reece Shearsmith, Steve Pemberton and co-writer Jeremy Dyson), which initially began as a stage act in 1995, transferred to BBC Radio 4 as On the Town with the League of Gentlemen in 1997 and then arrived on television on BBC Two in 1999. The latter has seen Gatiss and his colleagues awarded a British Academy Television Award, a Royal Television Society Award and the prestigious Golden Rose of Montreux.

He met his League of Gentlemen co-writers and performers at Bretton Hall drama school in his late teens, which he began attending after finishing school and having spent a gap year travelling around Europe.

Other television work

Outside of the League, Gatiss' television work has included writing for the 2001 revival of comic telefantasy 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 Agent Smith. 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, 2004-2005 and the live 2005 remake of the classic sci-fi serial The Quatermass Experiment. Gatiss briefly appeared in the 1999 TV Movie, A Christmas Carol, as a colleague of the young Ebenezer Scrooge. A second series of Nighty Night and the new comedy-drama Funland, the latter co-written by his League cohort 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.

He also took an on-screen role in one episode of Doctor Who in 2007 (Professor Lazarus in "The Lazarus Experiment"),[2] making him only the third person — after Glyn Jones and Victor Pemberton — and the first of the new series to both write for and act in the programme. Also in 2007, he appeared as Robert Louis Stevenson[3] in Jekyll, a BBC One serial by his fellow Doctor Who scriptwriter Steven Moffat.[4] In 2008 he appeared in Clone as Colonel Black. He also made a guest appearance in Pemberton and Shearsmith's comedy series Psychoville.

Radio, stage and film

Gatiss appears frequently in BBC Radio productions, including the sci-fi comedy Nebulous and The 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 Dyall and 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) and Starter 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 revivial of Sapphire and Steel produced by Big Finish Productions.

In the 2008 English language DVD re-release of the cult 2006 Norwegian animated film Free Jimmy, Gatiss voiced the character of "Jakki", a heavy-set, bizarrely dressed biker member of the "Lappish Mafia". In this his voice is used along with the other actors of League of Gentlemen such as Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith. The dialogue was written by Simon Pegg and other actors included Pegg himself and Woody Harrelson, amongst others.

Mark appeared in the stage adaptation of Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother at the Old Vic in London from 25 Aug-24 Nov 2007. He won much critical acclaim for his portrayal of the semi-transsexual Agrado.

Mark was scheduled to perform in Darker Shores by Michael Punter, a ghost story for all the family, at Hampstead Theatre 3 December 2009 - 16 January 2010 but had to withdraw after a serious family illness. Tom Goodman-Hill took over his role.[5]

In March 2010 he was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme on BBC Radio 3.[6]


Gatiss is a long-time fan of the British television science-fiction series Doctor Who, preferring its style from the 1970s. Much of his writing has been devoted to the series, including the BBV video spin-off series P.R.O.B.E., four novels, two audio plays for Big Finish Productions and, fulfilling a lifelong dream, two episodes for the 2005-revived BBC television series. His first, "The Unquiet Dead", aired on 9 April 2005; the second, "The Idiot's Lantern", aired on 27 May 2006 as part of the second season. In addition, Gatiss was the narrator for the 2006 season of documentary series Doctor Who Confidential, replacing Simon Pegg. (Gatiss was further replaced by Anthony Head as narrator for the third series, running during 2007.) Gatiss did not write an episode in the third season, but appeared in the episode "The Lazarus Experiment", as a 76-year-old scientist who has developed a device that makes him look younger - with horrific consequences. As confirmed by the January 2010 issue of Doctor Who Magazine he is writing Episode 3 of Series 5 called "Victory of the Daleks".

Gatiss and fellow Doctor Who writer Steven Moffat are working on a pilot called Sherlock, a modern-day Sherlock Holmes series. The 60-minute pilot, written by Moffat, will be shot in January 2009. If a series is commissioned, Gatiss will executive produce while Moffat concentrates on Doctor Who.[7][8]

He also wrote and performed the comedy sketches The Web of Caves, The Kidnappers and The Pitch of Fear for the BBC's "Doctor Who Night" in 1999 with Little Britain's David Walliams, and played the Master in the Doctor Who Unbound play Sympathy for the Devil under the name "Sam Kisgart", a pseudonym he later used for a column in Doctor Who Magazine. (The pseudonym is an anagram of "Mark Gatiss", a nod to the Master who often used anagrams or translations of his title as false names, and to Anthony Ainley, who was sometimes credited under an anagram to conceal the Master's identity from the viewers.) The pseudonym was used again in Television listings magazines when he appeared in episode four of Psychoville, at the request of writers (and his fellow 'LOG'-ers) Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, so as not to spoil the surprise when he appeared in the episode.

In mainstream print, Gatiss is responsible for an acclaimed 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. On the release of The Devil in Amber, Gatiss gave an in-depth interview to STV about his writing and comedy work.[9]

A third Lucifer Box novel, Black Butterfly, was published on 3 November 2008 by Simon and Schuster.[10] In this the protagonist finds himself serving the New Queen, Elizabeth, in the cold war era, coming up against the mysterious Widows' Circle and their leader Melissa ffawthawte.

Gatiss has also written Crooked House, a ghost story that was broadcast on BBC Four during Christmas 2008. He has also co-produced the drama, as well as playing the part of a museum curator.[11]



  • James Whale: A Biography (ISBN 0-304-32861-8)
  • They Came From Outer Space!: Alien Encounters In The Movies (co-written with David Miller) (ISBN 978-1901018004)


Doctor Who

Lucifer Box


  • The EsseX Files: To Basildon and Beyond (co-written with Jeremy Dyson) (ISBN 1857027477).

Audio plays

Doctor Who


External links

Preceded by
Simon Pegg
Narrator of Doctor Who Confidential
Succeeded by
Anthony Head

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