Jekyll (TV series)
The Jekyll intertitle that appeared on episodes 1-5. The name "Hyde" was used for the sixth episode.
|Written by||Steven Moffat|
|Directed by||Douglas Mackinnon
|Theme music composer||Debbie Wiseman|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Executive producer(s)||Steven Moffat
|Running time||55 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Hartswood Films
|Original channel||BBC One|
|Original run||16 June 2007– 28 July 2007|
Jekyll is a British television drama serial produced by Hartswood Films and Stagescreen Productions for BBC One. The series also received funding from BBC America. Steven Moffat wrote all six episodes, with Douglas Mackinnon and Matt Lipsey each directing three episodes.
The series is described by its creators as a sequel to the novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, rather than an adaptation of it, and the Robert Louis Stevenson tale is used within the series as a back story. It stars James Nesbitt as Tom Jackman, a modern-day descendant of Dr. Jekyll, who has recently begun transforming into a version of Mr. Hyde (also played by Nesbitt). Jackman is aided by psychiatric nurse Katherine Reimer, played by Michelle Ryan. Gina Bellman also appears as Claire, Tom's wife.
Filming took place at various locations around southern England in late 2006. The series was first transmitted on BBC One in June and July 2007, receiving mainly positive reviews.
Doctor Tom Jackman is a married father of two. A psychiatric nurse named Katherine Reimer takes a job caring for him. In the first episode, Jackman straps himself into a chair and Reimer watches as he undergoes a subtle physical and mental transformation in an extreme case of multiple personality disorder.
Reimer observes that Jackman's alter ego exhibits rage, heightened senses, greatly superior strength and speed, and a more playful and flirtatious manner. She assures this persona she will keep his secrets just as she keeps Jackman's, but asks for guarantees he will not harm her. After being informed of the case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Hyde takes the titular alter ego's name for his own and the two agree to respect the other's autonomy.
Jackman transforms after visiting his family (he has recently moved out of the house and split from his wife, Claire), from whom he has kept his Hyde persona a secret. To Jackman's family Hyde becomes 'Uncle Billy', Jackman's long-lost cousin. This begins the escalation of conflict between Jackman and Hyde, with each leaving notes for the other before transforming.
Miranda Callendar, a detective employed by Claire, learns about Hyde and informs Jackman that Jekyll and Hyde was not fiction, but a fictionalized version of actual events. There was a Doctor Jekyll who lived in Edinburgh. When he is shown a picture of Jekyll, Jackman realizes he looks exactly like him. He assumes he is a descendant of Jekyll's, but Callendar informs him Jekyll died without children.
Jackman's friend Peter Syme (who is his boss at the biotech firm of Klein and Utterson) and an American named Benjamin are revealed to belong to a group which has been tracking Jackman/Hyde. He meets a woman who claims to be his mother, who abandoned him as a child and who has been working with Reimer, but learns no more from her before she leaves. Jackman heads to Syme's house to learn the truth. Syme attempts to drug him, informing him that Benjamin and other personnel from Klein and Utterson are on their way. Feeling Hyde taking over, Jackman locks himself and Syme in the house's basement, not realizing Claire has been in the house and is also hiding in the basement. After toying with Syme and Claire, Hyde is confronted by the men from Klein and Utterson. Hyde is captured, but he first kills Benjamin. Claire argues they need to find a cure for him. Syme informs her they have a cure and Claire watches, bound and gagged, as her husband is locked in a metal coffin.
Reimer and Callendar confront Syme, claiming they know the truth about Jackman. Callendar theorizes that Klein and Utterson have access to cloning technology and that Jackman is Jekyll's clone. Syme denies this and orders them taken away. He reveals to Claire the "cure" her husband is undergoing will purge Jackman's persona, not Hyde's. Klein and Utterson want to examine Hyde in order to synthesize the potion that turned the original Jekyll into Hyde. When the box is opened, Hyde is dominant. In a flashback triggered by genetic memory, Hyde sees a meeting between Jekyll and Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stevenson reveals that he knows, "there is no potion." Jekyll lied to trap anyone who might try to create another Hyde. Jackman also learns there was a maid in Jekyll's household with whom he was in love and who looks like Claire. It was the love for this woman that released Hyde. Hyde manifests, exhibiting greater superhuman abilities (including a limited ability to control electricity) and cuts his way through the Klein and Utterson personnel.
Enraged by further attempts to harm Jackman's family, Hyde escapes from Klein and Utterson. Ms Utterson takes Claire and her sons prisoner, trapping the boys in boxes similar to that which had been used on Jackman. Making her way into the lowest level of the Klein Utterson complex, Claire encounters Jackman's mother. She explains to Claire that while although Jekyll had no descendants, Hyde did. She also explains that Klein and Utterson did attempt to clone Jekyll but never managed to do it successfully. They did, however, manage to clone that which served as the catalyst to release Hyde. Claire is a clone of Alice, Jekyll's maid. Eventually, Hyde appears and in a confrontation with Ms Utterson he sacrifices himself to save Jackman's family.
Six months later Jackman, apparently free of Hyde, has tracked down his mother. Confronting her he asks about his origins, asserting that his father couldn't possibly be descended from Jekyll. She tells him that it wasn't his father who descended from Jekyll. It was his mother, herself. The final shot of the series is of Jackman's mother transforming into her own Hyde persona, that of Ms. Utterson.
Jeffrey Tayor of Stagescreen Productions had the idea of a modern version of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in the mid-1990s. He attempted to get it produced in the United States three times, but all three attempts fell through for various reasons. He returned to England from the west coast of the United States and joined with Hartswood Films when Elaine Cameron was scouting for ideas for a supernatural thriller. Cameron then approached Steven Moffat for a script, and a six-part series was commissioned by the BBC's Jane Tranter and John Yorke in November 2005. BBC America signed on to provide co-production funding in March 2006. The producers regularly met with Moffat for brainstorming sessions. Cameron's assistant took notes from these conversations, after which they would look over the notes and start the process again. The producers invited Moffat to "write anything", with the intention of cutting the material back later. However, they were reluctant to cut material once they saw it on the page. The first episode starts with Jackman already knowing about his alter ego. Because the plot of Jekyll begins after the story has developed for the characters, Nesbitt says that the show feels like it is a second series.
Moffat explicitly describes the series as a sequel, rather than an adaptation, stating the Jekyll of the original story really existed, and Jackman is his "modern-day descendant dealing with the same problems". As Jekyll and Hyde is such a well-known phrase, Moffat labored over what to call the series, eventually deciding upon Jekyll because that word "carries the name Hyde". The final episode replaces the title "Jekyll" with "Hyde". Producer Elaine Cameron says the one word title gives the series a "very modern feel". Moffat initially named the character Jekyll rather than Jackman, but found it cumbersome to constantly explain that the book had not been written in this alternate universe. Instead he chose a version where the book exists, but changed the name to Jackman. Otherwise, Cameron felt, the character would appear stupid by not realising what was happening when turning into Hyde.
The scene between Tom and Katherine was expanded slightly in the sixth episode to keep their relationship active to facilitate a second series. However, no further episodes were commissioned. In an August 2007 interview, Moffat told Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger that he had a sequel written for the miniseries "should the BBC be interested". Following Jekyll, Moffat became a co-writer on another TV series with a single, historical but fictional, name, Sherlock. This work brought the "consulting detective" into the 21st century.
James Nesbitt and his agent attended a meeting with Jane Tranter in late 2005 regarding the 2006 series of Murphy's Law. At the conclusion of the meeting, she offered him a script for Jekyll, suggesting that he might like the role. Nesbitt took the script role as a way of putting a distance between his previous work. The casting of Nesbitt as Tom Jackman and Hyde was publicised on 12 December 2005, but filming was not scheduled to begin until September 2006, increasing Nesbitt's anticipation to play the roles. Writer Steven Moffat said that the dual-role required a very skilled actor, and a well-known actor was necessary because it was such an expensive show to produce. The production team decided Nesbitt's two characters would be mainly differentiated over a change in performance rather than by extensive make-up because they wanted Hyde to be able to walk around in public without attracting attention.
Michelle Ryan, known for her long-running role as Zoe Slater in the soap opera EastEnders, was revealed by tabloid newspaper The Sun to have been cast as "Jekyll's sultry assistant" (Katherine Reimer) in August 2006. Ryan believed herself to be too young for the part, though that aspect had already been written into the character. To prepare, she consulted the Royal College of Psychiatry. Denis Lawson was cast as Peter Syme. The actor consulted his post-graduate son for information on Syme's job. Ryan dyed her hair red for the role to help differentiate her from Tom Jackman's wife.
Gina Bellman was cast as Claire Jackman. However, writer Moffat initially doubted her suitability for the role because he associated Bellman too much with Jane Christie, the character she had played in his sitcom Coupling. Moffat did not imagine the character to be as "beautiful" as Bellman, but her audition was so good that he had to revise his vision of the character. Bellman originally auditioned for the role of Katherine, but the producers wanted someone younger to play that role. However, Bellman said that she talked herself out of the role by arguing that there should be an age gap between Katherine and Claire to avoid Katherine becoming a threat to the wife. Bellman approached her role as if Claire had become caught up in Tom's mid-life crisis, an angle that impressed the producers.
Meera Syal was attracted to her role because Miranda was not a clichéd private detective and she thought the humour was "fresh". During the second filming block, Mark Gatiss briefly joined the cast, playing the small but important role of Robert Louis Stevenson in flashback scenes in episode five.
The series was filmed in two blocks of three episodes. The first three were directed by Douglas Mackinnon and the second three episodes by Matt Lipsey. It took an hour of make-up each day to turn Nesbitt into Hyde; a hairpiece lowered his hairline and prosthetics were added to his chin, nose and ear lobes. He also wore black contact lenses to make Hyde "soulless". After many debates, the producers decided that Hyde's imminent arrival would be indicated by the flash of a black eye. The eye imagery evolved during filming, and did not appear in the script.
Filming began in September 2006 with the zoo sequence from the second episode, in which Benjamin's team have set Tom up to force out Hyde by placing his son, Eddie, in the lion's den. Writing the sequence at a late stage in the production, Moffat wanted to compare Hyde's natural instinct to kill to that of a lion. This was shot on location at Heythrop Zoo, a private zoo in Chipping Norton run by Jim Clubb, whose firm Amazing Animals specialises in training animals for cinema and television. The Norman Foster-designed building in Chertsey, Surrey, which then housed the European Headquarters of video game designer and publisher Electronic Arts, was used as The Klein & Utterson Institute. A large country estate near Henley-on-Thames and in Bognor Regis was used for some of the scenes whilst on the run and in flashbacks. A disused Boys' school in Gloucestershire, and the Hammer House in Wardour Street, Soho were used in episode six. Filming concluded on 20 December 2006.
The schedule was tight for a complex production. The production team had twelve days to shoot each episode, which director Douglas Mackinnon says was the biggest challenge of the project. The required amount of material was shot for most of the episodes. However, an extra twenty minutes of material was filmed for episode six. Director Matt Lipsey recalls that the team struggled to cut the extra material whilst maintaining the integrity of the episode. Lipsey credits Moffat for not "being precious" over his material during the editing process, and points out that his willingness to cut superfluous material means that he is taken seriously when he argues for something to be retained.
|#||Title||Directed by||Written by||Viewers / Share
(million) / (%)
|Original air date||Production
|1||"Episode One"||Douglas Mackinnon||Steven Moffat||5.1 / 24||16 June 2007||ICDA641D|
|Tom Jackman is plagued by strange transformations into a stronger, more animal-like version of himself. To ease the situation he hires an assistant in Katherine Reimer to see to the needs of both himself and his alter ego. He later finds that his estranged wife Claire has employed a detective, Miranda Calender, to find out why he left her. Calender is able to reveal to Jackman that he is apparently the last living descendant of Henry Jekyll, and that they look exactly alike, despite the fact that Jekyll never had children. She is unable to reveal who the other party observing him is. Meanwhile, Hyde continues to grow stronger as this third party introduces itself through Benjamin.|
|2||"Episode Two"||Douglas Mackinnon||Steven Moffat||3.9 / 21||23 June 2007||ICDA642X|
|On a visit to a zoo, Benjamin's team set Tom up to force out Hyde by placing his son, Eddie, in the lion's den. Benjamin, who says he has controlled Tom for forty years waiting for Hyde to emerge, asks Hyde to work with him. Hyde refuses, driving away with Benjamin’s henchman, Christopher, whose battered body Hyde later dumps. Tom awakes to be confronted by a woman, with who Katherine has been working. The woman confesses that she left Tom in a railway station 40 years ago with only a letter and a photo. She reveals that his he is a direct descendant of Dr Henry Jekyll.
Peter, who has been working for Benjamin, has tipped him off about Tom's whereabouts. When Benjamin's team arrive at the hospital, Tom's mother urges Tom to disappear permanently.
|3||"Episode Three"||Douglas Mackinnon||Steven Moffat||3.8 / 17||30 June 2007||ICDA643R|
|Tom discovers that the organisation tracking him is 'Klein & Utterson', the very company he works for. He confronts Peter at his house. However, Peter had drugged him. Fearing that Hyde will attack his family when he's unconscious, Tom locks Peter in the basement with Hyde and forces him to swallow the key. Claire appears to witness her husband’s transformation in Hyde. Twelve hours later, Tom awakens with a key. Hyde kills Benjamin — one of the organisation's leaders. Posing as police, Benjamin's team place Tom in a very confined box and transfer him to another location.|
|4||"Episode Four"||Matt Lipsey||Steven Moffat||2.8 / 14||14 July 2007||ICDA644K|
|When a private detective confronts Klein & Utterson with the theory that Tom is Jekyll's clone, Tom's old friend Peter reveals that they don't know how Tom came to be. Flashback sequences reveal how Tom and Claire first met as well as Hyde's first 'awakenings'. The flashback recounts how the couple were surprised that Claire gave birth to twins as there had only been one heartbeat. In the present, Claire demands to know where her children are, why her husband is locked in a box, and the nature of her husband's relationship with Katherine.|
|5||"Episode Five"||Matt Lipsey||Steven Moffat||3.5 / 18||21 July 2007||ICDA645E|
|At the home of Dr Henry Jekyll, in 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson presents a manuscript. The story lacks only an ending. Jekyll is dying because he can no longer control the changes and his last secret will die with him as he destroys a vital piece of paper in the fire. Back in the present, Tom is believed dead, with Hyde having taken over after Tom succumbed to terror due to his claustrophobia. Dipping into Tom's memories, Hyde taps into genetic memory from Henry Jekyll, and learns that Jekyll never used a potion, (something that was widely believed, and evidently something that Klein & Utterson were aiming to reproduce). He also discovers that Jekyll's maid looked identical to his wife, shortly before Klein & Utterson abduct his wife and children.|
|6||"Episode Six"||Matt Lipsey||Steven Moffat||3.2 / 17||28 July 2007||ICDA646Y|
|With Tom and Hyde having fully combined their personalities- Tom needing Hyde's physical strength while Hyde requires Tom's emotional maturity-, Claire is revealed to be a clone of Jekyll's maid- created in order to stimulate the transformation in Tom that her 'template' triggered in Jekyll-, while Tom is a descendant of Hyde's illegitimate children. Hyde dies protecting Tom's children, refusing to 'share the damage' with his other self after he is shot. The Jackman children appear to have inherited some of the Jekyll/Hyde family genes. It is revealed that the American woman from Klein & Utterson is the Hyde version of Tom Jackman's mother, from whom he inherited the Hyde genes.|
Broadcast and reception 
Jekyll was broadcast on BBC One on Saturday nights from 9 p.m. A two-week break occurred between showings of the third and fourth episodes because the Live Earth benefit concert was broadcast during its timeslot on 7 July. The series began airing on BBC America from 4 August, as part of a "Supernatural Saturday" programming strand. In Australia, Jekyll began broadcasting on ABC1, Sundays at 8.30 p.m. from 2 March 2008 with a double episode back-to-back each week. In Canada, Jekyll began broadcasting on Showcase, beginning at the end of August 2007 and on BBC Canada, Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. from 26 March 2008. Also in Hong Kong, Wednesday at 11:55 p.m. from 11 February 2009 on TVB Pearl. In the Netherlands, Jekyll was broadcast in the summer of 2009 on Sci-Fi Channel.
Certain edits were made to the United Kingdom broadcasts in order to remove language unsuitable for Saturday night BBC One audiences. For example, a line spoken by Hyde in episode one was changed from "Who the fuck is Mr Hyde?" to "Who the hell is Mr Hyde?"
James Jackson of The Times rated the first episode four out of five stars, calling Nesbitt's performance as Hyde "as entertainingly [over the top] as a dozen Doctor Who villains, with a palpable sense of menace to boot". The conspiracy plot is praised as a storyline that distinguishes this series from other adaptations. The Daily Telegraph's Stephen Pile criticised the script for "veering between Hammer horror and larky humour" and for being "cheesy". He also criticised Hyde's gravity-defying hijinks and mistook Michelle Ryan for a model. In the same newspaper, James Walton called the first episode a combination of "a good yarn with several nicely thoughtful touches". David Cornelius of DVDTalk was full of compliments for the series, summing up its review with the statement "six episodes, 300 minutes, not a single one of them wasted. 'Jekyll' is this year's finest television event". The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commenting on the series being part of their 2008 line-up, said "This classic horror tale has been given a modern make-over that will leave you on the edge of your seat and begging for more. James Nesbitt is outstanding as the new Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde". Nesbitt was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for his roles. Paterson Joseph received a mention in the nominations for the 2008 Screen Nation awards.
Home release 
The BBFC rated all episodes as a 15 certificate on 11 June 2007. Jekyll: Season One was released for region 2 on 30 July 2007 by Contender Home Entertainment. It includes uncut episodes, including restoration of some swearing cut from the BBC broadcasts. As DVD Verdict says about this uncut version, "the language is saucier, the violence a bit more bloody, and the sex more primal." The disc contains audio commentaries on two episodes: producer Elaine Cameron, writer Steven Moffat and first-block director Douglas Mackinnon comment on episode one, while executive producer Beryl Vertue, second-block director Matt Lipsey and actress Gina Bellman comment upon the sixth episode. The set also contains two documentaries: "Anatomy of a Scene" focuses upon the production of the zoo sequence in episode two, while "The Tale Retold" covers the evolution of the series. The first Region 1 release occurred in the United States on September 18, 2007, although the Region 1 Canadian release was delayed until October 9, following the Canadian broadcast of the series on Showcase, which commenced at the end of August 2007.
- "Jekyll: The Tale Retold", featurette on Jekyll DVD, Contender Home Entertainment
- "Production interviews" (Press release). BBC Press Office. 2007-05-23. Retrieved 2007-07-28.
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- Elaine Cameron (2007). Jekyll DVD audio commentary for "Episode 1" (DVD). Contender Entertainment.
- Sepinwall, Alan (2 August 2007). "Writer brings a novel twist to a familiar tale". The Star-Ledger. p. 37.
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- Jekyll at BBC Online
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