TV Highlights

Frankenstein and the Vampyre

BBC Two - 9pm

Who's in it?

Lots of very pretty young actors depict Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, and John Polidori in this suitably ravishing docudrama about the night that changed horror fiction forever.

In a nutshell

We can thank bad weather for two of the most enduring icons of pop culture: Dr Frankenstein and Dracula. Well, not exactly Dracula himself, but the first depiction of a vampire as a sexy, swaggering aristocrat – a character called Lord Ruthven who was a major inspiration for the creation of the Count. Amazingly, both the stories of Frankenstein and Ruthven were inspired on the same night, in the same house on Lake Geneva.

The host was bad boy poet Lord Byron, who was so fed up with the rain outside that he suggested his pals came up with ghost stories to entertain each other. Sitting among the company was Mary Shelley, the mere teenager who'd give us Frankenstein, and Dr John Polidori, who gave us the landmark story The Vampyre. The unlikely saga of this remarkable night unfolds in this film – prepare to be jealous you weren't there yourself.

What's the verdict?

Featuring insights from a coven of today's literary bigwigs like Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood and True Blood creator Charlaine Harris, this is just the sort of programme you should be huddling up with on a winter's night. It's like Halloween never ended…

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