The creator of Jekyll and Hyde, Charlie Higson, says he loves to scare people, particularly children, and said it was a universal feeling that people can tap into – the books, films and programmes that terrified them as children.
Charlie chatted to What’s on TV before the furore over the violence and terror of ITV’s new Sunday teatime fantasy series resulted in hundreds of complaints, which Ofcom has undertaken to investigate.
Former The Fast Show star Charlie has since said sorry if ‘anyone got upset by it’.
But he explained to What’s on TV why he created the thrills in the first place. “I love scaring people, particularly children, I do like scaring children. I’ve written this horror series of books, The Enemy, which is extremely frightening and disturbing for children, because I’ve always figured if you can really terrify a child, if you can scar them for life, then they will always remember…
“If you do it in a TV show or a film, if you can be the one thing that really scares them. If you talk to anyone about their childhood and they say, ‘Oh my god, I watched Salem’s Lot or Doctor Who’, whatever it might be, everyone has this one thing.”
Charlie revealed why he updated the classic of Jekyll and Hyde to the 20th century. “One of the reasons I wanted to set it in the 1930s is that it was the golden age of Hollywood monster movies, a fantastic run of Universal horror films where we had Frankenstein and Dracula and the Wolfman and the Mummy and White Zombie and all these amazing monsters. It wasn’t the first time we’d seen monsters, but it was the first time in sound and it really cemented those monsters in the public imagination, so I wanted to do my homage to all of those different monsters.
“So we have our own equivalent of those monster movies, but we’ve done them in our own way, in the same that we’ve done Jekyll and Hyde in our own way.”
Charlie hopes Jekyll and Hyde will be a success and return for more series. He says he had to convince ITV that there enough stories there, so he did rough storylines for series two and series three, which was a useful exercise because he discovered that if they did want more there were more ideas.
“There are a lot more stories we can tell,” he said.
Jekyll and Hyde continues on ITV on Sunday.