HG WELLS'S DARKEST STORIES; Ray Winstone Plays the Prolific English Writer in a New Series That Retells Four of His Most Chilling Tales - from Bizarre Pacts to Weird Insects and Spooky Paintings

Daily Mail (London), January 23, 2016 | Go to article overview

HG WELLS'S DARKEST STORIES; Ray Winstone Plays the Prolific English Writer in a New Series That Retells Four of His Most Chilling Tales - from Bizarre Pacts to Weird Insects and Spooky Paintings


Byline: Tim Oglethorpe

Would you change yourname in exchange for a fortune? That's the offer on the table for struggling medical student Edward Eden. Ageing philosopher Egbert Elvesham is prepared to make Edward the sole beneficiary of his will provided he becomes Egbert Elvesham.

It seems like a small price to pay for a windfall. 'You might think that, but there's a twist in the tale, which transforms Eden's life in a way he'd never have thought possible,' explains Luke Treadaway, who plays Eden in an adaptation of the HG Wells story The Late Mr Elvesham that also stars Sir Michael Gambon as the philosopher.

It's one of four intriguing stories by Wells - best known as the writer of The Invisible Man, The War Of The Worlds and The Time Machine - which make up a chilling new series called The Nightmare Worlds Of HG Wells, marking the 150th anniversary of his birth.

Each story is introduced by Ray Winstone as Wells, complete with long, flowing hair, a white beard, a pinstripe suit and either a cigarette or pipe in his mouth. It may seem an odd choice casting cockney Ray as one of Britain's great literary heroes but his working-class background wasn't a million miles from Wells's.

'There's this assumption that Wells was part of the Oxbridge set, but he was a working-class lad whose mother was in service and whose dad had a corner shop,' explains Graham Duff, who has adapted the four Wells stories for Sky Arts.

'And Ray was keen to work with director Adrian Shergold again, having done so on the ITV series The Trials Of Jimmy Rose, as well as play the kind of part he doesn't often get the opportunity to play.'

Graham says Wells aficionados may notice a few changes from the original tales but the basic themes remain the same. 'I wasn't interested in making 21st-century versions of the stories. They remain rooted in the 1890s and are true to the spirit of what Wells penned,' says Graham, who co-wrote Steve Coogan's spoof horror series Dr Terrible's House Of Horrible and BBC sitcom Hebburn. …

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HG WELLS'S DARKEST STORIES; Ray Winstone Plays the Prolific English Writer in a New Series That Retells Four of His Most Chilling Tales - from Bizarre Pacts to Weird Insects and Spooky Paintings
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