This version a mini-series for the BBC in six one-hour episodes comes from Steven Moffat, a writer who rose up through work on various British comedy tv series. Moffat had hits with the sitcom Press Gang (1989-93); Joking Apart (1991-5), a sitcom based on his own failing marriage; Chalk (1997) based on his experiences as an English public school teacher; and the dating sitcom Coupling (2000-4). It was however with his work on the revived Doctor Who (2005 ) that Moffats star began to rise. He had earlier written the comedy special Doctor Who and the Curse of the Fatal Death (1989) and took over from Russell. T. Davies in 2010 as head writer and producer in the shows fifth season with Matt Smiths assumption of the role of The Doctor, as well as producing the spinoff show Jekyll (2016 ). Jekyll was produced in between his Doctor Who work. Subsequently, Moffat created the hit modernised Sherlock Holmes tv series Sherlock (2010 ) starring Benedict Cumberbatch and wrote the screenplay for the Steven Spielberg The Adventures of Tintin (2011).
From the opening scene, it is immediately apparent that we are watching a very different version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Rather than the other versions listed below, which are almost always set during the Victorian era, this embraces the modern day. This becomes readily clear as we watch James Nesbitt giving Michelle Ryan a detailed list of instructions for dealing with the transformation and we see the two personalities employing the use of PDAs, GPS tracking devices and time management charts for when either of them occupies the body. This modernisation is written with a smarty savvy after changing back, Jackman is wont to leaving grumbling messages in his personal recorder for his other self like Just once. Just bloody once could you tell me where you parked?
Steven Moffat is more than experimental when it comes to the characters of Jekyll and Hyde. While Hyde was merely a dark alternate self in Stevensons original story, Moffat has expanded his powers to where he is now seen as an evolutionary superman who has incredible strength and speed and in the later episodes even the ability to suck up all electrical power in London and resurrect from the dead. Moffat also gives us a flashback to 1886 and the introduction of the original Dr Jekyll (also played by James Nesbitt) and his meeting with Robert Louis Stevenson (played Mark Gatiss, Moffats co-creator of Sherlock) and the winding in of the writing of the book. (Dr Jekyll the original. He doesnt look a bit like Spencer Tracy, the watching Nesbitt sardonically comments). Less effective is the dispensing with any potion drunken in order to affect the transformation. The entire process of how Dr Jekyll initially transformed is somewhat vague with Linda Marlowe offering the cryptic claim Hyde is love at one point and the introduction of a cloned Gina Bellman that still fails to explain how she managed to inspire the original Dr Jekyll to transform.
The two directors create some amazing set-pieces the menace generated as Hyde begins threatening Michelle Ryan at the start of Episode 2, telling her he knows she is not telling the truth, followed by his pursuing her through the house, threatening to kill her. The most entertaining scenes are when the security team led by Paterson Joseph locks Jackmans son in the lion cage at the zoo, followed by the pure blackness of the humour when Hyde throws a lion carcass on top of the security van and James Nesbitt is then found in the cage singing The lion sleeps tonight at the top of his voice. An equally superb scene is the one with Hyde imprisoned in a cellar and wife Gina Bellman starting to come to terms with the fact that her husband is two people and trying to get her head around Hydes infidelities and ravening threats.
James Nesbitt delivers the central roles with immensely entertaining regard, playing to the gallery with a wonderfully theatrical and gregarious performance in his scenes as Hyde. This was something that earned him a Golden Globe nomination. Steven Moffatt provides him with a great arsenal of lines and writing. Like the scene where Nesbitt, about to change in front of a mugger (Sid Mitchell), leaves a message for his other self into his recorder Use minimum necessary violence, whereupon we get our first appearance of Hyde who taunts the mugger and his girlfriend (Gemma Baker), turning the fear and intimidation around on them in a series of hilarious lines. The scripts are constantly peppered with deliciously black lines I have a nice side but you just missed him, I have a good doctor. Or Gina Bellmans line upon discovering that her husband transforms: I dont know if youre schizoid, a werewolf or the first man to discover PMT.
All of the supporting cast give excellent performances, especially Paterson Joseph of unnervingly googly eyes who plays with an alarming intensity in everything he does, producing some wonderful threats, before an especially good confrontation and despatch. Gina Bellman holds her own especially well as Jackmans longsuffering wife. As with much of Moffats work on Doctor Who, the series is filled with gay-friendly characters one of the more amusing aspects here is the highly entertaining relationship between Meera Syal, unrecognisable from her best-known role as the scene-stealing grandmother on The Kumars at No 42 (2001-6), and girlfriend/sidekick Fenella Woolgar.
Other versions of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde are: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1908); Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1910) with Alvin Neuss; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1912) with James Cruze; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1913) with King Baggott; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920) with John Barrymore; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1920) with Sheldon Lewis; Der Januskopf (1920), a lost German version with Conrad Veidt; the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) with Frederic March; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1941) with Spencer Tracy; Jean Renoirs The Testament of Dr Cordelier (1959) with Jean-Louis Barrault; The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll (1960), the Hammer version with Christopher Lee; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (tv movie, 1968) with Jack Palance; I, Monster (1971) also with Christopher Lee; The Man with Two Heads (1972) with Denis DeMarne; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (tv movie, 1973), a musical version with Kirk Douglas; Walerian Borowczyks Dr Jekyll and His Women (1981) with Udo Kier; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (tv movie, 1981) with David Hemmings; a 1985 Russian adaptation starring Innokenti Smoktonovsky; Edge of Sanity (1989) with Anthony Perkins; The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, an episode of the tv series Nightmare Classics (1989) with Anthony Andrews; Jekyll and Hyde (tv movie, 1990) with Michael Caine; My Name is Shadow (1996), a Spanish version starring Eric Gendron; a bizarre tv pilot Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1999), which combined the story with Hong Kong martial arts and featured Adam Baldwin playing a Jekyll as a superhero in the Orient; Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical (2001) with David Hasselhoff; Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (2002) directed by and starring Mark Redfield; the excellent British tv reinterpretation Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (2002) with John Hannah; The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde RocknRoll Musical (2003) with Alan Bernhoft; the modernised Jekyll + Hyde (2006) with Bryan Fisher; The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (2006) with Tony Todd; Jekyll (2007) starring Matt Keeslar where Hyde becomes a virtual creation; and the modernised Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde (2008) starring Dougray Scott.
Other variations include the would-be sequels Son of Dr Jekyll (1951), Daughter of Dr Jekyll (1957) and Dr Jekyll and the Wolfman (1972); the comedy variations Abbott and Costello Meet Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1953), The Ugly Duckling (1959), the Italian My Friend, Dr Jekyll (1960) and The Nutty Professor (1963) with Jerry Lewis and its remake The Nutty Professor (1996) with Eddie Murphy; versions where Dr Jekyll turns into a woman with Hammers Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971), the Italian comedy Dr Jekyll and the Gentle Lady (1971) and Dr Jekyll and Ms Hyde (1995); a Looney Tunes cartoon Dr Jekylls Hide (1954) where Sylvester the Cat transforms into a dog after taking the formula; the erotic/adult versions The Naughty Dr. Jekyll (1973), The Erotic Dr Jekyll (1976), Jekyll and Hyde (2000), Dr. Jekyll & Mistress Hyde (2003) and Jacqueline Hyde (2005); Dr Black and Mr Hyde (1976), a Blaxploitation version where Jekyll is a Black man who turns into a white-skinned monster; the amusing send-up Jekyll and Hyde ... Together Again (1982); a wacky childrens tv series Julia Jekyll and Harriet Hyde (1995); Killer Bash (1996) set in a frat house with an avenging female Jekyll; the excellent deconstruction Mary Reilly (1996), which tells the story from the point-of-view of Jekylls maid; while the tv series Jekyll and Hyde (2015) concerns Jekylls grandson (Tom Bateman) hunted by various parties during the 1930s. Dr Jekyll appears as a character in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) played by Jason Flemyng and in the tv series Penny Dreadful (2014-6) played by Shazad Latif, which both feature team-ups between characters from Victorian fiction, while the animated The Pagemaster (1994) features a Dr Jekyll voiced by Leonard Nimoy.
(Winner in this sites Top 10 Films of 2007 list. Winner for Best Actor (James Nesbitt), Nominee for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress (Gina Bellman) and Best Supporting Actor (Paterson Joseph) at this sites Best of 2007 Awards).
Full mini-series available online beginning here:-