Entertainment & Arts

Dracula: Critics applaud 'energetic and fun' revival of vampire classic

Claes Bang in Dracula Image copyright BBC/Hartswood Films
Image caption Danish actor Claes Bang plays Bram Stoker's Transylvanian vampire

The BBC's new take on Dracula is a hit with critics, one of whom says it is "the meatiest, goriest, most energetic and fun version" she has ever seen.

"Previous versions now look anaemic," writes The Times' Carol Midgley.

The Mail's reviewer hailed "a Dracula to delight horror movie fans of all stripes" in his five-star write-up.

The Telegraph's reviewer, meanwhile, praised Danish actor Claes Bang for his "witty, outrageous and thrilling" portrayal of Bram Stoker's vampire.

"It might not have been faithful to the original, but it was a scream," writes the paper's Anita Singh.

The BBC One mini-series has been written and created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, the duo behind the award-winning Sherlock.

It began on New Year's Day with a 90-minute instalment, with two more episodes to follow on Thursday and Friday.

The first episode saw Bang's Transylvanian count, rejuvenated by blood extracted from lawyer Jonathan Harker, cross swords with a formidable nun.

The Guardian's Lucy Mangan called Dolly Wells's Sister Agatha "the best nun of all time" while praising the "wolfish charm and diabolic spirit" of Bang's performance.

"BBC One's new Dracula is a pure and joyous BELTER," she writes, describing the drama as "not just a treat but a tribute".

The Mirror's Ian Hyland agrees, calling the show "hilarious and exhilarating" while conceding it "won't have pleased everyone".

Image copyright BBC/Hartswood Films
Image caption John Heffernan (right) plays unsuspecting lawyer Jonathan Harker

According to The Independent's Ed Cumming, the drama "keeps the novel's more macabre attractions, adds fresh wit and energy, and only occasionally drags".

Yet Metro's Keith Watson was less impressed, describing it as a "fitfully entertaining misfire" that "felt naggingly like [a case of] style over substance".

Moffat and Gatiss worked on Doctor Who and Sherlock before turning to Stoker's 1897 Gothic horror novel.

And there was a nod to Sherlock in the first instalment of Dracula, which saw Sister Agatha refer to "a detective acquaintance in London".

Some viewers also saw the mention of "an adorable barmaid at the Rose and Crown" as a reference to former Doctor Who character Clara Oswald.

Dracula was preceded on Wednesday by the first episode of Doctor Who's new series, which was also received favourably by critics.

Image caption The first episode saw Whittaker's Doctor swap the Tardis for a motorbike

According to The Guardian's Stuart Jeffries, there was "a lot to enjoy" in a series opener that saw Jodie Whittaker's Doctor join forces with MI6.

Times reviewer Midgley saluted the show's "modern, zeitgeisty [and] ambitious" plot, while the Mirror's Nicola Methven described it as "rip-roaring [and] action-packed".

Telegraph critic Singh was also impressed by "a rollicking James Bond pastiche" in which Stephen Fry, Sacha Dhawan and Sir Lenny Henry made cameo appearances.

Wednesday's episode ended with an on-screen dedication to "Masterful" Doctor Who writer Terrance Dicks, who died last year aged 84.

Doctor Who continues on BBC One on Sunday at 19:00 GMT.

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