Page 3 Profile: Mark Gatiss, actor and screenwriter


Toeing the party line?

Mark Gatiss has revealed the surprising inspiration behind his Sherlock alter-ego Mycroft. The TV star, famous for playing the elder brother of Benedict Cumberbatch’s eccentric detective in the BBC series, which he co-created with Steven Moffat, said: “I based Mycroft on Peter Mandelson.”

Not Alastair Campbell?

“It was explicit even before I was going to play him.” Gatiss, 48, told The Radio Times. “Steven... and I talked about how Mandelsonian Mycroft was... Conan Doyle says Mycroft is the British government. He’s the power behind the throne.” Now the actor and writer is playing the politician in a new Channel 4 show, Coalition.

I think I can deduce what this one’s about…

The political drama, which will be broadcast on Thursday at 9pm, dissects the formation of the current government. Gatiss will portray the so-called “Prince of Darkness”, Mandelson, who was one of the key architects behind New Labour. In the programme Gatiss’s Mandelson scrambles to put together a minority Labour government.

Could this become a reality in May?

Gatiss believes so. “It’s something we’re going to be encountering very soon again,” he said. “We’ll have a minority Tory or a Labour/SNP government. But the world will be thinking, ‘That’s not stable.’”