Lighting up the 500 strong crowd with confident poise, a collection of spontaneous accents and an abundance of amusing anecdotes, Mark Gatiss was thoroughly welcomed at York Literature Festival.
The audience resembled a box of chocolates; elderly academics, middle aged men and a huddle of teenaged Sherlock fans - you never know what you're going to get.
Celebrated for his original arrival in comedic group The League of Gentlemen in 1999, Gatiss is an ambassador for original writing. Discussing his love for Hammer horror, it is undeniable that a major influence of his work is the daytime gore of his childhood. Dark, imaginative and deeply lacking in budget, it is easy to see where his first inspiration came from…
Flash forward a couple of decades and Gatiss can put his name to writing nine episodes of Doctor Who and four series of wildly successful cult drama Sherlock. He entered the universe of Doctor Who, claiming Jon Pertwee as his Doctor, and remains one of the productions most acclaimed writers. When asked about his recent involvement in the show, Gatiss confirmed his latest episode about the much-loved, if a little retro, monsters the 'Ice Warriors'. He revealed the episode includes more than one warrior - and ice.
Gatiss' talk of future work spanned to his first feature length writing job, a true life 1940s murder case, set for release in 2018. We were even informed of a League of Gentlemen reunion, promised some time in the near future. A ripple of middle-aged excitement could be heard in the audience at that.
His humble charm resonated throughout the talk; a man who mentions murder mystery and Disney's Moana in the same breathe is surely a credit to our nation.
In a world of all important ratings and shrinking budgets, Gatiss testified to a younger era of television, an industry he entered when it seemed quality truly mattered over audience engagement, something we see consistently in TV scheduling today. Harking back to a rose-tinted time in television when The League of Gentlemen first came to being, he concluded simply, "we did what made us laugh".