There they are now. The lads. In 1880. It’s absolutely mad to see this coming to life. Six episodes of macabre murder mystery craic set in Victorian Dublin, premiering in early 2020.
I’ve been developing Dead Still alongside director Imogen Murphy for Deadpan Pictures for nearly five years now with Paul Donovan shepherding the show to life. We put together a promo for it back in 2014 when it was still called Daguerreotype. It’s been a long time gestating since then and got a much more succint title along the way, so I’m very grateful to see it actually happening. I’m lucky to get a shot at the kind of yarns 13 year old me would have lapped up, not to mention all those years cutting teeth on stuff like Vultures. This show is a lot of things I like put in a blender. I’m a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, Alan Moore’s Victorian yarns, Ripperology, The X-Files and Coen Brothers so there’s definitely a lot of that in the mix with a good dollop of Irish history and mythology just to get a real good stew going.
Here’s the general gist of the show:
Dublin, 1880. Cameras are becoming cheaper and the country is flourishing with photographic studios. However, the practice of memorial portraiture is on the wane. That is, the portrait photography of the recently deceased. Renowned memorial photographer Brock Blennerhasset tries to revive his business after an accident, requiring the assistance of his estranged niece Nancy Vickers and his over enthusiastic new assistant, and former gravedigger, Conall Molloy. After a rocky start, their working relationship begins to develop but soon it appears someone more sinister is getting in on the death photography game. The investigations of Detective Frederick Regan of Dublin Castle suggest a killer may be cashing in on a developing taste for a different type of memorial imagery, in this case, pictures of people in their death throes. As the body count begins to escalate, Blennerhasset, Molloy and Nancy have to stop a murderer intent on ruining not just their business, but their lives.
Imogen is directing four of the episodes with Craig David Wallace tackling the other two. They’ve done such a tight, stylish job on bringing it to life. The entire crew have created such a rich world and I couldn’t be happier with it.
The cast are top drawer with Michael Smiley, Kerr Logan, Eileen O’Higgins and Aidan O’Hare leading the charge. Not to mention a ridiculously good supporting cast including Peter Campion, Jordanne Jones, Jimmy Smallhorne, Mark Rendall and Martin Donovan. Did I geek out? No, what are you on about? Of course I didn’t.
There’s an awful lot more unannounced but equally exciting actors in the mix, populating the world of Victorian Dublin, with its various dark corners. It’s a time period that hasn’t really been utilised a lot in Irish film and TV so I took the opportunity to indulge myself in a lot of the odd details and weird happenings of the time. It’s been a real labour of love for us to get it up to the screen so I hope people will enjoy it when it airs in the new year.
More details about the show here on fucking Variety! (Not geeking out, honestly)