Exploding Egg

Jekyll – A New Take On An Old Story

I just got to check out the BBC miniseries Jekyll, and man is it cool.

James Nesbitt as Hyde

I love all those old 1800s horror novels like Frankenstein, Dracula, A Picture of Dorian Gray and Jekyll and Hyde. And it’s great when a modern writer, like Steven Moffat, takes one of those stories and moves it forward in a way you don’t expect.

I came across the miniseries after Netflix suggested I might like it — probably because almost all of my favorite flicks are some sort of horror.

Usually I’m one for big effects and fast action, but Jekyll, which is relatively low budget, really didn’t need all that stuff to be just plain cool.

Actor James Nesbitt plays both Jekyll and Hyde in the series, and he plays them so well that you can tell just by looking at the posture and body language which of the two he has become.

Nesbitt as Jackman

The premise of the series is that Doctor Jackman, who was found at a train station as a 6-month-old baby, has suddenly, in his 40s, found himself with a new friend that periodically takes him over.

As we begin, a psychiatric nurse comes in for a job interview with Jackman, who tells her that he and his alter-ego have developed a sort of time-share agreement for the body — with some rules about how both will behave.

One of those rules is that Jackman can’t try to get rid of Hyde. Another is that Hyde can’t kill anybody.

But the two do keep secrets from one another. One whopper is that Jackman is married with two kids, and Hyde doesn’t know about it.

And Hyde, being a devious alter-ego, is suspicious that something is up.

Will he discover the truth? Well, Hyde does keep getting stronger and Jackman keeps getting weaker each time he appears. With Hyde in control and with him having some supernatural abilities, it seems only a matter of time before he knows everything.


What he does with any information he gets, though, proves him to be a more complex alter-ego than just something that’s pure evil.

As the series develops the mystery of Jackman’s birth continues to deepen, little by little. Where did Hyde come from? Is Jackman a direct descendant of Doctor Jekyll from Robert Louis Stevenson’s book, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? It turns out Jekyll, who was (at least in this miniseries) a real man, had no direct descendants or family.

But, that said, Jackman is a dead ringer for Jekyll. So what’s going on here?

On top of that, a strange organization that’s been around since the original Jeckyll has been following Jackman around in a bunch of black vans. And nobody knows for sure what they want, either.

The series, released in 2007, is highly addictive over its six episodes. I couldn’t stop watching it once I started.

Nesbitt makes for a fascinating Jekyll and Hyde and the writing in the show is superb.

In some ways it reminds me of what Dean Koontz did with Frankenstein in his recent book series of the same title. That series has recently been optioned for a film — something I’m certainly looking forward to.

His spin on the Frankenstein tale, with a modern-day psychotic version of the undead doctor living in New Orleans, is a great read.

As for Jekyll, I’d highly recommend checking it out. It’s available for instant viewing at Netflix, here.



April 21, 2010 - Posted by | Reviews | , , , , ,


  1. Nicely done! RL Stevenson is my favourite author so I’m always intrigued by what people get up to with his stories! I can’t help but think Louis would be amazed and delighted that his wee tale is still getting so much interest after all this time!
    I have to say I had one problem with this version, much though I adore the book, its author and actually also Mr Jimmy Nesbit. For me, my problem was that I felt there were times Jimmy overdid it as Hyde and became unintentionally funny. As for the programme itself, it was well done and a very interesting spin on the original. If you like this genre, I’d also recommend giving it a watch.
    Thanks Sue, a really interesting read!

    Comment by henrysmummy2003 | April 21, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks Gill!
    I don’t really know much of anything about Nesbit, but I like the way he played the character. The flamboyant and sort of funny aspects of Hyde worked for me — but I can see your point.
    Have you checked out the Frankenstein series?

    Comment by SueVo | April 21, 2010 | Reply

  3. I haven’t, I’m more of a vampire girl, but I stick to Bram Stoker’s original, one of my absolute favourite books. None of that teen vamp stuff for me!

    Comment by henrysmummy2003 | April 21, 2010 | Reply

  4. As an aside, Stephen Moffat is involved in the new series of Dr Who, and is doing very well with it.

    Comment by henrysmummy2003 | April 21, 2010 | Reply

  5. Cool! He seems like a talented writer.
    Frankenstein, the original remains one of my favorite books 🙂

    Comment by SueVo | April 21, 2010 | Reply

  6. I have just finished watching this series and all I can say is WOW! I had never heard of James Nesbitt before and only got the series because it looked intriguing from a trailer on a rental dvd. This was so good and kept me watching. I loved both side, the Jackman and the Hyde. Nesbitt is a great actor to pull this off so well and I hope to see more of his work in the future!

    Comment by Sharron | July 13, 2010 | Reply

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