Garth Marenghi's Darkplace Logo

"From now on, I would have to deal with forces of darkness, and deal with the burden of day-to-day admin." - Doctor Rick Dagless M.D.

Originally produced in the 1980s, cult horror show ‘Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace’ is seen as one of the most terrifying and radical television programmes ever made, despite the fact that none of the episodes were transmitted until twenty years later (although the show did have a brief run in Peru).

The programme was created, written, directed and executively produced by best-selling horror writer Garth Marenghi, author of classic novels such as ‘The Ooze’ (can water die?), ’The Ague’ (dare you sneeze?), ‘Afterbirth’ (a mutated placenta attacks Bristol) and ‘Black Fang’ (rats learn to drive cars). Self-described as a fabulist, a shaman, a ferryman and a dreamweaver, Marenghi also starred as the show’s lead character, Doctor Rick Dagless M.D., a maverick doctor and ex-warlock haunted by his past, who finds himself battling the forces of evil that have been unleashed from a hellmouth situated underneath Darkplace hospital in Romford. The show was produced by Marenghi’s publisher and business associate, Dean Learner, who also played no-nonsense hospital boss Thornton Reed, a man forced to sit behind a desk due to injuries suffered as a P.O.W. in Korea. Cult horror star Todd Rivers played handsome hotshot surgeon Doctor Lucien Sanchez, an expert in martial arts and Eastern lore who served alongside Dagless in Vietnam; and Madeleine Wool as Doctor Liz Asher, a typically emotionally-unstable woman gifted with strange, psychic powers.

Production of the fifty or so episodes of ‘Darkplace’ was plagued with problems, leading to rumours that the show was cursed; by the time ‘Darkplace’ was finally cancelled there had been budgetary trouble, six people had lost their lives, three had experienced nervous breakdowns and there had been at least one unearthly visitation. Marenghi blamed the show’s abrupt termination on the government and MI8 (three levels above MI6), supposedly because the show was “too subversive, too dangerous, too damn scary". Madeleine Wool mysteriously went missing, presumed dead, and the show was buried, destined never to be seen.

Then, in 2004, Channel 4 finally decided to show six episodes, repackaged by Avalon Television and carefully restored and re-mastered by Marenghi himself, along with technical help from Learner and his former brother-in-law. The show is breath-taking in its complexity, although some particularly jaded critics have levelled allegations of bad acting, low production standards, unconvincing special effects, amateurish camerawork and shoddy sound dubbing; Marenghi, however, believes them to be short-sighted fools, and maintains that ‘Darkplace’ is the ultimate televisual experience, “an attempt to change the evolutionary course of Man over a series of half-hour episodes”. Now, at last, audiences have a chance to decide for themselves, as they enter the world of Merenghi’s unlimited imagination…

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace - Season 1

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Legal Bit: 'Garth Marenghi's Darkplace' is a registered trademark of Garth Marenghi / Avalon Television / Channel 4. The 'Garth Marenghi's Darkplace' logo and all images from the television series are copyright Garth Marenghi / Avalon Television / Channel 4 unless otherwise stated; music is copyright the original composers and producers; no copyright infringement is intended. All specially created images and text are copyright © Clive Banks; please do not use these without my permission. All rights reserved. No profit is made from this website, and any revenue made from using the banner-links featured goes straight back into the costs of maintaining it, which comes out of my own pocket in the first place. No profit advertising is accepted. This website was created purely to entertain and amuse, and any references to persons living, dead, comatose, in suspended animation, not born yet, or a figment of someone's imagination is purely coincidental. All opinions expressed are my own, so there...

(For those of you who really want to know the truth about this horror spoof, Matthew Holness plays Garth Marenghi / Doctor Rick ‘Dag’ Dagless M.D.; Richard Ayoade is Dean Learner / Thornton Reed; Matt Berry is Todd Rivers / Doctor Lucien Sanchez; and Alice Lowe plays Madeleine Wool / Doctor Liz Asher)

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