The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful is a frightfully good companion to our favourite monster mash

Our favourite monster mash, Penny Dreadful, returns in May on Sky Atlantic – but I’ve been getting beneath it’s scarred skin with this frightful fun companion book.

The Art of Penny DreadfulLast year, Sky Atlantic introduced viewers to Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, a Victorian-set monster mash, created by Skyfall screenwriter John Logan, that took some of literature’s most famous characters – including Victor Frankenstein, Dorian Gray and iconic figures from Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula, and boldly re-imagined them in a whole new light, and giving them a terrifying new universe in which to play in.

The stellar ensemble cast includes Eva Green as psychic Vanessa Ives, Josh Hartnett as sharp-shooting werewolf Ethan Chandler, Timothy Dalton as fearless explorer Sir Malcolm, and Billie Piper (affecting the worst accent ever) as the pre-deceased Brona, who all return for a second series, which is set to be a very witchy affair indeed, on 5 May. To complement the series, Titan Books has released this official companion book.

The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful, written by fan writer Sharon Gosling, is a gorgeously curated companion to the show, featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the series with stacks of photos and images, in addition to interviews with the creator, cast and crew, all bound inside a 176-page tome that’s heavy on the Gothic vibe. In additon to profiles on all of the main characters, there are chapters exploring the various sets used, including the Murray Mansion, The Explorer’s Club, and the opium den warehouse; how the film-makers recreated London’s iconic The British Museum and Docklands; and a look at how the various creatures were created, including Frankenstein’s Proteus, the vampire and his somnolent women. There’s also some neat mock vintage flyers for the Grand Guignol Britannia, and stories on taxidermy, wolves and séances.

Courtesy of Titan Books, here’s preview of what lurks beneath the pages:

Penny Dreadful

Coky Giedroyc’s hand-drawn storyboards showing the camera angles the director wanted for the tense scenes taking place at The Banning Clinic.

Penny Dreadful

Concept art for The London Zoo.

Penny Dreadful

A piece of spectacular concept art by Jonathan McGonnell, showing the river Thames during the construction of Tower Bridge (1886-1894)


The Art and Making of Penny Dreadful out now and you can order the book here.


About Peter Fuller

Peter Fuller is an award-winning print, radio and television journalist and producer, with over 30 years experience covering film and television, with a special interest in world cinema and popular culture. He is a leading expert on the life and career of Vincent Price and actively promotes the actor's legacy through publications, websites and special events.

Posted on April 19, 2015, in Books and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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