British writer and actor born on 7 October 1966 in Sedgefield, England, Mark Gatiss is a Darlington man best known for three things:
Gatiss is a long-time big Doctor Who fan, to put it mildly; he has written for eight of the Doctors, wrote and acted in three official approved spoofs and contributed to seven Big Finish Doctor Who audios. Topping all of that though are his writing credits for the television show proper; "The Unquiet Dead" for Nine, "The Idiot's Lantern" for Ten, "Victory of the Daleks", "Night Terrors", "Cold War" and "The Crimson Horror" for Eleven "Robot of Sherwood", "Sleep No More", and "Empress of Mars" for Twelve.
He provided an uncredited voice for a space spitfire pilot in "Victory of the Daleks" and "A Good Man Goes to War", as well as other roles in "The Lazarus Experiment" and "The Wedding of River Song" (the latter under a pseudonym and heavy prosthetics). His largest Doctor Who role to date was as The Captain in Twelve's regeneration story "Twice Upon a Time". That makes him the only person to write and appear in the Doctor Who TV series no less than five times.
And as if that wasn't enough, he's also the first person to play both the Doctor (in "The Web of Caves", a comedy spoof) and the Master (in "Sympathy for the Devil", a Big Finish What If? audio and in the Master's Unbound incarnation across several audios, credited as Sam Kisgart). Also of note in this department, is the fact he can do a pretty much dead-on Anthony Ainley impression.
He appeared in a live version of The Quatermass Experiment in 2005 with David Tennant. During a break in rehearsals, Tennant whispered to him that he was the new Doctor that Gatiss would write "The Idiot's Lantern" for.
Also appears in the fourth and fifth series of Horrible Histories, along with fellow League of Gentlemen stars Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton.
He is also one of the two creators of Sherlock, and plays the character of Mycroft Holmes.
He has a minor role in Game of Thrones, playing Braavosi banker Tycho Nestoris.
Aside from fiction, he also wrote and presented the BBC documentary A History of Horror detailing the genesis and evolution of horror films over the last century.
Outside of television, he's the author of a series of Two-Fisted Tales-style detective novels, starring Loveable Rogue spy Lucifer Box. It's been described as "Sherlock Holmes meets Flashman in the Temple of Doom".
His partner is actor Ian Hallard, who (of course) has appeared in Doctor Who and also in the Gallifrey audio series.
This actor's work provides examples of:
- Awesome, Dear Boy: He said that his role on Being Human was his favorite. He said that since he grew up a huge fan of Christopher Lee and Hammer Horror films, getting to play the Being Human-verse equivalent of Dracula was a dream come true.
- Dyeing for Your Art: Dyed his hair darker for the part of Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock.
- Old Shame: His and David Walliams' 1999 Doctor Who sketch "The Pitch of Doom" had a line in which Walliams' character seemingly dismisses the post-Tom Baker Doctors as talentless nobodies. He regretted the line as soon as the sketch was broadcast, and ensured that it was removed for all subsequent airings.
- Best not to mention The King's Men either. A novel written when he was young and published under a pseudonym, it's basically gay porn with much Purple Prose.
- Promoted Fanboy: He was a big fan of Doctor Who well before he started writing for first the spin-offs and then the TV revival, and was also a big fan of Sherlock Holmes before writing Sherlock.
- Written by Cast Member: Co-wrote The League of Gentlemen, Doctor Who and Sherlock while playing characters on those shows.