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Page last updated at 12:17 GMT, Tuesday, 23 December 2008
Vampires return in new TV series

By Sarah Jane Griffiths
Newsbeat entertainment reporter

Cast of Demons
Demons was filmed over the summer of 2008 in London

New ITV1 drama Demons is set to hit living rooms this festive season - think Buffy meets Doctor Who mixed with Dracula and you're halfway there.

Newsbeat has had exclusive access behind the scenes as filming took place in London back in the summer.

Beginning on 3 January, the series stars Mackenzie Crook from The Office and Philip Glenister from Life On Mars.

At the filming we first stumble on Christian Cooke, who plays 18-year-old protagonist Luke Van Helsing, chilling out between scenes.

"This is my very fancy trailer, which consists of a toilet and a TV," he told Newsbeat. "I've got Mackenzie Crook and Holly Grainger, who plays my best friend Ruby, next to me.

"Sometimes when you sit on the toilet you can hear them moving around next door!"

You might recognise Christian from Echo Beach. If not, with his chiselled good looks and penchant for moody stares, he's probably one to watch in the 'new young heart-throb' stakes.

"I quite like the idea that it's all set in modern day, that's the cool thing about it. People will watch it and think - oh my god - this is happening right now!"

Vampire slayers

Christian's character Luke is the last in the line of the Vampire-slaying Van Helsing family, made famous in Dracula.

He has to juggle his destiny with A-levels and parties, and finds out who he is when his godfather Rupert Galvin turns up unannounced.

Christian Cooke plays Luke Van Helsing
Christian Cooke from Echo Beach plays Luke Van Helsing
Life On Mars star Philip Glenister plays the mysterious Galvin, who has to teach Luke all he needs to know about the demons and vampires - including how to kill them.

"I've got this thing called a pulse gun," Philip Glenister told Newsbeat. "It seems to be completely rubbish.

"Every time I try and use it on someone, whether it's Mackenzie Crook or one of the other baddies, they just breath on me and I end up falling over a car or something. So it's not that effective, my pulse gun!"

Newsbeat got to see him film a scene in London's oldest church, Saint Bartholomew the Great, which dates back to the 12th century.

Although it was the middle of summer, it was eerily ice cold inside. The scene also featured Victor Meldrew himself, Richard Wilson.

"I keep a lot of secrets in my church so they come to me to ask for advice," explained the veteran actor. "I'm a sort of dead magician really. I'm dressed in a very tatty, old cassock, very long, straggly, white wig and a lot of cobwebs.

"In one scene there's a lot of spiders crawling all over me, but luckily they do that with special effects so I didn't have to go through that!"

'Killer shriek'

Among the demons that Luke Van Helsing and his pals have to slay is the ultimate baddie Gladiolus Thrip, played by Mackenzie Crook.

"[He's] a camp, 50s, throwback vampire. He's very flamboyant but vicious and spiteful," Crook explained. "My costume is teddy boy and I have a very high-powdered quiff and an ivory nose.

Mackenzie Crook
My costume is teddy boy and I have a very high powdered quiff and an ivory nose
Mackenzie Crook on his 'camp 50s throwback vampire' role
"But it's very windy today and my quiff is in danger of being blown over so I've got a blue hair net over it just to add to my humiliation."

Thrip has a number of deadly weapons, including a high-pitched killer shriek, but, as it's a family show, don't expect too much gore.

"A lot of it is suggested," he explained. "He is an evil character and has long fingernails - one in particular is about four inches long which I use to stab people in the eye with. Not that you ever actually see any of that; it's not a bloodfest, it's more clever than that."

One thing that might prove a distraction is Philip Glenister's American accent, but he says that was one of the attractions when it came to taking the part.

"The first few days I was quite nervous about it, about getting it right. I'm just doing a standard American rather than too specific as I could mess myself up doing that!

"After a while you just sort of get into the groove with it and hopefully people will forget that I'm not American!"

If you love the gritty realism of EastEnders and are looking forward to a Christmas of misery on the Square this might not be your thing.

Christian is confident Demons will be a hit, though, saying: "When you get people like Mackenzie that are willing to be in it, it's obviously like a credit to the script. I think it shows the show itself is going to be really good."

Demons starts on ITV1 at 7.20pm on Saturday 3 January.

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