His American counterpart, Stephen King, has seen the vast majority of his books turned into either film or television serials. They have sold millions and inspired a new generation of American horror writers. For James Herbert the son of a London stall holder on Brick Lane, there have been very few adaptations of his books.

The B.B.C. announced a little while ago that finally they were to bring one of his most spectacular books, The Secret of Crickley Hall to the channel’s much coveted autumn line up.

It is fair to suggest that other adaptations of his books have not fared so well in comparison to Stephen King but the books themselves are amongst the very finest of the genre and a boon to the ever diminishing world of British horror writers who not only capture the imagination of their readers but who also show that horror should not be considered the poor relation of literature.

The B.B.C. has also announced the cast that will be in The Secret of Crickley Hall. Suranne Jones (Doctor Who, Coronation Street) will star in this chilling classic alongside Tom Ellis (Miranda, Doctor Who), David Warner (Time After Time, Mad Dogs), Douglas Henshall (Primeval, The Snipest) and Sarah Smart (At Home With the Braithwaites, Wallander).

This modern ghost story is one of the finest written by the master of British horror and will surely be, left to the B.B.C., become the best adaptation of one his stories yet. The last adaptation came in 1995 when the book Haunted was turned into a feature Film which starred Aiden Quinn, Kate Beckinsale and Anna Massey.

The Secret of Crickley Hall has been adapted and will be directed by Joe Ahearne.  Joe Ahearne said in an interview with the B.B.C., “Everyone loves a good ghost story and James Herbert is an iconic writer in the genre. He’s come up with a really thrilling and moving story that delights you while it’s terrifying you. It’s a testament to his craft that we’ve attracted such a great cast to play the characters he created.”

For fans of James Herbert and for those who like their autumn evenings to have that little extra chill, the news that the B.B.C. are showing faith in the work of Britain’s foremost horror writer is one that will raise expectations of his other work, such as The Fog, The Spear, Domain and Nobody True, will also get the chance to have mass exposure.

Ian D. Hall