24 June 2024 The Irish Film & Television Network
Irish writer John Morton wins Edgar Allen Poe Award for Dead Still
05 May 2021 : Nathan Griffin
Writer John Morton
Dead Still creator and writer John Morton has won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for his work on Deadpan Pictures hit Acorn TV and RT… comedy-drama series.

“Episode 1, Photochemistry” of Dead Still, written by John Morton was awarded the Best Television Episode Teleplay on the night with winners for the 2021 Edgars being announced virtually over zoom.

Talking to IFTN about the award, Morton said: “It's a tremendous honour to win an Edgar and it's the first award I've won for writing so it's been a nice feeling.”

“I genuinely hadn't expected that I might get the nod, especially in light of the competition in the category. I was just very happy to be nominated and hadn't even prepared any sort of speech so my surprise was quite genuine and my speech was subsequently quite ramshackle,” the writer recounted.

A murder mystery series set in 1880s Dublin, Dead Still, centres around the world of memorial photography – the practice of photographing the recently deceased. Ireland’s leading practitioner Brock Blennerhasset (Michael Smiley), his niece Nancy (Eileen O’Higgins), and his new assistant Conall Molloy (Kerr Logan) become embroiled in the mystery surrounding a series of murders linked to the demand for a new macabre type of death photography. A dark humour pervades the series as their adventures unfold.

Previously speaking with IFTN about the series, Morton said: “I’ve always been a bit of a Jack The Ripper obsessive so I loved the idea of telling an Irish story about that kind of shadows and fog killer on the loose in Dublin, a bit of an alternative history.

Deadpan Pictures’ 6 x one-hour comedy-drama series, which launched on Acorn TV in the US last May and Rogers in Canada, has been described as “a gem of a series” by The Record in Toronto and “Curious, but brilliant entertainment” by areyouscreening.com.

“I've been really happy with the reaction to Dead Still,” Morton told IFTN. “It's certainly not a show for everyone but it's been great to see it picking up fans all over the world and the people who are passionate about it seem to be really passionate about it.”

“I've never worked on anything that's had dedicated fan theories and discussions around it so that's been very strange and cool,” he continued. “The show still seems to be finding viewers, which is nice.”

Unusually for an Irish series, Dead Still premiered first on the North American streaming platforms before airing in Ireland, with the series later debuting in Ireland to wide acclaim. The series has since been made available to audiences in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

Morton believes that the quirky subject matter and lack of a major promotional push meant that the show was going to be a slow burner in Ireland. “It was never going to attract a huge audience out of the gate but it's picked up a nice following and it's been very cool to see new people still discovering the show,” Morton added. 

Created and written by John Morton, with story by Morton and Imogen Murphy, Dead Still is directed by Imogen Murphy and Craig David Wallace and produced by Suzanne McAuley. Deadpans’ Paul Donovan acts as series producer and executive produces alongside Ailish McElmeel, Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Sarah Eichenlaub, Shane Murphy, David Crean, Catherine Mackin, and Bea Tammer. 

The series is produced by Deadpan Pictures in co-production with Shaftesbury Films for RTE and Acorn Media Enterprises. It was developed with the assistance of Fís Eireann/Screen Ireland with the support of the Creative MEDIA Programme of the European Union.

Dead Still is funded by BAI in association with ZDFE and Rogers Media with the Support of Investment incentives for the Irish Film Industry provided by the Government of Ireland with the participation of The Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit funded by the government of Canada, an Ireland-Canada Treaty Co-Production. 

You can now stream Dead Still in Ireland on the RTÉ Player & Acorn TV outside of Ireland.

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