Thursday, 17 March 2011


Hello everyone!

On October 31st, 1992 at 9:30 pm, I remember sitting down to watch a BBC television programme called "Ghostwatch". What I saw on this show would be permanently imprinted into my mind. For years afterward I would always ask friends if they remembered "that" show which was on at Halloween.

To date, it still stands strong as one of the most controversial TV shows ever shown on a British screen, fooling an entire nation and accumulating an impressive 30,000 calls to the BBC switchboard in the first hour of broadcast!

"Ghostwatch" was a one off television drama masquerading as a "live" broadcast with popular presenters from the BBC. It was produced for anthology series "Screen One" and was written by Stephen Volk and directed by Lesley Manning. Even though it was presented as a "Screen One" drama including credits before the show and a large section in that weeks Radio Times, the public were under the impression that what they were seeing was real.

In the following days a lot of anger was directed at the show and the day after the show most of the tabloids had "Ghostwatch" as their front page news. It was the first TV show to be placed in the British Medical Journal for being the cause of post-traumatic stress (specifically in two 10 year old boys).

The BBC imposed a 10 year broadcasting ban and to my knowledge, it has never been shown in Britain again (I could be wrong haha) but has been broadcast in a few countries outside the UK.

"Ghostwatch" is made to look like one of the phone in shows which were popular at that time and the focus of the show is the investigation of the so called "most haunted house in Britain", with a team of presenters in the studio and out on location at the house.

In the studio is the well known Michael Parkinson, who is the interviewer, and Mike Smith, who is running the switchboards. Out at the house is Sarah Greene, who is interviewing the family at the house. She was a popular family presenter and is actually married to Mike Smith in real life and also in the show. Outside the house talking to the public and giving comedy relief is Craig Charles, famous for playing Dave Lister in "Red Dwarf".

The house is owned by single mother Pam Early, who lives with her daughters Suzanne and Kim. Around December 1991, strange phenomena begins to happen in the house. Furniture moving by itself, objects floating around, and a metallic clanging noise is heard. After a while the eldest of the daughters, Suzanne, begins to experience cuts on her body. The daughters claim that there is a ghost in the house called "Pipes", because of the metallic clanging which begins when he is around.

Sarah Greene is tasked with being in the house with the family to witness any phenomena which may happen. Cameras are placed around the house and the cameraman has a state of the art camera with night vision and thermal imaging which was a new technology at the time. Craig Charles asks the public outside the house about their experiences and about any information about the area and the house.

Michael Parkinson interviews the family's parapsychologist, Dr. Pascoe, who tells him what she knows about the family's problem and provides evidence to support her claims. Mike Smith keeps everyone updated with the experiences and stories of the public phoning in.

Back at the house events are getting stranger. A wet patch has suddenly appeared in the middle of the carpet. Strange cat sounds are heard in the house and Suzanne becomes covered in scratches on the bed. Stories from outside the house get more strange with people mentioning that the area has always had trouble and that there are stories about a "baby farmer" called Mary Sneddons who lived in the area in the 19th century.

In the studio there are people calling in to say that strange occurences are happening in their homes while they are watching the broadcast. Events escalate into a shocking finale that rocked the British public. I'll not give the rest of the story away I'd rather you found that out for yourselves haha!

Stephen Volk states that he underestimated the effects the show would have on the public as they found it hard to differentiate between the live feel of the show and the dramatised aspect. Because of this there were a lot of angry people who believed they were misled. Stephen Volk has said it was never his intention to mislead the public and that some of the story was so dramatic, he never believed anyone would take it so seriously.

The show was inspired by the "Enfield Poltergeist", a remarkable true story about events that transpired on a London street in the seventies. If you would like to know more about it I have put a youtube clip on the bottom of the page.

The dvd is unfortunately out of print and is apparently either quite hard to buy or quite expensive. I imagine eBay would be your best bet or possibly a link online. There is currently a Ghostwatch twitter and facebook page online and there are plans for a retrospective documentary to possibly be released next year called "Ghostwatch: Behind the Curtains" and hopefully the show as well!

Anyone reading this blog from outside the UK, I'm not sure if you have ever heard of this show but I urge you to seek it out, I promise it will leave an impression.

Ghostwatch are also doing a live twitter screening for another British show that fooled the nation called "Alternative 3", on April 1st, 21:00 GMT. Simply join the twitter page, put on your copy of the show, and tweet about it! They also have a blog. The link is to the right of the page! Copies are selling very cheap on Amazon or you can watch it on Google player!

This is no April fool though they have pretended that the ghost "Pipes"
was going to be in ''The Simpsons"!

Thank you very much for reading. Please leave a comment if you have time or follow if you enjoyed the page!

I also would love some movie suggestions for the next post!

Until next time.

Michael :)


  1. I think i was the only person who wasn't a fan of this crap lol.

  2. I was like you Mike always asking people if they remembered Ghostwatch and nobody could. I think no one else's parents let them watch it incase it gave them nightmares but I thought it was brilliant, though Sarahs screeching drove me nuts.
    Trina x

  3. Hi there! Thanks for the comments.

    Well it's each to their own Michael. You either like something or you don't, plain and simple. I can understand where you're coming from but surely it's better than some of the stuff gouing around now? And those shows are actually pretending to be real! :)

    Apparently there was a show on ITV at around the same time, and when people switched over to the BBC, they missed all the stuff at the start and believed it was real!

    Trina it's nearly been 20 years since the show came out. I can imagine some people watched it as kids then completely forgot about it! I cant believe it's been so long, where has the time went!


  4. I remember watching this live when it was on and shitting myself!That was until about the last 15 minutes but it was groundbreaking,all over the news and papers next day and great performances from Parky and even Sarah grenn(who i didnt like,i was more Tizwas than going live!)But indeed it is a classic of TV,Keep up the good work!
    Jonny T.

  5. Hi Jonny!

    Thanks for commenting and following!