Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween 1992: BBC Ghostwatch

Some of the older readers to this blog from the UK will have very vivid memories of a particular BBC television programme broadcast at 9.25pm on October 31st 1992.

Ghostwatch was billed as a live investigation into poltergeist activity in a suburban street in Southern England. In reality it was a prerecorded drama featuring TV presenters previously associated with factual programming. The plot was simple, the programme would start normal enough but would build to a terrifying conclusion. Of course by that time, everyone knew it was indeed drama but not before some people in true Orson Welles style, had run for the hills.

So many people complained to the BBC that the recording was banned, never to be repeated and the producers guidelines now advise against newsreaders, factual presenters taking direct, long roles in TV drama's. The content which started tame enough became edgy with mystery ghost sightings and some clever editing for its day. Personally speaking, it was the best evenings entertainment that I remember from childhood, it scared the whits out of me until the plot obviously gave itself away.

As Halloween 2008 draws to a close, I thought I'd trawl the internet for a bit more info about Ghostwatch and struck gold. You can now watch the show again via youtube and in fact, contribute your own GW memories for a new documentary that is being made. Simply head over to the special GWbtc Youtube page or visit the official blog to find out more information.

As I mentioned, never could such a show be made again on the BBC, they even advertised a call centre number on screen as part of the drama. At one point, over 20,000 callers were trying to get through to speak with the programmes presenter Michael Parkinson.

For anyone out there who remembers the poltergeist/ghost called 'pipes', heres a clip with all the 8 sightings from the show, enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Interesting piece about the rare gem that is Ghostwatch. If you go to Parky's newly launched website, you will notice that it Parky's blog, he talks about Ghostwatch.

There's also a trailer hyperlinked to the blog. Chilling stuff of the paranormal kind.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

Its a shame the bbc doesn't mark halloween anymore, they used to put some decent programs on.

All we seem to get now is a crap american horror film, usually aired on bbc2 in mid November.