I have sung the praises of the legendary Ghostwatch several times over the life of HeroPress, but now UK fans of the controversial broadcast can get to see it in an entirely new way: on a cinema screen!
Twenty-five years to the day after its original broadcast, Ghostwatch, the infamous Sir Michael Parkinson-hosted BBC Halloween special broadcast in 1992 will receive two special cinema screenings.
Starring Craig Charles (Red Dwarf, Coronation Street, BBC 6 Music) and Gillian Bevan (Teachers, The Windsors), the spoof Halloween show has since gained cult status, tabloid sensationalism, fan theories and urban legends surrounding its broadcast.
Presented as a live paranormal investigation with real BBC personalities of the time including Sir Michael Parkinson, Craig Charles and Sarah Greene plus phone ins from ‘viewers’, the scripted show’s apparent authenticity resulted in an estimated 30,000 calls to the BBC, with viewers believing the on screen paranormal investigation of a house plagued by a benevolent spirit called ‘Pipes’ was in fact real. The ‘mockumentary’ caused panicked phone calls from BBC viewers believing the on screen events to be really happening, and subsequent claims of post traumatic stress disorder to have been induced in some viewers. Never again aired on British television, the show has found cult status on internet forums, and an international fan base following its DVD and recent VOD release via the Shudder horror platform earlier this year.
Ghostwatch has since gained acclaim as one of the most groundbreaking TV events of all time, preceding constructed reality TV series such as Most Haunted by almost a decade, and screening seven years before the conception of the ‘found footage’ and mockumentary horror film genre kick-started by the success of 1999’s The Blair Witch Project, followed by the Paranormal Activity series.
Presented by Manchester-based Pilot Light TV Festival, the two screenings will take place at Gorilla, Manchester on Monday October 30, and Genesis Cinema, London on Tuesday October 31. The events will be attended by director Lesley Manning, screenwriter Stephen Volk and director of Ghostwatch: Behind the Curtains Rich Lawden. Gillian Bevan, Dr. Lin Pascoe in Ghostwatch, will attend the London event: a familiar face on UK TV screens from her role as the headteacher in Teachers, and recently portraying Prime Minister Theresa May in Channel 4’s The Windsors.
Director of Ghostwatch Lesley Manning and screenwriter Stephen Volk said: "There hasn’t been a better time to remember Ghostwatch. We are in the age of 'alternative facts' and 'fake news', which Ghostwatch was all about. Who do you trust? What information is true? Who do you believe? Do you believe your eyes? We didn’t intend to be, but perhaps we were the pioneers of fake news…"