Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 18°C

min temp: 14°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Unmissable: This Halloween classic still haunts me to this day

04 November, 2014 - 12:59
Sarah Greene, Michael Parkinson and Mike Smith, the

Sarah Greene, Michael Parkinson and Mike Smith, the 'presenting' team from 1992's Ghostwatch (Pic: BBC)

BBC

Not being the bravest of children, there were plenty of TV programmes that left me chilled to the bone as a youngster.

From the classic Look and Read educational series Dark Towers (only now have I learned that the terrifying Tall Knight was played by none other than Peter “Chewbacca” Mayhew – how could I have let that hero scare me so much?) to an irrational fear of the jolty vintage picture montage of Clive Dunn at the start of Grandad, I was afraid of pretty much everything.

And it seems that from a quick straw poll around the EADT offices, everybody has been affected by something they watched as a child – be it Rod Hull and Emu’s green-hued nemesis Grotbags haunting some, to spooky recollections of episodes of Dr Who, The Thunderbirds and Round the Twist.

But one programme from more than 20 years ago still haunts me to this day. And I’m not alone.

You may recall the broadcast, and the furore that followed it.

Ghostwatch. Even searching for it on the internet and reading back over the synopsis set my heart pounding.

Think that the modern nightmare of losing a child while on holiday, as depicted in new series The missing, is a horrifying prospect? How about Sarah Greene and Craig Charles investigating paranormal activities at a North London home, screened “as live” on Halloween in 1992 to millions of frightened families including this 12-year-old.

Not so long ago my brother leant me a DVD of Ghostwatch (released after the Beeb’s self-imposed 10-year repeat ban was lifted) but I still couldn’t bring myself to watch it. When it was screened for the one and only time 22 years ago it triggered 30,000 calls to the BBC switchboard following its original broadcast.

I never made it to the end – meaning I missed the moment when spooky spectre “Pipes” took over the whole programme and possessed Michael Parkinson.

I think had I made it to the end I may have realised it was actually a ground-breaking mockumentary filmed well in advance and featuring an ending that was simply to odd to be real.

However, for many years it haunted me, having convinced myself it was 100% real.

Ghostwatch was actually a film, produced as part of BBC1’s Screen One series and starring Greene, Charles, Parkinson and Mike Smith, playing themselves. They were looking into reports of a violent poltergeist who was plaguing the lives of a family. The children had dubbed the ghost “Pipes” and the show revealed he was the spirit of a child molester who had taken his own life. Seems odd that a TV show would even come up with such an idea for a Halloween broadcast, let alone actually make and screen it.

It’s the sort of thing that in more recent years shows such as Ghost Hunting with... and Most Haunted have tried to recapture but they are really just too silly to be scary.

Ghostwatch was genuinely unnerving and featuring well-known children’s TV stars Greene and Smith leant it an air of authenticity that fooled many and led to uproar in the tabloids the following day.

Until I can confront my demons and sit down for 90 minutes and endure Ghostwatch to the end, I think it will haunt me forever.

Maybe it’s time for the BBC to give Ghostwatch its first ever repeat – it would be a nice reminder of the talents of Mike Smith, who died earlier this year, and a chance for people like me to finally exorcise their demons.

Were you spooked by Ghostwatch or is there something else on the box that scared you? Let me know by emailling me at elliot.furniss@archant.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @Elliot_Furniss

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Pupils at Sprites Primary School have a junior pig named Mudlet that they have painted as part of Pigs Gone Wild project.

Can your children create a brightly coloured pig to rival those that have popped up around Ipswich this summer?

Filming for the new BBC comedy drama 'Detectorists' in Framilngham. Mackenzie Crook on the set.

Film firm which has worked on Star Wars, The Apprentice, BFG and Jason Bourne films hopes to bring blockbusters to Suffolk

Programme Name: Robot Wars - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: The House Robots Dead Metal, Sir Killalot, Matilda, Shunt - (C) Mentorn Media Scotland - Photographer: Alan Peebles

“For too long, the schedules have cried out for a show in which dedicated amateurs, toiling day and night, handcraft sophisticated automatons built on the delicate interplay of hand-wired servo motors with custom-built circuit boards and fingertip motion control, just to see them get smashed to pieces by a dustbin carrying a massive hammer.

Sandcastle building at Southwold

What are we doing today? The summer holidays are here and to help parents in Suffolk we are offering a guide to 12 days out on the Suffolk coast that won’t cost a penny.

Virginina McKenna and Sophie Neville on Peel Island in the 1974 Swallows and Amazons film.

A new Swallows and Amazons film, based on Arthur Ransome’s children’s outdoor adventure tale, is due for release on August 19. But how will it measure up to the 1974 original?

The Wedding, a new show from Ipswich-based physical theatre company Gecko

Ipswich-based physical theatre company Gecko is a major name on the international stage but is not so well known at home. As artistic director Amit Lahav tells arts editor Andrew Clarke, all that is about to change

OUR HOSPITALITY [US 1923]
BUSTER KEATON
Cambridge Film Festival

I love films. I love their ability to open a window on the past or to transport us to a possible future. I love the way they act as a repository of great stories and talent. No matter that some films are approaching their centenary, we can continue to appreciate and enjoy the work of great actors and directors at the height of their powers. 
 We can marvel at the comic timing of Buster Keaton, be transfixed by the beauty and delivery of Marilyn Monroe, be dazzled by James Stewart working equally well in romantic comedies, Hitchcock thrillers or gritty Anthony Mann westerns.

Still from the film Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman

1 Phantom of the Opera – Lon Chaney – 1925

Wayne Savage interviews Olly Murs on his bus during a visit to Anglia Radio in Great Blakenham.

Swanky tour bus, screaming fans; I could get used to this, writes Wayne Savage. Yes, it was Olly Murs’ bus and him they were screaming for but a boy can dream.

Gemma Sutton, William Thompson and Michael Crawford in The Go-Between. Photo: Johan Persson

The Go-Between marks Michael Crawford’s long-awaited return to London’s West End. For the musical’s producer Joseph Smith, it’s a return to his Norfolk roots. Entertainment writer Wayne Savage finds out more.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24