Ghosts in the Machine (history of the supernatural on UK TV)

sherbetbizarre

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#1
On BBC4 tonight...

Ghosts in the Machine
Today, 21:00 on BBC Four

Documentary charting the history of the supernatural on British television, and how ghosts have been portrayed on the small screen. From Hamlet to Most Haunted, the apparitions have abandoned their traditional haunts of drama and comedy and crossed over into factual and reality TV.

Ghosts in the Machine celebrates classic ghost stories like The Stone Tape, and Whistle and I'll Come to You. It revisits controversial shows like Derren Brown's Seance and 1992's Ghostwatch, which convinced thousands of viewers that Michael Parkinson was possessed by a poltergeist.

The film examines the recent explosion of interest in the paranormal. How did ghosts get their own genre, and how did television become the medium of the medium?

Contributors include Derren Brown (Seance), Jane Asher (The Stone Tape), Kenneth Cope (Randall and Hopkirk Deceased), Yvette Fielding (Most Haunted), Mark Gatiss (Crooked House), Sarah Greene (Ghostwatch), Jonathan Miller (Whistle and I'll Come to You) and Bill Paterson (Sea of Souls).

Broadcasts:
Tue 27 Oct 21:00 BBC Four
Wed 28 Oct 00:15 BBC Four
Wed 28 Oct 02:45 BBC Four
Fri 30 Oct 22:35BBC Four
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nk9yw
 

escargot

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#3
What a fascinating programme. Derren Brown's on now, explaining how 'mediums' like Doris Stokes use hot and cold reading.

Ooh, ooh - 'Ghostwatch' now. :D

Which I rumbled right away as drama. Sarah Greene and Parky can't act.
 

sonofajoiner

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#4
"Beware of a man called Jim wearing a green hat".

I'd never heard of Doris Stokes before. The footage of her was hilarious. Awesome stuff.

A pretty good documentary. It was good to see the Beeb acknowledge Ghostwatch as the fantastic piece of telly and which, I'm not a bit ashamed to admit, got me hook, line and sinker. And I'd also forgotten how good Derren Brown's seance show was. But waaaay too much time given to Yvette Fielding to peddle her particular line of bs.

Also, I'm always a bit baffled as to why so much attention is given to Whistle & I'll Come To You as a scary bit of telly. I always found it unrelentingly hilarious. IMO it is a pretty poor treatment of the MR James short story, and I truly long for the day that someone summons the courage to remake it. A Warning To The Curious in particular, Lost Hearts and even The Stalls Of Barchester (which got a brief mention) are far more effective.
 

Cavynaut

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#5
Good programme, but I too would like to have seen a bit less attention paid to MH. I'd like to have seen more references to the ghost stories which used to be on BBC2 on a Christmas Eve back in the 70's.
 

GNC

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#6
Really enjoyed this too. I remembered the Jim'll Fix It haunted house episode! Especially the eyes in the painting moving.

If you like this kind of thing, then there was a documentary/chat thing on Radio 4 this morning on the same subject, it'll be on Listen Again. It was called Reece Shearsmith's Haunted House and was very amusing (apart from Yvette Fielding getting on her high horse a bit), and part 2 is next Thursday.

Worth it for the too-short clips of a 1950s radio series on real hauntings!
 

James_H

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#7
I was a bit sad to have no mention of Strange But True, as it must have scared the pants off a whole generation as it scared the childish me... I can't remember what side it was on, though - probably not BBC.
 

Mal_Adjusted

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#8
Rather insular - would have thought some reference to US/canadian progs might have been in order, esp X-Files?

somehow missed the mark gatiss "Crooked house" when first broadcast - oh it was on BBC4 - I wonder if they'll show it again some time?
 

Mob1138

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#9
Mal_Content said:
Rather insular - would have thought some reference to US/canadian progs might have been in order, esp X-Files?
It was meant to be British programmes on the BBC only.
 
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