The Signalman (1976)

TV Short  -   -  Drama | Horror | Short
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 486 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 9 critic

A lonely Signalman is being haunted by a ghost from nearby tunnel who always shows up just before an accident occurs.


(story), (adaptation)
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 36 titles
created 25 Dec 2010
a list of 221 titles
created 22 Sep 2011
a list of 24 titles
created 03 Jan 2012
list image
a list of 130 titles
created 15 Mar 2012
a list of 917 titles
created 13 Sep 2012

Related Items

Search for "The Signalman" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Signalman (1976– )

The Signalman (1976– ) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Signalman.
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Beasts (TV Series 1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A series of six effective and concise chillers commissioned by ATV from producer Nicholas Palmer and writer Nigel Kneale - who had just left as a staff writer for the BBC - transmitted on ... See full summary »

Stars: Pamela Moiseiwitsch, Bernard Horsfall, Patrick Magee
Dead of Night (TV Series 1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Stars: Peter Barkworth, Anna Cropper, Bernard Brown
The Alchemist (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.8/10 X  

A man seeks revenge on an evil magician who placed a curse on him.

Director: Charles Band
Stars: Robert Ginty, Lucinda Dooling, John Sanderford
The Ghoul (1933)
Action | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

An Egyptologist returns from the dead to take revenge on those who have violated his tomb.

Director: T. Hayes Hunter
Stars: Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger
A View from a Hill (TV Movie 2005)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In fact Dr Fanshawe is not on holiday. As an archaeologist, he has been engaged by the squire to catalogue a private collection of local artefacts.

Director: Luke Watson
Stars: Mark Letheren, Pip Torrens, David Burke
Circle of Fear (1972–1973)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An anthology of suspense dramas concentrating on individuals confronted with supernatural occurrences.

Stars: Sebastian Cabot, Sheila Larken, Meg Foster
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

After placing his ailing wife Alice in a care home elderly academic James Parkin goes to stay at a wintry out-of-season hotel which they used to visit together. Walking on a deserted beach ... See full summary »

Director: Andy De Emmony
Stars: John Hurt, Gemma Jones, Lesley Sharp
The Ice House (TV Short 1978)
Short | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Director: Derek Lister
Stars: John Stride, David Beames, Elizabeth Romilly
Lost Hearts (TV Short 1973)
Short | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Lawrence Gordon Clark
Stars: Simon Gipps-Kent, Joseph O'Conor, James Mellor
Frankenstein (1910)
Short | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Frankenstein, a young medical student, trying to create the perfect human being, instead creates a misshapen monster. Made ill by what he has done, Frankenstein is comforted by his fiancée ... See full summary »

Director: J. Searle Dawley
Stars: Mary Fuller, Charles Ogle, Augustus Phillips
The Stalls of Barchester (TV Movie 1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: Lawrence Gordon Clark
Stars: Robert Hardy, Clive Swift, Thelma Barlow
Mistress of Suspense (TV Series 1990)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Doug Rollins, Stéphane Freiss


Complete credited cast:
The Signalman
Bernard Lloyd ...
The Traveller
Reginald Jessup ...
The Engine Driver
Carina Wyeth ...
The Bride


A lonely Signalman is being haunted by a ghost from nearby tunnel who always shows up just before an accident occurs.

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

tunnel | ghost | signalman | train | collision | See more »


Drama | Horror | Short





Release Date:

22 December 1976 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ghost Story for Christmas: The Signalman  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


When the signalman steps out of the tunnel shortly after the accident inside (which result in a still burning fire at the time of the shot) the tunnel is issuing forth large amounts of smoke but there is no red glow one would expect if a fire was burning a short way down it. See more »


Version of Suspense: The Signal Man (1953) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

An unexpected surprise - a period drama concerned with more than curtains.
28 May 2001 | by (dublin, ireland) – See all my reviews

Costume dramas today are equally reviled and revered for their superficiality, their concentration on surface pleasures - the recreation of a past historical period, country houses, costumes, gestures, manner of speaking, in a way that was virtually absent in the classic works - e.g. Dickens, Austen - they are based on, where these things were part of everyday life. Such a concentration might have a useful value - to underline in concrete terms the restrictions on individuality in the period

  • but more often they are recreated and enjoyed for their own sake. This

is why they are often called 'heritage' works - something to be preserved, frozen in time, as in a museum, rather than anything that might say anything to us today.

Since the early 1990s, the heritage drama revived spectacularly with successes such as 'Middlemarch' and, especially, 'Pride and Prejudice'. The architect of this revival has been screenwriter Andrew Davies, who might be seen as its auteur. But Davis wasn't always a literary curator, as this strange offering from the 1970s shows. If modern heritage drama is defined by its sumptuous visual pleasure, its fetishising of period detail, and its vivid cast of quaint characters, than 'The Signalman' is its austere opposite, a dark chamber two-hander, confined to one location, a railway box shrouded in a steep valley by a tunnel.

Where the modern heritage drama priveleges long shots to emphasise detailed production values, 'Signalman' is full of grim close-ups; period details are minimal, the mise-en-scene often impenetrably obscure. There is no jolly music, just eerie, science-fiction type sound effects which literally express the thematic importance of telegraph wires, but more deeply give an estranging sense of unfamiliarity, the modern intruding on the 'safe' past.

My husband, a big fan of Davies' later work, thought it was like a Beckett play, and promptly fell asleep. I was enthralled by its puritanical stripping down of superficial pleasure, creating the proper atmosphere for a ghost story, but also emphasising the narrative's ritualistic aspect - the setting in a space apart from 'civilised' life; the focus on characters defined by their solitude; the three-part nature of the story.

Denholm Elliot is a railway signalman who on occasions has seen a supernatural vision of someone yelling 'You down below', and waving his arms. This vision has twice been followed by horrific train accidents. A stranger passing by, who has been mysteriously confined for some time, listens to his story, and insists on the rational view - that it is a product of a mind worked on by the bleak loneliness of his situation. The Signalman takes his advice to forget all about it.

Dickens is such a relentlessly social, sprawling novelist, it is a pleasure to see something as pared back and concentrated as this. The connection made in the source between scientific progress (telegrams, railways) and the supernatural, between telegrams and visions as media of information transmission, of the effects on time made by the annhilation of space produced by new technology, may not be as lucidly brought out as they might, but as an example of how serious and genuinely faithful (i.e. in spirit) TV literary adaptations used to be, this is a must.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Similar staging to... Grayseph
Discuss The Signalman (1976) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: