A look at how the supernatural has been portrayed on British Television.

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Sarah Greene
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Jonathan Miller
Jim Sangster ...
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A look at how the supernatural has been portrayed on British Television.

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October 2009 (UK)  »

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A reasonable little time waster.
29 December 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

If nothing else, this is a worthwhile look at some of the more interesting ghost related television shows to have appeared on British television, including a clip of a little scene version of 'Hamlet' featuring none other than Michael Caine. Eyes open too, for Hammer regular Andre Morell playing arguably the best version of Quatermass in a clip from the original BBC TV version of Nigel Kneale's 'Quatermass and the Pit'. More Kneale is glimpsed as actress Jane Asher reflects on her involvement in the much revered scientific ghost story 'The Stone Tape'. Best of all, is a chance to glimpse snippets of 'Ghostwatch', a BBC TV film that parodied ghost hunting television before it was even popular. Other countries will not know this production but, believe me, it is now legendary in the UK, having convinced much of the viewing public that it was real - it caused a similar furore to that caused by Orson Welles with his infamous radio recording of 'War of the Worlds' in the States. Biggest grumble? The 'talking heads' celebrities/experts. One guy observes that Robert Hardy appeared in most of the BBC's legendary 'M.R. James' Ghost Story for Christmas' shows. He actually made one. Also, too many of the speakers wish only to mock people with any sort of spiritual belief. Too much of that these days - lazy and offensive, not to say arrogant. At least Derren Brown admitted that even if only false comfort is given by spiritualists then it is still comfort. Myself, I would prefer it if everyone was allowed to hold their own beliefs without fear of reprisal

  • whether that be ghost believer, religion follower, spiritualist or
atheist. Personal faith should be allowed and not mocked. To finish,this documentary shows that the BBC still make a damned good job of sustaining their heritage when it comes to classic fantasy, etc. In recent years: Mark Gatiss' 'Crooked House', two new M.R. James adaptions, new versions of 'A is for Andromeda' and 'The Quatermass Experiment' and adaptions of works by Saki, Dennis Wheatley and John Wyndham. All those on BBC4 whilst the main channel has provided new versions of 'Day of the Triffids', Turn of the Screw', 'Survivors' and, of course' the mighty 'Doctor Who'. Who says the BBC has lost its grip!?


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