Omnibus (1967–2003)
40 user 12 critic

Whistle and I'll Come to You 

Classic BBC adaptation of an equally classic ghost story about a skeptical professor on vacation in Norfolk who finds a cursed whistle. Unlike most other episodes of this documentary series about music, this one is live action folk horror.


Jonathan Miller


M.R. James (story "Oh, Whistle, and I'll Come to You, My Lad"), M.R. James | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Michael Hordern ... Professor Parkins
Ambrose Coghill Ambrose Coghill ... Colonel
George Woodbridge ... Hotel Proprietor
Nora Gordon Nora Gordon ... Proprietress
Freda Dowie ... Maid


A university professor, confident that everything which occurs in life has a rational explanation, finds his beliefs severely challenged when, during a vacation to a remote coastal village in Norfolk, he blows through an ancient whistle discovered on a beach, awakening horrors beyond human understanding. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


'Omnibus' was an arts programme that usually consisted of documentary material. This is one of the comparatively rare occasions when the entire programme was devoted to a single dramatisation, although there is a brief introductory voiceover describing the career and interests of M R James, on whose story the production is based. See more »


The isolated headstone by the cliff's edge where Professor Parkins discovers the whistle is the exact same as the overgrown one seen in the foreground when he arrives at the cemetery. See more »


Professor Parkins: 'Rumpled'.
See more »


Referenced in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (2009) See more »

User Reviews

Television that's as perfect as it gets
30 November 1998 | by Jonathan-9See all my reviews

One of a spate of M.R.James adaptations that the BBC shot from the late 'sixties to the early 'eighties. All of them were memorable but this is comfortably the best. Michael Hordern is the hapless academic who goes to the coast for a short holiday and accidentally awakens something unnatural while pottering around in the remains of a Templar preceptory.

This isn't a story about a monster, though, but rather something that stays at the edge of perception. The supernatural events are alternated with the mundane day to day life at the boarding house where Hordern is staying. Everything seems commonplace but he -- and the viewer -- are troubled by the feeling that there are some things that should be left well alone. Finally, his nightmares become concrete and... Well, see the TV adaptation if you get the chance or read the short story upon which it is based (in which form it has the addendum of "my lad" on the title).

I'm not in the habit of handing out scores of ten with abandon but I can't think of anyway that this could have been improved. Unlike some of the other adaptations, Miller resists the urge to gild the lily, staying close to the original storyline and the production is all the stronger for it. James would certainly have approved. I just wish the BBC had the courage and imagination to make things like it now.

43 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 40 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

7 May 1968 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed