Apparitions (TV series)

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Opening titles
Genre Serial
Supernatural drama
Created by Joe Ahearne
Nick Collins
Developed by Lime Pictures
Starring Martin Shaw
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 6 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Carolyn Reynolds
Tony Wood
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel BBC One
Original run 13 November 2008 (2008-11-13) – 18 December 2008 (2008-12-18)
External links

Apparitions is a BBC drama about Father Jacob Myers, a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, played by Martin Shaw, who examines evidence of miracles to be used in canonisation but also performs exorcisms.[1] As he learns, Jacob's duties run deeper than just sending demons back to Hell; he later must prevent them all from escaping.

Unlike most portrayals of exorcism and spirit possession in fiction, Apparitions is more religiously accurate and fact-based, incorporating the nature of demonic possession as described by the Church. It also recounts historical events associated with Christianity and other Abrahamic religions, which may have been caused by (or directly influenced) Heaven or Hell, indicating that the War described in the Bible may not have fully concluded.

The series is written by Joe Ahearne.


Episode 1[edit]

First Broadcast simultaneously on BBC One and BBC HD, 13 November 2008 at 21:00

In 1997 in Calcutta, an exorcist is called to the Suppiah Cardiac Hospital where Mother Teresa is hospitalised, believing her to be possessed or under attack. Elsewhere, a destitute boy named Vimal, who is diagnosed with leprosy, prays to Jesus at a shrine to Teresa. As Teresa dies, Vimal collapses, seizing.

In the present day in Rome, a meeting is being held at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Father Jacob, a London priest and investigator of miracles for the Congregation, has presented a case that may lead to Mother Teresa's canonization: Vimal's leperosy was seemingly cured without antibiotics six months after Teresa's death. The Cardinal turns this miracle down, for lack of a better one. Vimal has recently finished training for priesthood at Jacob's seminary.

A homeless man approaches Jacob as he leaves, saying strange things, then disappearing. The story then shifts to a seminary in London, where a young girl has persisted in asking Father Jacob to perform an exorcism on her father, whom she thinks is possessed by a demon. Her father, a divorced atheist, refuses to admit that he is possessed and agrees to a few prayers with Jacob to placate his daughter, only after much coaxing. As Jacob prays, with Vincenzo assisting over the phone, her father becomes increasingly agitated and angry, physically attacking Jacob, who finally flees, the exorcism incomplete. The father is then confronted by Jacob and Vincenzo in the park and they complete the exorcism, while the demon comments that they "take our miracle with us." Meanwhile, the seminary student, Vimal, a student of Jacob, is haunted by a demon, the same vagrant who spoke to Jacob in Rome, who refers to himself as "we" and keeps threatening to take back Vimal's skin, unless he "uses it". Vimal was spontaneously cured of leprosy, when he was a child, while saying the prayer of Mother Teresa just as she died, (a miracle he had offered as proof of her right to sainthood). But he is visited by the apparition of this demon, and comes to realize that it was, in fact, demons who restored his flesh (the miracle attributed to Mother Teresa). The guilt that he feels over his homosexuality preys on him - despite being a virgin. Eventually, Cardinal Bukovak, the top dog in the British Church and the boss of Jacob, discovers this and expels him from the priesthood. Filled with despair, rejecting Jacob's imprecations to remain and study and talk, Vimal goes right down the tubes, first swilling back lots of wine to build up his courage - and to chat with the demon pal who incites him to "use" his skin or have his leprosy restored, - to visit a cliché bath house, where the demon appears and skins him alive in vengeance as the girl's father is freed of his possession by Jacob and Vincenzo at the same spot in Kensington Gardens where the girl had been conceived at the moment of Mother Teresa's death.

Cast (in order of appearance)[edit]

Episode 2[edit]

First Broadcast simultaneously on BBC One and BBC HD, 20 November 2008 at 21:00

This episode immediately follows the first episode. The father of the girl has been freed from his possession. However, Father Jacob now realizes that people close to him are being deliberately targeted by demons. The homeless man appears repeatedly, challenging Jacob to a kind of exorcism duel - they shall battle each other for supremacy and see who comes out on top, God or Lucifer. There are puzzles and clues that lead to some amalgam of the Holocaust, hell, heaven, the next Vatican exorcist, the usual stuff. This mystery leads Father Jacob into the past of Monsignor Vincenzo. Meanwhile, Cardinal Bukovak begins to prevent Father Jacob from practicing future exorcisms.

Cast (in order of appearance)[edit]

  • Father Jacob: Martin Shaw
  • Sister Ruth: Siobhan Finneran
  • Cardinal Bukovak: John Shrapnel
  • Michael/Astaroth: Rick Warden
  • Monsignor Vincenzo: Luigi Diberti
  • Donna: Romy Irving
  • Sister Anne: Michelle Joseph
  • Sarah: Sarah-Jayne Steed
  • Liam: Shaun Dooley
  • DI Rachel: Stephanie Street

Episode 3[edit]

First Broadcast simultaneously on BBC One and BBC HD, 27 November 2008 at 21:00

Father Jacob is called in by Father Daniel to investigate reports of demonic possession in a prison. Father Jacob thinks it may be a case of possession by a saint and not a demon; the first in all of recorded church history. Cardinal Bukovak begins to take a more active role in stopping Father Jacob's pursuit of performing exorcisms.

Cast (in order of appearance)[edit]

  • Father Jacob: Martin Shaw
  • Cardinal Bukovak: John Shrapnel
  • Sister Ruth: Siobhan Finneran
  • Michael/Astaruth: Rick Warden
  • Father Daniel: David Gyasi
  • Cory Wardell: Stephen Wight
  • Governor Lassiter: Neil Pearson
  • Kim Portman: Elizabeth Berrington
  • Mrs. Wardell: Linda Holmes
  • Fiona: Mia Fernandez
  • Alessandro Serenelli: Federico Natoli

Episode 4[edit]

First Broadcast simultaneously on BBC One and BBC HD, 4 December 2008 at 21:00

Father Jacob investigates two mysterious pregnancies at an abortion clinic. One is a seventy-year-old woman and the other is a young girl that shows signs of demonic possession.

Cast (in order of appearance)[edit]

Episode 5[edit]

First Broadcast simultaneously on BBC One and BBC HD, 11 December 2008 at 21:00

Father Jacob investigates when a teenager claims to have visions of the Virgin Mary and sweats blood. The boy's family is Muslim and he is convinced that his father is in Hell and only by forcing someone to do a reverse exorcism can his father be freed from Hell. Father Jacob also learns more about Michael's mysterious past. Meanwhile, Cardinal Bukovak arrives to rein in Father Jacob.

Cast (in order of appearance)[edit]

  • Father Jacob: Martin Shaw
  • Cardinal Bukovak: John Shrapnel
  • Sister Ruth: Siobhan Finneran
  • Michael/Astaruth: Rick Warden
  • Monsignor Vincenzo: Luigi Diberti
  • Zaid Kopavic: Jamie Blackley
  • Imam Ahmed: Hassani Shapi
  • Misal Kopavic: Patrick Knowles
  • Sana Kopavic: Brana Bajic

Episode 6[edit]

First Broadcast simultaneously on BBC One and BBC HD, 18 December 2008 at 21:00

Possessed now and unable to pray, Jacob is stalked by Michael. Cardinal Bukovak assigns an atheist psychologist Dr. Elaine Errison, to assess Jacob, who believes that his religious beliefs (and Christianity) are a kind of mental illness. After being relieved of his duties, Jacob leaves the seminary and stays in a hotel where a mysterious woman tells him that anyone who attempts to exorcise him will be killed. Jacob challenges Satan to have him exorcised so that Satan may destroy Jacob's faith. Rising to the challenge, Satan allows Vincenzo to escape prison so that the former chief exorcist may attempt and fail to exorcise Jacob thus destroying Jacob's faith in God's power. Vincenzo, convinced by the soul of his father speaking through Jacob, actually exorcises Jacob and is struck down by Satan for his defiance. Sister Ruth and Father Daniel meanwhile have studied Bukovak's computer and discover a connection to a ceremony where the Pope will be present. Jacob heads to stop Michael’s plan. At the church where the ceremony and Pope are, Michael enters the church unimpeded, having consumed a bible. The mysterious woman who threatened Jacob attacks Ruth in the catacombs under the church. Ruth is saved by Jacob and in the struggle the mysterious woman is set on fire. As the flaming woman enters the church and collapses, havoc ensues and Michael levitates above the room, aiming his pistol at the Pope. With Jacob, Daniel and Ruth all reciting the prayer, Michael is vanquished, but in his final moments puts a bullet into Cardinal Bukovak, who is subsequently promoted for apparently attempting to defend the Pope. As he departs he makes it clear that he will continue to work to destroy the practice of exorcism, and Jacob implies that he is ready for Bukovak’s efforts.

Cast (in order of appearance)[edit]

  • Father Jacob: Martin Shaw
  • Cardinal Bukovak: John Shrapnel
  • Sister Ruth: Siobhan Finneran
  • Michael/Astaruth: Rick Warden
  • Father Daniel: David Gyasi
  • Monsignor Vincenzo: Luigi Diberti
  • Dr. Elaine Errison: Claire Price
  • Girl: Antonia Whillans
  • Woman: Cherie Lunghi
  • Soprano: Josephine Amankwah


The figures quoted on Digital Spy for the first showing on BBC 1 (who use Attentional for their ratings data) are as below:

  • Episode 1 (Thursday 13 November 2008): 4.62 million (20.6% of audience share for the time slot) [2]
  • Episode 2 (Thursday 20 November 2008): 2.88 million (12.6%) [3]
  • Episode 3 (Thursday 27 November 2008): 2.71 million (11.6%) [4]
  • Episode 4 (Thursday 4 December 2008): 3.12 million (13.2%) [5]
  • Episode 5 (Thursday 11 December 2008): 3.01 million (14.1%) [6]
  • Episode 6 (Thursday 18 December 2008): 3.08 million (14.5%) [7]

Average for all 6: 3.23 million (14.4%) - down around 25% on the average viewing figures for this time slot (for example, the previous week's concluding episode of Silent Witness got 6.1 million viewers in the same time slot)[7]

Title sequence[edit]

The opening credits sequence, designed by Simon A. J. Cox, shows a weeping statue of Mary against a background of London with cars passing.


External links[edit]