Ghosts (2019 British TV series)

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Ghosts
Ghosts 2019 TV series logo.jpg
Promotional image
Genre
Created by
Directed by
Starring
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series4
No. of episodes27
Production
ProducerMatthew Mulot
EditorMike Holliday & Will Peverett
Running time30 minutes
Production companies
  • Monumental Television
  • Them There
DistributorBBC Studios
Release
Original networkBBC One
Picture format1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release15 April 2019 (2019-04-15) –
present
Chronology
RelatedGhosts (American TV series)

Ghosts is a British sitcom first broadcast on BBC One in April 2019. The series follows a collection of ghosts from different historical periods haunting a country house while sharing the house with its new living occupants. The series is written and performed by many of the cast members of Horrible Histories and Yonderland.[1] The series also airs on HBO Max in the US and CBC Gem in Canada.

The series is the first post-watershed comedy by the ensemble, although some television critics said that it was suitable for adults and children alike.[2][3] Reviews of the series have been positive, with critics appreciating the high joke rate, the premise and the strength of the acting ensemble. The series is made by the production company Monumental Pictures, part of ITV Studios.[1] It is filmed on location at West Horsley Place in Surrey.[4]

Premise[edit]

Alison Cooper unexpectedly inherits the vast but crumbling Button House from a distant relative. The house is haunted by numerous squabbling ghosts from across the ages who died on its grounds and are invisible and intangible to the living. Ignoring their solicitor's advice to sell the property, Alison and her husband Mike decide to move in and renovate it, with the idea of turning the house into a luxury hotel.

At first, the ghosts are not very happy with the living couple's plans and conspire to get rid of the newcomers. After various failed attempts to scare them, one of the ghosts pushes Alison from an upstairs window, resulting in her being clinically dead for three minutes. When she awakes two weeks later from an induced coma, Alison discovers her husband has arranged a huge mortgage, and that her near-death experience has given her the ability to see and hear ghosts.[5]

Initially believing the ghosts to be an after-effect of her accident, Alison eventually accepts the truth and confronts them. Because the Coopers cannot leave for financial reasons and the ghosts are bound to the mansion's land until they can ascend into the afterlife, both sides eventually agree that they have to coexist as best they can. Meanwhile, the house requires a lot of work, and Alison and Mike devise several schemes to assist their perilous finances.[3]

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

Living[edit]

  • Charlotte Ritchie as Alison Cooper – A young woman who has inherited a mansion from Heather Button, a distant relative of unspecified relation. After a temporarily death-inducing experience caused by Julian pushing her out of a window, she is able to see, hear and interact with ghosts.[6]
  • Kiell Smith-Bynoe as Mike Cooper – Alison's husband, who has grand plans for the house but is not very adept at putting them into action. Although at first believing the ghosts to be Alison's hallucinations, Mike comes to accept them and often tries to communicate with them despite being unable to see them.

Ghosts[edit]

  • Lolly Adefope as Kitty – An excitable, overly chummy, naïve Georgian noblewoman who wishes to be friends with everyone. She has repressed her unhappy memories of her adoptive family, particularly those of her sister.
  • Mathew Baynton as Thomas Thorne – A melodramatic and easily infatuated Romantic poet, who was fatally shot in a duel in 1824, orchestrated by his cousin, Francis Button (who married Thomas' own love and whose descendants came to inherit Button House). He falls in love with Alison at first sight despite her being alive, married, and distantly related to him.[7]
  • Simon Farnaby as Julian Fawcett MP – The most recently deceased ghost: a disgraced Tory MP who died of a heart attack in a 1993 sex scandal while not wearing trousers. He can physically interact with the corporeal world to a limited degree if he concentrates hard enough.
  • Martha Howe-Douglas as Lady Stephanie 'Fanny' Button – A pompous, overbearing Edwardian lady of the manor and the great-grandmother of Heather Button (therefore related to Alison and Thomas). She was pushed out of a window by her adulterous husband and can be seen in photographs. She unconsciously re-enacts her death every night at 3 AM until Julian alters a clock in the series premiere so that she does so a few hours later, making her scream serve as a morning alarm.
  • Jim Howick as Patrick ‘Pat’ Butcher – A friendly and polite leader of a uniformed youth group resembling scouts, who was accidentally shot through the neck with an arrow on the Button House grounds in 1984 by one of the uniformed youngsters in his care.
  • Laurence Rickard as Rogh/'Robin' – The oldest ghost: a caveman who lived on the land Button House now occupies and died of a lightning strike that hit a tree he was using to hide from a bear. He can manipulate electrical currents (likely due to his lightning-themed death) and enjoys playing chess, which he learnt from Julian, as well as performing ancient rituals for the moon, which he calls 'Moonah'. He can also be heard by living animals. According to the fourth episode of the second series, all the other main characters are distant descendants of his.
    • Rickard also appears as the head of Sir Humphrey Bone – A Tudor nobleman who was accidentally decapitated himself after he was mistakenly accused of his wife's plot to assassinate Elizabeth I. He struggles with his body (played by Yani Xander) dropping his head and failing to pick him up.
  • Ben Willbond as the Captain – A stern, closeted World War II army officer, who is still obsessed with his time in the war and his rank as an officer. He was put in charge of a weapons research unit in Button House during his service and so has an extensive knowledge of weapons. He fancies himself as the de facto leader of the ghosts and devises many of their plans with elements of military strategy, and Pat most frequently defers to his authority.
  • Katy Wix as Mary – A superstitious Stuart era witch trial victim who was burnt at the stake and constantly smoulders as a result. She is kind but timid and often does not understand what the other ghosts are up to. she is unable to speak of things related to trials, and the living can smell burning if she passes through them. She has a gentle flirtation and closeness to Robin but ascends into the afterlife in the fourth series.

Recurring[edit]

  • The plague victim ghosts – An indeterminate number of ghosts who died during the Black Death and whose bodies were buried in a plague pit under the basement. Although they can go upstairs if they wish, they choose to stay in the basement and so are experts on the house's heating system. Eight of them are portrayed by the actors who play the main ghosts.
  • Anya McKenna-Bruce as Jemima – A plague victim child ghost who lurks in the pantry and sings ominous nursery rhymes that can be heard by the living and scare people and ghosts.
  • Geoff McGivern as Barclay Beg-Chetwynde – Alison and Mike's neighbour with whom they have a land dispute over Button House's access road. He always gets Alison's name wrong; calling her Annabelle.
  • Isabella Laughland as Clare – A woman who plans and ultimately has her wedding to partner Sam at Button House.
  • Jessica Knappett as Lucy – A suspicious woman who introduces herself as Alison's paternal half-sister, but is really trying to trick her into giving her money.
  • Nathan Bryon as Obi – A friend of the Coopers who often appears at their home of Button House for parties.
  • Bridget Christie as Annie – The ghost of a Puritan woman who previously haunted Button House and was close with Mary, teaching her how to speak her mind, before moving onto the afterlife. She died after choking on a piece of bread.

Guest appearances[edit]

  • Sophie Thompson as Bunny Beg-Chetwynde – Barclay's wife.
  • Rosie Cavaliero as Fiona Legge – A hotel developer determined to buy Button House as cheaply as possible and con Alison and Mike out of money.
  • Ania Marson as Lady Heather Button - The great-granddaughter of Lady Fanny and the last Button of Button House. When she died in the first episode at the age of 99, Alison Cooper came to inherit the house. She also appeared in a flashback when Julian died.
  • Jackie Clune as Gwen - Part of a production group who want to do a documentary about spirits after Fanny appears in a photo. Gwen firmly believes that spirits exist.
  • Holli Dempsey as Isabelle Higham – The daughter and later owner of Button (previously Higham) house who was in a relationship with Thomas before he died, who then married his cousin Francis, and whose descendants would inherit and live in Button House (including Alison, Lady Fanny and Lady Heather Button).
  • Bronwyn James as Sam – Clare's wife.
  • Leon Herbert as Errol Cooper – Mike's father.[6]
  • Lorna Gayle as Betty Cooper – Mike's mother.[6]
  • Timmika Ramsay as Leila – Mike's sister.
  • Samantha Pearl as Angela – Mike's sister.
  • Sujaya Dasgupta as Zara – A documentary presenter, who was at Button House to produce a show on the Bone Plot.
  • Chloé Delanney as Sophie – Humphrey's French wife, who plotted to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Catholic Mary Stuart, but was discovered by the guards and fled, before Humphrey was accidentally beheaded.[6]
  • Jennifer Saunders as Lavinia – Fanny's mother, who determinedly planned to marry off her daughter.[6]
  • Christopher Villiers as Simeon – Fanny's father who was obsessed with gambling.[6]
  • Richard Glover as Maddocks – A former Gamekeeper ghost that died after getting his foot stuck in a badger trap.
  • Peter Sandys-Clarke as Havers, The Captain's lieutenant and close friend during the war, towards whom he was unable to admit his romantic feelings.

Production[edit]

West Horsley Place in Surrey, which appears as Button House in the series.

According to Mathew Baynton, the idea of a haunted house was one of the first ideas the writers developed after the end of Horrible Histories. However, they were initially uncertain because there was "no jeopardy that we could write into it" and they created the sitcom Yonderland for Sky One instead. However, after the ending of that series, they "realised the boredom of eternity and the existential aspects of the ghosts idea was unique...We realised it was a house-share sitcom – and as soon as you stop thinking about those kind of major drama stakes, you unlock a story that is really domestic and petty."[8] Mike and Alison, the two living characters, were introduced as a foil to the ghosts, as well as to introduce "the stakes, the worries about money, life and everything you need for a story".[8]

Writing in Broadcast, Jim Howick notes that the 2016 episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, in which EastEnders actor Danny Dyer discovered he was related to Edward III of England, formed the basis of the idea of Alison: "We loved the idea of Danny Dyer's royal lineage...We've mirrored this with our character Alison, who discovers her aristocratic roots, which she embraces immediately and takes on with relish".[9]

Baynton recalled that BBC head of comedy commissioning Shane Allen was looking for a pre-watershed primetime sitcom for BBC One. During the writing process, the intention was to make an adult show, but one that would appeal to older children, along the lines of Blackadder: "We wanted to do something that has a properly creaky atmosphere. I love the idea that some kids might stay up for it. It's great as a kid when you think something isn't quite for you and it's a bit cheekier."[9] In the event, the programme was scheduled at 9.30 on Monday evenings after the sitcom Not Going Out. Baynton noted in the i newspaper that as the original audience of Horrible Histories would now be grown up, "hopefully we're making something so they can continue to watch us!"[10]

Baynton said the Tim Burton film Beetlejuice provided the writers a "useful tonal reference" as did The Rocky Horror Show. Jim Howick, addressing its similarity to the 1970s series Rentaghost noted most of the writers were either slightly too young or too old to have watched it, but the series did make knowing use of many of the clichés of horror programmes, such as headless Tudor noblemen.[9]

The programme is filmed at West Horsley Place in Surrey, England, a large country house unexpectedly inherited by the writer and former University Challenge presenter Bamber Gascoigne in 2014 from his great aunt, the Duchess of Roxburghe, under circumstances not dissimilar to those depicted in the series.[11][12] Some scenes were also filmed on London Road and Clandon Road in nearby Guildford[13] with outside images of the famous Bettys Tea Rooms in Harrogate, North Yorkshire rebranded as "Sandrine's" in the penultimate scene of the final episode of series three.

Filming of the second series started on 13 January 2020. It started airing, on BBC One, on 12 September that year.[14] The series was moved to a pre-watershed slot of 8.30pm.[15] Production on the third series began in early 2021[16] and finished on 7 April 2021.[17] It premiered on 9 August 2021.[18] Filming of the fourth series wrapped on 16 March 2022.[19]

Series 4 of Ghosts was covered in the BBC podcast series Inside…, which is a companion podcast to popular comedy series and offers a deeper, behind the scenes look into each episode via discussions with the writers and cast members. The Ghosts episodes are hosted by Nathan Bryon who plays Mike and Alison's friend, Obi.[20] A fifth series, to be broadcast in 2023, was confirmed by the BBC in December 2022.[21]

Episodes[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1615 April 2019 (2019-04-15)20 May 2019 (2019-05-20)
2621 September 2020 (2020-09-21)26 October 2020 (2020-10-26)
Special23 December 2020 (2020-12-23)
369 August 2021 (2021-08-09)13 September 2021 (2021-09-13)
Special23 December 2021 (2021-12-23)
4623 September 2022 (2022-09-23)28 October 2022 (2022-10-28)
Special25 December 2022 (2022-12-25)

Series 1 (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
Title [22]Directed by [22]Written by [22]Original air date [22]UK viewers
(millions) [23]
11"Who Do You Think You Are?"Tom KingsleyMathew Baynton and Jim Howick15 April 2019 (2019-04-15)5.50
Alison and Mike Cooper, a young married couple, are shocked to inherit the formerly great estate of Button House from a distant relative of hers. However, it is haunted by many invisible ghosts from across the ages. Attempting to haunt the couple into leaving, their actions have unexpected consequences. Julian pushes Alison out of a first-floor window. She lands on grass and is taken to hospital by ambulance. Two weeks later, she awakes from an induced coma. When she returns to the House, she learns she can see and hear the ghosts. She is scared by the ghosts, but they in turn are horrified by the couple's plan to turn the house into a hotel because they experience great pain whenever living people pass through them.
22"Gorilla War"Tom KingsleyLaurence Rickard22 April 2019 (2019-04-22)4.93
Mike believes that Alison seeing and hearing the ghosts are after-effects of her coma and tries to convince her of that. The ghosts embark on a war of attrition to try to force the couple out. With the ghosts becoming more intense, Alison visits a doctor who proves that she really can both see and hear them, being a ghost himself. Convinced they should sell the house, Mike finds out he cannot get out of the loan they took out to renovate the house without losing all of their savings. Alison attempts to reason with the ghosts, and they tell her that they want her and Mike to move out, but she refuses and tells them that she will do something for each one so that they can all co-exist peacefully. Mike comes to accept the ghosts' existences when he witnesses Julian press a keyboard key on his laptop, which appears to him as a key moving on its own, and follows the basement Plague ghosts' instructions via Alison to repair the broken heating system.
33"Happy Death Day"Tom KingsleyBen Willbond29 April 2019 (2019-04-29)4.23
Pat is in a melancholy mood as he prepares for a visit by members of his (living) family for his 'death day': his widow (who is now married to the man with whom she had an affair), Pat's son, the son's girlfriend, and the couple's baby boy. Mike tells Alison that he hates being watched by the ghosts, especially when using the toilet. Builders start work on the house, but the ghosts try to make them leave. Alison's struggle to filter out the ghosts leads the builders to consider her eccentric and rude. Kitty asks around to learn where babies come from, and gets a variety of unhelpful answers. After meeting his grandson, who has been named in his honor, and making peace with that part of his past, Pat appears to begin ascending into the afterlife, only to learn the light shining on him is a lamp used by the builders. Fed up with Alison, the builders quit.
44"Free Pass"Tom KingsleyMathew Baynton & Jim Howick6 May 2019 (2019-05-06)4.05
With money running low, Mike and Alison allow the filming of a regency period drama in the house, Life of Byron. The ghosts react in different ways to the action in their home. Thomas is driven to despair by his hatred of Lord Byron and Alison's crush on the lead actor. Julian pesters Alison to place a bet on a horse race for him. Pat teaches Mary about the art of filmmaking and discovers she has a natural talent. Robin is distracted by the studio lights, and struggles for dominance over the gaffer. Lady Fanny, unlike Kitty, is unhappy about the sex scene enacted in the bedroom. Meanwhile, Mike and Alison fail to inform the production of weight limitations imposed on the structure by the surveyors. Eventually, part of the floor collapses and the film crew promptly leaves.
55"Moonah Ston"Tom KingsleyMartha Howe-Douglas & Laurence Rickard13 May 2019 (2019-05-13)4.11
Mike and Alison's wealthy neighbours Barclay and Bunny Beg-Chetwynde (Geoffrey McGivern and Sophie Thompson) invite themselves around for a dinner party to discuss access rights to their driveway. Barclay wants Mike and Alison to pay him £20,000 for the access rights. Mike misunderstands and shakes on it. Alison tries to win the access rights for free by cheating in a poker game, but she loses and the price jumps to £40,000. Thanks to Julian, Alison informs Barclay that she knows about his offshore bank account in Fiji, so he allows the young couple to use the land for free. Alison introduces the ghosts to Friends and they quickly become fans. Robin persuades the ghosts to participate in an ancient ritual in honour of a lunar eclipse. Though this distracts Alison during the dinner party, Robin later explains why he views the moon as significant.
66"Getting Out"Tom KingsleyMathew Baynton & Jim Howick20 May 2019 (2019-05-20)4.02
Having run out of capital and enthusiasm for restoring Button House themselves, Alison and Mike are ecstatic to receive an offer from a luxury hotel chain. The ghosts would prefer the couple to stay, and are disappointed when they agree to sell. The couple looks for a house to buy, but Alison rejects the two which an estate agent shows them after seeing other ghosts haunting them. Eventually, she approves of a brand new building. Fanny offers a priceless jewel to Alison to solve Button House's money problems, but Alison discovers that Fanny's husband already sold it. The Captain devises a plan to get Alison and Mike to tell the hotel chain to survey the basement as a potential place for a swimming pool and spa. During the survey, builders uncover a plague pit in the basement, and the hotel chain withdraws its offer.

Series 2 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
Title [22]Directed by [22]Written by [22]Original release date [22]BBC One broadcast [22]U.K viewers
(millions) [23]
71"The Grey Lady"Tom KingsleyMartha Howe-Douglas & Laurence Rickard21 September 2020 (2020-09-21)21 September 20204.67
With the plans to convert Button House into a hotel on hold, Alison and Mike advertise the property as a wedding venue to generate an income. However, ghost hunters are drawn to the manor after a photographer accidentally captures a photo of Fanny and shares it on social media. The couple takes advantage of the situation when offered payment for admission. Pat and Thomas try to host a radio show on EVP equipment. Alison struggles to convince the other ghosts to help out, leading her and Mike to attempt to recreate the ghosts' unique powers. Eventually the scheme is revealed when Alison tries to impersonate Fanny. They are forced to refund the ghost hunters' money, and Button House is labeled a hoax.
82"About Last Night"Tom KingsleyMathew Baynton & Jim Howick21 September 2020 (2020-09-21)28 September 2020N/A (<4.50)[a]
After a heavy night of partying, Alison and Mike awaken with severe hangovers and must race against the clock to prepare the house for a wedding planner to view. Alison has misplaced Fanny's beloved stuffed dog, Dante, and frantically retraces her steps. Thomas has renewed hopes of romance with Alison after something she said last night. Kitty is upset that she felt ignored during the party, despite Alison's efforts to explain the situation. Mike gets stuck on the roof with shoes and Sir Humphrey's head, which were tossed up there during drunken revelry. Because he's lost his voice, Mike can't call out for help. The still hung-over Alison throws up in front of the wedding planner and ruins any future bookings.
93"Redding Weddy"Tom KingsleyBen Willbond & Simon Farnaby21 September 2020 (2020-09-21)5 October 2020N/A (<4.36)[a]
Alison and Mike find a new wedding planner, who tells them to clear their garden so it can be "wedding ready." Mary thinks she's finally ready to talk about her witch trial. The Captain warns Alison not to dig in a specific area of the garden, as something potentially explosive is buried there. Fanny reads Lady Chatterley's Lover and develops sexual feelings for Mike. The Captain recalls being commanding officer of a troop in Button House, and when his lieutenant Havers left for the war front, the Captain was unable to admit his romantic feelings. Back in the present, a bomb is set off in the garden and starts a fire, undoing Mary's progress. No one is physically hurt, but Alison thought "explosive" was metaphorical. The Captain explains he buried a limpet mine with its blueprints. After some scrambling, the client arrives and books the house. As everyone settles in for Film Club, the Captain remembers Havers saluting him before leaving the house, and Fanny overcomes her feelings for Mike after watching him messily eat nachoes.
104"The Thomas Thorne Affair"Tom KingsleyMathew Baynton & Jim Howick21 September 2020 (2020-09-21)12 October 2020N/A (<4.78)[a]
Mike is nervous about encountering Alison's ex-boyfriend, Kevin, at her school reunion because she has claimed she left Kevin for Mike. Thomas reveals to Alison that he died in a duel over a woman named Isabelle. Robin, Mary, and Kitty all recall the events differently. Humphrey helps Thomas realise that his cousin, Francis Button (the namesake of the house), engineered the duel and deceived Thomas into losing so Francis could court and marry Isabelle. Thomas did not die unloved, as he believed, yet this only makes him feel worse about the situation (especially as he cannot get rid of a forged letter that put Francis's plan into effect, as forms a part of his being). Mike discovers on Facebook that Kevin is an ex-convict and boxer. Alison reveals to Mike that she lied and Kevin actually broke up with her. His fears assuaged, they leave for the reunion.
115"Bump in the Night"Tom KingsleyMartha Howe-Douglas & Laurence Rickard21 September 2020 (2020-09-21)19 October 20204.09
Alison has a night out, leaving Mike alone in the house for the first time. Two burglars break in, and the ghosts phone 999 to alert the police. When the thieves cut the power and landline, the ghosts wake Mike. He phones Alison, and the ghosts tell her about the situation. Alison struggles to get home quickly. Mike tries to call the police, but his phone's battery dies. The Captain orders Kitty and Mary to keep an inventory of the stolen loot, although they have trouble with mnemonics to remember the specific items. Unheard by the burgulars, Pat implores the younger of the two to not pursue a life of crime, whilst Lady Fanny berates them for stealing. Mike attempts to scare away the burglars by dressing as a ghostly knight, only to fall over due to the suit of armour's weight. Robin howls to alert the neighbouring dogs, catching Beg-Chetwynde's attention, and he uses a shotgun to stop the burglars from driving away as Alison returns home. The police arrive and arrest the criminals, although Pat is outraged after learning that they will only receive probation.
126"Perfect Day"Tom KingsleyMathew Baynton & Jim Howick21 September 2020 (2020-09-21)26 October 20203.93
A blizzard strikes on the day of the house's first wedding. Fanny is disgusted that a lesbian couple is getting married, stemming from her homosexual husband killing her after she discovered his affairs. Humphrey convinces her to accept the marriage, citing his own unhappiness from his arranged marriage. Fanny considers she may not have been murdered if her husband could have been open about his sexuality. One of the brides has doubts, but goes ahead with the wedding after a conversation with Alison, who recalls having doubts of her own. Mike overhears this and is angered. Pat recognises one of the guests as the boy that accidentally killed him and flies into a rage, but finds closure when the now-grown man pays respect to Pat outside the mansion. Mike and Alison reconcile at the reception.
Christmas special
13-"The Ghost of Christmas"Tom KingsleyBen Willbond & Simon Farnaby23 December 2020 (2020-12-23)23 December 20205.02
Mike is playing host to his family, and is desperate to get everything right. Alison also works to arrange the best Christmas, both for the living and the dead. Julian reflects on how he neglected his wife and daughter and feels guilty that he never saw the latter grow up. He then bonds with Nancy, the baby of Mike's sister Angela, as infants can see ghosts. Julian later looks up his daughter Rachel on the Internet and discovers that she grew up to be a Green Party MP. Though he disapproves of her politics, he's still proud of her.
  1. ^ a b c Not reported in the weekly top 15 programmes for four-screen viewer ratings.

Series 3 (2021)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
Title [22]Directed by [22]Written by [22]Original release date [22]BBC One broadcast [22]UK viewers (millions)
7 day
141"The Bone Plot"Nick CollettLaurence Rickard9 August 2021 (2021-08-09)9 August 20214.31
A documentary about the Tudor period is being filmed at Button House, prompting Humphrey to recall his death. When he learnt that his French wife, Sophie, plotted to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I, he was unjustly framed for the conspiracy and fled the Queen's guards. Most people believe the guards beheaded Humphrey on the spot, but he was actually beheaded by two decorative swords that came loose from the wall and swung down onto his neck. When nosy neighbour Barclay Beg-Chetwynde is desperate to take part in the documentary, Julian tries to force him off the estate, believing he will soon die and the ghosts will be stuck with him for eternity. Meanwhile, Thomas gives Alison elocution lessons when she is pestered to feature in the documentary. The rest of the ghosts attempt to make Fanny and the Captain laugh. Mike struggles to commission a t-shirt to advertise Button House, and he's frustrated when the design turns out to be unflattering when worn.
152"A Lot to Take In"Nick CollettMathew Baynton & Jim Howick9 August 2021 (2021-08-09)16 August 20213.74
Mike begins his new job as an insurance caller but is suffering from first day nerves. At the same time, Alison is visited by a mysterious young woman named Lucy who unexpectedly shows up at Button House, claiming to be her long lost half-sister. Meanwhile, Julian recalls when he first became a ghost, and how disorienting and frightening it was. Mike finds he's not cutout to be a telemarketer, but after he happily listens to a woman's life story she offers him a new job.
163"The Woodworm Men"Nick CollettMathew Baynton & Jim Howick9 August 2021 (2021-08-09)23 August 20213.87
Button House is being fumigated for woodworm, causing Alison and Mike to camp outside for the night. A spooked Mary tries to make the fumigators leave the house. Alison puts on the film Grease for Kitty to watch, but Julian changes the channel to watch something more 'grown up' and leaves the TV on a horror channel. Unknowingly watching A Nightmare on Elm Street, Kitty gets frightened when Mike knocks out the electricity while trying to turn on an electric heater. A series of events terrifies the ghosts inside the house, leading them to join Alison outside. Alison and Mike compete to see who is the best camper, but Alison cheats when Pat offers his wilderness knowledge. Mike tries his hand at glamping. Thomas laments that his Grand Tour didn't spark his creativity. Unable to sleep due to the ghosts incessantly talking, Alison goes to Mike's tent and tells him he wins the competition. Kitty tells Alison about the scary film, and she quickly deduces that Julian changed the channel.
174"I Love Lucy"Nick CollettLaurence Rickard & Ben Willbond9 August 2021 (2021-08-09)30 August 20214.59
Alison is advised by her solicitor to obtain evidence of Lucy's familial relations for the sake of her inheritance. Now doubting Lucy, Alison enlists the Captain's help to detect anything suspicious when Lucy stays over for a night. Mike adapts to his new job as a line manager, but becomes agitated at Julian when he instigates a misunderstanding with Mike's boss. When Alison reluctantly asks Lucy to submit DNA evidence to prove their familial relations, Lucy becomes offended and leaves. Meanwhile, Fanny's odd behaviour leads to the shocking discovery that she is carrying on a secret love affair with Humphrey's body. Humphrey's head offers to join his body in their relationship, but Fanny ends the affair immediately.
185"Something to Share?"Nick CollettMathew Baynton & Jim Howick9 August 2021 (2021-08-09)6 September 20214.47
In light of Kitty's 263rd birthday, Alison is eager to know about Kitty's sister, whom the ghosts claim was not as nice as Kitty would like to remember. Alison encourages Kitty to open up, but the ghosts try to stop the therapy session, fearing she may have a breakdown. Alison learns Kitty was mistreated by her adoptive sister out of rivalry over inheritance and their father's affection, but Kitty remains in blissful denial. From the session, Pat realises that his wife had an affair because of his rigidly ordered lifestyle, Julian realises his feeling of regret over abandoning his daughter, and Mary relates to the group her recurring nightmare. Meanwhile, Mike becomes frustrated about not being able to communicate with the ghosts and seeks the aid of black magic from online sources. A case of mistaken identity causes him to falsely believe his efforts were successful. After Alison and the ghosts experience Mary's nightmare, Mike is relieved that he cannot communicate with the latter.
196"Part of the Family"Nick CollettMathew Baynton & Ben Willbond9 August 2021 (2021-08-09)13 September 20214.49
The couple has successfully saved up enough money through their jobs and event bookings at Button House to continue renovations for their hotel project. Alison reconnects with Lucy and offers to loan her money to help Lucy's failing business. However, the ghosts uncover Lucy's true intentions as a con artist when they discover Lucy faked the photograph of Alison's father, which she used as proof of their blood relation. Meanwhile, Mike receives unexpected help from Julian while trying to film a video to promote Button House. Alison and Mike expose Lucy's scam before she can take their money.
Christmas special
20-"He Came!"Nick CollettLaurence Rickard & Martha Howe-Douglas23 December 2021 (2021-12-23)23 December 20214.50[24]
With Christmas fast approaching, Alison and Mike discover a man named Nicholas living in a tent on their grounds. They let him temporarily stay, but as days turn to weeks the couple tires of the man that Kitty is convinced is Santa Claus. Fanny is sympathetic, as she married into the Button family to save her parents from financial ruin, as is the Captain when he learns that Nicholas is ex-military. Robin learns about land ownership rights and tries to negotiate back rent with Alison for squatting, believing himself to be the rightful owner of the land. Alison paints a portrait of Thomas, but he frets over not liking the finished result. After reporting Nicholas to the police, Alison and Mike make amends by hosting a charity Christmas dinner.

Series 4 (2022)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
series
Title [22]Directed by [22]Written by [22]Original release date [22]BBC One broadcast [22]UK viewers (millions)
7 day [25]
211"Happy Holiday"Simon HyndMathew Baynton & Jim Howick23 September 2022 (2022-09-23)23 September 20224.18
When Alison and Mike finally welcome the first visitors to Button House, now known as the Gatehouse Bed and Breakfast, they worry desperately about how much they are enjoying the stay, while Pat takes the opportunity to teach Mary about what holidays are. Meanwhile, Thomas deals with the fallout of Alison's portrait of him making him an unexpected local celebrity with the plague victims and Robin tries to convince the others that he was acquainted with a caveman whose remains' discovery has made the news.
222"Speak as ye choose"Simon HyndMathew Baynton & Jim Howick23 September 2022 (2022-09-23)30 September 20223.58
Mike meets up with a successful former college friend and his partner who have chosen to stay at Button House, but their offer for him and Alison to join them in a business growth meeting turns out to be more than a little suspicious. Mary finally opens up about how her earlier centuries as a ghost, with the help of her friend Annie, taught her to speak her mind, Kitty shows the Captain how to enjoy doing nothing, and Thomas struggles to get over his infatuation with Alison.
233"The Hardest Word"Simon HyndLaurence Rickard23 September 2022 (2022-09-23)7 October 20223.67
Alison tells off the ghosts for their recent behaviour, so they try to work out how to apologise to her. After encouraging Alison to take a break from the ghosts and managing the bed and breakfast, Mike attempts to organise a tightly scheduled day off for her. Although the ghosts attempt to sing Alison a Band Aid-inspired apology song, she vents her frustration about how they demand a lot of her without ever thanking her; the ghosts then post a fake five-star review in recognition of what she does for them.
244"Gone Gone"Simon HyndBen Willbond23 September 2022 (2022-09-23)14 October 20223.54
A booking mixup for a birthday party at Button House leaves Alison and Mike realising that they are not catering for two 86-year-olds, but 8- and 6-year-olds instead, and Mike is forced to organise the emergency change of plans. However, Alison has a lot more on her mind: when Mary suddenly and unexpectedly ascends into the afterlife, she and the ghosts have to find ways to deal with their grief.
255"Poached Guests"Simon HyndLaurence Rickard & Ben Willbond23 September 2022 (2022-09-23)21 October 20223.42
Barclay Beg-Chetwynde learns of Alison and Mike's new B&B and becomes determined to beat her at her own game by luring customers to his country estate by any unscrupulous means necessary, leaving Alison forced to turn for help from Julian, whom she considers Barclay's moral equal. While Mike is busy regretting buying miniature zorbing balls to liven up the B&B, the other ghosts are too busy to notice because they have discovered another ghost called Maddocks in the neighbouring field, much to his annoyance.
266"Not Again"Simon HyndMartha Howe-Douglas & Laurence Rickard23 September 2022 (2022-09-23)29 October 20223.41
Having finally achieved a five-star rating for the B&B, Alison sends Mike to an auction to obtain some new chairs but he instead brings home a giant stuffed bear. While they argue about it, Robin is terrified of this new arrival. A flashback reveals that two of his friends were killed by a bear during a hunt; he escaped by climbing a tree but was then killed when the tree was struck by lightning. Alison and Mike keep moving the bear around the house, scaring Robin further, until Mike takes it outside as a thunderstorm hits and he shelters under the tree where Robin, whose real name turns out to be Rogh, died. Realising the danger, Robin runs out into the storm and draws the lightning to himself, thereby saving Mike. He and Alison then reconcile shortly before the Gatehouse is struck by lightning and catches fire. The Coopers and the ghosts stare at the burning wreckage of the Gatehouse, wondering how they can raise money to save it, and whether it is worth the effort. Meanwhile, Julian attempts to prove to the other ghosts that he is not morally vacuous, and Thomas and Pat become fascinated by the concept of veganism.
Christmas special
27-"It's Behind You"Simon HyndMathew Baynton & Jim Howick[26]25 December 2022 (2022-12-25)25 December 20225.93
At an archery demonstration hosted at Button House, the organiser mentions to Alison that he knew Pat and still has several of his home videos. She agrees to digitise them, wishing to show them to Pat at Christmas. However, after being tempted by Julian into taking a sneak peek at the Christmas presents Alison bought all the ghosts, Pat is disheartened after watching his family apparently mock him. Whilst the Coopers plan to spend Christmas Day with Mike's family, the ghosts take the opportunity to rehearse a pantomime as a present for Alison. With Pat still upset from the home videos, he abandons leading the rehearsals, which descend into anarchy as a result; Robin reassures Pat that even though his family made fun of him, they still loved him. After the Coopers spend Christmas Day trapped in a traffic jam, Alison and the plague ghosts watch the ghosts' pantomime (whilst Mike, who cannot see them, plays on his tablet). When Alison shows the ghosts their presents, Pat confesses that he already saw his; Alison cheers Pat up by showing him videos made after his death by his son, which show his family remembering him fondly.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception to the series has been positive. On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the first series holds approval rating of 83%, based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10. The website's critical consensus said, "The perfect blend of spooky and silly, Ghosts's ghastly giggles are a delight."[27] The second series received an approval rating of 100%, based on five reviews, with an average rating of 6.7/10.[28] The third series also received a 100% approval rating, but with a higher average rating of 8.7/10, based on six reviews.[29]

Stuart Jeffries in The Guardian wrote that "In making us giggle at the supernatural, Ghosts is very British – a mash-up of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), not to mention the manifold sillinesses of Hammer horror films. But it is American in the sense of having a gag-to-airtime ratio much higher than British sitcoms normally manage these days."[5] Michael Hogan in The Daily Telegraph was similarly positive, comparing it to the 1970s children's sitcom Rentaghost but noting that "This deliriously daft supernatural romp, however, was none the worse for that."[4]

Susannah Butter in the Evening Standard said the first episode reminded her of a property show, watching the couple view a terrible flat, before making their escape to the country. She was critical of the post-watershed scheduling of 9.30pm, saying "it feels like a show that children would enjoy" and noting "This is a gentle ensemble comedy. Alison and Mike are wide-eyed, charming and likeable. I would gladly have them as friends, even though they can't sing...Nothing about this show is scary."[3] Carol Midgley in The Times was also confused by the scheduling, noting that "Ghosts is smut[-] and swearword-free" and calling it "a curiously life-affirming comedy about death".[2]

Contrasting it with the bleak "sadcoms" such as Fleabag and After Life, Pat Stacey in the Irish Independent noted "It's joyously, infectiously silly, yet at the same time whip-smart. It's just the ticket to scare those sadcom blues away."[30]

A second series was announced a week after the transmission of episode 6.[31] The BBC Press Office announcement noted it received a consolidated average of 3.7 million viewers across the series, highlighting its popularity with 16–34 year-old viewers.[31] On 8 October 2019, Rickard confirmed that a third series had also been commissioned.[32][33]

In April 2021, the sitcom was nominated for the Scripted Comedy BAFTA Award and the Comedy Writer BAFTA Craft Award.[34]

Adaptation[edit]

An American adaptation of the series was announced on 29 November 2019 by CBS.[35] On 4 February 2020, it was announced that a pilot had been ordered to be produced by BBC Studios, Lionsgate Television and CBS Studios.[36] On 4 March 2020, Rose McIver was cast in the pilot.[37] On 1 July 2020, Utkarsh Ambudkar was also cast.[38] On 9 December 2020, additional casting of Brandon Scott Jones, Richie Moriarty, Asher Grodman, Rebecca Wisocky, Sheila Carrasco, Danielle Pinnock and Roman Zaragoza was announced.[39] On 31 March 2021, it was announced that a full series had been ordered.[40] The series premiered on 7 October 2021.[41] On 24 January 2022, the series was renewed for a second season.[42] The second season premiered on 29 September 2022.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Ghosts". BBC Media Centre. 9 April 2019. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b Midgley, Carol (16 April 2019). "TV review: Ghosts; A House Through Time". The Times.
  3. ^ a b c Butter, Susannah (15 April 2019). "Ghosts: Things that go bump in the night – a spooktacular house-hunting show". Evening Standard.
  4. ^ a b Hogan, Michael (15 April 2019). "Ghosts, episode 1, review: a retro house-share sitcom with some wonderfully goofy supernatural guests". The Daily Telegraph.
  5. ^ a b Jeffries, Stuart (15 April 2019). "Ghosts review – a silly sitcom that will make you die laughing". The Guardian.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Ben Allen. "Meet the cast of BBC One sitcom Ghosts". RadioTimes.com. Radio Times. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  7. ^ "Ghosts". www.comedy.co.uk. British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  8. ^ a b "The writer-stars of Horrible Histories and Yonderland reunite for a comedy about a group of ghosts who haunt a country mansion". BBC Media Centre. 9 April 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Parker, Robin (15 April 2019). "Ghosts, BBC1". Broadcast.
  10. ^ Nelson, Alex (15 April 2019). "Ghosts: cast, when it's on BBC One tonight and all you need to know about the comedy from the Horrible Histories team". i News.
  11. ^ Furness, Hannah (21 March 2015). "Bamber Gascoigne to save 500-year-old manor after accidental inheritance". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  12. ^ West Horsley Place [@WHorsleyPlace] (17 April 2019). "Thrilling to see so much of #westhhorsleyplace in the new series #Ghosts. We loved episode 1, 5 more to come. Monday nights 9.30 BBC 1- t.co/XJhKcFAA9I" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 30 April 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  13. ^ "Crews spotted filming new BBC sitcom in Guildford". Get Surrey. 15 October 2018.
  14. ^ Baynton, Mathew [@realmatbaynton] (12 September 2020). "And here's the wide version... #bbcGhosts t.co/ZcDaCGVFlr" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 25 April 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  15. ^ "When is BBC sitcom Ghosts back for series 2?". Radio Times. 12 September 2020.
  16. ^ Craig, David (1 February 2021). "When is Ghosts series 3 on BBC One? Cast, plot and latest news". Radio Times.
  17. ^ Rickard, Laurence [@Lazbotron] (7 April 2021). "And with that, it was done. A wrap on Ghosts series 3. Amidst a sea of masks and swabs and screens, we somehow had an absolute ball. The entire crew were amazing. I cannot wait to share what we've cooked up for you #bbcghosts 👻" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 25 April 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  18. ^ "Ghosts". bbc.com. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  19. ^ #RedFlagBlap 🚩 [@kfRedhot] (16 March 2022). "Dassawrappp 🎬 Weeeeeeeeeee're OUTTAHERE 👻4️⃣ t.co/BFk1duoPqd" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 16 March 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  20. ^ "Go behind the screams at Button Hall with Inside… Ghosts on BBC Sounds".
  21. ^ "Another series of Ghosts is on the way to BBC One and BBC iPlayer in 2023".
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Ghosts – Episode guide". BBC One. Choose appropriate episode. Retrieved 2 May 2019.
  23. ^ a b "Four Screen Dashboard". BARB. See relevant channel and week(s). Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  24. ^ "BBC iPlayer sets new festive record - with drama box sets and Christmas specials driving best festive week and best festive day viewing ever".
  25. ^ "Most Viewed Programmes (See relevant week(s))". BARB.
  26. ^ "Ghosts is returning for another Christmas special". British Comedy Guide. 26 October 2022.
  27. ^ "Ghosts: Season 1 (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  28. ^ "Ghosts: Season 2 (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  29. ^ "Ghosts: Season 3 (2021)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 16 October 2022.
  30. ^ Stacey, Pat (23 April 2019). "Ghosts review: 'It's joyously, infectiously silly, yet at the same time whip-smart'". Irish Independent.
  31. ^ a b "Ghosts set to haunt BBC One again". BBC Media Centre. 28 May 2019.
  32. ^ Rickard, Laurence [@Lazbotron] (8 October 2019). "Delighted to confirm that #BBCGhosts has indeed been recommissioned for a second AND third series. Huge thanks to Charlotte Moore and all at @BBCOne & BBC Comedy for believing in #Ghosts (so to speak). We can't wait to get haunting again" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 25 April 2022. Retrieved 15 May 2022 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ "A new vision for iPlayer, a new future for BBC television". BBC Media Centre. 7 October 2019. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  34. ^ "Bafta TV Awards 2021: Winners and nominees in full". BBC News. 6 June 2021.
  35. ^ White, Peter (19 November 2019). "CBS Developing Adaptation Of British Comedy 'Ghosts' With Joe Port & Joe Wiseman; Project Kicks Off Lionsgate & BBC Studios Partnership". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  36. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (4 February 2020). "CBS Orders 4 Comedy Pilots From Corinne Kingsbury, Frank Pines, Kohan & Mutchnick And Port & Wiseman". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  37. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (4 March 2020). "'iZombie' Star Rose McIver To Headline CBS Comedy Pilot 'Ghosts'". Deadline Hollywood.
  38. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (1 July 2020). "Utkarsh Ambudkar To Star Opposite Rose McIver In CBS Comedy Pilot 'Ghosts'". Deadline Hollywood.
  39. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Petski, Denise (9 December 2020). "'Ghosts': Danielle Pinnock, Asher Grodman, Richie Moriarty, Sheila Carrasco & Román Zaragoza Join CBS Comedy Pilot As It Starts Production". Deadline Hollywood.
  40. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (31 March 2021). "'Ghosts' Comedy Starring Rose McIver & Utkarsh Ambudkar Picked Up To Series By CBS". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
  41. ^ Pedersen, Erik (12 July 2021). "CBS Fall Premiere Dates: New 'NCIS', 'CSI', 'FBI' Series Plus Returning Comedies, Dramas & Reality Fare". Deadline Hollywood.
  42. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (24 January 2022). "'Ghosts', 'The Neighborhood' & 'Bob ♥ Abishola' Renewed By CBS For 2022-23 Season". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 24 January 2022.

External links[edit]