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Ghostwatch [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Parkinson
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: 101 Films
  • DVD Release Date: 17 Oct. 2011
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005OJCPZU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,606 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

The BBC broadcast GHOSTWATCH on the 31st of October 1992.

It seemed to be a live broadcast which was a cross between Crimewatch and the movie Poltergeist. The programme terrified Britain and caused outrage in the press. It s legacy lives on, cited as an inspiration for The Blair Witch Project and Derren Brown s The Séance . GHOSTWATCH is regarded as a classic of the genre and remains as relevant, as terrifying and as inspirational today.

Sarah Greene and Craig Charles report from a reputedly haunted North London council house for the outside broadcast, whilst Michael Parkinson and Mike Smith stay in the warmth and safety of a BBC studio. The Early family are allegedly being harrassed by the ghost Pipes - so named as his banging and crashing were initially attributed to bad plumbing. After a deliberately slow start the crescendo sees children speaking in tongues, Sarah Greene sent to her doom, and Michael Parkinson possessed by an evil spirit.

Although pure fiction, the masterly combination of great scripting, intuitive direction and perfect casting made the supernatural pastiche appear frighteningly real. Despite being part of BBC Drama s Screen One series, the presence of Michael Parkinson convinced thousands of people it was real. The drama caused an uproar and was banned from repeat transmission for over a decade.

Extras

  • THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL FICTIONAL TV PROGRAMME OF A GENERATION
  • BANNED BY THE BBC FOR A DECADE
  • ONLY EVER BROADCAST ONCE IN THE UK
  • OVER 30,000 PHONE CALLS TO THE BBC COMPLAINING OF HOW SCARY THE BROADCAST WAS

Review

EXTRAORDINARY - A Supernatural TV Landmark --Sfx

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By adrok on 16 Feb. 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Beginning in the cosy style of a BBC live broadcast for all the family, Ghostwatch purports to be a light-hearted Halloween ghost hunt but steadily becomes classic horror.
This documentary style drama lulls its audience into a false sense of security from the outset. Familiar faces in Michael Parkinson and Sarah Green (he the cynical uncle-figure, she all cups of tea with the be-spooked family)strengthen the atmosphere of cosiness, and the production itself takes seriously the viewers' disbelief about the paranormal - sceptical characters are strong in number, hoax calls are made to the studio and even the presenters have their tongues firmly in cheek.
As the story of the house cleverly and subtly unravels, the atmosphere turns increasingly disturbing and features some genuinely horrific moments. Viewers will have to be eagle-eyed to catch all the 'sightings' of the house ghost, and the intricacies of the plot and what is seen on screen reward repeat viewings.
Although the unbelievable ending is widely criticised, this surely is the re-establishment of the norm in terms of restoring the audience's cynicism after they have been taken in by the authentic horror of what has gone before.
Terrifying stuff.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was 12 when I watched this. My parents had gone to a Halloween party, leaving me at home with my brother. I'd been told it was only a drama, but there was something about it that was so creepy I couldn't handle it; in fact, I had to kip in with my mum for a couple of weeks! As I was only twelve years old and had never seen anything *quite* so creepy (people forget it's about a transvestite paedophile who dies in his home and is eaten by cats), it really disturbed me. I was so used to seeing Sarah Greene doing her thing, it started to feel very *real* - and in the end, I did start to think oh my god this *must* be real! I remember turning to my older brother, saying, "Turn it over, turn it over!!" But he wouldn't! It scared the heebeejeebees out of me. Especially towards the end when the camera pans across the room and we catch a tiny glimpse of the ghost 'Pipes', standing in some kind of red robe against the wall; the camera swings back and he's gone! I'll never forget it. Call me stupid, but I'd never underestimate the power of 'art' or the human imagination to make *anything* seem real.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Tron-UK on 16 Oct. 2011
Format: DVD
I remember being suckered into this on the night the BBC screened it, and ok i admit i was under the impression that it was a "Live Transmission". I hadn't seen any of the TV listings, just the short preview and as it was supposed to be chilling i watched it and got completely drawn in by the storyline which is superbly written by Stephen Volk.
Featuring the ever-reliable Michael Parkinson as the show's anchorman, he carries the part off well, aided also by Mike Smith and Sarah Greene, familiar faces known to the british public, and very convincing they are too.

Of course, Ghostwatch went on to become one of the most controversial programmes ever put out by the BBC, though it WAS previously billed as a "Drama", the kicker was - it was being screened as a Live Event, Live Feeds, happening on Halloween night at the most haunted house in North London - the fictitious "Foxhill Drive".

Without giving too much away, what really makes Ghostwatch work exceptionally well is the writing by Stephen Volk. The slow build up of supernatural tension which is deliberately layered until the final act where all hell breaks loose and we are thrown in at the deep end at the mercy of "Pipes" the ghostly lodger, grimly accompanied by the sound of feline cat wails and static burst sound effects.

I bought the original dvd release a few years ago when it was put out by BFI so it's great that there is a reissue of what is now deemed a classic supernatural shocker which created such a fuss back in 1992.
..Just in time for Halloween too!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "archeros" on 9 Mar. 2006
Format: DVD
I first watched this as many others did back on halloween night 1992 and at first i thought it was a documentary (similar to most haunted we have today) but it became pretty clear from the outset that this was a drama, not to take anything away from what was and still is a very fine piece of horror, the drama revolves around an investigation into the paranormal at a normal suburban house in northolt, this involves michael parkinson and mike smith in the studio with several knowledgeable guests and sarah greene at the family home also craig charles looking at incidents in the surrounding area.
Things start off slowly but as sarah greene begins to realise as we the viewer also this house and the spirits within are not to be trifled with particularily one the kids have named "pipes".
As the "incidents" become more frequent and more scary the drama really does so too and there are several memorable moments for instance the cameraman pans quickly to the right to see sarah greene and you and the cameraman notice something lurking in the shadows but when he pans back ITS GONE very creepy.
The ending much maligned i felt was fitting because at the end of the day ghostwatch was just a bit of hokum so to have michael parkinson be possessed and the studio gone crazy made you realise that this was entertainment nothing more.
The aftershock of the showing of ghostwatch bemused me there were countless complaints to the bbc, people thought genuinely it was real when quite clearly it wasn't, to this day it has never been shown again a huge huge shame as this was one of the bbcs finest hours, you will probably never get to see this on telly again so i would implore you to buy a copy on dvd wait until dark turn the lights out and enjoy, great stuff!!
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