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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 (72 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005OJCPZU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,781 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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11 of 11 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 "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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Od Smith on 12 Feb. 2004
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
After years of owning Ghostwatch on pirated VHS tapes (which run out due to everyone wanting to see what the fuss was about), it's a joy and relief to be able to get a good quality copy of your own, without snooping through TV fairs and eBay. And this comes from somebody aged 12 when they watched it on Halloween 1992.
But step away from the controversy and the temptation of this being a forbidden fruit for a decade - is it any good, or is it as bad as so many other things you weren't allowed to see (ie, Faces of Death et al)? The answer is simple - it's better, in a league with the equally realistic (and bloody frightening) The War Game.
You have to think of the context when watching it now, of course, as a certain element is lost by it not being "live on BBC1" as it was in 1992 - yet it still packs a punch and lingers in your mind after watching it, which is ultimatly the best things you can say about ANY aspect of the horror genre, from books to films.
It starts innocuously, with Parky playing his usual role of the studio anchor you can trust(TM), chairing a discussion on the paranormal, with links to an allegedly haunted house in Northolt with the Early family, as well as Sarah Greene and Craig Charles on site. It playes as you would expect a one hour (as it is set up) investigatitive documentary for the first 45 minutes or so, before events unfold one way, making it appear to be a hoax (as was the "Enfield Poltergeist" case it was based upon), before events take a much darker, more sinister turn for the worst, as the plot reveals certain details to make it even more grave.
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