Marc Wootton stars as spoof psychic Shirley Ghostman in this series, impressing a live studio audience (who did not realise it was an act) with her spiritual encounters with famous dead celebrities such as Roy Orbison and Princess Diana. Her stage show also includes psychic healings, readings, and even songs. Also included is the one-off show 'My New Best Friend'.
This was a great show that played on BBC3 in 2005, but didn't really take off. Shirley Ghostman is a character like Derek Acorah, but taken to the extremes. Played out in front of a participating audience who didn't realise that it was a spoof, this show was splendid. Everyone else I knew who watched it though, thought it was awful, so it may be better to rent than to buy if you have never seen it. It is unashamedly controversial (summoning the spirit of dead Lady di and Karen Carpenter- singing about her anorexia) but is very funny and at least worth a peek. I would recommend it to fans of Alan Partridge in particular. The best news of all though is that I just read that the show My New Best Friend comes as a bonus disc- and that show was even funnier. Marc Wooten- the star of both shows is a genius, and surely it must only be a matter of time before he finds the right commercial vehicle to launch him as a massive star.
At the beginning of every episode a written notice informs the viewer that all participants in the programme believe Shirley Ghostman is real. Marc Wootton plays the nonsense spewing and very camp Mr Ghostman whose psychic skills know no boundaries. Infront of a live audience he channels the spirits of several dead famous people. Of particular note are Princess Diana who dishes the dirt on the Queen and Frank Sinatra who threatens the audience. Shirley also confronts the sceptics in an attempt to convince them that he really is gifted. When he meets Professor of Psychology, Christopher French, he channels the spirit of the founder of a certain fried-chicken company. How Mr French manages to keep a straight face I don't know and Wootton's improvisation skills really are first rate.
Shirley takes his apprentices on a ghost hunt in a derelict mental asylum. He detects the presence of a murderous spirit who killed his victims by "defecating in their mouths." During a seance Shirley and his apprentices make some very loud farting noises to bring the murderer's spirit closer to the table. One apprentice channels the spirit of the killer while Shirley channels the spirit of one of his victims. This is probably the highlight of the series and really is comedy gold.
This 3-disc set also includes My New Best Friend in which the participant tries to convince his real friends that a complete stranger (Marc Wootton) is their best friend. What they don't know is that living with one of Wootton's monstrous comedy creations will take them to the limits of their endurance. If successful, the participant wins £10000. This series proves that some people will do ANYTHING for money.
As a big fan of the Most Haunted series and Derek Acorah I found High Spirits very levelling and utterly hilarious. This really is one of the funniests series of recent years and Marc Wootton is one of Britain's finest comedy talents.
Shirley Ghostman is almost too funny to be true, particularly with the one-liner comments to the people featured, that I had doubts (and still do) if the comment posted up at the beginning of each show that the audience and people involved think Shirley Ghostman is real, was true or not. It's too too clever to be spontaneous, but if it is - then this man Mark Wooton is truly a comic genius.