- Enjoy £1.00 reward to spend on movies or TV on Amazon Video when you purchase a DVD or Blu-ray offered by Amazon.co.uk. A maximum of 1 reward per customer applies. UK customers only. Offer ends at 23:59 GMT on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 Here's how (terms and conditions apply)
Ghost Stories from the BBC: A View From a Hill / Number 13 (DVD)
- Choose from over 13,000 locations across the UK
- Prime members get unlimited deliveries at no additional cost
- Find your preferred location and add it to your address book
- Dispatch to this address when you check out
Special offers and product promotions
Frequently bought together
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
BBC Ghost Stories: A View From a Hill + Number 13
Films by Luke Watson + Pier Wilkie
A View From a Hill (2005)
A film by Luke Watson
When young museum curator Fanshawe is sent to catalogue a debt-laden squire's archaeological collection, he uses a pair of homemade binoculars borrowed from his genial host to survey local 'Gallows Hill'. The glasses seem to give him a strange new ability and, ignoring all warnings about their necromantic creator, Fanshawe carries out his historical researches. But the bloody past of the area is best left undisturbed
Adapted from a short tale by M R James, the master of the English ghost story, A View From a Hill remains faithful in spirit to its literary creator and features an excellent lead performance from Mark Letheren as the uptight, doomed Fanshawe
Number 13 (2006)
A film by Pier Wilkie
Dissatisfied with his hotel room, Professor Anderson demands to be moved to number 12 where he can work undisturbed. But, infuriated by the ghoulish noises made nightly by his neighbour, he is soon driven to investigate the diabolical secrets of the old hotel and its mysteriously vanishing room 13.
M R James' spooky tale was shot in the grounds and library of Winchester Cathedral, lending a rich period atmosphere to this terrifying adaptation.
- Ghost Stories for Christmas with Christopher Lee - 'Number 13' by M R James (Eleanor Yule, 2000, 30 mins): Ronald Frame's adaptation is brought to life by horror maestro Christopher Lee
- Illustrated booklet with newly commissioned essays by Jonathan Rigby and Simon McCallum
UK | 2005 + 2006 | colour | English language, with optional hard-of-hearing subtitles | 39 minutes + 40 minutes | DVD9 | Original aspect ratio 1.78:1 (16x9 anamorphic) | Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps) | Region 2 DVD
Customers who bought this item also bought
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
"A View From A Hill" was the BBC's first try. It was clearly shot on a small budget, and its quick editing clearly roots it in the 2000s as a modern production. I found it to be a masterful telling of M.R. James story. In fact, this one is even more Jamesian than the book, if that's possible. The protagonist is changed from an ageing academic on holiday to an younger, rather uptight academic cataloguing some antiquities. That's really rather Jamesian. The small cast give it a slightly claustrophobic feel, as does the location filming in the rather gloomy house. The special effects (the titular view from the hill) are simple but work brilliantly. The ending is rewritten for the story making it much more dramatic than the original story, which fizzles away slightly. This is a worthy successor to the earlier 1970s episodes, with a superb scary feel and a tightly scripted and well acted story.
The following year the BBC clearly threw some more money at the series in the adaptation of "Number 13". Moving the location from Denmark as in the book to an English cathedral city, the beautiful filming around the city and in the cathedral library echoes the earlier greats from the 70s such as "The Stalls of Barchester" and "The Treasure of Abbott Thomas". Hiring Greg Wise as the protagonist, a few non-Jamesian subplots were introduced which marred the simplicity of the original story. However, the whole episodes does rather capture the feel of the 1970s episodes, more so than "View from a Hill" which felt more modern. For me, this is one of M.R. James's best stories, and one that is probably hard to dramatise really well. Knowing the story probably helps to enjoy this episode, since some elements can be subtle in this episode.
It's a shame BBC4 left it with these two, however they did produce an original Mark Gatiss ghost story a few years later, Crooked House, another atmospheric Christmas ghostly tale.
From the bonus features, it's good to see Christopher Lee return with one of his films from the "Ghost Stories for Christmas" series from 2000. Returning the setting to Viborg in Denmark, this reading/partial dramatisation of "Number 13" is as good as the main feature. These productions were superb too; glimpses of the Christmas tree, beautiful rooms, antiquarian books and glasses of port - fabulously atmospheric.
One of the better things to come out of the BBC in the 2000s, these stories were a welcome return for M.R. James and are a fitting close for the "Ghost Story for Christmas" series. They may not have that warm vintage feel of the 70s episodes, but they are still outstanding TV films in their own right, evoking the terror and claustrophobia of the original stories, and reminding us of the 70s greats at the same time. Another superb release, an essential for fans of the genre.
M. R. James returned to our screens in style with these two stories, unsettling tales of too-curious academics stumbling upon old - but not forgotten - deeds. The styles of the two productions are quite different but each works well in its own way. A booklet introduces the productions.
Worthy of equal billing with the main features, far more than just a DVD `extra', is the dramatised reading of `Number 13' by Christopher Lee.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
`A View From A Hill' is a pared-down work of art, proving that you do not need a large cast or a huge budget to produce a great ghost story. James' text is altered in a few ways which improve the drama and the shock value; the chummy, wealthy squire and his visiting friend become a rather acerbic man with a run-down house and one remaining servant, and the young antiquary who has come to value the squire's father's collection for sale. But that collection includes the papers of the definitely late Mr. Baxter ("he wasn't liked") and a curiously heavy pair of binoculars, drawing the visitor into very strange events.
The convincing locations, clever camerawork and filming in beautiful autumnal countryside, subtle music and three perfect performances all combine to make this a modern classic. Less may be more, and what is not seen can be more frightening - that's certainly the case here as confusion turns to discovery, to delight and then to panic and terror. For me, this adaptation is comparable with the very best of the original series of ghost stories.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
`Number 13' is a far more glossy production, successful in its own way and very enjoyable, but it moves further from James' text and introduces new elements and sub-plots that sometimes seem out of place. However, they are hinted at by parts of the original story - what if the respectable hotel in which you are staying was not always quite so respectable? As Dr. Anderson ferrets around in the cathedral archives, he starts to uncover clues to a far from reputable past. But how can that matter in the present, to a scholar who simply wants to work at his books by day and get a good night's sleep - in room number twelve?
With its Victorian setting and somewhat more lavish production, this feels like a classic BBC costume drama. The location filming is again excellent, giving an almost `Christmas card' feeling at times, but also the feeling that around this particular cathedral city there may also be celebrations of older and very different `religious' festivals. Greg Wise plays a typical Jamesian `hero', rather arrogant and self-confident and clearly heading for a fall. This works well in the context of the story but is quite different from the original character, also the ending is more definite, leaving none of the sense of doubt that haunts the original story. However, it works well as a television ghost story and we have the benefit of Christopher Lee's performance of the original for comparison, so do enjoy your visit to `Number 13' ...
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
`Ghost Stories for Christmas with Christopher Lee' provides a dramatised reading (30 min) of `Number 13'. Far more than a `DVD extra', like all this quartet of readings it is superb, raising the spirit of the legendary Christmas Eve gatherings where James would perform his latest ghost story to academic colleagues and undergraduates, late at night in the Provost's Lodge.
By candlelight and firelight, the audience assembles and glasses of port are passed round, then something reminds the host of an uncanny experience. The tale begins, not merely read but performed by Christopher Lee with a lifetime's skill.
The story is abridged but James' original text is faithfully followed, illustrated only by a few simple vignettes, scenes such as the listeners might imagine, and their reactions of interest gradually turning to chilled horror as the narrative unfolds. The television adaptation did expand on and alter the story in many ways, so this wonderful reading is not only fine entertainment but gives the viewer a chance to experience the original in an `authentic' setting; perfect viewing for a winter's night.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews