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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.
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