Monday, 31 October 2011

The little red light's on...

In celebration of our favourite Hallowe'en Hoax's nineteenth birthday (and not forgetting, a second, wonderful National Séance!), we thought you might like to check out this sneak peek of a certain work in progress...


Stay tuned for 2012, Ghostwatchers.

Monday, 24 October 2011

♫ It's the most wonderful time of the year... ♫

Greetings Ghostwatchers!

Yes, the nineteenth anniversary of Ghostwatch's first and (as-yet) only full UK television broadcast is almost upon us and you know what that means... National Séance 2011!

All you have to do to take part in our annual event is set your own personal copy of Ghostwatch to start at 21:25 on Hallowe'en Night (Monday 31st October) and then join us on Twitter to comment on the proceedings (not forgetting to use the #Ghostwatch hashtag after each message).

For anyone who missed our last event, it really was a lot of fun... less the sound of wailing cats coming from upstairs, spontaneous somnambuliform possession, bits of exploded coffee table landing in our tea, perfectly oval puddles appearing on the carpet, and the inexplicable streams of warm blood dripping down the (brand-new!) wallpaper. Saying that, we hope to hear from you all again, this year.

And remember, for added authenticity, you can play the original Ghostwatch continuity announcement below about a minute before we start (or for the purists, 21:24:14).

...Thumbs at the ready, Net-Phreaks!


 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

It's in the machine... again.

So... yesterday, I was strolling around Morrisons. Picked up the papers, a loaf of bread, some milk and a brand-new copy of Ghostwatch on DVD..!

First off, let me say a big thank-you to everyone who got in touch to let us know our favourite Hallowe'en Hoax was being re-issued on DVD this month. And whilst it's great to see the show getting some much-deserved attention in time for the 19th Anniversary, we've also had a lot of emails asking if this is related to the Behind the Curtains project, and just to be clear, it is not.

We've also been getting a lot of questions regarding whether the new disc has any extra content or special features. While this release does only contain the main feature, one change you might notice from the previous BFI DVD is that this version reinstates the rather fantastic Screen One 'boulder' ident that came before the pre-titles, just as it was on the night of transmission.

More soon, Ghostwatchers!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Ghostwatch & The Awakening Screenings in Nottingham

Greetings, Ghostwatchers!

Two new items have been added to the events list - both of which are taking place in Nottingham, and also featuring appearances from Ghostwatch writer, Stephen Volk.

The first event is a screening of The Awakening on Thursday 27th October.

The second is a screening of Ghostwatch on Sunday 30th October. Both will include Q&As with Stephen, and for The Awakening screening, director and co-writer, Nick Murphy, too.

The venue is the Broadway Cinema, which will be home to the Mayhem Horror Film Festival - a five-day event which promises "ghosts. gore, extreme cinema, haunted TV, weird science and much much more".


For ticket prices/more info, check out the links above. And if you're able to attend, be sure to let us know how everything goes!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Target Ovarian Cancer

On Sunday, 11th of September, Target Ovarian Cancer will be at the Adidas 5K Women's Challenge in Hyde Park, London, in what promises to be a great day out.

Captaining the team is the inimitable Sarah Greene, and she has this message for you...

‘As Team Captain for Target Ovarian Cancer at this year's Adidas 5k Women's Challenge, I would like to invite you and your friends and family to join us. I would love you to be a part of our team at this magnificent and crucial event in London's Hyde Park, to raise as much money as possible for a cause very close to my heart.

Whether you choose to run, jog or walk - I'll be walking! - the money we raise in sponsorship will fund Target Ovarian Cancer's vital work improving diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for the 6,800 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer every year in the UK.

Please join me and all of us on the Target Ovarian Team in supporting every woman living with ovarian cancer.’


- Sarah Greene


The time and place to meet is around 10.00am under the Target Ovarian Cancer banner at or near the Princes Gate. It goes without saying, this is a really worthy cause, and a wonderful event to be part of, so let's all get behind Sarah and her team and help to raise as much money as possible. Good luck to everyone taking part!

You can check out the course map here:

http://static.womenschallenge.co.uk/pdf/awc_coursemap.pdf

And for more details on the event, please visit:

www.targetovarian.org.uk
www.womenschallenge.co.uk/charity_listings/target_ovarian/
www.womenschallenge.co.uk/onlineentry/entry/London/

Also, for all you Tweeters out there, keep up to date with news from Sarah and her husband/Ghostwatch co-star, Mike Smith on their official Twitter feeds:

@RealSarahGreene
@MikeSmithFTV

Thursday, 25 August 2011

...I think they're more interested in my epididymis.

We very rarely report on non-Ghostwatch matters around these here parts, but this particular news bite seemed just too good to pass up. Plus, it's got the word 'Ghost' in it. So there.

Living legend, Dan Aykroyd has been flying the flag for a third Ghostbusters movie now for so long, it appears that time has finally taken its toll on his beloved band of paranormal investigators and eliminators. It goes without saying, the original flick is an undoubted classic which managed to spawn a kooky sequel and remarkably impressive, first wave animated series, The Real Ghostbusters, but even the finest trilogies rarely end on the best movie...

The veritable Twinkie of a spoiler that Mr. Aykroyd recently revealed on the Dennis Miller Radio Show was such a wonderfully melancholic piece of character description for the aging Dr. Ray Stantz that my hopes (or should I say, 'spirits'?) are once more beginning to rise in anticipation of the 'upcoming' GB III. If you're a fan of the series, and don't mind being very slightly spoiled, do check out the sample clip on the above link.

Here's hoping the entire team will return this one last time to slug it out with some pesky poltergeists before staying on to dance the night away with some of the lovely ladies who witnessed the disturbance. This is Casey Kasem, now on with the countdown!

The Awakening

Actress, Rebecca Hall
...A chilling new film written by Stephen Volk, you say? Yes, please.

Arriving this November (TBC), The Awakening tells the story of scientist, Florence Cathcart, a ghost-debunker who is called to a countryside boarding school to investigate rumours of an apparent haunting, only to find her own beliefs challenged.

Co-written and directed by Nick Murphy, the film's official blurb reads, 'A classic ghost-story in the tradition of MR James.' Boasting an impressive cast that includes among others, Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton and Joseph Mawle, this buzz surrounding this new project and its recent premiere at the Toronto Film Festival all sounds very promising indeed.

You can find out more about the film by visiting Stephen's official site.

                   

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Screening at the Star and Shadow Cinema

On Wednesday 20th of July, the Alien Nation II event will be hosting a special screening of Ghostwatch at the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle, featuring a guest appearance from writer/creator, Stephen Volk!

It's already been said many times before that there's something particularly special about watching Ghostwatch with an audience. With the added bonus of an introduction from Stephen, it looks set to be a very fun night out indeed.

More details can be found by clicking the picture above, or click below for this great article written by Thomas Bagnall for Narc Magazine.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Houston, they have a problem...

An upcoming new entry in the Found Footage sub-genre, September 2nd marks the release of Apollo 18 - a spooky tale concerning a group of American astronauts sent on a secret mission to the moon in 1972, and found someone, or something, already waiting for them.

Looks interesting. As a kind-of retro/techno 'Blair Witch in Space', there are plenty of opportunities for shocks and surprises here. Being so far from home, the characters face an impossible fight for survival against this apparent alien threat, and from the looks of the trailer below, maybe even from each other...

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Well, I had a bet on with your husband...

Yes, it looks like Ghostwatch has (kind-of) finally entered into the world of equestrian events with a horse rather aptly named, Ghost Watch.

In our never-ending search for all-things related to the show, you can imagine our surprise on happening upon this listing for the three-year-old son of Gilded Time and Tucker's Watch, stating he is currently located in Pennsylvania, USA, and was also the winner in his latest start.

Check out the accompanying video below to see Ghost recently take home 1st place at Penn National Race Course!


Saturday, 18 June 2011

There's been nothing on the news..!

Thanks again to Ghostwatch-aficionado, Stephen Freestone, for unearthing this clip from the BBC Radio 2 comedy-satire show, The News Huddlines.

Remember, we're always on the lookout for long-lost mentions of our favourite Hallowe'en Hoax, so feel free to drop us a line if you have anything cool that you'd like to share.

All you have to do is head on over to our contact page and get in touch!


Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Shivers #101

Anyone with a subscription to Shivers magazine around December 2002 will surely remember this great 2-page spread on Ghostwatch.

Marking the show's tenth anniversary and the (then-recent) BFI DVD release, writer/creator, Stephen Volk's piece joins the pantheon of retrospective-style articles that help paint a clear picture of the show, several years after it premiered on BBC One.

There's even a Top 10 Scary Things You Never Knew About Ghostwatch feature with one particular trivia tidbit, "in the tradition of the show", not entirely true... Can you tell which one it is? Answer in the comments section below!


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Full Blown Visual Apparitions

One more to add to the ever-widening online collection of Ghostwatch fan-art, check out this truly demonic custom DVD cover from customaniacs.org.

Taking its cues from the good-old Ceefax layout and, um... The Exorcist, the full-size image is available to download providing you first register with the site.

Quite an interesting design choice, I think you'll agree, from creators, 'Boonsaint' and 'heirofthedog' - particularly the television set border, and spooky static distortion...
  

Friday, 13 May 2011

Lots of questions there, that need answering...

Back when the Behind the Curtains project was just a gleam in our eyes, there was Ghostwatch.info - the very first fan-site dedicated to everyone's favourite Hallowe'en Hoax.

To mark the recent updating of the BtC blog, we thought it might be interesting to look back and interview Stephen Freestone, the man behind the now sadly closed-down website, and find out what inspired him to take Ghostwatch for its first ride on the Information Super-Highway...

Hi, Stephen! So, what are your earliest memories of Ghostwatch?

My earliest memories were from the night itself – October 31 1992. Three of us were together at a friend’s house, Dinsdales – not his real name, but a nick-name taken from the chant of Spiny Norman in Monty Python’s Flying Circus!

We were just chilling; playing Sensible Soccer and Speedball 2 on the classic Amiga 1500 computer, an amazing machine that sadly was superseded quickly by PCs. Anyway, come nearly 9.30 we looked to see what was on and the BBC said ‘Ghostwatch’ so we thought yeah let's give that a go. I had a blank VHS with me so I asked my friend to stick it on record, and he did. At that time I was recording everything, even the continuity because I was always nerdish about that sort of stuff, so the tape has the sports news, weather and a Sunday run through – this is on YouTube somewhere! I still have that same tape nearly 20 years on, although its contents also include the last Thames News (!) are now archived on DVD.

I think very quickly we realised that the programme was ‘fake’, I don’t have any memories though of the Screen One tag, so either ignored it or just didn’t see it. One or two things didn’t make sense from a ‘naturalistic’ point of view – the ‘discussion programme’ featuring the Early Family, we clearly knew didn’t exist and it did start to dawn on us all that this was a drama and wasn’t real.

I do still remember the silence afterwards from all three of us. We were all 18 year old teenagers as well!

As I have said in the past, I think all three of us had listened some years before to a local radio show on Halloween Night called, also, Ghostwatch, which was broadcast on the four stations that make up BBC East Midlands – Derby, Lincolnshire, Nottingham and Leicester. This programme is mentioned in the Ghost Stations range of books by Bruce Barrymore Halpenny. It’s possible we made some connection to this radio show as well, even though there wasn’t one.

What led to the opening of 'Ghostwatch.info', and when did the site go live?

I have a degree in Film and Television from Brunel University in 1996. Since leaving university I had loads of research written, little bits of trivia and essays all over the place – my dissertation was on The X Files and the Internet for instance. I also had a lot of TV related stuff that I wanted to make use of so I created my first website, which featured history of TV in the UK, The X Files, Doctor Who – just things that I was interested in then, and maybe now (well certainly the latter show!). Ghostwatch was part of that and after a few years I realised it was the most popular segment because of the emails I was getting. I think around 2001/2 time Ghostwatch.info was born, but it really is impossible for me to say now for reasons I talk about on Question 6.

What kind of articles, content, etc. did Ghostwatch.info feature? 

It was a site that brought together a lot of information about the programme, as well as a few screenshots and also a copy of the initial continuity announcement for the show which even now brings up goose pimples because although he does say ‘Screen One’ it’s still said with a great deal of authority and seriousness.

When the site went up, a video release, a DVD release, was totally out of the question. Indeed a guy from the BBC said he doubted the show would ever be released, but it wasn’t locked away or anything like that, like the 1960s “War Game” drama-documentary on nuclear war had been, as people had suggested.

One of the popular elements to the site was ‘Where’s Pipes’ and it gathered together a lot of screenshots, which nowadays look rotten because they were taken from an analogue source and I didn’t quite have the software to do it justice, but you could see Pipes and I tried to single him out in places. There is one sighting, in the street with Craig Charles talking to the medium that was really difficult to actually pin down, but hopefully I did my best!

What kind of reaction did the site bring about? Did anyone who worked on Ghostwatch ever get in touch? What was the fanbase like in the early days?

Stephen Volk contacted me around that time and wrote an introduction, and I also spoke to other people involved in the production who were very enthusiastic and indeed chuffed that this little show that caused so much controversy was ten years later being treated with so much respect.

Interestingly I have just had a look at the wayback archive which carries a lot of screenshots of Ghostwatch.info from 2002, and certainly October 29 2002 saw nearly 1,000 visitors to the site. From memory I know it was very, very popular particularly around Halloween and I tended to get a lot more interest and emails around that time of the year.

Were there any funny stories/surprises during the running of the site (especially related to Ghostwatch!)? 

Sadly freaking out when one of the stars contacted me! Nowadays I would have been cooler with it, I feel now the site lost out big style. But hey I was always more interested in the behind the camera team than the talent!

I also got in contact with a University student who was doing his own dissertation on Ghostwatch and he wondered if I could get him a copy if he would send credentials. Now I had so many requests from people anxious for a copy of Ghostwatch over the years and could have made a fortune, but I just ignored the requests usually, but this guy seemed genuine. It turned out the university he was with was Lincoln – and that was where I lived at the time! So that was the only copy I ever let out, but it was for educational use!

What led to the closure of Ghostwatch.info, when did it go offline, and what was next for you? 

The Naughties are a hell of a blur for me because of a lot of things had changed in my life, which was one of the sad reasons why the site closed.

Briefly, I got married, although I am now separated, and we have a beautiful little boy who has a lot of issues and medical needs – check out http://www.dandy-walker.org/ because this little known condition can affect anyone. So, unfortunately real life took over and Ghostwatch.info died, but I still have all the pages, photos as well as somewhere, the wonderful emails I received.

Plus in a way I felt the site had achieved something, perhaps not directly, but the release of the programme on DVD. That to me was a really proud thing to the whole venture. It didn’t make any money but I did talk to some fine people, all brought together by a programme that caused the BBC a lot of problems way back in 1992!

Thanks again to Stephen for his time, and one memorable website!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Withnail and Pipes...

It's been so long since I last saw the fantastic Brit flick, Withnail & I, that I completely forgot about this little trivia tidbit. It goes without saying, it was real treat to catch the cult classic again on Film Four, recently. If you haven't done so already, I highly recommend you pick up a copy on DVD - if only to discover that at least one of Pipes' dozen cats was previously owned by Richard Griffith's character, Uncle Monty...

Sunday, 24 April 2011

X Rated: Top 20 Most Controversial TV Moments (E4, 2005)

Wow, it's been a while since we last updated the blog, hasn't it? But then, we have been rather busy of late...

An interesting excerpt here from E4's, X Rated: Top 20 Most Controversial TV Moments, hosted by the truly indomitable, Bronx Bunny and Teddy T. First broadcast back in 2005, the countdown/clip show/special discussed twenty controversial moments in TV history, with everyone's favourite Hallowe'en Hoax coming in at a well-deserved first place.

Coming in at Number Four was the rather splendid, Séance, which according to its creator, Derren Brown, was partly inspired by Ghostwatch, too. Check out the segment, below - if only to discover that Terry Nutkins is apparently a fellow Ghostwatcher...



Thursday, 10 March 2011

You Ain't Gonna Believe This, I'm Tellin' You..!

Shortly before the segment on Ghostwatch during the most recent episode of How TV Ruined Your Life, Charlie Brooker briefly mentioned Alternative 3 - a show with a similar premise which centered on the discovery of a government secret that could make or break the future of humanity.

As a kind of spiritual precursor to the hugely enjoyable National Séance 2010, coming April 1st 2011 will be the Alternative 3 Live Tweet Screening! It's almost exactly the same setup as before - we'll be starting our copies of Alternative 3 at precisely the same time and ask you to do the same and tweet about what you're seeing on Twitter - although for this particular event, the date will reflect Alternative 3's originally planned broadcast rather than its actual transmission (the show was intended to be shown on April 1st 1977, but was pushed back to June 20th of the same year).

The time to start your personal recording will be 21:00 sharp. A fitting date, I think you'll agree (and no, this isn't a trick like last time... promise!). Best of all, DVD copies of Alternative 3 don't appear to be hugely expensive at the moment if you're feeling frivolous and might like to pick up a copy to add to your collection.

As always, looking forward to seeing you there, Ghostwatchers!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

How TV Ruined Your Life (BBC Two, 08/03/11)

Last night, during the concluding episode of critic/cultural commentator Charlie Brooker's absorbing BBC series, How TV Ruined Your Life (specifically, at the 13:30 minute mark), the show took a unexpectedly spooky turn...

Whilst on the subject of television's seemingly inherent ability to subjugate audiences' perceptions by blurring the lines between fact and fiction, we the audience were treated to a fleeting/erudite hark back to everyone's favourite Hallowe'en horror show.

Most remarkable, and not to mention genuinely heartening to behold, was the overwhelmingly positive response that this little trip down (repressed) memory lane seemed to generate at near lightning-speed via The Online Voice Of The People™, Twitter - with news coming through at one point that the word 'Ghostwatch' had even taken on the intermittently distinguished title of Trending Topic.

It's also worth noting how thoroughly encouraging it was to see even just a couple of minutes of Ghostwatch back on the old telly box, at long last; where many agree, it most certainly belongs.

Intriguingly, this isn't the first time Mr. Brooker and Ghostwatch have been mentioned in the same sentence. Not too long ago, the following tidbit was stumbled upon in an article for The Guardian newspaper... "Charlie watched the 1992 spooktacular Ghostwatch at four in the morning, and, having initially laughed at Sarah Greene's performance, soon found himself getting genuinely frightened."

You can check out the show in full for a limited period on the BBC iPlayer by clicking the link below. For those who missed it, this episode will also be repeated on BBC Four on the 12th of this month at eleven. Just try not to have sleepless nights... http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/zg1rh/
 

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

...Like a teddy bear?

Of course, the real question here is why? ...and also, what? ...and where? and when?... and finally maybe even, who?

Not very likely to be heading to a toy shop near you any time soon is this curious little photo set recently found drifting across the increasingly haunted Interwebs... It's interesting to note how the creator of this eerily reminiscent reproduction of the seldom glimpsed Mr. Pipes seems to have gone for their own interpretation of the character's macabre appearance rather than just imitate the as yet only published photograph of actor Keith Ferrari in full make up and costume.



Behind the Curta... --sorry-- ...scenes, Pipes' actual dress had more of a blue-greyish hue with a repeating pattern, but here, his funky threads seem to have more in common with the various tallying descriptions 'phoned in' to Mike Smith's studio hotline by concerned viewers, and later confirmed by Kim Early's university interview with Lin Pascoe: old man/woman, bald/skull-like head, dark/red eyes, scratched nose, black dress, buttons, etc.

Do you know who made this, or perhaps more interestingly, why? Drop us a line at the usual address and help us solve this mystery!

Friday, 21 January 2011

The Slime's Comin' Home... again..!

Yes, it appears that Ghostwatch star and self-admitted "tasteless, uncouth, mindless, tone-deaf, randy, blokish, semi-literate space bum", Craig Charles is finally set to return to the millennial-spanning, curry-stained universe of super-cool-sci-fi-sit-com Red Dwarf.


The truly remarkable success of the recent Back to Earth specials on Dave has clearly been a major driving force behind this recent turn of events (not forgetting the show's lasting success over the years, and an ever-increasing number of loyal supporters, worldwide).

What bold new direction the upcoming tenth series might take is anybody's guess at the moment. At this point, there are even murmurings of a possible return to live studio audience recording which is sure to delight the already white-knuckled fanbase. In any event, we can expect Listy, Rimmsy, Krytie and the Cat to be gracing our screens the very same year that we shall also be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Ghostwatch in some shape or form...

Until then, you'll have to excuse me - I'm late for a seminar on time travel that's due to take place three weeks ago. While I jump-start the time drive, can someone put the old bazookoids on charge and find me what's left of last month's jalfrezi..?



For the latest and greatest news on the upcoming Red Dwarf series, check out:
www.reddwarf.co.uk
www.ganymede.tv

And for those among us with an over-active connoisseur chip:
www.reddwarffans.deviantart.com