ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ghostwatch. The Scariest Tv Show Ever Made?

Updated on December 31, 2022
Zakmoonbeam profile image

Michael loves nothing better than a good conspiracy served with a side of paranormal investigation.


Scariest TV Show Ever?
Scariest TV Show Ever? | Source

The Birth of Reality TV?

"The program you are about to watch is a unique live investigation of the supernatural. It contains material some viewers may find to be disturbing." Michael Parkinson, October 31st 1992.

Picture the scene. Its Halloween night, 1992. The whole of Great Britain is looking forward to a night of quality and perhaps scary TV. Up comes the familiar BBC logo, a logo you can trust. A corporation that was beyond reproach and trusted by millions of TV viewers across the entire world.

Presented by the extremely famous and talented chat show host Michael Parkinson, Ghostwatch was from the very beginning portrayed as a live on-air documentary investigation into a haunted house in Greater London.

But, was everything exactly as it seemed in those opening 10 minutes or so. Read on to find out.

The Plot of Ghostwatch

Pam Early and her two daughters lived in greater London. Within the opening minutes we see an interview with the family, which gives some small details into the terror they have been living with. In the studio are Dr Lynn Pascoe and Michael Parkinson. Back to the outside broadcast team we are introduced to Sarah Green, the host and Craig Charles (of Red Dwarf fame) who is there to provide comic relief.

The house is filled with technology, automatic cameras, thermal imaging devices and motion sensors. So far, so every ghost hunting program out there. However, remember this was years before Ghost Hunters and the recent glut of ghost hunting reality TV shows. We had never seen anything like this before!

As the program progresses we learn from the footage presented and interviews with neighbors that there are several stories relating to the area. Are they connected in some way? Who is Pipes, who was the baby farmer turned child killer and why have they chosen this family to terrorize?

As per many BBC live programs at the time there was a telephone number you could ring and the studio team took several calls during the 90 minute program. This first caller explains that she thinks she saw something during some of the pre-recorded investigation footage.

Why Not Buy it Now While You Still Can?

Was it Real?

No. Nope, not in the slightest!

But this was the clever bit. Ghostwatch was a hoax. Decades before Paranormal Activity was thought to be radically innovative, the BBC did the same thing and fooled hundreds of thousands of people into thinking they had been part of the unfolding drama, on a budget of £2.50 and some moldy old wine gums with pocket lint stuck to them.

Written by Stephen Volk initially as a 6 part drama, the decision was made to instead film it in a "mockumentary" style. Of course, having Michael Parkinson host it lent the whole thing tremendous gravitas! This guy WAS the BBC at the time.

However, Ghostwatch was not the success story you might think it was. The BBC was bombarded with complaints. Everything from people feeling their intelligence was being insulted to people who were appalled by how frightening and real the program was.

Tragically, there was one suicide relating to the program. Martin Denham, who had learning difficulties killed himself several days after seeing the program, leaving a note that read "If there are ghosts I will be ... with you always as a ghost."

This may be one of the reasons that the BBC banned further broadcasts of Ghostwatch.


Pipes in full costume
Pipes in full costume | Source


It is clear to any lover of the paranormal that Ghostwatch was heavily inspired by The Enfield Poltergeist, an alleged haunting in North London. The cover of the Doctors book is very similar to images from "This House is Haunted" by Guy Lyon Playfair who investigated Enfield. The disembodied voice was again ripped straight from the Enfield case and sounded very similar.

That said, the story did diverge in a totally different way in the last half of the program.

More interesting perhaps is how Ghostwatch has inspired other filmmakers. The creators of The Blair Witch Project have cited it as inspiration, without Ghostwatch, perhaps there would have been no Paranormal Activity and certainly a lot less paranormal reality shows!

In Conclusion

i was there man, you wouldn't understand! Yup, I saw Ghostwatch as it was "Broadcast Live" way back in 1992. In my humble opinion, this was a terrifying and innovative TV show well before its time. I loved watching it then, and have enjoyed it every time since, and there have been many!

In fact, I am watching it right now as I type this!

So, did you see Ghostwatch when it first aired? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below. If not, I urge you to watch it, but with an open mind. Remember, this program is over 20 years old, and perhaps has not aged as well as my rose tinted shades have lead me to believe...


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)