Fans of Sir Michael Parkinson have been pleading with the BBC to lift the ban on cult horror programme Ghostwatch, but it doesn’t appear like they will get their way.
The found-footage pseudo TV documentary, which aired on BBC One on Halloween in 1992, featured Sarah Greene and her late husband Mike Smith, as well as TV legend Sir Michael – who died in August 2023 at the age of 88 – conducting an apparent live investigation of a haunted house on the fictional Foxhill Drive, Northolt, Greater London.
The broadcast had Greene’reporting live’ from the residence to film paranormal activity by a malicious spirit known as ‘Mr. Pipes,’ who has been terrorising the Early family.
As Smith accepted ‘calls’ from the public, Sir Parkinson was seen presenting from the studio.
After conducting a countrywide séance during the show, Mr. Pipes took over the home and possessed Parkinson in the studio.
Following its transmission, Ghostwatch received thousands of complaints from people who thought the incidents were genuine.
It has established a cult following in recent years, but despite pleas for it to be broadcast again – as it has been elsewhere – Greene claims the BBC is too afraid to show it again.It has established a cult following in recent years, but despite pleas for it to be broadcast again – as it has been elsewhere – Greene claims the BBC is too afraid to show it again.
Appearing on the Beyond The Title podcast, she said: ‘They won’t even repeat it, people have repeatedly asked the BBC to repeat and they won’t, they won’t repeat it. I think it would be fun.
‘But part of me thinks actually it’s probably best they don’t because then it stays in that kind of slightly cult, niche area.’
Greene, 65, believes Ghostwatch will never be remade because current audiences are too intelligent to be tricked.
She added: ‘I don’t think you could do another one, because it’s been done and people would spot it a mile off. They’d say, “Well, this is a drama.” I don’t know if you could do that again, really. I think the BBC would be very nervous of it.’
The former Going Live host is particularly proud of the show’s influence and the fact that it spawned the found-footage horror genre popularised by films like The Blair Witch Project.
She said: ‘It went out and it had a huge audience and it had an amazing reaction. It got a massive audience on the night but it sort of gets more popular every year, it gains a new audience and even though it now looks quite old fashioned, it does look old fashioned, I think there’s something about the story, the energy of it that still holds up for people watching it for the first time.
‘I think that’s down to the writing of it and certainly down to Lesley’s direction. I don’t think we realised it was going to be ground-breaking. Mike and I realised there might be a lot of hitting the fan straight after but we didn’t think of it as ground-breaking.
‘I don’t think you ever do at the time, when you’re doing something, you don’t realise, it’s only with hindsight that you see that it did break ground. It laid the foundations for things like The Blair Witch Project, Most Haunted, all those sorts of programmes.’