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Ghostwatch (1992)

In a "live" broadcast on Halloween night, a BBC team investigate a reported poltergeist in an ordinary London home. In a "live" broadcast on Halloween night, a BBC team investigate a reported poltergeist in an ordinary London home. In a "live" broadcast on Halloween night, a BBC team investigate a reported poltergeist in an ordinary London home.

  • Lesley Manning
  • Stephen Volk
  • Michael Parkinson
  • Sarah Greene
  • 98 User reviews
  • 38 Critic reviews

Sarah Greene, Michael Parkinson, and Mike Smith in Ghostwatch (1992)

  • Phone-in Presenter

Craig Charles

  • Interviewer

Gillian Bevan

  • Dr Lin Pascoe

Brid Brennan

  • Pamela Early
  • (as Bríd Brennan)
  • Suzanne Early
  • Sound Recordist
  • Alan Demescu
  • Yvonne Etherly
  • Wendy Stott

Derek Smee

  • Arthur Lacey
  • Local TV Presenter

Colin Stinton

  • Dr Emilio Sylvestri

Ruth Sheen

  • Emma Stableford
  • All cast & crew
  • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

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Did you know

  • Trivia It earned the dubious honour of being the first TV programme to be cited in the British Medical Journal as having caused Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in children.
  • Goofs When the Policewoman enters the house you can see her smiling like shes out of character.

[last lines]

Michael Parkinson : The studio's... completely dark. Just... just blackness. All the lights have failed. The... the power's gone off.

[phosphorescent glow rises]

Michael Parkinson : We've... got some lights in the studio. I don't know... there's cameras, but I don't know which one's working... I mean... there are no... No camermen! I mean... it's difficult to know even if anybody's still... still with us, but if they are, this is the scene in this studio... this totally deserted studio.

[cats start to shriek in background]

Michael Parkinson : Autocue's still working...!..."Round and round the garden... like a teddy bear?"

Ghost : [speaking through Parkinson] Didn't believe that story about Mother Seddons, did you? Fee... fie... foe... fum.

[cats shriek as camera dies]

  • Connections Featured in Bite Back: Episode #1.13 (1992)

User reviews 98

  • barnabyrudge
  • Oct 26, 2003
  • October 31, 1992 (United Kingdom)
  • United Kingdom
  • BBC Online - Cult Vault
  • Vigília Paranormal
  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro

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  • Runtime 1 hour 31 minutes

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Ghostwatch streaming: where to watch online?

You can buy "Ghostwatch" on Amazon Video, Vudu, Microsoft Store, Google Play Movies, YouTube as download or rent it on Amazon Video, Google Play Movies, YouTube, Vudu, Microsoft Store online.

For Halloween 1992, the BBC decides to broadcast an investigation into the supernatural, hosted by TV chat-show legend Michael Parkinson. Parky (assisted by Mike Smith, Sarah Greene & Craig Charles) and a camera crew attempt to discover the truth behind the most haunted house in Britain. This ground-breaking live television experiment does not go as planned, however.

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bbc ghost watch

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‘I definitely didn’t set out to cause mass hysteria’ ... Ghostwatch, with Sarah Greene top right.

How we made: BBC mockumentary Ghostwatch

‘Our producer received a letter from a woman asking for compensation to buy new trousers for her husband, as he had soiled the ones he was wearing’

Lesley Manning, director

The script focused on the story of two girls, Kim and Suzanne Early (Cherise and Michelle Wesson), and their mother Pam (Brid Brennan), who lived in a reportedly haunted council house in Northolt, London. It was presented as a “live ghost hunt”, with reporters, interviewers and a film crew in the house, and an anchorman in the studio. To quote the screenplay: “Certain parts will be played by real television personalities, using their true names.”

I had never read anything as fresh and immediately started researching how to make the story, which was written by Stephen Volk, feel as real as possible. All of the adult cast – Michael Parkinson , Sarah Greene, Mike Smith, Craig Charles , each playing themselves – understood the concept, and were wholeheartedly behind the piece. Raymond “Pipes” Tunstall, the ghost haunting the Early family , was played by Keith Ferrari, a very game supporting artist in a non-speaking part. While he supplied the poltergeist’s physical presence, I ended up providing his guttural voice. We had done a one-hour recording session with a voiceover artist but that hadn’t cracked it.

I was trying to feature the Pipes character as much as possible: I seem to remember 13 being a satisfying number of appearances. But, as you can imagine, when it came to the cutting room, counting these wasn’t the focus of our work, and a couple were cut back. I was reaching for hyperrealism in performance, though I’m not saying I always achieved it.

It was a leap of faith on my part that Ghostwatch would air on Halloween. We hoped it would, but the production had been commissioned as a Screen One BBC drama film. I wasn’t seen as a documentary or studio director and I certainly didn’t have any control over scheduling, but it happened that there was a Screen One slot available on Halloween. A happy accident, perhaps.

Many viewers thought the programme was a real-time documentary, including, apparently, Michael Parkinson’s mother. Hopefully she deduced it was staged before his climactic possession scene. The BBC received 30,000 complaints, and imposed a 10-year ban on it being shown again. I believe our producer received a letter from one woman asking for compensation so she could buy a new pair of trousers for her husband, as he had soiled the ones he was wearing.

I definitely didn’t set out to cause mass hysteria. But I wasn’t trying to make it look like a conventional BBC movie, either. I thought the fact that it was a drama was obvious: it was trailed as such by the continuity announcer, and it opened with a “written by” credit.

Ghostwatch was using tried-and-tested formats to make us question the “truth” of television. On the front page of the script, Stephen wrote a quote from John Waite about his cousin Terry Waite , the former hostage and a humanitarian, when he heard of his release. “I won’t believe it until I see it on TV.”

Gillian Bevan, played Dr Lin Pascoe

I can’t remember whether I was allowed to read the script before auditioning: it seemed to be rather hush-hush. But I was excited to be trying out for a female director, female casting director and female producer. A rare thing in 1992.

I was blown away by Stephen’s writing and vision. He took me to hear lectures on the paranormal and gave me background reading. As far as I was concerned, I was making a very contemporary drama. It was a Screen One production with a cast list appearing in the Radio Times, so we were unprepared for the reaction Ghostwatch received from people who didn’t realise it was fictional.

The adult cast, including DJ-presenter Mike Smith, each playing themselves, were wholeheartedly behind the piece.

Michael Parkinson, playing the host presenter, was a true pro. He was very respectful to everyone. He’s a fan of Gershwin and the great American songbook, and I remember us quoting lyrics to each other between takes. I didn’t experience any on-set spookiness. Not even when my character is listening to a recording of the poltergeist’s voice.

Ghostwatch got 11 million viewers and came in under budget, but talk of a Bafta nomination was quietly crushed, and I feel sad that the controversy meant that Lesley and producer Ruth Baumgarten’s talents weren’t recognised. Over the years, however, it has garnered cult status. Jonathan Ross, Derren Brown, Mark Gatiss and Andy Nyman are fans, and a couple of years ago I did a Q&A where people came dressed as Lin Pascoe, complete with wig and designer suit. Some of them weren’t even born when Ghostwatch aired in 1992.

Looking back now, it seems amazingly ahead of its time: pre-Big Brother, and seven years before The Blair Witch Project . Apart from being a brilliant ghost story, what it was really saying was: “Be very careful what you watch, question everything, and do not allow yourself to be manipulated.”

On Halloween, we all gathered to watch it on BBC One. I got home later to an answerphone message from a comically enraged Judi Dench , complaining that I’d ruined her night. She had sat down to watch Ghostwatch but – having directed me in the theatre that summer – knew as soon as she saw me on screen that it wasn’t real.

  • How we made
  • Entertainment TV
  • Michael Parkinson
  • Craig Charles

Most viewed

Ghostwatch: The BBC Halloween Hoax That Traumatized Viewers

By jake rossen | oct 7, 2016 | updated: oct 11, 2020, 3:00 pm edt.

Michael Parkinson, Mike Smith, and Sarah Greene in Ghostwatch (1992).

After more than 20,000 phone calls, one induced labor, and thousands of angry letters, the UK's Broadcasting Standards Council convened for a hearing. On June 27, 1995, they ruled that the producers of Ghostwatch , a BBC program that aired on Halloween night less than three years earlier, had deliberately set out to “cultivate a sense of menace.”

Put another way: The BBC had been found to be complicit in scaring 11 million people senseless.

Airing from Northolt, North London, Ghostwatch alleged to report on the paranormal experiences of the Early family, which had been besieged by the actions of a ghostly apparition they called “Pipes.” Four recognized BBC presenters appeared on the show, which took on the appearance of a straightforward documentary and offered only subtle clues that it was an elaborate hoax. For a significant portion of viewers, it appeared as though they were witnessing documented evidence of a malevolent spirit.

Viewers grew so disturbed by the content that the network became embroiled in a controversy over what audiences felt was a ruse perpetrated by a trustworthy news source; cases of post-traumatic stress disorder in children were even reported in the British Medical Journal . What the BBC had intended to be nothing more alarming than an effective horror movie had petrified a country—and would eventually lead to accusations that it was responsible for someone’s death.

There is something of a myth surrounding Orson Welles’s infamous “War of the Worlds” broadcast of October 30, 1938. As the decades have passed, accounts of how Welles used the H.G. Wells story to fool a nation into believing aliens had invaded have become embellished. Listeners had supposedly become so infused with terror that they leapt from windows and suffered nervous breakdowns. Major cities had streets crowded with people craning their necks and looking for signs of a violent galactic attack.

While it’s true a number of people may have been disturbed by the “accounts” of military forces being overwhelmed by aliens, it’s unlikely to have been as widespread as later accounts would have it. Newspapers eager to browbeat the competing medium of radio exaggerated the show’s effect, then quickly dropped the matter; it’s not likely all that many people were even listening in the first place, with the program going up against a popular comedy show airing at the same time.

A scene from Ghostwatch (1992).

As perpetrators of hoaxes go, only Stephen Volk seems to have lived up to the standard Welles is thought to have set. A screenwriter, Volk pitched the BBC on a six-part series in 1988 about a roving paranormal investigation crew that climaxes in a live tour of a supposedly haunted house.

The BBC, however, wasn’t that enthused about devoting that much time to the idea. Instead, the pitch was condensed down to the last episode—a kind of “mockumentary” take on a paranormal occurrence that the channel could air as a Halloween special.

For Volk, it represented an opportunity to explore what he felt was the relative comfort of a television broadcast. Audiences went to horror films, he believed, knowing what to expect, consenting to being scared. But television was more intimate and less predictable. Viewers who tuned in anticipating a spoof or anticlimactic, tongue-in-cheek exploration would be in for a surprise—and not a pleasant one.

To add to the program’s credibility, Volk and director Lesley Manning structured it so two BBC presenters—Sarah Greene and Craig Charles—would be installed at the Early house, while highly regarded broadcaster Michael Parkinson would anchor from a studio . (Both Charles and Greene frequently popped up on BBC children’s programming, which would prove to be a lure when it came to an adolescent audience.)

Actors portrayed members of the Early family: single mother Pam and daughters Suzanne and Kim all reported instances of strange activity in their home, including rattling, mysterious cat noises, and smashed dishes. Suzanne would sport odd scratches on her face, which she claimed to be the work of Pipes, the ghost who refused to leave their home.

(In a testament to Volk’s commitment, he petitioned the BBC to allow him to try and insert a high-pitched warble on the soundtrack that would be audible to animals near televisions, hoping their bizarre behavior would unsettle viewers more. It proved to be technically impossible to do.)

Various ideas were batted around to reinforce the disclaimer, but few made it to the air. Mike Smith, Greene’s real-life husband and an on-air BBC correspondent who appeared on the special, once told the Radio Times that he suspected things might go south. “We had a meeting with the BBC days before transmission,” he said. “And we told them that this was going to cause a fuss. They told us not to worry because it was being billed as a drama in the Radio Times complete with a cast list. But we felt that wasn't enough."

By the time Ghostwatch premiered at 9:25 p.m. on October 31, 1992, the special had already been filmed, showing Parkinson reacting to segments and taking calls—all staged—that invited the audience to discuss their experiences with paranormal activity. In the interests of fairness, he also included an interview with a (fake) skeptic dismissing the Earlys’ claims.

Only highly observant viewers would have done the same. While the show began with a title card indicating it was written “by” Volk, the graphic was onscreen for only a split second; the presence of established and familiar faces to BBC viewers added to the verisimilitude. So did the program’s slow burn. At 90 minutes, it took its time, showing only fleeting glimpses into the Early family’s experiences that were left purposely ambiguous.

bbc ghost watch

In the show’s second half, things took a turn. A viewer called in to tell them that someone had once committed suicide in the home; a mutilated dog corpse was said to be recently found nearby; the Early children were depicted as increasingly upset over the home’s disturbances. Around an hour in, Parkinson even advised viewers they’d be pre-empting scheduled programming to remain with Greene due to the "extraordinary" events taking place: Suzanne speaking in a baritone voice, and unseen cats mewling behind the walls.

Ultimately, Greene disappeared in the crawl space under the home’s stairs while a paranormal expert proclaimed that the television audience had unwittingly participated in a mass séance that had further emboldened Pipes. At the end of the show, Parkinson was seen being apparently possessed by the ghost’s spirit.

The finale laid it on a little thick, but not everyone made it that far in. By the time Ghostwatch signed off, a not-insignificant portion of the show’s 11 million viewers were either convinced ghosts were real, extremely upset at the BBC for traumatizing their children, or both.

The broadcaster had just five operators standing by its phones [ PDF ] once the show went off air, a number that was quickly overcome by the thousands of calls that flooded in. One woman reportedly went into labor due to the stress caused by watching the program; another reported her husband had soiled himself. Within hours, the BBC aired a brief segment that reminded viewers the show was fictional. It was a little too late.

Public discourse—including on the BBC’s own viewer feedback show, Bite Back —criticized the station for using its reputation to fool viewers into thinking harm had come to both the Earlys and to their hosts. Parapsychologist Susan Blackmore later said that “It treated the audience unfairly. It can be exciting to play on the edge of fantasy and reality, or stretch the accepted norms of television conventions, but this was neither true to its format nor fun. It was horrid to watch the distress of the girls, real or faked. I found it over-long and occasionally disgusting … The lack of adequate warnings was irresponsible.”

Michelle Wesson in Ghostwatch (1992).

Greene quickly appeared on children’s shows to reassure younger viewers she had not been abducted or murdered by Pipes. Volk and Manning offered their own apologies, feeling that the BBC considered them pariahs. They had simply wanted to pay homage to Welles, never imagining the program could have the kind of effect it did.

In a report published in the British Medical Journal 18 months later, doctors in Coventry reported cases they classified as “post-traumatic stress disorder” from consumption of media—in this case, Ghostwatch . Two 10-year-old boys were suffering from panic attacks and sleep disturbances as a result of the broadcast. When the piece appeared, the Journal received correspondence from other doctors relating similar cases.

If not for his reported learning disabilities, 18-year-old Martin Denham might have been more psychologically equipped to deal with some transient nerves from the show. When he became distraught in the days following the broadcast, he began to grow concerned he might make contact with ghosts and committed suicide. His parents, Percy and April, blamed Ghostwatch , leading the Broadcasting Standards Council to rule that the show had been improperly labeled, with too few warnings that it was a fictitious premise.

Later, the handheld-camera, raw-footage approach would unnerve cinema audiences that flocked to films like The Blair Witch Project and the Paranormal Activity series. While those films rarely resulted in any claims more serious than motion sickness, Ghostwatch successfully married the BBC’s credibility with an effective ghost story to create an experience that’s unlikely to ever be duplicated.

Not that the network wants to try. Since its original airing, the program has never again been broadcast in its entirety in the UK. (Though it is available to stream via Shudder .)

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1992 Directed by Lesley Manning

"We don't want to give anybody sleepless nights."

For Halloween 1992, the BBC decides to broadcast an investigation into the supernatural, hosted by TV chat-show legend Michael Parkinson. Parky (assisted by Mike Smith, Sarah Greene & Craig Charles) and a camera crew attempt to discover the truth behind the most haunted house in Britain. This ground-breaking live television experiment does not go as planned, however.

Michael Parkinson Sarah Greene Craig Charles Mike Smith Gillian Bevan Brid Brennan Michelle Wesson Cherise Wesson Colin Stinton Mike Aiton Chris Miller Ruth Sheen Linda Broughton Katherine Stark Derek Smee Keith Ferrari Roger Tebb Diana Blackburn Brendan O'Hea Mark Drewary Mark Lewis

Director Director

Lesley Manning

Producers Producers

Ruth Baumgarten Derek Nelson

Executive Producer Exec. Producer

Richard Broke

Writer Writer

Stephen Volk

Editor Editor

Chris Swanton

Visual Effects Visual Effects

Dave Jervis Steve Bowman

Composer Composer

Philip Appleby

Costume Design Costume Design

Jackie Vernon

Alternative Titles

Ghost Watch, 灵异守夜, 고스트워치

Horror TV Movie

Horror, the undead and monster classics Terrifying, haunted, and supernatural horror Spooky, scary comedy Gothic and eerie haunting horror Creepy, chilling, and terrifying horror Gory, gruesome, and slasher horror Show All…

Releases by Date

31 oct 1992, releases by country.

91 mins   More at IMDb TMDb Report this page

Popular reviews


Review by DirkH ★★★★½ 16

1992. I would give several essential parts of my body to get the opportunity to travel back to that year. Not so I can be 17 again, but so my 17 year old self could have the chance to watch Ghostwatch live.

In what is perhaps one of the best TV pranks ever, the usually rather reserved BBC decides to produce an absolutely terrifying fake live television event investigating a haunted house. Having British TV icon Parky host the proceedings is one of many flashes of brilliance, giving it a sense of realism and importance. Surely good old Parky wouldn't want us 'to have sleepless nights'.

The true star here and the main reason this works so well is writer…

Laurie Orla

Review by Laurie Orla ★★★½ 1

The ominous cupboard under the stairs being called 'the glory hole' never gets old.

Josh Lewis

Review by Josh Lewis ★★★★ 1

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

A really clever and creepy fake reality TV/documentary ghost story that is so aesthetically indistinguishable from a dry British broadcasting news program that it famously tricked millions of BBC viewers into thinking they were watching this live on Halloween night 1992. Not just one of the great pieces of prank art since Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast (or maybe that silent era train), but also a genuinely terrifying piece of filmmaking in and of itself. Lots of chaotic tracking shots and precise cutting and slow-build of eerie soundscape, background scares, gruesome local history detail, etc that is made all the more shocking by how perfectly it replicates the mundane form/energy of the medium it's imitating. Was impressed by…

nathaxnne [hiatus <3]

Review by nathaxnne [hiatus <3] ★★★★½ 30

Invariably I end up watching Ghostwatch initially awake and then slowly sliding into a space between consciousness and dreams, having to piece together what is happening in between gaps or stopping and rewinding. Oddly for something which was a television broadcast, this seems like the appropriate way to watch Ghostwatch, at least in the middle of the night which is when it is watched. Ghostwatch uses the comforting set-up of the tv set center and the investigated home periphery to lull the home viewer, whose own home is the one being entered by the spectral forces from without (or from within?), into a routine of manufactured reality, manufactured through familiarity and repetition, which, when it starts to break down and…


Review by SilentDawn ★★★★½ 9

Film #1 of my October horror marathon.

Scary shit. Really effective as a replication of live broadcasting. The on-air phone calls provide a layer of campfire storytelling and it ultimately works to put the haunting into context for our characters. Those final moments are as disturbing as ever. There's a reason this devious prank caused such an uproar - terrifying images!


Review by ♦️•Lily•💋 ★★★★½ 1

People with a time machine: -“I am your granddaughter/son” -“Really?”

Me with a time machine: I’m going to go back in time to October 31st 1992 to watch the original broadcast of Ghostwatch 


Review by nick ★★★★½ 7

It's safe to call Ghostwatch one of the most genuinely terrifying horror movies ever in history. Despite being a somehow forgotten TV movie, Ghostwatch manages to become a pioneer in horror both in terms of style and creativity, at least subconsciously. Just imagine a truly disturbing Blair Witch Project and Ringu hybrid, and you get Ghostwatch.

Ghostwatch dipped its toes into the found footage genre way before it became the thing, and demonstrated the deadly effects of media on ghosts and demons way before Ringu even came into being. Aside from its historical significance, Ghostwatch is still highly memorable thanks to its highly atmospheric, eerie and realistic portrait of a live ghost hunting show gone wrong. Everything works wonderfully in…


Review by adambolt ★★

watched this at the British Film Institute while in London, the largest archive of film and television in the UK with literally thousands of things to watch, and a guy came in next to us and watched one episode of the Mr Bean cartoon and left


Review by reibureibu 10

Brilliant in how it uses its utterly banal production to establish its authenticity as assumptive and one of the least 'movie'-looking movies I've seen in adopting a non-aesthetic aesthetics to disguise its intent, something that simultaneously renders it impermanent and existing only during its initial broadcast on October 31st, 1992. All future viewings are still "Ghostwatch", of course, but a version inherent with excessive context by nature of simply living in a later history. The only possible way one could come close to accurately re-capturing the experience is to covertly flip to this on the TV as 'news' to a young child and tell them that this is just what British people are like.

CinemaVoid 🏴‍☠️

Review by CinemaVoid 🏴‍☠️ ★★★★

Spiritual successor of 1938’s War of the Worlds , Ghostwatch had British Karens screaming won’t somebody think of the children back in 1992. Orson Wells would be proud.


Review by Scumbalina ★★★★ 10

As I've mentioned, I have a major soft spot for found footage/mockumentary horror, so if you were to ask me WHY I waited so long to watch this one, I really couldn't tell you. It feels so essential and alive. I can't explain it but something happens to me when I watch these things. A good found footage movie is about the only thing that can scare me. It's probably because I recorded something not-human speaking on my video camera when I was a kid. I watched that over and over again obsessing over the voice. I'll never forget what it said, what it sounded like and how close it was to me when it said it. A male voice when it was just my Mom and I living in the house. The less I see the more scared I become and the more I'm reminded of my own experience.

Tony the Terror

Review by Tony the Terror ★★★★½ 11

I discovered this last year around the Halloween season and absolutely loved it so after reading  Bob's review , I had to revisit and it’s still just as great! 

I love a well done mockumentary and this one comes off as pretty damn believable. It’s not hard to see how 1992 audiences fell for it seeing as how they mostly just had a newspaper TV guide to tell them what was on TV at the time! I can just imagine the rotary phones ringing off the hook with people trying to find out what the hell was happening down at the BBC.

I noticed more of the subtle “Pipes” (the ghost) appearances in the background this time so that’s certainly something to remember if you’re watching or rewatching it. Great Halloween times right here!

Bananameter: 🍌 glory hole 🍌

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A cash-strapped young couple inherits a grand country house, only to find it is both falling apart and teeming with the ghosts of former inhabitants.

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Mathew Baynton

Thomas thorne.

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How to watch Ghosts season 5 online: stream the final season of the BBC One sitcom online

The hit supernatural sitcom is being laid to rest

Ghosts season 5 on BBC iPlayer

  • Watch free in the UK
  • Watch in the US
  • Watch in Australia
  • Watch everywhere else
  • Episode dates

The creators of Ghosts have called time on their dead funny sitcom, which stars Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe as the human inhabitants of a house overrun with bickering apparitions. Fans of the show can watch Ghosts season 5 from anywhere beginning Friday, October 6.

You can enjoy Ghosts FREE online thanks to BBC iPlayer. But if you’re on holiday, don’t fret, because you can watch Ghosts season 5 on BBC iPlayer from anywhere with a VPN .

UK: BBC | BBC iPlayer (free with a valid TV license)

Episodes: 6

How to use a VPN to watch any stream

Created, written by, and starring the creative team behind Horrible Histories (2009-2014), Ghosts was an instant hit thanks to its whimsical humor, high gag rate, and eclectic collection of cohabiting spectres.

These include neanderthal man Robin (Laurence Rickard), a Georgian Noblewoman (Lolly Adefope), a closeted World War II officer (Ben Willbond), and pants-less Tory MP Julian (Simon Farnaby) – all tethered to the country estate of Button House and incessantly bending Alison’s ear.

With their B&B dreams in ashes after the fire, Alison (Ritchie) and Mike (Smith-Bynoe) are back to hustling to keep financially afloat. Might they be forced to leave their haunted home? Season 5 will also see the larger-than-life spooks enjoy some April Fool’s Day hijinks, as well as investigating the cause of Kitty’s death some 200 years ago.

Ready for the last gasp of this nearly departed show? Then read on as we explain how to watch Ghosts season 5 online and from anywhere in the world.

How to watch Ghosts season 5 FREE in the UK

The final season of Ghosts will air on BBC One from Friday, October 6, 2023. As always, there’s a total of 6 episodes, each of which will be broadcast weekly at 8:30pm BST. You can find the full release schedule provided below.

But you don’t have to wait a week between episodes, because BBC iPlayer will have every episode of Ghosts available to watch on-demand from October 6. Neither the linear BBC channel or iPlayer cost anything extra to people who already pay TV license fees.

Can I watch Ghosts season 5 in the US?

It’s unlikely that US viewers will be able to watch the fifth and final season of Ghosts anytime soon, given that the UK series is only now getting its cable debut.

Season 1 episodes will begin airing on CBS from Thursday, November 16. It’s a smart move by CBS, filling the schedule left empty by the Writers Guild of America strike and which delayed production on season 3 of the network's own, US version of Ghosts .

Can I watch Ghosts season 5 in Australia?

As of the moment there’s no release date for Ghosts season 5 in Australia. Fans of the show with a subscription to Stan , however, can enjoy seasons 1 through 3 on the streamer, with season 4 episodes being added as soon as October 17. Subscriptions to Stan start from AU$10 a month.

How to watch Ghosts season 5 from anywhere with a VPN

If you're going to be away from your normal TV setup but still want to watch Ghosts season 5, you might run into some problems. Thankfully, you can solve this exact issue with a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

A VPN lets you change your IP address to that of the area of what you want to watch, meaning you can tune in to your favorite shows or other content even if you're not there. Our favorite is ExpressVPN , which is the No. 1-rated VPN in the world right now according to our sister site, TechRadar.


ExpressVPN is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. 

It's straightforward and easy to use, has great security, is available on loads of streaming devices and, best of all, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee , so you can try it out 100% risk-free.

What is the Ghosts season 5 release date?

All 6 episodes are available to stream on BBC iPlayer in the UK, as of Friday, October 6. But for those who’d prefer to watch live on BBC One – and are in possession of a valid TV license – then they can catch episodes weekly on BBC One, every Friday at 8:30pm BST as laid out below:

  • Episode 1: Fools – October 6
  • Episode 2: Home – October 13
  • Episode 3: Pineapple Day – October 20
  • Episode 4: En Francais – October 27
  • Episode 5: Carpe Diem – November 3
  • Episode 6: Last Resort – November 10

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Daniel Pateman

Daniel Pateman is a freelance writer based in the UK. He's a regular contributor to the likes of TechRadar and CinemaBlend, but he also writes across the cultural spectrum for magazines such as Aesthetica, Photomonitor, The Brooklyn Rail and This is Tomorrow. He also provides text-writing services to individual curators and artists worldwide, and has had his work syndicated internationally. His favourite film genre is horror (bring on Scream 7!) and he never tires of listening to 80s music on the radio.

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How to watch Ghosts online: stream every season 4 episode from anywhere

More madcap apparitions from Button House

Watch Ghosts season 4

Ghosts season 4 is complete but it's still available to watch for free. The ghostly mischief at Button House as Ghosts is one of BBC Comedy's biggest hits in years. It has already spawned a US TV remake. The show centers around a young couple, Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe), who inherit a grand country estate only to find it is both falling apart and overrun with ghosts. Typical, eh? Here's how to watch Ghosts online, and enjoy season four for free from anywhere in the world.

Cast: Charlotte Richie, Kiell Smyth-Bynoe, Martha Howe-Douglas, Mathew Baynton, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard, Ben Willbond, Lolly Adefope

Streaming options: BBC iPlayer

Watch anywhere: try a 100% risk-free VPN trial

The family-friendly comedy features much of the cast of Horrible Histories as the ghosts that haunt the house, including Laurence Rickard as caveman Robin, Simon Farnaby as disgraced politician Julian Fawcett MP and Jim Howick as the overly polite scout leader Pat.

This latest series sees Alison and Mike open their much anticipated, bijoux B&B in the gatehouse at Button House. With their livelihoods depending on it being a success, the couple are pulling out all the stops to get the very best reviews, but things inevitably don't go quite to plan.

Ghosts season 4 introduces a new ghost into the ranks too, while Bridget Christie is set to make a return as Puritan Annie, who had previously been shown as having ascended to the afterlife. Below we'll explain how to watch Ghosts season 4 online from anywhere.

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How to watch Ghosts Season 4 online for FREE in the UK


The six-episode new series premiered on BBC One at 8.50pm BST on September 23.

All episodes are still available to watch on demand on BBC iPlayer . It’s a completely FREE service – however, you should be a possession of a valid UK TV license, as these now cover digital content consumption, too.

Away from the UK right now? Just use a VPN to alter your IP address so you can stream your favourite TV shows and films online just like you would at home - only from anywhere.

How to watch Ghosts online from abroad

If you're away with work, or are now enjoying a vacation, then geo-blocking restrictions will stop you from watching Ghosts Season 4 online via BBC iPlayer.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. By downloading a VPN – short for Virtual Private Network – you can alter your IP address to that of your country back home, and therefore stream TV content that would otherwise be inaccessible.

ExpressVPN is the world's top VPN right now

ExpressVPN is the world's top VPN right now There are dozens of VPNs to choose from, but we recommend ExpressVPN . It's fast, straightforward to use, and simple to install. Plus, it’s compatible with a whole host of devices, a few of which includes Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation, and iOS and Android software.

Express VPN's flexible 30-day money back guarantee is hard to refuse. But, better yet, you can get a 49% discount and get 3 months extra FREE if you purchase their annual plan – an excellent deal for an invaluable piece of software.

Once installed, just pick the location of your home country, and click connect. You’ll then be free to enjoy The Serpent online, no matter where you are over the holidays.

- Try ExpressVPN 100% risk-free for 30 days

Can I watch Ghosts Season 4 in the US?


The US remake of Ghosts is available on HBO Max , as are the first three seasons of the UK version but season 4 is nowhere to be found at present.

If you do want to catch seasons 1-3, there are two  HBO Max price  points - $9.99 a month with commercials, or the 4K HDR, commercial-free subscription at $15.99 that also unlocks 4K streaming and Dolby Atmos sound.

You can look to save money by paying annually. It's $99.99 per year with ads, and $149.99 without them.

Remember: Brits currently in the States can use a VPN to watch Ghosts season 4 on iPlayer from abroad .

Can I watch Ghosts Season 4 in Canada?

&nbsp;CBC Gem

For those in Canada,   CBC Gem  is the place to watch the latest season of Ghosts. All four seasons are available to watch for free.

You can also pay for the premium version of CBC Gem ($4.99 a month) to get rid of adverts. It comes with a 30-day free trial.

Abroad in Canada, but want to watch Ghosts? You can  subscribe to a VPN  to by-pass geo-restrictions and access your preferred streaming service.

Can I watch Ghosts Season 4 online in Australia?


In Australia, you can watch Ghosts season 4 for free on ABC's streaming service, iView. The other three seasons are available on Stan, Paramount Plus and Britbox.

Stan has a FREE 30-day trial, after which prices start at AU$10 per month. Paramount Plus is AU$8.99 per month and includes a free trial. Britbox is also AU$8.99.

As detailed above, if you’re abroad you’ll struggle to connect to any of the streaming services you usually use. The solution?  Try using a VPN  as per our guide above.

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Kevin Lynch

Kevin Lynch is a London-born, Dublin-based writer and journalist. The author of Steve Jobs: A Biographic Portrait , Kevin is a regular feature writer for a number of tech sites and the former Technology Editor for the Daily Mirror. He has also served as editor of  GuinnessWorldRecords.com  and has been a member of the judging panel for the BAFTA British Academy Video Game Awards. Alongside reviewing the latest AV gear, smartphones and computers, Kevin also specialises in music tech and can often be found putting the latest DAWs, MIDI controllers and guitar modellers through their paces. Born within the sound of Bow Bells, Kevin is also a lifelong West Ham fan for his troubles.

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Why BBC's ‘Ghosts’ Is a Max Must-Watch

This ensemble cast creates magic in the original haunted UK sitcom.

The Big Picture

  • CBS fills a programming void by airing the original UK version of Ghosts instead of the US remake due to ongoing strikes by writers and actors.
  • Ghosts UK is available on Max and is considered one of the best sitcoms from the UK, thanks to its unique ensemble cast and rich history.
  • The chemistry and history between the six main actors in Ghosts UK is what sets the show apart, making it essential viewing for fans of British comedy.

It has been announced that CBS will be placing the original UK version of their hit sitcom, Ghosts , on the Thursday night slot instead of a new season of Ghosts US , the fall addition effectively filling a void on their channel. At this point, as the weeks and months draw on, we all know why and how that void appeared, why there's no new season of Ghosts US , or for that matter any American show. CBS is a subsidiary of one of the major studios within the AMPTP, specifically Paramount, who have continued to refuse the reasonable demands of SAG-AFTRA and the WGA, meaning the writers' and actors' strikes go on , and all mainstream productions have been put on hold.Needless to say, many aren't keen on lining the pockets of CBS right now by bringing their ratings up, despite the exciting news. That's okay, though, you don't have to wait until the fall to watch the fantastic, and arguably superior Ghosts UK . You can watch it right now on Max, and you absolutely should because Ghosts is one of the best sitcoms to come out from across the pond in the last five years. RELATED: Why Are Funny Ghosts So Hot Right Now?

What Is 'Ghosts' About?

For those of you who don't know, Ghosts began airing in 2019 and is slated to end this year on BBC One, and it has the same basic set up as its US remake. A young woman ( Charlotte Richie ) and her partner ( Kiell Smith-Bynoe ) inherit a decrepit mansion from a deceased distant relative, and the mansion happens to be haunted by several colorful ghosts, brought together by their deaths in the house from different periods of history. After a near-death experience, the woman gains the ability to see and speak to the ghosts, who at first don't want her there. In a financial and ethereal stalemate, the living and the dead attempt to coexist while trying to salvage the mansion and give it some kind of use.The cultural differences are very clear, given the cultural differences between the US and the UK, while some ghosts remain the same such as a scout troop leader with an arrow through the neck and a sleazy suit who died with his pants off, there are also some ghosts that only have mild similarities. Instead of the Viking, Revolution-era officer, speakeasy singer, and Lenape Native American of Ghosts US, you have a World War II Army Officer, a Romantic-era poet, and a decapitated Tudor nobleman, among others.

The Underrated Comedy Troupe That Created 'Ghosts'

However, this is not just the same show in a different country, not entirely. Because what makes Ghosts UK adored by many, what adds a deep and rich context and history to the series, and brought with it a devoted, long-time fan base, is something the remake lacked: The original ensemble cast, who more importantly also collectively wrote the original show. That's not to say the US cast isn't good, you have some great comedic actors there, Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar playing against some fresh talent in the ghouls, but that's all they are, singular, if talented, actors playing roles. A majority of the Ghosts UK cast, meaning six of the eight main ghosts, are a defined staple in British comedy, and genuinely one of the most underrated ensemble casts of all time.So let's look at who are colloquially referred to as The Six Idiots: Jim Howick, Simon Farnaby, Mathew Baynton, Ben Willbond, Laurence Rickard, and Martha Howe-Douglas . The sextet have been working together at this point for about 15 years, the gang having separate stints on other classic British comedies such as The Office UK, Peepshow, and The Mighty Boosh before coming together for the excellent edutainment sketch show, Horrible Histories . The cast made the show beloved, and in return the show gave the cast a fan base that would follow them to other projects, including the endlessly inventive and overlooked fantasy-comedy Yonderland , and their first adult oriented endeavor, Ghosts . Bayton and Willebrand were in the writer's room for Horrible Histories , but the whole team were in on the script for both Yonderland and Ghosts . This troupe is vital to why this show works so well, both in their performances and their writing.

Fantastic Chemistry Sets 'Ghosts' UK Apart

Not only does Ghosts give them the opportunity to play with history again, a fond nostalgia washing over old fans, but it allows them to throw new blood in the mix as well. The other two ghosts, played by Lolly Adefope and Katy Wix are accomplished performers in their own right — you may recognize them from the latest season of Black Mirror and Ted Lasso respectively, but their presence allows for new dynamics, as do our living cast members, Richie and Smith-Bynoe, allowing a blend of not only fresh interactions between some of the hottest talents in British comedy, but also a chance to see Howick, Farnaby, Baynton, Willbond, Rickard, and Howe-Douglas do what they do best.This chemistry comes from the fact that they love working together, as writers and performers; that's the crucial part here. Yonderland initially came about because the six wanted to keep working together after Horrible Histories wrapped up, the same is said about Ghosts after Yonderland . This is not just me gushing about the comedic team that defined my sense of humor at a young age, this has a point. When watching Ghosts UK , you're not just watching actors, you believe them. You believe that this is a collection of oddballs that have shared a space for a very, very long time, and have grown on each other throughout the years, this is because that's exactly what they are. It's a kind of easy chemistry you can't replicate artificially, which makes Ghosts UK essential viewing on Max.Comedy history is full of great ensemble casts, those who have their hand in both writing and acting to create works that are truly their own, going all the way back to National Lampoon and Saturday Night Live veterans. This can be seen a lot online these days, with all of the content on Dropout.tv , previously CollegeHumor, coming from a fantastic group of comedians, and the collection of Shipwrecked Comedy, Starkid, and Tin Can Bros combined creating masterpieces on not only the small screen, but the stage as well. When you give talented, creative people the space and the time, they will create wonders. Among many other things, that is what the many writers and actors on the picket line right now are owed.

10 TV Shows That Blatantly Trolled Viewers

2. none of it is real - ghostwatch.

She Hulk

On 31st October 1992, BBC1 aired a TV special called Ghostwatch, which focused on "the most haunted house in Britain". Though plenty of viewers were expecting a cheesy documentary, they were scared out of their minds after seeing a sinister spectre called Pipes tormenting the TV presenters and camera crew.

Of course, the whole thing was staged. Despite being depicted as a "live documentary," Ghostwatch was heavily scripted, and filmed long before it aired.

Sadly, the majority of viewers didn't see the funny side of it. BBC was besieged with a million phone calls and 2,000 official complaints. With reports that children were left traumatised after watching the program, Ghostwatch instantly gained a reputation in infamy. It caused such a furore, it's never been aired again on British television.

Contrary to popular belief, the mockumentary wasn't meant to fool anyone! Not only was Ghostwatch advertised as a drama, it opened with a "written by" title card.

But since many watchers tuned in late, they didn't catch on. The fact it had the legendary Michael Parkinson as a presenter further cemented the show's legitimacy.

Despite the fact Ghostwatch successfully duped a nation, it was never meant to.

James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Horror Movies Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85


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    Ghostwatch is a British mockumentary supernatural horror TV movie, first broadcast on BBC1 on Halloween night, 1992. Written by Stephen Volk, and directed by Lesley Manning, the drama was produced for the BBC anthology series Screen One by Richard Broke, Ruth Baumgarten and Derek Nelson.

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    29th October 2017, 05:27 PDT By Rebecca Woods BBC News BBC Ghostwatch's creators wanted to break television boundaries - but they did not predict its impact on viewers It was billed as a drama,...

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    Ghostwatch TV Movie 1992 Not Rated 1h 31m IMDb RATING 7.4 /10 5.5K YOUR RATING Rate Drama Horror Mystery In a "live" broadcast on Halloween night, a BBC team investigate a reported poltergeist in an ordinary London home. Director Lesley Manning Writer Stephen Volk Stars Michael Parkinson Sarah Greene Mike Smith See production info at IMDbPro

  5. Halloween

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    But tonight's big draw is the BBC's heavily-promoted Ghostwatch, a supposedly "live" investigation into paranormal activity being recorded at a family home in Northolt, north-west London.

  7. Ghostwatch streaming: where to watch movie online?

    Synopsis. For Halloween 1992, the BBC decides to broadcast an investigation into the supernatural, hosted by TV chat-show legend Michael Parkinson. Parky (assisted by Mike Smith, Sarah Greene & Craig Charles) and a camera crew attempt to discover the truth behind the most haunted house in Britain. This ground-breaking live television experiment ...

  8. Ghostwatch

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  9. How we made: BBC mockumentary Ghostwatch

    Lesley Manning, director The script focused on the story of two girls, Kim and Suzanne Early (Cherise and Michelle Wesson), and their mother Pam (Brid Brennan), who lived in a reportedly haunted...

  10. Why I love... Ghostwatch

    Broadcast by the BBC on Halloween night 1992, Ghostwatch purported to be a live broadcast from a Northolt council house haunted by a malevolent spirit, nicknamed 'Pipes' by the unfortunate Early family - single mother Pam and daughters Kim and Suzanne. Ghostwatch was in fact a scripted drama by Stephen Volk, fronted by familiar ...

  11. Ghostwatch (1992 BBC1 TV Film) Trailer #ghostwatch #horror #bbc

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  12. The Live Halloween Special That Terrified an Entire Nation

    Ghostwatch's mix of big scares and subtle moments, along with its realistic production values, made it a groundbreaking and traumatizing horror classic. Ghostwatch was a 90-minute TV special ...

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    Ghostwatch (1992) but just ALL of the scenes where you can see the GHOST ("PIPES") hidden in the background. Frick yeah!

  14. Ghostwatch: The BBC Halloween Hoax That Traumatized Viewers

    On June 27, 1995, they ruled that the producers of Ghostwatch, a BBC program that aired on Halloween night less than three years earlier, had deliberately set out to "cultivate a sense of menace."

  15. ‎Ghostwatch (1992) directed by Lesley Manning

    For Halloween 1992, the BBC decides to broadcast an investigation into the supernatural, hosted by TV chat-show legend Michael Parkinson. Parky (assisted by Mike Smith, Sarah Greene & Craig Charles) and a camera crew attempt to discover the truth behind the most haunted house in Britain. This ground-breaking live television experiment does not go as planned, however.

  16. Ghosts

    2019 -2023 5 Seasons BBC One Fantasy, Comedy TV14 Watchlist A cash-strapped young couple inherits a grand country house, only to find it is both falling apart and teeming with the ghosts of...

  17. How to watch Ghosts season 5 online: stream the final season of the BBC

    Fans of the show can watch Ghosts season 5 from anywhere beginning Friday, October 6. You can enjoy Ghosts FREE online thanks to BBC iPlayer. But if you're on holiday, don't fret, because you can watch Ghosts season 5 on BBC iPlayer from anywhere with a VPN. Quick links UK: BBC | BBC iPlayer (free with a valid TV license) Episodes: 6

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    10 TV Shows That Blatantly Trolled Viewers. 2. None Of It Is Real - Ghostwatch. BBC. On 31st October 1992, BBC1 aired a TV special called Ghostwatch, which focused on "the most haunted house in ...

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