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29 August 2014
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Once in a Primetime?

On Ghostwatch striking twice...

BBCi: Would it be possible, post-Ghostwatch, for another drama to be mistaken for a real programme again?

Stephen Volk: I think they are doing it all the time and it doesnít have impact any more.

Mostly for comedy. The Alan Partridge interviews. The new show Human Remains is excellent but they made a boo-boo in the first one by having the camera follow the woman into the bedroom when she bonks the clown: if it were a real documentary the camera wouldnít.

In drama, though, the old NYPD Blue shaky-cam a la This Life or Cops is ubiquitous and works so well we donít really question it any more. But Ďmistakení? I honestly donít think the BBC would take that risk a second time. They donít like getting the flak. Itís much safer sticking to Harbour Lights.

BBCi: You persuaded the BBC that someone else would inevitably do a Ghostwatch if they didnít. Were there any other ideas in competition?

Stephen Volk: No specific ideas in competition that I knew of, but, slightly after us came Chris Morrisí The Day Today on BBC2.

We felt that kind of thing was imminent and inevitable. And, of course, a while after Ghostwatch there was that ITV programme with Michael Aspel presenting stories of the unexplained. We all felt that was heavily influenced by Parkinson doing Ghostwatch. It sort of looked the same.

In answer to the second part of your question, it would be more of a landmark if the BBC could be persuaded to release it on video or DVD, or make a documentary about the making of it and impact it had.

At the moment itís consigned to the vaults as if it never happened.

Perhaps if fans keep up the pressure it will see the light of day one day. I would love to show it somewhere maybe on the big screen at the NFT on Halloween 2002, its tenth anniversary. It would be a good occasion and maybe Mr Pipes would grace us with his presence!

Read our review of Ghostwatch >>

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