BBCi: As a viewer it seemed clear that Ghostwatch was an extremely well executed Halloween pastiche of the Crimewatch genre. Were you surprised by the reaction it received?
Stephen Volk: What surprised me was the avalanche of 'IT SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED', 'HEADS MUST ROLL' and 'HOW DARE THEY INSULT OUR INTELLIGENCE!' The anger at being, as certain members of the viewing public saw it, duped and hoaxed by trusted Auntie Beeb.
I think the only [serious] review I read about it as a piece of drama was in Sight and Sound where Kim Newman, bless his cotton socks, referred to Quatermass and obviously got ‘it’.
We were doing a piece of drama with a theme and nobody discussed that. It was all 'SHOCK, HORROR, SICK' tabloid stuff.
I must say in all honesty that in all the meetings I had with the Drama Dept at the BBC, I never heard anyone at any time use the word 'hoax’. We were just doing a drama in a particular style (as The Blair Witch Project has done more recently) to give a modicum of authenticity. The idea that we wanted to make fools of people is absurd and just wrong.
Subsequently Ghostwatch has become a staple subject for Media Studies projects: one University lecturer told me that somebody chooses it virtually every year!
Read our review of Ghostwatch >>