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18 June 2014
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Warning the audience

Retaining the authenticity of Ghostwatch

BBCi: In its defence, Ghostwatch was post-watershed and Parkinson did instruct parents to send their offspring to bed several times... Do you think that people just ignored these precautions not realising it was an adult drama?

Stephen Volk: I think it’s ‘damned if you do and damned if you don’t’.

If we’d had a screaming banner across the screen reading THIS IS NOT TRUE, what is the point of that? You might as well have a comedian give you the punchline before he tells you the gag.

The BBC insisted on certain billing compromises in the Radio Times such as a cast list (that almost had me slitting my wrists!) and a lot of the magazine coverage pretty much gave the game away.

What do you do? Destroy the fun of the programme for the people who might enjoy it, for the sake of pleasing those who might be offended, who probably won’t like it anyway? The BBC’s answer to that would be YES! My answer would be NO.

In my experience, kids actually ‘got it’ more than adults. Many were so taken by it that lessons on Monday morning were given over to discussing the programme, I’m told. It seemed that the kids understood the language, and the ‘gag’ largely, but it was adults who were unbelievably upset by it. Teenagers who were maybe ten or twelve when it was broadcast are invariably the ones who seek me out to say they loved the programme.

Read our review of Ghostwatch >>

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