Ghosts basically shows us that Horrible Histories has finally made it to prime-time television, albeit with a bit more adult content at times, even if the language rarely steps above a U-certificate.
The last known descendant of the Button House family is about to die, and when she shuffles off her mortal coil, the group of ghosts who have never left the place are led by (so he thinks) The Captain (Ben Willbond) who offers the following comforting words at this time: “Bagsy her room!”
The ghosts haven’t all died at the same time, though, but instead at various points in history in time, and they’re made up of everything from caveman Robin (Laurence Rickard) to Simon Farnaby’s disgraced ’90s MP, Julian, who has no trousers on, for reasons you’ll discover later.
Fully alive Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) are looking for a place to rent, and they’re soon going to find themselves living in Button House, but the comedy comes early, at the flat they’re viewing as the episode begins:
- Alison: “Has it got a garden?”
Estate agent: “No, but it does have one next door you can look at(!)”
…and on learning Lady Heather Button was 99 when she died, they both exclaim, “Oh, so close!” – They said what we’re all thinking!
I won’t give any more examples, but it gave me many big laughs.
The plot in short: The new owners want to turn the massive abode into a hotel, while the ghosts want the house to themselves.
Ignoring The Victim broadcasting last week over four nights, BBC1’s latest Monday night comedy double-bill replaces the godwful Warren and very funny This Time With Alan Partridge, respectively, with the godawful Not Going Out and this very funny show, which also has some sharp direction.
There is just one thing I’ll put behind a spoiler header, although it’s not technically a spoiler because it’s revealed in the trailer below! But you could always avoid that and just watch the programme.
Ghosts begins tomorrow on BBC1 at 9.00pm. The series is not yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
UPDATE Episode 3: We learned of Scout Master Pat’s death day, and how he ended up with the arrow through his neck in 1984. Overall, this was still an enjoyable episode, but don’t expected massive amounts of plot development, even though Pat’s story was quite sweet and sad to watch. There’s still a great number of laughs to be had.
I won’t give any details about the other episodes as I watch, but… just get this watched, although I will say that the finale was not quite as good as the rest, but the series was great fun as a whole.
You can watch each episode on BBC iPlayer for 30 days after transmission.
Episode 1 Score: 8/10
Episode 2 Score: 8/10
Episode 3 Score: 7.5/10
Episode 4 Score: 7.5/10
Episode 5 Score: 7.5/10
Episode 6 Score: 6/10
Director: Tom Kingsley
Producer: Matthew Mulot
Writers: Jim Howick, Mathew Baynton
Creators: Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard, Ben Willbond
Music: Arthur Sharpe
Kitty: Lolly Adefope
Thomas: Mathew Baynton
Julian: Simon Farnaby
Lady Button: Martha Howe-Douglas
Pat: Jim Howick
Robin: Laurence Rickard
Alison: Charlotte Ritchie
Mike: Kiell Smith-Bynoe
Captain: Ben Willbond
Mary: Katy Wix
Headless John Body: Yani Xander
Director: Caoilfhionn Dunne
Cathy: Caroline Guthrie
Manservant: Tom Mackley
Wixy: Tim Plester
Female Doctor: Angela Yeoh
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.