“Quite simply the most frightening television programme ever broadcast.”
That is how one critic summed up the BBC1 ‘mock documentary’ Ghostwatch on the IMDb website, while another reviewer called it “scarier than The Exorcist.”
Twenty five years after it was broadcast, on Halloween night, 1992, the 90-minute film is being screened again with a live question and answer session with key people who created it and cast members.
The Ghostwatch film is being shown at Gorilla, a live venue under the railway arches off Whitworth Street West, Manchester, on Monday October 30.
A spokesman for Pilot Light TV Festival, which is hosting the event, said the film had “shocked and mentally scarred millions of viewers for life.”
He added: “This iconic show was an originator of ‘alternative news’ in its most sinister form and its first broadcast led to 30,000 calls logged within one hour, the show being banned for around a decade and sleepless nights across the country.
“Through its genius cast of national treasure Sir Michael Parkinson and other known celebrities such as Craig Charles, Sarah Greene, Mike Smith and Gillian Bevan in combination with its masterful writing and direction, Ghostwatch lured a whole nation into terror as the innocent ghost hunting folly they assumed they were watching turned into a nightmarish experience live on television right in front of them.
“Following the airing of the show national newspapers were packed with stories of the outrage and trauma that the 90 min horror drama caused in the UK.”
Pilot Light TV Festival said the screening would be “paying homage to the controversial show by screening the entire first episode and inviting key creators and cast members to discuss their work on the show, the traumatic impact it had across the country and its place in television history.”
The question and answer session will feature Ghostwatch writer Stephen Volk, director Lesley Manning, and the writer/director of Ghostwatch: Behind the Curtains, Rich Lawden.
TV viewers who were children when they saw it in the first time round were among those deeply affected by what they saw.
One viewer recalled: “I was 12 when Ghostwatch was shown on Halloween on BBC1...even now I can’t watch it alone or with the lights off. Sure it might be dated and some people might call it boring but to this 26 year old, sleepless nights happen after I watch this show.”
One viewer, who saw it when he was 10, wrote: “Without a doubt this was a masterpiece of film. Everyone was talking about it. It was a cult hit within a matter of days and people were traumatised.
“Ghostwatch gave me nightmares for months afterwards.”