Last year, at Hallowe’en, we were in London because it was the MCM Comic Con and we were nerding out and meeting Michael Landes and Ophelia Lovibond and generally having a jolly nice time.
What that meant, though, is that the now almost traditional night of televisual mockery could not take place because our hotel, while lovely (aside from the railway line directly outside the window) did not provide access to what we needed to see.
Which was, of course, Most Haunted.
The Most Haunted Hallowe’en specials have been a staple for some years now. Because they’re amazing(ly bad). Obviously, they’re better when they are live because of the unpredictability of it all. Because you never know when the spirits will strike. Or, to put it another way, you only get one take at – say – throwing a knife onto a bed before the cameras catch you throwing a knife onto a bed, or being yanked backwards on a rope without the cameras clearly showing the rope. And then you have to come up with an absolutely bonkers explanation for what it was the viewers saw but clearly didn’t understand because they don’t work in the television industry.
So, it appears, last year’s special was pre-recorded. That way, you see, you can edit out everything that isn’t a ghost but is a poorly conducted stunt.
The pre-recorded episode is then shown on Hallowe’en when – according to Yvette Fielding – the veil between our world and the next is thinnest. Not that that actually matters, though, if you’ve filmed it earlier on in the month. I mean, by that same token BBC’s infamous brown-trouser extravaganza Ghostwatch was equally breaking through the barriers between this world and the next. Bloody Pipes, shitting everyone up.
Although I think it’s Ghostwatch – very much my generation’s version of that time everyone thought that the radio broadcast of War Of The Worlds was real – is what has hardened people to the obviously entirely real Most Haunted.
The thing with Most Haunted, I find, is that it’s bollocks at a very, very high level. The way Yvette Fielding – a girl who famously cannot make a pancake – is suddenly right up there as one of the leading lights in the paranormal field because, in her late forties, she’s started dressing like a goth is – to me – baffling. I mean, obviously, from her position atop a mountain of gold she has gotten for the numerous different shows she’s done and spin offs where cameras followed her and Karl around, dressing like a goth has paid off for her.
But it’s the fact that they’re so serious about it all. So serious. There’s not a spark of joy in them whatsoever. Nothing is fun anymore. It’s all doe-eyed dark eyeliner seriousness, like Princess Diana used to do. None of the ghosts are in any way fun and mischievous. They’re all out to hurt her or Karl by throwing things at them. They’re all evil entities who want them out of their place of hauntage.
Which is understandable if you look at it from the point of view of the ghost.
Firstly, you’ve died. That’s a shitter for starters. And then you find out that you can’t even, for whatever reason, leave the earthly plane. You’re destined to hang around in cold, drafty cellars or whatever because there’s some hitherto unexplained science about rocks absorbing spiritual energy, and you’re trapped there drifting from room to room. And then, to top it all off, other living people come in and redecorate and put things in your way. So you live your afterlife, floating about. Occasionally, for whatever reason, someone sees you out of the corner of their eye or you accidentally bump a ladle. And then word gets out that your ancestral pile is haunted.
And then fricking Yvette Fielding turns up trying to get you to whistle, or throw pebbles so she knows that you’re there. And all you want to do is float about without any sort of interruptions. For starters, you don’t have the physical manifestation of lips, so whistling is tricky at the best of times. And maybe, in your past life, you were one of those people who can’t whistle. She might as well be asking you to roll your tongue or lick your own elbow for all the good it will do you.
So, instead, you figure you’ll try and throw a stone. After all, it was wobbling the ladle that brought them here in the first place. So you whizz a teeny weeny pebble down a corridor and then before you know it, the ex-Blue Peter presenter turned
Ghostbuster Ghostbotherer is accusing you of trying to harm her and telling you to get away from her. So you do. You float off and bump into Karl who’s in another room on your floating route, bothering you in some other way. And he’s with that guy who looks like Uncle Fester in night vision. Not that you know that because you died long before the Addams Family.
And they’re trying to convince you it’s Hallowe’en even though you’ve just floated past a calendar and it’s only just the beginning of October.
That poor ghost.
God, I really hope there’s a new special episode…