ISSN: 20403275
First published in 2010
2 issues per volume
Volume 4 Issue 2
Cover Date: October 2013
Ghostwatch and the haunting of media
purchase PDF
Authors:  Murray Leeder 
DOI: 10.1386/host.4.2.173_1

Keywords
Ghostwatch,ghosts,supernatural,haunting,media,television,liveness,BBC

Abstract
Ghostwatch was an infamous mockumentary broadcast by BBC1 on 31 October 1992, documenting the ‘live’ investigation of a London haunted house. Its careful recreations of the conventions of live television were such that it successfully fooled many of its spectators into believing that BBC personalities, playing themselves, were in danger, and Britain was undergoing a massive haunting facilitated by television itself. A suicide was attributed to the programme, as well as several cases of post-traumatic stress disorder in children. This article links Ghostwatch with the supernatural implications that media of transmission are often understood as having, at least since the early linkages between spiritualism and telegraphy. It also explores how the programme exploits the conventions of liveness as a dark parody of the ways children are taught to understand television: as a semi-permeable barrier that looks even as it is looked at. Finally, it considers the implications of the BBC becoming perverted into a national haunting force in terms of its putative role as a nation-building public service broadcaster.
Tags:
Your tags: Please login or register if you don't have a user account.
Latest news
19th July 2017
New issue of the Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies – out now!
Read more Read more
13th July 2017
Applied Theatre Research announcement
Read more Read more
10th July 2017
Metal Music Studies 3.2 – out now!
Read more Read more

The Big Picture Magazine