One of the co-creators and stars of BBC comedy Ghosts has revealed that the original pilot of the show was kept under lock and key.


Speaking at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Mathew Baynton explained that when they were initially offered a broadcast slot, the offer didn't work for them at that time.

"[The pilot was an opportunity to] make some mistakes and learn from them," he said. "We made a sort of taster. It was like a third of a pilot or something, and it taught us a huge amount."

He went on to discuss one of the key changes that they made after shooting that episode: "We were going to have a house that was so endless, you would discover new ghosts every week."

At the end of the pilot, Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) can see the ghosts while Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) can't, interpreting her stunned expression as panic induced by the size of the renovation project they've taken on, which is how it plays out in season 1.

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"In the taster tape, we locked off [the camera] and [appeared as] eight ghosts, went and got changed, [then filmed as] eight more, then went and got changed [again]," said Baynton of the "ballroom full of ghosts" effect that they were going for.

But when the team eventually sat down to look at what they'd created, they immediately knew that something was amiss.

Ghosts Christmas Special 2021
Ghosts Christmas Special 2021 BBC

"[Ghosts] is about people who are stuck together with people they can't get on with," he added. "If there are 100 ghosts, they can all just find some friends and avoid the ones they don't like."

Executive producer Alison Carpenter also revealed that "Humphrey was originally going to be a bigger character than Robin", who are both played by Laurence Rickard.

"It was becoming apparent that, actually, Robin was going to be a really, really funny character, and much more unusual," she said. "So I think that was the other thing that we discovered through the pilot, to make Robin more of a key character. We had the luxury of not being stuck with anything."

Ghosts season 4 will air later this year, while seasons 1-3 are available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Check out more of our Comedy coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.


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