The original cast of BBC One sitcom Ghosts has weighed in on the upcoming American remake, which is due to air on US broadcaster CBS later this year.
Much like the British version, the sitcom will follow a young married couple – Samantha and Jay – who unexpectedly inherit a mansion from a distant relative and make plans to convert it into a hotel.
However, when Samantha has a serious accident and falls into a coma, she awakes with the ability to see the undead spirits that haunt her new home – and that’s going to make her life a lot more complicated.
Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press ahead of the launch of series three on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, members of the Ghosts cast have voiced their opinion on the remake, on which they are credited as executive producers.
Ben Willbond, who plays The Captain, says, “It was just really fun to see the process and see it be turned into this CBS-style show. I think initially it was like, ‘Wow, that is just weird. This just looks weird’. And then with the release of the new pilot, I just think it looks great. It’s really fun.”
For many of the cast members, it was strange seeing characters they had grown so familiar with being played by different people, with co-star Jim Howick describing it as “the closest I’ve come to a sort of sci-fi parallel universe”.
However, not every ghost from the British series has made it into the US version, with some – such as Matthew Baynton’s failed poet Thomas Thorne – being cut to ensure the show makes geographical and cultural sense with real American history.
Baynton explains, “A big part of americanising it was for them to decide on an ensemble, because our ensemble is a bunch of immediately recognisable archetypes that are particularly British or European, and an extent of history that is particular to the place.
“So you’ve got a completely new set of restrictions when you set it in America and you’ve got to think about where you’re going to set it, how far back the history is going to go in that setting, and what those archetypes are going to be that Americans are going to recognise immediately.”
Co-star Laurence Rickard praises the work of American producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman for keeping the dynamic of the show consistent, despite having to insert new characters into the group.
“A lot of the character dynamics are the same, but they’ve changed where those characters come from geographically and their point in history,” he says. “I think they’ve been really, really clever about it.”
While some purists might be resistant to the idea of a Ghosts remake, it does appear that the American cast are trying their best to do justice to these characters, with Martha Howe-Douglas (aka Lady Button) getting an enthusiastic message from her US counterpart.
“The lady who plays the equivalent of Lady Button, Rebecca Wisocky, messaged me on Instagram to say how excited she was,” reveals Howe-Douglas. “It’s nice to have that kind of camaraderie between the shows, but in terms of their success we just wish them the best. I hope they have as much fun as we do. I look forward to seeing it properly.”
Ghosts series three arrives on Monday 9th August at 8:30pm on BBC One. Visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.