It’s December and Christmas time is here, and you know what that means, right? Yep, Ghost Storyies!
What’s that you say? Ghost stories for Christmas? I must mean Halloween, right? Well, you’re probably saying that unless you happen to have grown up in the UK in the 1970’s. That’s because there’s a tradition in Britain for having a bit of a ghost story with your Christmas ham and goose. And back in the 1970’s the BBC brought that tradition to TV on Christmas night. So along with your yearly dose of Morecambe and Wise you also got a good dowsing of scary-bits too! God I love England…
So, not growing up in England (darn luck) I didn’t actually find out about this great tradition until a few years ago (even though growing up I attempted to digest as much Anglophilia as possible, I guess PBS let us down on this one…). I finally stumbled on the Christmas Ghost Story tradition while going down yet another rabbit hole on the interwebs, the original intent of which is now lost to the sands of time. But boy, was that a very fruitful evening of rabbit hole spelunking! Somewhere deep in that warren I ran smack dab into Nigel Kneale, a name you more than likely aren’t familiar with either, but you should be. In addition to scripting the 1954 BBC production of 1984 (with Peter Cushing!), creating Quatermass as well as The Year of the Sex Olympics (there WILL be a post on that one soon), Mr Kneale wrote also the first Christmas Ghost Story that I saw, which is none other than 1972 The Stone Tape.
The Stone Tape is no regular ghost story though, its got a bit of the science fiction in it too, and seeing as how it was produced in 1972 if you are a fan of Classic Doctor Who you will love the look and feel of this. Its got a very interesting theory as well, one which seems to have taken on a life of its own (which is somewhat fitting).
But I won’t spoil it for you, I’ll just suggest a link to it on the YouTubes (this of course is subject not work at some point), and let you enjoy it for yourself!