Traumafessions :: Reader Ballpeen on the BBC’s “A Ghost Story for Christmas”


It’s the most wonderful tiiiime of the year…. There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glory of Christmases long, long agooooo….

I’ve never understood the “scary ghost story + Christmas” bit in that song… til I read about the BBC’s series, “A Ghost Story for Christmas” (1971-78), which I ran across while researching the beloved Krampus for a performance (but that’s another story).

There’s not much to find by randomly searching youtube (or the hundred-odd, dependably confusing and US-incompatible BBC sites, for that matter)… unless you have the key. I found what looks to be a fan site, replete with all 8 episodes’ info. So enjoy searching the youtube for these creepy olde stories! (Also, check BBC Four and BBC Radio 7 for ghostly video and readings, respectively, though it seems like you’ll have to hand-search the latter for the episodes).

Merry Scary!


AUNT JOHN SEZ: Ballpeen, you weren’t kidding when you said the clips were hard to find. Here’s a clip from THE ICE HOUSE, but out of context it’s neither Christmas-y nor scary. So instead, let’s gather round and listen to this yuletide yarn from The Fall‘s MARK E. SMITH.

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13 years ago

I know “The Haunted Airman” has been released in the US on DVD, but I haven’t gotten around to seeing it…hell, it’s the guy from “Twilight” and the guy from “Warlock” in the same movie!

13 years ago

Oh man!  I so wanted to mention this, but since it wasn’t technically one of my childhood memories, I kept quiet.  But the BBC replays these pretty regularly every year around the holidays, and the old ones are freaking great!  The ones to definitely watch are Lost Hearts (my favorite), A Warning to the Curious, Treasure of Abbot Thomas, The Ash Tree (all by M.R. James), and The Signalman (by Charles Dickens and available on DVD – though it may be out of print).
The feel is somewhere between late 70’s era Dr. Who and Hammer pictures: very gothic with no gore but loads of atmosphere. I watch them every year!  The BBC have started making new ones in the past few years (including The Haunted Airman which was terrible IMO), but they really don’t compare to those old specials.

13 years ago

Wow, Mark E. Smith reading Lovecraft! I want a series of classic punks interpreting classic horror in the oral tradition. Can you imagine John Lydon or Siouxsie Sioux reading Poe, Derleth, M.R. James? Awesomeness!

13 years ago

I’ve got the region 2 DVD of A Warning To The Curious, and it’s pretty good.  There’s one very creepy scene where the lead character is scanning across his dark bedroom with a flashlight in the middle of the night, and he catches a glimpse of something…I don’t want to spoil it, I’ll just say that that episode is definitely worth seeking out.

13 years ago

I think The Stone Tape came out at Christmas time.   Some great writitng there, if its not a little dated.  It’s aching for a remake.