Terrifying TV show was so traumatizing it’s never been aired again

Gabriela Silva
Mike Smith, Sarah Greene, Michael Parkinson for Ghostwatch horror showBBC1

Some TV movies and shows were so frightening that they never saw the light of broadcast television again. Ghostwatch was a British horror mockumentary in 1992 that effectively scared viewers and traumatized them on Halloween and developed a cult following.

Halloween is the time of year when everyone willingly watches horror movies that have them fearing the dark, mentally preparing for a serial killer, or believing in haunted places or paranormal entities.

Ghostwatch aired on Halloween night in 1992 and focused on a “live” broadcast of a family dealing with a poltergeist in their home. The overall strategy of the TV movie is similar to found-footage horror movies.

Article continues after ad

It has host Michael Parkinson watching a live on-air investigation of a supposedly haunted home. All the while, viewers can phone in their own paranormal occurrences and thoughts. As the program continued, what was meant to be a simple investigation became something worse and had everyone fooled.

Ghostwatch fooled viewers into believing the broadcast was real

British co-host Sarah Greene took her crew into the fictional Foxhill Drive to investigate the family’s haunting by an entity nicknamed Mr. Pipes.

Ghostwatch was a mix between a dup and reality. Sarah Greene, a real host, ventures to spend the night at the Early’s home. Pamela Early (Brid Brennan) and her daughters Suzanne (Michelle Wesson) and Kim (Cherise Wesson) are fearful of the entity called Mr. Pipes, as it often possesses and harms Suzanne.

Article continues after ad

At first, Ghostwatch seems like a run-of-the-mill haunting story. But soon, Sarah begins to also hear the odd occurrences and finds Suzanne making pipe noises. Parkinson thinks it’s all a hoax until she gets inexplicable scratches on her arm.

It gets even more bizarre as audience members are calling into the station claiming they see Mr. Pipe’s in the corners or in the backdrop of the shots.

When Suzanne is trapped in the basement, Dr. Lin Pascoe, a psychologist watching with Parkinson, realizes Mr. Pipes’s true motive. He has used the broadcast to create a nationwide séance. Based on information by callers, Mr. Pipes is believed to be a pedophile once possessed by a Victorian baby farmer, who then died by suicide in the basement.

Article continues after ad

The crew and the Earlys are in danger. When they try to rescue Suzanne, a mirror falls and wounds one of the cameramen. While the rest leave, Sarah and the other cameraman try to save the young girl. But Sarah is pulled back into the basement and the door shuts.

Ghostwatch ends with the set being evacuated – all except Parkinson. In an eery cliffhanger, he’s seen walking through the dark set and possessed by Mr. Pipes.

Article continues after ad

Ghostwatch was met with mixed responses after its airing. Some praised it for its unique take on horror, while others criticized it. According to Independant, a teen died by suicide after believing the pipe noises he heard caused by a faulty central heating system were actually Mr. Pipes. While Ghostwatch hasn’t aired for years, it’s now available on Amazon Prime Video.

You can also check out our other Halloween coverage below:

Related Topics

About The Author

Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Fordham. Senior TV and Movies Writer for Dexerto covering Netflix, Disney+, K-Dramas and everything in between. Previous TV Writer for Showbiz Cheatsheet and List Witer for Screenrant. Any inquiries email at gabriela.silva@dexerto.com