Adding a Li’l Spookiness to Christmas Eve

24 Dec


The Ghosts of Motley Hall

Motley Hall is one of those television gems that is begging for a rebroadcast so a whole new generation of children can discover this timeless series from the same man who created and wrote Catweazle. Richard Carpenter who became dissatisfied with acting turned his hand to writing on series such as Doctor Snuggles, Dick Turpin, and The Baker Street Boys.

With The Ghosts of Motley Hall, Carpenter wrote about a derelict family manor that was haunted by previous occupants of the manor’s owners, the Uproaor family, and their servants. The cast was filled with the names of established actors; Sean Flanagan (The Nearly Man, Play for Today), Freddie Jones (Love and Mr. Lewisham, The Caesers), Sheila Steafal (How’s Your Father?, Cribbins), Arthur English (Crown Court, Follyfoot), Nicholas Le Prevost (The Nearly Man), and Peter Sallis (Last of the Summer Wine, Doctor Who).

In the episode “The Christmas Spirit,” the ghosts return to a time when Motley was inhabited and its halls were filled with laughter. But all is not well for long, Motley is soon haunted by an elemental that is released after an old Beech tree is cut down and used for fuel on the winter fire. Even the spirits that regularly frequent its halls are affected by this unseen force as it feeds off the anger during the season of good cheer.


The Ghosts of Oxford Street

The Ghosts of Oxford Street is one of those Christmas specials that is hard to pin down. Is it a documentary, is it a musical or is it a comedy? It certainly has it comical moments. Professionally produced with more than just a hint of amateur theatrics one can view Shane McGowan propped up in a drunken stupor, The Happy Mondays performing Bee Gees’ Staying Alive in a hangman’s number, and Sinead O’Connor dressed as a 15-year old prostitute.

If anything it is art and entertaining art at that. It will make the audience think and that is what Malcolm McLaren, writer, director and host, wanted.

In Oxford Street, McLaren resurrects the area’s seedy history by inviting the spirits of rogues, villains and notable figures of time long past to a decadent ball held on the grounds of the old Pantheon (now Marks & Spencer).

One Response to “Adding a Li’l Spookiness to Christmas Eve”


  1. Have Yourself a Spooky Little Christmas | - 2014-12-24

    […] tradition from long ago, may we recommend a few ghostly tales from or Ed Sum’s own list of supernatural delights to partake […]

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