The Wednesday Christmas Play: A Warning To The Curious (1972)

You’ve seen it recreated with PlayMobil figures, but with Christmas fast approaching, it’s time for the real thing: the BBC adaptation of MR James’ classic ghost story, A Warning To The Curious. Airing in 1972, it was the second of the BBC’s Ghost Stories for Christmas and was adapted by the marvellous Lawrence Gordon Clark. In it, Peter Vaughan is an amateur archaeologist looking for a particularly important English treasure. Unfortunately for him, he finds it and discovers it has a guardian…

With its marvellous atmosphere and stark seaside location, I think it’s the best of all the MR James adaptations that the BBC did and you can watch it below, you lucky people*. Enjoy!

* There is, apparently, a minor edit in this version. For the full version, there’s the marvellous BFI DVD, which includes Robert Hardy in The Stalls of Barchester.

BFI events

What TV’s on at the BFI in October/November 2013

Louis Jordan in Count Dracula

It’s time for our regular look at the TV that the BFI is showing, this time in the months of October and November 2013. And what a pick there is. There’s a big collection of TV previews, including episodes of the news series of Wizards Vs Aliens and This Is Jinsy, the first episode of Yonderland from the Horrible Histories cast, the first episode of the final series of Poirot mysteries on ITV, including a Q&A with David Suchet, and Mark Gatiss’s adaptation of The Tractate Middoth, complete with documentary on MR James and Q&A.

On top of all that, there’s a season of Gothic movies and TV, including Channel 4’s Dead Set, BBC1’s classic Louis Jordan adaptation of Count Dracula introduced by the director, and a panel discussion about vampires that involves none other than Russell Tovey, Anthony Head and Toby Whithouse.

Sign me up.

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Thursday’s “Jo cancelled, a new Ghost Story for Christmas from Mark Gatiss and more Portlandia” news


  • Courteney Cox to make directorial debut with Hello I Must Be Going, Seann William Scott and Kate Walsh to star

Film casting


  • Trailer for Keanu Reeves’ Man of Tai Chi
  • Another trailer for The Wolverine
  • Trailer for In A World…
  • Trailer for Diana with Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews
  • Trailer for 300: Rise Of An Empire with Lena Headey, Eva Green et al
  • Trailer for Snowpiercer with Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton

French TV

  • Canal+ to create a new channel for French, European and American TV
  • TF1 cancels Jo, but the series may go on without it



New US TV show casting


Review: Doctor Who – 7×10 – Hide

In the UK: Saturday, 6.15pm, 20th April 2013, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer

In the US: Saturday, 8pm/7c, 20th April 2013, BBC America

Nigel Kneale is something of a god on this blog. A revolutionary writer of some of the best scripts in British TV history, his effect can still be felt today. One of his most powerful and influential works was The Stone Tape, a genuinely scary scientific ghost story that has leant its name to a parapsychology concept: the idea that ghosts may be ‘memories’ of events somehow imprinted on buildings or the landscape. When you have a mo, watch it below…

The latest piece of British TV to owe a debt to The Stone Tape was Saturday’s episode of Doctor WhoHide, which not only had a scientist investigating a haunted house with the help of scientific apparatus and a woman with psychic abilities, it was even set in the 70s.

Now, I have to admit I wasn’t sure what to expect of this. On the one hand, it was written by Neil Cross, who also wrote the rather dreadful Rings of Akhaten. On the other, Cross only got the job of writing Rings, because he’d apparently impressed Steven Moffat and co with the quality of this script. Cross also has ghost-story form, having written the recent BBC2 adaptation of MR James’s Whistle and I’ll Come To You.

So which Cross were we going to get, I was wondering: super-scary ghost-writing Cross or sucky singing child Cross?

Thankfully, it turned out to be the former. Here’s a trailer.

Continue reading “Review: Doctor Who – 7×10 – Hide”