Photo Courtesy of the BBC and CBC.

BBC Ghosts Season 1 Episode 1 Review: “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labour of the actors and other creatives involved in the project(s) mentioned here, Pages and Pictures would not exist. Pages and Pictures stands firmly behind SAG-AFTRA members as they fight for fair labour conditions. 

BBC Ghosts Season 1 Episode 1, “Who Do You Think You Are?,” kicks off this spooky series with a lot of heart.  With a hilarious and heartfelt premise that happens to be whip-smart, there’s a lot to love about this series from the beginning.

There’s a lot packed into this premiere, an episode that had no easy task. From introducing an entirely new cast of characters to leaning into a whacky premise, there’s a lot that could go wrong in a show like this. 

Somehow, everything comes together. Everything about the series premiere is an invitation to explore this little chaotic world a little bit more. 

Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) are immediately lovable as protagonists. They’re even more relatable as millennials who can’t afford a home. 

The fact that they need to resort to living in a literally haunted mansion rather than an apartment in the city is a deeply uncomfortable mirror into the real world.

Who among us wouldn’t make the same choice? If it’s a haunted mansion or a concrete box in the city…

It’s also easy to empathize with Alison’s new ability to perceive ghosts. She really goes through the denial phase of grief in real-time. This makes her that much more endearing as she approaches this with her full self, which is a deeply relatable reaction. 

As an introduction to the ghosts, this premiere episode is incredibly effective. Evidently, these colourful characters haven’t just lived one chaotic life. Their afterlives are evidently filled with enough disarray to keep everyone entertained.    

Relatedly, BBC Ghosts Season 1 Episode 1, “Who Do You Think You Are?,” also introduces Button House as a character to get to know. 

There’s so much character in this dusty house. It doesn’t require a huge leap to imagine it’s haunted and that the spirits of former inhabitants will always have a piece of themselves remaining here. While it may be physically falling apart, Button House, like its residents, has much to love. 

Finally, Franny (Martha Howe-Douglas) has the honour of holding much of the emotional weight for the series premiere. There is clearly much more to this character than being a screaming, silvery apparition. 

Evidently, Franny has lived a dynamic life as the matriarch of her family and her home. In her afterlife, she’s just beginning to process everything she went through while she was alive. There is much more to explore with this character. 

BBC Ghosts is off to a strong start as an endearing comedy to delve into. This unique premise has a lot of promise, and there are many colourful characters to get to know. This ensemble has a lot of talent right from the beginning. 

Leaning into the unhinged energy that this series promises would make for a fun ride for all sitcom aficionados everywhere. 

Stray Spooky Thoughts:

  • The powers of each of the ghosts are intriguing. It will be interesting to see this developed and how they are used to cause chaos and panic for the living residents of Button House. 
  • The soundtrack to this premiere is immaculate. It’s a feat to capture the very essence of the story; comedic with spooky undertones.
  • Relatedly, the undertones of horror just add to the overall story. These would make interesting plot points to delve further into as the series continues.
  • Everything really can be learned from YouTube. Mike is a DIY icon, and he should never change.

BBC Ghosts Seasons 1-5 are available to Stream on CBC Gem.

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