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 2 Episode 1, “The Grey Lady,” brings back this series with a heartfelt story with lots of laughs. The residents of Button House, living and less so, are back in earnest and they’re as delightful as ever. Evidently, this little ghostly family has found their rhythm as they continue to give Button House its character. This continued ensemble work is further demonstrating that this is a crew worth investing in.
The fact that this episode leans into the haunted house is both charming and hilarious. It makes sense that the Coopers would lean into this at some point for their own gain. This would have made a perfect Halloween-centered storyline. However, it still works since the ghosts inhabit Button House year-round. This story really just emphasizes how versatile the concept of a haunted house is, and how it can be used over and over again to attract new visitors.
This situation also gives Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) a chance to further develop her relationship with the ghosts. Evidently, she has developed a routine with them. It’s natural to ask, if she is helping them out so much, why shouldn’t she ask them to help her? This further development of the dynamic between her and the ghosts actually makes them stronger as a unit. The chaos of their coexistence is given order by Alison starting to assert herself and take advantage of her current situation.
BBC Ghosts Season 2 Episode 1, “The Grey Lady,” also develops Pat (Jim Howick) and Thomas (Mathew Baynton) as an unlikely duo. Their podcast is appropriately unbearable, with Pat carrying so much of the charm. Pat was truly born to be a radio DJ, with his encouragement and natural rhythm. By contrast, if Thomas existed in the modern world, he would absolutely be a podcast bro with no insightful thoughts to share, but all the confidence in the world.
Relatedly, a strength of this episode is that it spotlights the ghosts without powers. It’s heartbreaking to watch the Captain (Ben Willbond) and Kitty (Lolly Adefope) in particular be rejected when they just want to help. This really establishes these characters in an equally heartwarming and heartbreaking way. They both clearly have the best of intentions, and just want to help Alison. While they may not have a lot in the way of haunting abilities, they are still clearly indispensable parts of this family.
Finally, this episode sets up a future for Button House, even if it’s not off to a great start. Evidently, there are many who would come to Button House given its rich history. As mentioned, it’s easy to imagine such a haunted estate would be a magnet to outsiders looking for a spooky good time. There’s a lot more to explore within Button House. With all of the ghostly residents, there’s never a dull moment.
BBC Ghosts is back and its trajectory continues. The continued development of this ensemble just makes them easier to love. This is the new beginning that the residents of Button House needed to launch them into the future. The development of the relationship between the Coopers and their ghostly housemates adds a lot of love to this story. Each of these characters have infinite stories to explore within this house. The future is bright.
Stray Spooky Thoughts:
-Petition to rename Bat Mitzvahs to Girl Mitzvahs.
-Julian (Simon Farnaby) having a Nelson Mandela impression loaded up is horrifyingly on brand for this character.
-The fact that the crowd doesn’t believe Alison owns a home is so depressingly relatable.
BBC Ghosts Seasons 1-5 are available to Stream on CBC Gem.