Sunday, September 30, 2007

Most Haunted

The temperatures are dropping, and the nights are drawing in. Time for the TV Dinners team to stop stomping around London, singing Carmen, holidaying in exotic climes, and get back to the serious business of watching telly and knitting.

I had a few rows to knit while waiting for Saxondale to start: I didn't fancy watching rich people buy a house and fuck it up, so I flicked the remote to FTN's Most Haunted.

Pardon the pun, but I've been dying to watch Most Haunted after seeing the odd clip while surfing channels, so here was my chance. Until Steve Coogan's rather creepily accurate portrait of just about every music biz friend in my dad's address book, anyway.

Most Haunted is the Anti-Antiques Roadshow. Antiques Roadshow takes place during the day, and involves a group of experts in a nice old house, poring over various bits of old tut and talking about them. In Most Haunted, a team of 'experts' in paranormal phenomena walk around a nice old house at night, and talk a load of old tut about ghosties. They even film the whole thing in night vision, so they all look a bit spooky anyway, especially when you see their eyes in negative. Interestingly enough, Derek Acorah's eyes in night vision are pitch black. This, I think, is all the evidence we need that he is in fact Satan.

So here we are, on the lawn of a pretty little medieval manor house, which apparently has been a pub, a boarding school and a family home in its long and turbulent history. I'm sorry, but show me a house over 200 years old in the British Isles that doesn't have a long and turbulent history. That's what history is. Anyway, this long and turbulent history means that there are a lot of disturbed spirits running around the place. Or floating. Whatever it is that sprits do.

Firstly, Yvette Fielding. WHAT HAPPENED? Twenty years or so ago, she was a lovely, bubbly children's TV presenter with eye-scorching yellow jumpers and beautiful curly russet hair. Now she shops for crushed velvet frock coats at Goths R Us, and some demon hairdresser has transformed her tumbling locks into a bleached, straightened mulletty affair that wouldn't look odd on an ageing glam rocker. Yvette (whom Derek Acorah calls "Eveet" no longer smiles. She looks grim. And slightly scared. What demon hold does Derek have over her and her loved ones that she is condemned to spend her fading years following him around old houses and going "eek!" at crucial moments?

So anyway, Yvette finds a few middle-aged chaps to talk about strange happenings (footsteps on the stairs, ghostly games of know the score). Then a 'historian' (I think he might have an A-level) gives a few gory facts: religious persecution (it's 700 years old ffs! Every manor house in the country was involved in some way!), pub brawls, small boys getting roasted over open fires... to whet our appetites before the ads.

After the ads a Parapsychologist - not even the University of Greenwich offers a course in parapsychology, and they're pretty desperate for students - waves a tricorder around and talks about temperature fluctuations.

The purpose of all this flannel is to soften us up for the appearance of the The Silver One himself. Derek Acorah even dresses dodgy. Slicked back silver hair, buttoned up black shirt, diamond ear stud...I almost expect him to start flogging Yvette a dodgy Jag or asking if I've had an accident that wasn't my fault recently. But instead he presses his fingers to his temples and looks troubled.

Derek: "I'm sensing damp...lots of damp"

It's an old house mate. They didn't do draught proofing in 1474.

Then he twitches and genuflects and says that there's a lot of Catholicism about. Well you know, that's what Catholics do, genuflect and say their Hail Mary's all wonder Luther got bored and went to set up his own religion. Derek says there's a lady in white, and she hates her father. He then closes his eyes.

Derek: "I'm feeling my vision going away..."

A subtitle says that a young woman's Protestant lover was murdered by her catholic father in 157something. That's an "ooooh..." moment. For me it's an "oooh...Derek has a researcher..." moment.

The parapsychologist waves his tricorder and reports a drop in temperature. They're standing next to an open window. Derek babbles on about people drinking...Yvette hears a spooky whistle and the crew go off to investigate squeaky doors.

So, we've got a whistling white lady, a room full of drunkards, and...Derek gets "residual energy...thinking water being thrown over our shoulders..." Even Yvette can't resist a WTF look at this point.

Derek scurries off, apparently that's scurrying energy, saying that he's on the trail of two priests in hiding. Yep, well, it's an old house, and many country gentlefolk resisted the Reformation as best as they could, and there were a lot of deaths. Derek finds a priests' room, and 'sees' lots of blood. Oh, someone died then. Apparently one priest is angry, and the other one isn't. Well, maybe he doesn't like all the drunkard ghosts downstairs. And that white lady must be a bit of a pain too.

Another sweatier and obviously lesser psychic joins them as the producers get bored and switch the camera to night vision, and that's when I noticed the black eyes of demon possession.

I'm afraid I only lasted up until Derek found another spirit chap called Sam who directed them to a room where some bloke called Joseph committed suicide. The magic subtitle appears again, and says that a bloke called Joseph did commit suicide in 1878. Before we switched channeles, I saw the previews begging us to stay, and to expect demon possession (Sweaty Psychic goes "Raaaaorr"), Yvette screaming, and Derek saying he feels a bit tired...

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