BBC One’s hugely successful sitcom Ghosts returns to screens in September for a six part series as well as a Christmas special at the end of the year.
Made by Monumental Television, the hugely popular sitcom features a young couple, Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe), who unexpectedly inherit a grand country estate only to find it is both falling apart and overrun with ghosts.
The crumbling country pile of Button House is home to a troupe of restless spirits who have died there over the centuries, each ghost very much a product of their time, resigned to squabbling with each other for eternity over the most inane of daily gripes.
This series Alison and Mike are trying to find a semi-harmonious routine with the ghostly housemates of Button House: the ghosts have found a way to make their new situation work for them, while the couple are working towards a new money-making venture to fund the house’s never-ending renovations Without the money to continue the extensive building work and the hotel still a distant dream, Alison and Mike decide to try to rent the place out for events.
Ghosts is the first BBC One project for the creators and stars of Yonderland, the feature film Bill and the comedy series Horrible Histories: Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond. The cast also includes Lolly Adefope and Katy Wix. Its consolidated series average of 3.7m made Ghosts the highest rating comedy series on UK television in 2019.
Executive producers, Alison Owen and Debra Hayward said: "We are so proud of Ghosts. It’s great to be back at Button House and the ghosts are funnier than ever. It’s just the tonic we all need right now!"
The series is commissioned by Shane Allen, Controller of Comedy Commissioning, and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Head of Comedy Kate Daughton.
Ghosts is a Monumental Television production in association with Them There for BBC One. The producer is Matthew Mulot, the director is Tom Kingsley, and the creators serve as Executive Producers alongside Imogen Cooper and Monumental's Alison Carpenter, Debra Hayward and Alison Owen.
Series three of Ghosts has already been commissioned and there will be a Christmas special later this year. Ghosts is distributed by BBC Studios.
Played by Charlotte Ritchie
Alison is struggling to find a harmonious routine with the ghosts as she continues to juggle their incessant demands with the pressures of married life and stretched finances. Luckily, she now knows the ghosts well enough to negotiate their foibles but is never more than a moment away from upsetting the delicate status quo. Whilst she still harbours big ambitions for the house, her hotel dream is now on indefinite hold, forcing her to embrace more achievable plans in the short term. This has instilled a new hope in both her and Mike, as fresh thinking promises a new revenue stream for the cash-strapped couple. Enthusiastic and impulsive, Alison is as bad an influence on Mike as he is on her - like two Yangs with no Yin. Still, Alison makes the best of what they have, even as the walls literally fall apart around her.
Played by Kiell Smith-Bynoe
A big-hearted liability, Mike will always work hard to keep his and Alison’s dream alive. Too ‘big picture’ to focus on trivial distractions, but very loveable despite his flaws, he’ll always leap in with both feet... and only then check if it was into quicksand. He still sees the potential the house has to offer them in a variety of ways, convinced that - one day - the crumbling money pit will become the house (and business) of their dreams. He firmly believes you can do anything you put your mind to, despite a lifetime of experience to the contrary. Whilst still trying to get used to Alison talking to mid-air, Mike is slowly getting more comfortable with the presence of the ghosts… At least, that’s what he tells himself when one might well be in the toilet with him.
Played by Simon Farnaby
An MP who died in “mysterious circumstances”, leaving him (quite literally) with his trousers down for eternity. Utterly bereft of morals, but, ever the politician, he tries to give the impression that he’s the embodiment of diplomacy. Says one thing, does another, and would sell his own grandmother if it served his agenda. Julian allies himself with whoever has the advantage that day but has no hesitation in stabbing them all in the back if the need arises. He’s perfectly pleasant to talk to but has a fabulous knack of using a lot of words to say nothing at all. Were he not dead, he’d probably be running the country.
Played by Mathew Baynton
A romantic poet in a Byronian mould. Overly dramatic and linguistically flamboyant, he is very trying company; his tortured melancholy grates upon those from every other era, who simply can’t be doing with his nonsense. He died lovelorn and besotted, so exists in a state of permanent romantic infatuation, which he has transferred wholly onto Alison since her arrival in the house. Thomas takes every opportunity to belittle her husband Mike, alluding to his shortcomings and character flaws - both real and invented - safe in the knowledge that Mike can neither hear him nor do him any harm. The sort of bravery that you’d expect from a poet.
Played by Ben Willbond
A cantankerous and reactionary WWII Army Captain who served at the old house during its wartime use as a military base. He thinks of the other ghosts as being under his command, which is in no way the case, thereby thwarting his every attempt to instil discipline. When the Captain isn’t catching up on his newly discovered and beloved war documentaries, he tries to create the type of order in the house that he strived for in the war - a largely fruitless aim, but one that seems to give his life (death) meaning.
Played by Martha Howe-Douglas
The house’s one-time owner, who basically thinks of it as still being hers. Sees herself as the ghosts’ moral guardian, despite the utter futility of trying to enforce Edwardian values on such historically disparate housemates. Inhumanly strict and starchy, she is hugely dismissive of modern thinking, fashion, and, by and large, people. Since admitting to the others that her husband George pushed her out of a window after she caught him “’upon’ the groundskeeper… with the butler ‘upon’ him”, Lady Button has been battling the shackles of Edwardian patriarchy that were placed on her in life, whilst learning what it means to be a woman in the 21st century through her descendant, Alison. Although she can’t help but remind Alison about propriety and appearance whenever she can, a gradual softening may lead to a more compassionate existence in the house for Lady Button. Until someone is impertinent to her, obviously.
Played by Jim Howick
Despite being accidentally shot through the neck with an arrow by a young member of his adventure club, Pat still bristles with the heart and energy of an encouraging team leader. Wholesome, positive and determined to keep up morale, Pat is every bit as inspiring - and annoying - as that sounds. Seeing the good in every situation, he loves the idea of galvanising the ghosts into a team, but utterly lacks the status ever to achieve this. Self-ordained entertainments officer - like the really well-intentioned neighbour who constantly tries to induct you into the local am-dram society.
Played by Lolly Adefope
Full of unwavering joy and optimism, Kitty will get excited at just about anything. She’s adorable and well-spoken, but not the sharpest tool in the box - the sort of person who’d gladly sharpen your axe for you before you cut her head off. She is utterly absent of any bitterness towards whoever engineered her untimely demise, and likes to see the good in everyone (even Julian, at a push). Quick to display her accomplishments in singing despite never being asked to, Kitty faces every day like it might be her last… when, in truth, that ship has long since sailed. She easily gets swept up in the romance of even the tamest situations, but her joie de vivre and total lack of cynicism can be tedious for the other ghosts, and now more recently for Alison, whom she idolises.
Played by Katy Wix
It is unclear whether Mary is an actual witch or merely a perfectly normal 17th century woman who said something that upset a village elder and ended up being burnt at the stake. Either way, she is certainly a font of knowledge (slash paranoia) when it comes to folklore, tradition and questionable herbal remedies. A simple soul who struggles slightly with the modern vernacular, Mary has tried to make the best of her tragic situation, spreading her expertise in rural crafts. However, she also has the sort of PTSD and passive aggression you might expect from someone who was burnt alive and does not respond well to ‘no smoking in here’ type jokes. But then it has only been 370 years, and you have to give these things time...
Played by Laurence Rickard
As the house’s oldest inhabitant (by quite some margin), he has seen and learnt a great many things... but has forgotten far more than he’s remembered. His primitive speech means that even his more lucid thoughts can only be expressed in staccato bursts of adjectives and nouns. Like a badly wired supercomputer than can only communicate through a Speak & Spell. Full of the wisdom that comes with existing for 10,000 years, Robin is confident in his point of view of the world but is always full of childlike wonder when he learns something new, and he can’t help still getting excited by fire. It’s just really really cool.
Played by Laurence Rickard
Beheaded under Elizabeth I, Humphrey is not the type to let a little thing like having his head cut off get him down. Breezy and jocular to a fault, he will (literally) laugh his head off at anything – regardless of whether it’s appropriate. Thinks he’s light relief but is often just salt in the wound. Loves: a laugh. Hates: his head being used as a football.
A mass grave of rather bored plague victims whose eternal resting place has now become a wine cellar. Kept in the dark, in every sense, they greatly enjoy occasional visitors (nothing is more exciting to them than when the pilot light goes out on the boiler) and, due to their lack of stimulation beyond wine labels, now know more about what pairs with a rare sirloin than any sommelier on Earth. A happy go lucky lot, but sort of stuck in their ways; they’ve spent so long together it would never occur to them to change the status quo. Spats and arguments crop up between them over the centuries but they’ve endured much worse, and their friendship is pretty solid by now.
Lady Button... Martha Howe-Douglas
Thomas Thorne... Mat Baynton
Julian... Simon Farnaby
Pat... Jim Howick
Robin the Caveman/Humphrey’s Head... Larry Rickard
The Captain... Ben Willbond
Alison... Charlotte Ritchie
Mike... Kiell Smith-Bynoe
Kitty... Lolly Adefope
Mary... Katy Wix
Written, created by and starring... Martha Howe-Douglas, Larry Rickard Mat Baynton, Jim Howick, Ben Willbond, Simon Farnaby
Executive Producers... Alison Carpenter, Imogen Cooper, Alison Owen, Debra Hayward
Producer... Matthew Mulot
Director... Tom Kingsley
Production Designer... Amy Maguire
DOP... Will Hanke
Casting Directors... Kelly Valentine Hendry, Alex Irwin
Line Producer... Jill Forbes
Costume Designer... Lucy Williams
Hair & Make-Up Designer... Jo Jenkins