BRIAN LANGSTON takes his first look at Most Haunted with the 97th episode, Coronation Street (With Simon Gregson & Sue Cleaver)
Episode Title: Coronation Street (With Simon Gregson & Sue Cleaver)
Series: 7 Episode Number: 97
Originally broadcast: 2005
REVIEW: There are times in the field of paranormal research that you need to step up to the plate and go the extra mile. Days when you need to step out into the dark side and push yourself to do things you never thought possible.
Today was one of those days. I was asked by David Saunderson, the Editor of The Spooky Isles to…gulp…review an episode of Most Haunted. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware of the programme. Whilst channel-hopping, I have glimpsed the lovely Yvette and her affable husband Karl, shrieking inexplicably into the night vision camera and I have been vaguely aware of a camp scouse side-kick talking in tongues and getting a touch of the vapours, but I must confess I have never actually watched a full episode.
Tonight that all changed. I was invited to select an episode from the back catalogue of 187 MH masterpieces. I swallowed hard and perused the list anxiously looking for something which might make the task less arduous…then in series 7 (episode 97) it leapt out at me- Coronation Street with two of my favourite characters, Steve McDonald and Eileen Grimshaw.
As a lifelong Corrie fan I pounced on this episode. I felt sure that the team would be able to invoke a multitude of earthbound Street residents. There are many Rovers to Return, going back to Martha Longhurst who snuffed it in the snug through to Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell, Albert Tatlock and Elsie Tanner et al. The troubled spirits of the 16 murder victims who have perished on the cobbles from Ernie Bishop up to Tina McIntyre, must surely have left a psychic imprint on the Weatherfield ether.
The resident mediums were wheeled out to pick up on the vibrations from the Corrie set which had apparently been built on the site of an old burial ground. It had also seen serious Doodlebug raids during the war and they estimated 22,000 bodies lay beneath their feet! Steve McDonald and Eileen confirmed that spooky things happened on the sets and many of the cast and crew felt a supernatural presence and had been touched by an unseen hand.
The mediums sensed the presence of a man aged about 50 who died on the set about 20 years ago. Steve and Eileen scratched their heads and looked perplexed. This man had been a member of the crew and had used a hammer and nails, the medium added…. Nope still nothing… and presumably subsequent research failed to find anyone fitting this description either, as he was never mentioned again. The spirits of two Victorian children were sensed scampering round but efforts to contact them via a séance fell on deaf ears.
The remainder of the programme consisted of people with a very shaky camera following some other people with very dilated pupils talking to themselves whilst being bathed in a strange green glow. Then some other people walked around in the dark bumping into furniture and squealing a lot for no apparent reason. This was accompanied by several bleeps to hide the many expletives being uttered. There was one very disturbing image captured- but this was the result of an oddly positioned camera pointing up towards Steve McDonald’s nostrils capturing his nasal hair in all its majesty and little else for a good 20 minutes of the show.
At one point the obligatory orb put in an appearance and passed eerily over Steve McDonald like the Mysteron logo from Captain Scarlet and predictably sent the team into a tizzy. This was followed shortly afterwards by a noise which sounded suspiciously like someone lobbing a pebble across the set in an effort to break the tedium, but was enough to provoke the usual histrionics from the cast and crew.
Meanwhile, the intrepid Karl had ventured off on his own and found himself in the back yard of the Rover’s where, sensing the show needed a thrilling climax, a barrel of Newton and Ridley’s best bitter mysteriously rolled towards him of its own volition, no doubt aided by the supernatural forces of phantom pot-men Fred Gee and Jack Duckworth.
All in all it was a thrill a minute and such was their contribution to the understanding of the paranormal, that I find it difficult to comprehend why disbelievers still exist at all.
Just another 186 episodes to watch… cue the Corrie trumpet!
BRIAN LANGSTON is a law graduate and MBA and the former Assistant Chief Constable for Thames Valley Police. Since retirement he has drawn upon his extensive detective experience to conduct forensic research into reported supernatural phenomena. His new book ‘True Ghosts and Ghouls of Windsor & Eton’ is due for publication in the spring of 2015. He currently lives in the Languedoc region of Southern France with his wife Jenny and several adopted cats, where he writes and compulsively haunts fleamarkets. Brian is on twitter @GhostsofWindsor and Facebook.