This review is spoiler-free.
Ghosts – Written by and starring Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond.
The episode focuses on two key narratives. Firstly, we have Mike’s family staying for Christmas, which sees Mike and Alison juggling the traditions and expectations that go along with spending Christmas time with your family. It also puts the microscope on the ghosts, as they reflect on what Christmas means to them, as Alison does all she can to try and give them a Christmas to remember. Ghosts: The Ghost of Christmas is a fitting title, as the themes and meaning become very apparent from the off. I really enjoyed this approach to the story and I think it hit every note that it could. This was an exceptionally well written piece of television.
The main story was a fitting seasonal tale, packed full of humour that ranged from pleasant chuckles to outright belly laughs. As we have all come to expect, as humorous as the episode was, it was those sobering moments that really makes the show what it is. I cannot fathom how they manage to achieve blending the humour and emotional aspects in the way that they do, and just when I think I’m getting close to working it out, they hit you with the unexpected and you are once again left scratching your head.
What I enjoyed most about this episode was the fact that it focused on two characters who don’t usually get that much exploration and development. As with the Series 2, we are starting to learn more and more about the ghostly residents of Button House and it never disappoints!
Kiell Smith-Bynoe has a lot of focus on him throughout, and after his shining solo outing in the last series, I was glad that he was able to have that chance once again. Mike is an extremely underrated character, in my opinion. Simon Farnaby was also another one, who we get to see a different side to, this time around, and it helps give Julian a completely different dimension with the potential for a lot more expansion in the next series. To be honest, I could list and praise the entire cast, and yes, I know it is a cop-out, but they were all tremendous! Each character has their time to shine with both the comedy and the emotional elements, from the joy of Lolly Adefope’s Kitty mingling with Mike’s family to Katy Wix’s blunt, but hilarious, off-hand jibe about babies – all these little moments are vital to the bigger picture.
Lastly, in terms of the cast, Charlotte Ritchie takes the lead during a very poignant moment and it makes for a perfect ending. It was one of those events where all you can do is watch in awe. It was simply stunning!
I love this show, I love the writing, I love the characters, I love the performers, I just love Ghosts…
For fans of Ghosts, this Christmas Special will have been a wonderful way to see out 2020. For casual viewers, they are treated to some wonderful writing and outstanding performances, offering moments of great hilarity mixed with sobering and thoughtful scenes. A perfect festive spooky treat! The Ghosts will be back next year for Series 3.