This review is spoiler-free.
“Kitty becomes convinced that Santa has made an early stop at Button House when Mike and Alison discover a man living in a tent on their grounds. The ghosts’ advice on how to deal with him leaves much to be desired, but eventually Mike and Alison learn that they have more to offer this Christmas than they realised.”
The ghosts are back with another festive special and following on from the fantastic third series, this talented bunch of performers has put together something very special, that is certain to be a contender for ‘Winning Christmas’!
As we have come to expect, be it during a full series or with a Christmas special, there is always a key focus on specific individual characters, as we learn more about their past and how they came to be ghosts. Last series it was Lolly Adefope who, in the process, wowed audiences with her performance and broke many hearts, mine included! This time around we see Martha Howe-Douglas stepping into the spotlight as Lady Button. Now, we’ve had dribs and drabs of Lady Button’s backstory before, but this time it is explored in much greater detail, allowing us to experience a much younger, and very different, version of her character as we are finally able to understand how the Lady Button we all know and love came to be the way she is. How is this achieved? By exploring her relationship with her mother, played by the iconic Jennifer Saunders – who is brilliant throughout the episode for a whole host of different reasons!
Now, being a huge fan of this troupe, be it Horrible Histories or Yonderland, I know that Martha has the acting chops to play the serious and emotional drama side of the type of performance needed to pull off this story, and she does so brilliantly! I also think it was rather poignant that she is also the co-writer of the episode as you really experience the story through the female gaze side as all the events unfold onscreen. Very believable, very real, very emotional.
Of course, as moving, and powerful as the drama side is, it is of course the humour that we also come to expect and if you enjoy the show, you’ll know what to expect and it delivers once again! There are plenty of spoken and visual gags that will tickle even the sternest of funny bones, with one stand-out joke, in particular, that is a real show-stealer! With every series, with every Christmas special, this show just continues to get better and better – it is funny, clever and, thanks to the quality of all aspects of the writing, it just delivers on multiple layers, it’s an all-round show that is perfect for everyone!
I think it goes without saying that the cast, every single one of them, do an incredible job with both the funny and serious tones of the episode and I have come to expect nothing less! Kiell Smith-Bynoe (Mike) and Charlotte Ritchie (Alison) are once again in the thick of things trying to balance celebrating Christmas while contending with the usual laugh-a-minute antics of the ghostly inhabitants of Button House and be it as a pair or solo, these two performers always deliver the goods! Mathew Baynton (Thomas), Simon Farnaby (Julian), Jim Howick (Pat), Laurence Rickard (Robin), Ben Willbond (The Captain), Katy Wix (Mary) and Lolly Adefope (Kitty) are also all on point once again and when you put this cast together they just work so natural and fluid all the time – the enjoyment they have working together reflects in the final output of the show and that makes watching Ghosts so enjoyable and magical with every viewing.
Ghosts Christmas Special (2021) is a hilarious and heart-warming Christmas tale that will have the entire family laughing away into the night, whilst also pulling hard on those heartstrings, as this talented group of performers and writers deliver yet another sure-fire Christmas classic!