A Christmas Ghost Story: Live performance at BBC Broadcasting House 13 Dec 2017

Press/Media: Expert Comment

Description

Ghost stories are a long-established part of Christmas festivities. And they have been a popular feature of the BBC’s work as well.

BBC radio gave a new twist to this story-telling tradition in a radio play broadcast from Belfast on Christmas Eve, 1937. Not One Returns to Tell was written by Denis Johnston (who had recently joined the BBC’s staff in Northern Ireland) and described ghostly goings-on during an outside broadcast from a north Antrim hotel. It was an innovative piece of programme-making and anticipated some of the techniques that would later become famous as a result of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds. Intriguingly, the listing that appeared in The Radio Times warned people who might be "prone to nervousness.. not to listen to this programme" – which probably had the desired effect of boosting listening figures!

We’ll be stepping back in time in the company of the wonderful Wireless Mystery Theatre in a performance that will take place just a few yards away from the location of Not One Returns To Tell’s original, eerie broadcast 80 years ago. And Dr Leon Litvack, who is well-known to BBC audiences as an expert on Charles Dickens, will provide an introduction on the tradition of Christmas ghost stories.

Period13 Dec 2017

Media contributions

1

Media contributions

  • TitleA Christmas Ghost Story: Not One Returns to Tell
    Degree of recognitionRegional
    Media name/outletBBC
    Media typeRadio
    Duration/Length/Size75 minutes
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    Date13/12/2017
    DescriptionGhost stories are a long-established part of Christmas festivities. And they have been a popular feature of the BBC’s work as well.
    BBC radio gave a new twist to this story-telling tradition in a radio play broadcast from Belfast on Christmas Eve, 1937. Not One Returns to Tell was written by Denis Johnston (who had recently joined the BBC’s staff in Northern Ireland) and described ghostly goings-on during an outside broadcast from a north Antrim hotel. It was an innovative piece of programme-making and anticipated some of the techniques that would later become famous as a result of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds. Intriguingly, the listing that appeared in The Radio Times warned people who might be "prone to nervousness.. not to listen to this programme" – which probably had the desired effect of boosting listening figures!
    We’ll be stepping back in time in the company of the wonderful Wireless Mystery Theatre in a performance that will take place just a few yards away from the location of Not One Returns To Tell’s original, eerie broadcast 80 years ago. And Dr Leon Litvack, who is well-known to BBC audiences as an expert on Charles Dickens, will provide an introduction on the tradition of Christmas ghost stories.
    Producer/AuthorMark Adair, BBC Head of Corporate and Community Affairs
    URLwww.bbc.co.uk/showsandtours/shows/christmas_ghost_story_13dec17
    PersonsLeon Litvack

Keywords

  • Dickens
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Ghost Stories
  • Broadcast history
  • Johnston, Dennis
  • BBC