A Christmas Ghost Story



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.

Permission to reproduce obtained from Mark Adair, Head of Corporate and Community Affairs, BBC NI
Date made available04 Dec 2017
PublisherBBC Radio Ulster
Date of data production13 Dec 2017
Geographical coverageBelfast

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