BBC Ghost Stories: A View... View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: Luke Watson Pier Wilkie

Produced: 2006

Countries & Regions: United Kingdom

DVD Details

Certificate: 12

Studio: British Film Institute

Length: 80 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 29 October 2012

Cat No: BFIVD963

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Languages(s): English
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BBC Ghost Stories: A View From a Hill / Number 13

Cast: David Burke , Pip Torrens , Mark Letheren , Paul Freeman , Greg Wise , Tom Burke , Anton Saunders , Charlotte Comer , Simon Linnell , Neil Findlater

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Double bill of supernatural dramas adapted by the BBC from the M.R. James ghost stories. In ’A View from a Hill’ (2005) historian Dr.... Read More

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Double bill of supernatural dramas adapted by the BBC from the M.R. James ghost stories. In ’A View from a Hill’ (2005) historian Dr. Fanshawe (Mark Letheren) visits his friend, Squire Richard (Pip Torrens), and, having broken his own binoculars, borrows a pair through which, as he soon discovers, he can see an old abbey that existed hundreds of years ago next to the hanging site of Gallows Hill. Curious, Fanshawe investigates but finds himself haunted by evil spirits. In ’Number 13’ (2006) Professor Anderson (Greg Wise) is staying in room 12 of a local hotel while working in a cathedral town to authenticate historical documents. After being disturbed at night, Anderson discovers that a previously missing room 13 has appeared. As his work produces evidence of witchcraft activity, he finds himself continually awoken from his sleep and, before long, he decides to find out what lies beyond door number 13...

When the final instalment of the BBC series A Ghost Story for Christmas was broadcast in 1978, that initially seemed to be that. However, following the success of DVD revivals and a repeat run in 2004, BBC4 commissioned two brand new ghost stories. Aside from their widescreen framing, it's as if they never went away: indeed, the use of two previously unfilmed M.R. James stories as source material brought things right back to basics. 

A View from a Hill (2005) takes a classic James scenario (a pair of antique binoculars shows more than their user bargained for) and exploits it to the full: the comparison between actual and binocular views is ideally suited to showing fleeting glimpses of shadowy things lurking at the corner of the frame. In Number 13 (2006), the ghostly object is an entire hotel room, notionally non-existent (in the corridor, the sequence superstitiously jumps from 12 to 14), but all too horribly vivid, especially when number 12's notionally sceptical occupant is kept awake by noises emanating from next door…

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