TV

“Nothing’s Forever”: the BBC Ghosts Cast Say Goodbye


Robin, Pat, Julian, Lady Button, Thomas, Kitty, The Captain, Alison and Mike on ending with series five, what they swiped from set, and what they’ll miss.

Captain (BEN WILLBOND), Lady Button (MARTHA HOWE-DOUGLAS), Julian (SIMON FARNABY), Mike (KIELL SMITH-BYNOE), Robin (LARRY RICKARD), Alison (CHARLOTTE RITCHIE), Thomas Thorne (MAT BAYNTON), Pat (JIM HOWICK), Kitty (LOLLY ADEFOPE)
Photo: Monumental Pictures,Guido Mandozzi

“Birthdays or chicken?” Jim Howick asks Simon Farnaby on stage at the BFI Southbank. The first two episodes of Ghosts’ new series have just screened to a packed auditorium, where they were met by a reception that was – what’s a bigger word than rapturous? Euphoric? The place is happy, anyway, very happy. From the ticket queue to the ladies’ loos, there’s jolliness around. In the press seats, old hacks agree that they rarely bother coming out for events anymore, but this is Ghosts. You come out for Ghosts.

The fans have come out for Ghosts in style. There are multiple Pats, dressed in Youth Adventure Club uniforms complete with neck arrows, seated for the post-screening Q&A. A huge group is wearing party hats because it’s Martha Howe-Douglas’ birthday, and the entire room will later sing Happy Birthday to the Lady Button actor. And then they’ll immediately sing it again, to Lolly Adefope who plays Kitty, and whose birthday is days away. They will very nearly sing a third time, when Laurence Rickard – the actor behind caveman Robin and headless Humphrey – mentions that his birthday was back in June, but mercifully stop before the joke wears thin. 

It is a happy atmosphere, but also a sad one because this will be the final series of Ghosts. The six creators – Howick, Farnaby, Howe-Douglas, Rickard, Mat Baynton and Ben Willbond – have decided to bow out before their jokes wear thin. Not, judging by the episodes this evening, that there’s any risk of that.

“What was the question?” Farnaby asks Howick, to one of the night’s many bursts of laughter. “You could have chicken at a birthday…” starts Farnaby, to delighted groans from his co-stars. He’s missing the point, deliberately. “Simon could never get the hang of it,” says Howe-Douglas, “You’ve got to pick one!” 

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