TV

Ghosts’ Larry Rickard on Robin, the Christmas Special & the Self-Sabotage of Ending the BBC Show


Why did Ghosts have to end? What’s next for the gang? And what makes caveman Robin “the ultimate bit of rough”?

Laurence Rickard as Robin in BBC Ghosts series 5
Photo: Monumental/BBC (Lucy Quintanilla)

Warning: contains spoilers for Ghosts series 5.

Ghosts very nearly had a musical episode. The creators of the BBC comedy talked about it for a long time, says Larry Rickard, co-writer and the man behind the show’s caveman ghost Robin and headless Humphrey. The gang knew they wanted to do a deeply earnest love song, but couldn’t quite make the idea mesh.

“At one point we had a full day on it, but it felt like whichever direction we tried taking the story in to justify the conceit, we ended up at odds with each other over how the plot would then work around it, and how you would justify the songs being there without it feeling like it was a different show. You reach an event horizon of trying so hard to make it work that you realise this isn’t natural and this isn’t us.”

Not natural and not Ghosts, the idea was ditched as too self-indulgent. A different show might have said what the hell and fudged it, but Rickard and the others clearly hold Ghosts dear and so to a high standard. You could fill a book with the ideas they’ve discarded, which is exactly what they’ve done. The Button House Archives is filled with character backstories, Easter Eggs and extras devised by the writers that never made it on screen.

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