Ghosts’ Creators on the Unaired Pilot: “What Were We Thinking?!”

Ghosts’ unbroadcast pilot episode was… different.

The cast of BBC Ghosts in the 2018 press announcement
Photo: BBC/Monumental

“We made something unfilmable, basically,” Ghosts co-creator Larry Rickard told the RHLSTP Podcast about the show’s unaired pilot. “Then we looked at it and said ‘that doesn’t work.’”

According to the Ghosts team, several things didn’t work about the mini-pilot, which was never intended for broadcast but as a way for them to figure out the show before making series one. Speaking to Den of Geek in October this year, Rickard explained:

“It was based on the pilot script that Mat [Baynton] and Jim [Howick] did, so basically episode one. It wasn’t the case of making an episode and then going, actually that doesn’t work, let’s start again. We were doing a taster, so we shot 12 minutes of material and then edited it together with voiceovers to fill in the missing bits of story so you could sort of watch it in a sequence and understand how a pilot story would hold together, but it was more about exploring the tone and also finding how you’d shoot it. There were things that we did very differently in the series.”

“Like Cher, But With Soot”

The look of the characters, as you can see in the above image which accompanied the original BBC commission announcement in 2018, was slightly different in the taster episode. (Caveman Robin’s look was still being worked out during series one, as you’ll see in tiny differences if you compare his appearance in the first episode filmed “Free Pass” with any other.) Pat and Lady Button’s wigs, and her and Thomas’s costumes were all tweaked for the finished product, while Mary’s ‘fit’ had one radical difference.


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