TV UK TV

Crooked House (BBC-4 2008, Mark Gatiss, Lee Ingleby)

Crooked House

Genuinely worthy of the term spine-tingling, Crooked House is a fabulously dark hark back to the BBC’s 1970’s annual Ghost Story For Christmas strand. With opening nods to the portmanteau films of amicus and with the museum curator telling the stories.

It begins with a young man called Ben paying a visit to a museum curator to find out more about a place called Geap Manor which is long demolished and whose land is now home to a surburban housing estate (where Ben has just bought a house). The curator (played with Cushing style elan by Gatiss) proceeds to tell him a ghostly story about the former inhabitants of the Manor.

There is a genuinely scary atmosphere throughout and with more than one jump out of your seat moment, story two in particular packs on the chills. The three storylines are looked at below. Some very good casting choices too, watch for an appearance by master magician Derren Brown in the third story The Knocker.

production details
UK / BBC-4 – Tiger Aspect / 3×30 minute episodes / 22 -24 December 2008

Writer & Co-Producer: Mark Gatiss / Visual Effects: Framestore / Costumes: Claire Finlay / Music: David Arnold, Michael Price / Production Design: Sabina Sattar / Executive Producer: Richard Fell / Producer: Paul Frift / Director: Damon Thomas

cast
MARK GATISS as Curator
LEE INGLEBY as Ben

Crooked House

THE STORIES
STORY ONE: The Wainscoting
The Curator takes Ben back to the earliest days of Geap Manor and the late 18th century where Joseph Bloxham has just bought the property after making his fortune from the misfortune of others. However the new Wainscoting – which is made from wood that came from the infamous Tyburn Gallows tree – soon starts to make its very strange presence felt.

cast
BETH GODDARD as Mrs Glanville
PHILIP JACKSON as Bloxham
ANDY NYMAN as Duncalfe
JULIAN RHIND-TUTT as Noakes
JOHN ARTHUR as Coil
CAL JAGGERS as Lucy

STORY TWO: Something Old
The second story takes us into the 1920’s and a costume ball event being held at the Manor. An engagement announcement causes feelings of a terrible wedding event in the past to be roused and the couple find that a bride who is supposed to haunt the manor – really does.

cast
IAN HALLARD as Felix
JENNIFER HIGHAM as Ruth
SAMUEL BARNETT as Billy
RUFUS JONES as Niggs
JAYNE DICKINSON as Gracie
JEAN MARSH as Lady Constance
BARBARA KIRBY as Miss Adams
ANNA MADELEY as Katherine
LAUREN JONES as The Bride

STORY THREE: The Knocker
The third story takes us back to the present day and Ben himself, who is getting over the break up of a long term relationship, the target of the machinations of the Manor. It appears that his own house might be possessed by the spirit of the long dead Sir Roger Widdowson.

cast
JULIA DALKIN as Jess
DANIELA DENBY-ASHE as Hannah
DERREN BROWN as Sir Roger Widdowson
VANESSA HAVELL as Lady Widdowson
DAVID RYALL as Mr Paget
JOHN LEBAR as The Abomination