In paranormal drama Meriel The Ghost Girl we are presented with the investigation, by four different people, into a visit by a ghost into the home of Mr and Mrs Smith. Noted psychic sceptic George Livingston pays a visit to the home of the Smiths who are claiming that they are visited regularly during seances by the spirit of a young girl, the Meriel of the title. When he too witness a visitation he is convinced that he has been party to unexplainable phenomena for the first time.
Five years later private detective and paranormal specialist Sam Nicholls looks into the events and is convinced that Livingston made them up to provide a selling point for his final book, we then switch to Robina Oliver, a documentarist who firmly believes Livingston’s story and embarks on a proof finding mission. Finally psychiatrist Doctor Delane offers up his own explanation as to what occured during Livingston’s visit to the Smiths.
The opening episode of the six part anthology series The Mind Beyond is definitely something of a curates egg. The opening segment with Donald Pleasence as Livingston is very strong before an abrupt shift into a segment with the private detective played almost for laughs. There then follows a rare acting role for Janet Street Porter as the documentary film maker, again this is a different style with a faux documentary look. The final segment again switches gear for a soft focus denoument. At the end of the day the decision as to whether the story is true or not is left up to the viewer.
UK / BBC-2 / 1×60 minute episode / Broadcast 29 September 1976
Writer: David Halliwell / Visual Effects: Michael John Harris / Costumes: Rita Reekie / Production Design: Michael Young / Title Music: Joseph Horovitz / Producer: Irene Shubik / Director: Philip Saville
Series: The Mind Beyond / Episode 1 of 6
DONALD PLEASENCE as George Livingston
JOHN BLUTHAL as Sam Nicholls
JANET STREET-PORTER as Robina Oliver
CHARLES KEATING as Doctor Delane
DIANA KING as Mrs Livingston
SARAH DOUGLAS as Miss Radson
JANE HAYDEN as Miss Furniss
ELIZABETH REES as Miss Smith
IZABELLA TELEZYNSKA as Mrs Brown
TIM BARLOW as Mr Smith
VILMA HOLLINGBERY as Mrs Smith
DAVID WOODCOCK as Mr Green
JAMES GILES as Mr Craig
KATHLEEN HEATH as Medium
PATRICK FIELD as Youth