It’s best to go out while people are still saying, 'It's great', rather than, 'It's not as good as it used to be' | Interviews with the ghosts of Ghosts © BBC/Monumental Pictures/Guido Mandozzi

It’s best to go out while people are still saying, 'It's great', rather than, 'It's not as good as it used to be'

Interviews with the ghosts of Ghosts

The fifth and final series of hit BBC One sitcom Ghosts starts this week. Here the actors who play the ghosts – many of whom also write it – talk about the end of the show.

Lolly Adefope (Kitty)

Lolly Adefope as Kitty in Ghosts
Kitty (Lolly Adefope)

Why are viewers so fond of Kitty?

I guess she's the baby of the group, and people feel quite protective of her, especially considering that she had didn't have the easiest time when she was alive. Despite that, she is this constant source of positivity. She has her tantrums and cries a lot as well, but she tends to be the optimist. She is always positive, and that's a very good quality. Especially around a load of cynical old fogies, you're going to need her buoyancy. Kids relate to Kitty the most, which is very nice to hear.

How would you characterise Kitty’s relationship with Alison?

In the beginning, Kitty is a bit of a stalker, and then it develops into something quite sweet. I think Kitty has just been looking for a best friend and doesn't really have anyone close to her age in the house. So she sees Alison as the answer to all of her problems, but goes about it in quite an intense way but in the end Alison does start to love her back.

Why do you think audiences adore Ghosts so much?

The thing I get told most often is that it's the only thing that parents watch with their kids. The whole family watches together. It’s got something for everyone. Also, I think during the pandemic it was quite a positive show for a lot of people and a nice distraction. It’s got comedy, it can be emotional and at times it can be sad. It deals with a topic, death, that we don't really talk about that much, while balancing that with comedy. There hadn't been anything like it in a while. It’s uplifting and emotional in all the right places.

It’s a great ensemble of very watchable, very funny characters. It’s just such a great premise as well. The fact that Alison is able to see the ghosts when nobody else can is brilliant. There is also always one character that every viewer relates to. Everyone has their favourite.

Pathos is also a key part of it, isn't it?

Yes. It doesn't shy away from the theme of death, which I think most comedies probably do. But it still has a lot of characters with a great deal of heart, and so never feels like a heavy-handed tragedy. It brings in those topics in a way that makes them fun to explore.

Were a lot of tears shed on the last day of filming?

I definitely cried. There were a lot of tears from all the cast and crew. I can’t remember the last thing I did for five years. School was probably the last thing I did consistently for five years.

Why do you think that last day provoked so many emotions within you?

Because the show has been so well received. It's so rewarding and exciting to do a show that so many people love. I also think you form such a strong bond with so many people - obviously, with the cast, but also with the crew, a number of whom have been there since series one.

It's just such a wonderful process. Everyone is just trying to make everyone else laugh all day long. It is just like a family. This is something that you do every day for months on end. It just becomes part of your everyday life, really. So, it did feel like it was going to be a big shift not doing it anymore.

Was it the appropriate moment to end the show?

Yes. Five is a great round number, and you never want to push something past its limits. Ghosts is so well loved, and you want to give it a proper send off. You have to make sure it finishes on the right note, rather than peters out to the point where people want it to end.

How do you hope viewers will react to the conclusion of Ghosts?

I hope that they'll find the ending very meaningful and emotional and a suitable end to five series of a show that they've loved. Even if people didn't want it to end, hopefully they'll see the ending as a fitting tribute to the ethos of the show.

The writing team have been together for a long time, starting with Horrible Histories. What makes their work so special?

They put so much heart into it. They have all got families of their own as well, and I think they make something that they would want to watch with their families. Interestingly, even though it is a group of six writing together, it never really feels like too many cooks. It just feels like they've just got so many amazing ideas.

They also act as well as write, which I think helps because they know how to write for themselves, and they know how to write for other performers as well. It's not just the writers hoping that an actor will make their words come to life. As a writer-performers, they know exactly how a character should be, which I think makes the characters really well drawn.

They have nailed their tone, which is a great blend of comedy and tragedy. They create such a wide breadth of characters as well, which means that it's always fun to watch and that you're never bored. There's always something going on because they just so much put into it and there’s so much talent involved.

Mathew Baynton (Thomas)

Mathew Baynton as Thomas in Ghosts
Thomas (Mathew Baynton)

Where do we find the characters at the beginning of this season?

It picks up from where we left off the end of the last series. Alison and Mike had decided to make the gatehouse into a B&B. It was going to be not quite the full dream of a hotel, but something that they could afford to do which would be a stepping-stone towards their ideal of making a living through the house. And then the place burned down. They realised that in the process of trying to make it successful, they had put a lot of strain on themselves and their relationship, and it wasn't a joyful thing anymore.

So where do Alison and Mike go from here?

They’re back to square one, but in some ways a little worse off because they don't even have that dream anymore. So now they're in a desperate scramble to figure out how to make ends meet and how to find a livelihood that allows them to stay in this place. That's been the backbone of every series; they pivot and find a new plan. But this season feels higher-stakes because they're not on Plan A now; they're on Plan J.

Why do you think the show has chimed with viewers?

It’s not by design necessarily because really this show was conceived out of a desire for us all to work together. So, we created something where we could all raid the dressing-up box. But we realised early on that we had hit on something. There is something quite rich about the idea of people with very different lives and very different viewpoints being stuck together.

That felt very contemporary in terms of how heated conversations are between people with different standpoints. If people inhabit a space together, and look in each other's eyes, they can try their best to maintain a hardness towards each other, but some of that softens and breaks down because we're all people in the end. I think that's a hopeful message.

You have had huge success as a group of writer-performers. Have you got plans to do something else together now?

No, not specifically, but there’s absolutely no way that we won't work together again. We've just been working very hard on the Ghosts companion book, which we're very excited about. So that's been really fun. It's exciting to think about getting back in a room together, talking, making each other laugh and coming up with ideas about what we might do next.

Why did you decide to end Ghosts now?

It’s best to go out at the top while people are still saying, "It's great", rather than, "It's not as good as it used to be," which can happen with some shows. The way I see it, we're a band who have made this very successful album. I want the last series to be as good as it's ever been. I want people to miss it and us, and therefore be excited when we come back with something new.

If you take the easy route of just continuing with a show that people are willing to pay you to keep making and you've got very comfortable writing and performing it, you can go on. We could probably have gone for seven, nine, eleven, however many more series. But by the time you stop, people haven't even noticed that you've stopped because you've just become part of the furniture at that point. It's only when you're suddenly there in that final week or two you start thinking, "Oh, my God, what have we done?"

Did the emotion of it all really hit you on the final day of filming?

Absolutely. On the last day, the emotion took me by surprise. I thought, "Hang on, we’ve just got to the end." I just suddenly found my shoulders going. I felt like if I let myself, I could have really sobbed and sobbed, but I took a deep breath and carried on. If we didn't care that much, there's no way in hell we could have written something an audience cares about.

It was truly emotional. I've never played a single character for that long or written a group of characters for that long. You become so attached emotionally to these imaginary people, but also to the real people who are the cast and crew around you. You’re thinking, "This has been this has been a privilege and a joy." I’ll carry those joyful memories with me for the rest of my life.

What do you hope people will be saying to each other at the close of this series?

I hope they'll be saying, "I'll miss them." Unlike almost any other episode, people have all dreamt or speculated about how it might end. So, you hope you're measuring up against people's fantasies about how it might finish. And you're also hoping that you deliver something that surprises and satisfies and gives them more than they imagined. I really hope people don't feel let down by it.

I think I'm really proud of it. In fact, I am really proud of it, so I’ll remove the words "I think" from that sentence. I hope the audience love it as much as we do.

Simon Farnaby (Julian)

Simon Farnaby as Julian in Ghosts
Julian (Simon Farnaby)

What will you miss about Ghosts?

The laughter. We spent a lot of our time just goofing around. We probably had about 150,000 in-jokes that have been gathered from the beginning of our time together!

Will you also miss Julian?

I suppose he’s with me all the time, but yes, I will. He is so naughty and says such despicable things, which is quite good fun to play.

How did you find it wearing Julian’s trouser-less costume?

I quite liked it, although we did film in the winter and outside at night, and it was so cold. I’d always be standing there in my bare legs freezing. I had some pyjama bottoms that could go on between takes. But by the time you put them on, it was always time to take them off again. Jim had it too because he was wearing shorts. But he’s got shorter legs than me, so he had less surface area to get cold!

Why do think Ghosts has delighted audiences right around the world?

Maybe because it’s about death. It’s quite a strange concept to have a show where the lead characters are dead, something we slightly fear. I know a lot of other countries have plans to remake it. It works because everywhere has got a history.

A country like France or Spain has a rich history, so they have a lot of different characters to choose from; you can choose a conquistador or someone from the Spanish Inquisition or someone from the French Revolution. You can pick individuals from each country’s history, it’s quite an unusual setup.

Does the show also work so well because the characters cannot escape each other?

Even though they’re dead, they behave like normal people trapped together in a flat share or a prison. I don’t think there are many prison sitcoms, there’s Porridge and that’s about it!

It’s a very bold comedy because it’s not scared of featuring pathos, is it?

That’s right. Right from the off, we wanted it to be funny, but we also knew that we had an emotional palette to play with by exploring their deaths. Everyone had a story about their death and how they felt about it. We knew that was going to be a big part of it and it really worked for us. It was the gift that kept on giving!

Why do you six writers have such great chemistry?

We have a shared sense of humour and a great knowledge of each other. When we all met doing Horrible Histories, it was great, but it was quite a tough job for very little money. So, we have a slight feeling of "We were in the trenches together." We were literally in the trenches together doing First World War scenes. Not that I want to equate doing comedy with being in a war!

So, we have that background, the shared experience of being in that crazy job together as well. That’s where we get a lot of our in jokes from. 75,000 of our in jokes come from there!

Can you conjure up your feelings on the last day on set?

I think I welled up rather than actually crying! We were all proud of what we’ve achieved. If you had told us at the beginning that we would have got five series and three Christmas specials, we’d have been delighted. We would have taken that. I think we achieved what we set out to do, which was to make a series that appealed across the generations. Kids felt it was a show for grown-ups that they were allowed to watch, which is what I used to like doing as a child with Last of the Summer Wine.

Do you think it was correct to bring the series to a close now?

Yes. It’s sad, but it was the right time to end it. We didn't want people to say, "Oh, it's not as good as it used to be." You always want to leave them wanting more. I don’t think the sixth series of anything is the best. All the good ones end before then, except perhaps Seinfeld. But that’s quite rare. I think it’s the right decision artistically to finish now. Ghosts can’t age. Also, we never wanted to be Last of the Summer Wine which did 32 series.

So you don’t want to be pushed down the hill in a bath tub by Jim and Mat?

Well, I would, but only in my private life. We do do that sort of thing.

Martha Howe-Douglas (Lady Button)

Martha Howe-Douglas as Lady Button
Lady Button (Martha Howe-Douglas)

Do you enjoy playing Lady Button?

Absolutely. I love her. I'm going to miss her so much. It's ridiculous. I love playing her so much because she's just so extreme. People find her funny, too. Mostly, the feedback I get is about her faces. I get a lot of people sending me pictures of them bending their faces. And I get a lot of catchphrases – like "Off the lawn!" – on Instagram.

Audiences have warmed to Lady Button over the years, haven’t they?

Yes. I don't think she was pick of the day at the beginning, she wasn’t loved at all. But I think people are softening to her now. That started when they saw her younger self in the Christmas special. There's always a reason why people are the way they are.

There’s that saying: be kind to people because you don't know what their struggle is. Lady Button’s rambunctiousness comes from being stifled in the past. I think people now have understood that she is a complete caricature but it's just fun, it's a comedy. It took time for people to grow to love her but yes, she's quite loved now.

Why else have viewers come to love her?

They have seen there is a vein of pathos in there as well. It's easy to be one-dimensional. When you're the bossy chops of the group, it's easy to just be that. But I think the softening of her relationship with Alison has helped that journey as well. W

hen we've been writing, we have discovered new relationships, and I think there's been quite a nice relationship developing between her and the Captain. When you split the characters from each other, you get to discover a bit more about each one. That’s important with Lady Button because it's easy to just go, "Oh God, I wish she'd shut up." But actually, she's got quite a lot to say, and deep down she has a heart and empathy. It’s been a really nice thing to discover those moments.

Were there many tears on the final day of shooting?

Absolutely. I was in bits! I was the worst, definitely. I'm sure of it. Charlotte was pretty bad. Lolly cried. Mat cried. I had to be taken to the makeup bus because I had ruined all Lady Button’s prosthetics! The makeup artists were like, "No, she does not look like that. Sort her out, for God's sake!" I just couldn't stop crying. It was crazy.

Why do you think you got so emotional?

I think it's such a special show and it’s such a special place to film. On any normal series, you're going to be going to different locations, but we went back to that exact same place every single year. And it's got such happy memories because it's a happy set. The crew are lovely - we get the same people back year after year. It's become a real family. So, there's a lot of love there. And I love the house, we've had such a special journey in it.

What else tugged on your heartstrings?

The six of us have grown up together. It's nearly 15 years now that we've worked together, and looking at them, I was just thinking about all the things that we've done together. I thought, "Here's another thing that's ending." Of course, we will go on.

We are already talking about what the next thing will be so we're not ending our journey here, but it felt like the end of another chapter. And we are all getting older; Ben and Simon both turned 50 when we were filming, and it's that thing of, "God, we were in our 20s and 30s when we met, and now suddenly some of us are in our 50s!" But there is such a lot of love between us.

Is it the right moment to bring Ghosts to a close?

It was a really hard decision. It was certainly not taken lightly, and it was questioned quite a bit during the filming. We were like, "Oh my God, are we really doing this?" It wasn't an easy decision, but I think it's the right one.

When we decided to end Yonderland, we were running out of stories. When you start to run out of stories, you don't want it to ebb away; you want it to go out with a bang. So that was the decision that we came to: we should be giving it the finish that it deserves rather than milking it for all it's worth. 

Do you get a lot of feedback from fans?

Yes. We get lots of letters. It’s fantastic that the fan base is so huge and so rich. It’s crazy when you step back from it and go, "Wow, that's something that we created, and people have taken it into their hearts so much." That’s a lovely feeling.

Does it feel great to be going out of the top?

Definitely. We’ve been so lucky to have such a loved show because obviously, we love making it but people have absolutely embraced it. That such a lovely thing in this day and age where people are so quick to criticise. Social media can be quite vicious but it’s so rare that we get any negative feedback and that's just unheard of really. The show may not be everyone's cup of tea but it's been so embraced by the nation, and for that we couldn't be happier.

Jim Howick (Pat)

Jim Howick as Pat in Ghosts
Pat (Jim Howick)

Why do you think you six work so well together as a group?

I just think there's a general understanding between us. There's a trust and a faith, and we still make each other laugh outside of working hours. We get a kick out of making each other laugh, and there’s still a real joy to that. We are our first audience.

What works in the room often goes on to the page, and more often than not stays on the page, and so the jokes and the laughs really are from us as a group. There's a genuine love as well – there is a love affair between us. It’s also probably healthy that we take a bit of time off and concentrate on other things from time to time. We've all got individual jobs and things going on. It's nice to honour those and to take a breather, but I'm sure we'll be very excited to be back in the room together at some point.

Why does Ghosts connect with audiences in so many different countries?

I think it's simply that audiences enjoy watching a gang of people with differing opinions. Viewers can relate to that. Everyone has a family or a friendship group that they perhaps squabble with from time to time. I think the Ghosts represent that.... it's essentially a family unit. Also, different countries can buy into their own history or their own culture.

What do you think people’s response will be to the final episode?

I think there’ll be some sadness about the show ending and we're pleased about that, to be honest, because I'd much rather that than people turning off already, pleased that it's over. I think that is a good sign that people will be sad. I just hope that people think the show has been fulfilling.

Tell us the thinking behind ending it now then.

We all agreed that with anything that goes beyond five series, there's a real danger that it might outstay its welcome. We wanted to be ahead of the curve as far as any kind of waning is concerned. That would show.

Not many sitcoms can survive more than five series at a particular level. When you get into a writers’ room, I think it's very obvious when ideas start to thin out or you start to recycle old stories with new characters. We haven't done any of that. Every single story is original.

Have fans of the show begged you to change your minds?

Yes. So many people have said to us that we should keep going and that there's so much more to find out about these characters. But the truth is, it's very hard to bring that into play when you've got nothing that can affect the practical stakes. You're dealing with seven supernatural characters that can't be late for anything. They're not in any relationship. They can't be fired at all. None of the usual sitcom stakes apply to this show. So, you're dealing with emotional stakes more than anything else.

It’s not that tricky to come up with an idea for a ghost – Pat’s got the hump because of this. But finding practical resolution to these stories is hard. And so we decided as a group that it's probably best to quit while we're ahead, to go out on a high and to varnish the legacy that we've created. In many ways, it feels like total madness and a very silly decision indeed. But I think it's right for us as a group. It’s good for our stock as a creative engine. It’s the right thing to do.

The fans of Ghosts are passionate about the show. Have you seen any striking examples of that?

Yes. I've seen people with tattoos of Pat. It’s quite overwhelming to see yourself inscribed onto someone's flesh. We've come up with this character, and he is quite like me. And there's someone who's committed him to their body forever, unless they go off the show massively and get some sort of laser treatment. That would be a strong reaction to the last episode - to have that tattoo of Pat lasered off in protest. That would be the final irony.

Laurence Rickard (Robin/Humphrey)

Laurence Rickard as Robin the Caveman and Humphrey’s Head in Ghosts
Robin the Caveman / Humphrey’s Head (Laurence Rickard)

Why do you think Ghosts has been so popular?

I think there's a slight sense in the tone of what we always do. Mat puts this really well; there's a feeling that we're pulling down our beards, winking at people and going, "Look, it’s us!" You get a sense of the amount of fun that we're having doing it. That always comes across.

It’s quite difficult sometimes to get high-concept comedies away. This was a pitch for an idea, we were like, "This sounds a bit ridiculous, but there are going to be two lead characters and only one of them can see the ghosts." Even though it's quite an unusual setup, it's got that classic sitcom shape of really different people who are unable to escape each other. That’s distilled down in Ghosts. I think people really responded to that.

Why else are viewers drawn to this show?

I think there's a warmth in all the characters, even the characters where we didn't expect to find any. Obviously, from day one everyone loved Pat because he’s the nicest ever human being. But as the series went on, audiences found real humanity in the Captain and Lady Button. The warmth towards them grew and grew.

What is the secret to the relationship between you six writer-performers?

We’re all very unalike as people. Six more unalike people you couldn’t hope to find. But we all get on really well. We've all got a very similar sense of humour. That’s always been the case from early in Horrible Histories.

When we were in a green room together or sitting at a table at lunchtime, we'd all be laughing. When you have any job where you have a nice working environment and fun colleagues, you go, "Oh, I’ll stay here." Really early on, we realised that Horrible Histories couldn’t go on forever and that we should try to do something else together.

We have been really lucky. We've been able to do three different series and a film together. We’ve done something together every year for 15 years. And the hope is to go on and do something else together now.

How do you find the business of putting on Robin’s makeup?

Actually, I quite enjoy the process. I have a two-hour call for makeup and Martha has an hour-and-a-half call. So, we are makeup buddies. Just as we're finishing, the others turn up and comb their moustaches and put some wax in their hair.

There’s something nice in always trying to perfect it all and finding little, tiny tweaks and improvements. At the start it took almost three and a half hours, but by the end we had we got it down to just under two hours. So, we refined the process. The makeup people are just phenomenal. They are always there before I am and they're still there when I leave – and my day’s long enough!

The show is able to address some quite serious subjects, isn’t it?

Yes. It’s an interesting way of dealing with our country’s history – even sometimes the difficult bits of history. Through the series, there's been a little bit about what it is to be British and colonialism and same-sex marriage. You get to lightly touch deeper issues as well because it's disguised amongst a lot of silliness. It’s like a Trojan horse.

Were you all overcome with emotion shooting the final scenes of Ghosts?

Oh, my goodness. I think throughout the final week, we all had tiny breakdowns. Obviously, we'd known it was coming for a long while. In the process of writing series four, we started to talk about maybe just doing one more so we had a long run into it. But yes, I think we were all taken by surprise by how emotional it was. The last scene we shot was the last scene of the series so it really tugged on the heartstrings.

There were a lot of tears, but it was happy and sad. It was sad to say goodbye to something which has been so much fun. But at the same time, it's just been such an incredible thing to have done. Going into it, none of us had any idea that it would go on to become what it has.

What do you hope that people are saying to each other at the end of the series?

In the nicest possible way, I hope they're going, "No! Why have they finished it?" because that’s what we keep saying – "Why have we done this?" I hope they feel that it's a rewarding tying up. We tried not to do what's expected. We wanted it to finish in a way that felt satisfying for the viewer, but also for the Ghosts, too.

We wanted viewers to feel that all’s well with the characters, and we didn't want to do it in a trite way. We didn't want to do the obvious. We always get people pitching to us – "You know what you should do?" The number of people who've gone, "Mike should see the Ghosts, too." You think you want that. It sounds fun, but what that actually does is fundamentally change the shape of the show and probably kill it. We tried to make a satisfying finale, but not do the expected.

Have you bumped into a lot of the show’s very devoted fans?

Yes. I met someone the other day who was showing me the tattoo on the back of her calf of Humphrey’s head. I was like, "Wow!" Then she went, "Look at the other leg" and pulled her trousers up on the other leg to reveal Humphrey’s headless body. That was amazing. But also, I thought, "Oh my God, what have you done?"

Recently, we went to the London Comic Con, and hundreds of people there were all dressed up as the ghosts. In television, obviously, you very rarely get to meet your audience so it was really lovely to see just how much people had taken this show to their hearts.

Ben Willbond (The Captain)

Ben Willbond as The Captain in Ghosts
The Captain (Ben Willbond)

Do you think that audiences have softened towards the Captain over the years?

Absolutely. I've always written characters where I try create as much empathy as possible. That's the key to writing drama or comedy. The audience have to feel they know these people. Over the years, it just felt natural to do more of that.

I don’t think of the comedy first, I think of the character first. You allow them to show their vulnerability and their humanity. If you’re watching something like Succession, at first you think, "I don’t like any of these people." But you actually start to empathise with them because they are human. You empathise with their heartbreak and their humanity. Even though their attitude is very far away from yours, you're still drawn in on a human level. That’s very important in storytelling.

That is why the audience have that perception of getting to know a character better every week because you’re stripping away layers each time. That particularly applies to the Captain because the more the audience have got to know him over the course of five seasons, the more they have softened towards him.

Why do you think Ghosts has done so well all over the world?

Because it feels like a family. I was watching some of the early episodes of Modern Family recently, and the way they constructed them was so brilliant. Every character has a story, whether it’s emotional or practical. In the really good episodes, they're both practical and emotional. You get this bonding feeling, and it's multigenerational - I think Ghosts has the same effect.

Can you think of other examples from sitcom history?

I always go back to Captain Mainwaring from Dad’s Army. He is always trying to keep up this buttoned-up facade of "I’m a bank manager and I’m your Captain and I’m in charge, so will you all just behave?" He’s got absolutely no authority whatsoever, but he is actually this very gentle human being underneath. And of course, another captain.

How did you all respond at the end of the shoot of this final series?

Tears were shed. When we started shooting the last series, we thought, "Oh, we have got loads of time", but of course filming goes in the blink of an eye. There’s nothing you can do about it. You come to the end and you think, "Oh no, have we done the right thing?"

Have you?

Yes. It was time. We all had a mutual agreement and understanding that if we carried on much longer, it would have just started to drift and we would have begun to lose the tightness in the stories. It is at those moments that you go, "We should have ended when we were on top". So, it's the right decision.

But it was still tough?

Yes, it was really hard because the prospect is that you might not have this ever again; this might be it. And that's fine. But it's quite a lot to deal with in the moment.

Can you amplify that?

It was hugely difficult. It took me a long time to recover. I was all over the place for a couple of months. Ghosts had been seven years in the making. We started to get together to pitch it, and suddenly we were on a roll, and then you blink and it’s over. I remember saying during the first season, "If we get five series, I'll be 50 by then." And I had my 50th birthday on set during the last series. I just had that moment where I thought, "Oh my God, it’s actually happened!"

Do a lot of people come up to you and say how much they love the series, then?

Very much so. People will expand on that; they won’t just tell you a story. That's when you know that you've connected. For instance, after the episode where Mary got sucked off in the last series, we had a lot of letters from people, which was really moving. They said, "I lost someone this year, and I loved your episode." To have given people comfort and made them feel like they’re not alone was amazing.

The episode was touching on grief and loss. So, to have those people come and tell you that was really special. And then suddenly you think, "Well, hang on. We are supposed to be writing a comedy here!" I'm absolutely cool with that. For me, that is almost more important.

Because one thing it told me is how you connect with the audience and how you tell the story. Once you've tasted that, you don't want to let that magic go because that's what storytelling is – it’s connecting properly with an audience.

That must be so gratifying.

Definitely. To have co-created something which people respond to in that way is just such a reward. It's everything. You think, "That's it. That's job done." It’s an endless source of happiness.

• Ghosts series 5 starts on BBC One at 8.30pm this Friday

Published: 1 Oct 2023

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