Danny Robins Reveals How He's Adapting His 'Uncanny' Podcast For Television Audiences

October 09, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ PodcastsParanormalTelevision

From the his shed to BBC Two, Danny Robins and the 'Uncanny' podcast prepare to make the leap to television this Halloween with three brand new cases.

Danny Robins, Uncanny on Television
Photo: © BBC
Expanding upon its already successful podcast format, 'Uncanny' is breaking new ground in the realm of paranormal entertainment. Danny Robins is taking his popular series to new platforms with an upcoming television show on BBC Two and iPlayer, premiering on Friday, October 13.

In an exclusive interview, Danny spilled the beans on what makes 'Uncanny' a project he's proud of, and why the TV spin-off will be a must-watch this Halloween season.

Danny told us, "The TV show is three brand new cases, each episode is a different case. Each one an hour long." Going beyond the confines of a podcast, each episode delves into a unique case, featuring a blend of suspense and visual storytelling. Danny hopes to retain the interactive nature of the show by encouraging the audience to send in their questions and theories over the week. "They drop once a week on Friday nights and come Halloween, you can binge them all on iPlayer," he explained.

As with the podcast, in the TV series Danny is joined by his familiar panel of resident experts, consisting of parapsychologists Ciarán O'Keeffe and Evelyn Hollow. According to Danny, the dynamic between the three is crucial: "It's the three of us sitting chatting in the pub and trying to make sense of these cases."

The challenge of translating the podcast's success into a television series wasn't one Danny and the team took lightly. He confessed, "The challenge with the telly series was to make the podcast come to life on TV, and the thing I heard again and again from fans on social media was 'don't screw it up, it works so well.' I really feel very proud of what we've done."

Danny explained, "We've created what we call 'visualisations' to bring the cases to life." The visual elements are designed to make the audience feel they're experiencing the case from inside the witness's mind. He elaborated, "We aim to plunge you into the witness's head basically, make you feel like you are in their brain and it feels nightmarish, it feels uncertain, you're not quite sure if you can trust your own eyes."

If you're one of those people who loved Danny narrating from his iconic shed in the podcast, don't fret. "The shed is very much a character in the TV show," he assured us. Furthermore, the show hasn't lost its podcast essence. Danny was delighted that they were able to "hold on to the integrity of 'Uncanny'," even with the bigger budgets and the possibilities that television offers.

One of the things a bigger budget can bring is the chance to physically visit the locations featured in the cases. Danny said, "We can't really travel with the podcast, we're bound by the kind of small budgets of making a podcast. That's the nice thing about doing telly, I've been able to kind of travel a bit more."

Whereas most paranormal television shows usually revolve around the haunting of a specific place, making the location the focus of the episode, Danny's approach is refreshingly human-centric. He stressed, "I am under no illusions that I would have the same experience as Ken if I spend the night in Room 611. I think ghost stories are the product of their location, but it's fascinating to go to an area and soak it up."

Case Highlights

Case 1:
The first episode takes us to an English country village, where a young girl claims to witness odd phenomena in her home. "It's a lovely case, like Room 611, where suddenly you feel like this is bigger than this one person, and there's a whole history of this," Danny shares.

Case 2:
The second instalment leads us to a poltergeist case in County Durham, set against the turbulent backdrop of the miners' strike. "It's a great case with loads of really interesting phenomena," he mentions.

Case 3:
The final episode is perhaps the darkest, dealing with a group of Oxford University students in the early '90s exploring realms like exorcism and potential possession. "Again, it's another one where it becomes much bigger than just about one person," adds Danny.

The show is just one aspect of the larger 'Uncanny' universe, which includes Danny's new book, 'Into The Uncanny', which is available now from Amazon and other retailer. Plus this week, sees Danny take 'Uncanny' on the road with the live tour 'Uncanny: I Know What I Saw'.

"I don't think I ever quite planned or expected to have so many different aspects to 'Uncanny'. It's lovely the way it's come together," Danny shares. He tells us that each medium, be it the podcast, TV series, book, or live tour, offers a unique experience for fans. "I didn't want to be replicating stories across the different formats. The book is new stories, the TV series is new stories, and the tour is new stories."

Danny stresses the work behind ensuring each story is 'new and original'. "It has put the pressure on to find cases that are good enough and that stand up," he acknowledges.

Choosing which cases make the cut is not something Danny takes lightly. "All these cases are a journey," he starts off. "The ones that really take off are the ones where it feels like it grows in the telling, but you kind of have other witnesses come forward." According to Danny, the allure of these cases is that they pose larger existential questions, which transcend a single location or individual. "The mystery is no longer what happened in one house, but actually that larger mystery of what happens when somebody dies and do ghosts exist, it feels like it's the biggest of all questions."

The ethos of unique and captivating stories shines through into Danny's book 'Into The Uncanny' too, but the book is also autobiographical in places. Danny describes it as 'very personal'. "I write about things that have been very emotional for me," he reveals. Touching upon topics that shaped him personally, he feels that penning down these experiences was 'moving and important'. 

Danny embarks on the 'Uncanny: I Know What I Saw' tour this week, starting in Leicester on October 10 and he couldn't be more excited. "The tour is a little like the telly show, we're sort of bringing 'Uncanny' to visual life, in this case on stage," he explains. The tour will feature 'two really big meaty cases', interactive audience participation, and even explorations of local cases. Tickets are still available for some dates, you can find out more here.

Danny is also excited by the idea of performing in historic, often haunted theatres, and looks forward to gathering communities of both believers and skeptics. "I love the fact that we've built this community of people who are totally polarised, some are believers, some are skeptics, but they really get on together and people make these friendships and just agree to disagree," he says.

The sense of community around 'Uncanny' is something that Danny takes great pride in, particularly when he sees the level of involvement it engenders. "I love the fact that the 'Uncanny' fans go on these pilgrimages to Luibeilt and the site of Room 611. It's that sort of sense of becoming part of a detective club, wanting to be part of the hunt for answers, that's what I love," he enthuses.

But this isn't just a stroke of luck or a casual offshoot of the podcast's popularity. Danny had a very particular type of engagement in mind from the beginning. "I remember getting really into 'Serial', the true crime podcast, and meeting up in the pub with some friends and wanting to try and solve the case by talking about it," he shares. That interactive, detective-like enthusiasm is what he aimed to capture with 'Uncanny'. "I knew when I heard that podcast that I wanted to try and make something like that—something that would make you want to meet up with your friends to talk about it and would have you tracking down leads on the Internet," he says.

Clearly, for Danny and his audience, the drive to 'solve' the unsolvable is a collective journey, and one that he's delighted has become a cornerstone of the 'Uncanny' experience as it expands on to television, into print, and becomes a live tour.

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