Every Pipes Sighting In BBC's 'Ghostwatch'

October 11, 2021 1:00 AM ‐ HalloweenParanormalTelevision

This article is more than two years old and was last updated in October 2022.

BBC Ghostwatch 1992
"No creaking gates, no gothic towers, no shuttered windows. Yet for the past ten months this house has been the focus of an astonishing barrage of supernatural activity," said Michael Parkinson as he welcomed us to 'Ghostwatch' a BBC Halloween special that has had a lasting effect on anyone who watched it when it aired live.

The 1992 supernatural drama now has such a cult following that each year fans re-watch the show, thanks to subsequent DVD and Blu-ray releases, and the option to watch it on the horror streaming service, Shudder.

However watching on these platforms is very different to how the show's creators Stephen Volk and Lesley Manning originally intended us to watch it. The ability to pause and rewind means fans have spotted details that were originally overlooked by many viewers during the live broadcast.

Despite this ability to re-watch the scarier moments of 'Ghostwatch', fans still don't agree upon the number of times we see the ghost that haunts the Early family and their home on Foxhill Drive.

Known as Pipes, the malevolent entity was the ghost of a former resident of the house, described in the show as being bald with scratches on his face, and his eyes gouged out. He's seen wearing a dark button-up dress. His appearances in the mockumentary are fleeting, but pay close attention and you might just spot him.

Some of the more obvious include his reflection being seen in a patio door as the on-location host, Sarah Greene, is startled by a cat outside, and later a brief sighting as the 'glory hole' door eerily swings open.

In 'Behind The Curtains', a retrospective documentary about the iconic television show, Lesley confirmed the number of appearances of the terrifying poltergeist, but suggested that there may be even more. She said, "I think it's documented that there are eight sightings. I believe we put more in, in my head I have the figure 13, but I won't stand by it."

If 13 instances of Pipes were shot, then they're not visible in the finished film for whatever reason. It maybe that the resolution of the tape used at the time just wasn't good enough to see the subtle detail of someone hiding in the background. Having gone through the whole 90 minute programme pretty much frame by frame we're pretty sure the correct figure is indeed eight.

Along the way we debunked two possible sightings and examined another potential spot, but the quality of the image didn't allow us to come to a conclusion either way on this one. We've listed all these sightings and potential sightings below, including the rough time they appear, although this might vary a little depending on whether you're streaming or watching the DVD.

Behind Craig (0:06)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

While roving reporter Craig Charles conducts an emotional interview with Pam Early around six minutes in, some viewers have spotted a figure outside the patio door behind Craig. The figure does look ominous in the dark, but upon closer inspection it's clear that this is actually just Craig's reflection. This is confirmed by the fact you see the double holding a microphone and turning as Craig does.

Thermal Imaging (0:10)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

Some fans have speculated that Pipes might be lurking in a crowd outside at the 10 minute mark when camera man, Chris Miller, shows off his thermal imaging camera. We can see why people might think this. Most of the crowd have glowing eyes as this is a part of the body that loses a lot of heat, but one figure in the crowd seems to have black eyes as if gouged out. While this does seem like a possible match for Pipes, look closer and you'll see that the figure is enthusiastically waving like the other audience members, not stood deathly still as Pipes characteristically does. What people are actually seeing here is the cold lenses of an audience member's glasses.

1. The Bedroom Replay (0:21)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

Our first proper look at Pipes comes around 20 minutes in. In the studio Michael and his guest expert, Dr Lin Pascoe, re-watch some research footage shot in the house after someone phoned into the show to say they'd seen a figure in the clip. Upon seeing this footage the second time, a figure is clearly seen stood at the back of Kim and Suzanne's bedroom near the curtains. Frustratingly, Michael and Dr Pascoe can't quite make it out.

2. It's Behind You! (0:30)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

Later Lin gets a close encounter with Pipes when the studio lights are lowered as her and Michael listen to a recording made during her investigation of the case. As the pair stand next to the reel to reel tape recorder the menacing figure of Pipes appears over her shoulder, before once again fading into the darkness.

3. Near The Park (0:47)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

Just over three-quarters of an hour in, Craig is told about some of the horrific events that have occurred in Northolt by some locals. As he walks back towards the house to meet the "guy who tried unsuccessfully to exorcise Foxhill Drive," Pipes can be seen in the crowd where Craig meets the man he's interviewing, Arthur Lacey.

4. In the Kitchen: (0:54)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

After thing seemingly start to kick off in the house, Sarah follows a trail of kids pictures that have been strewn across the kitchen floor. As she reaches an odd occult-like circle of crayons in front of the patio door, she is startled by a cat outside... but this isn't what she should really be scared of. When she stands up we see in the reflection on the glass door that Pipes was stood threateningly behind her the whole time.

5. Standing By Curtains (1:11)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

A little while later at around the 70 minute mark, things have escalated in the house again. As the crew take Kim and Suzanne out of their bedroom, the camera man spots Pipes stood in front of the curtains as he pans the camera across the now-empty room.

In The Mirror (1:16)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

Towards the end of the programme the whole house starts to shake and the camera zooms in on a mirror that's rattling on the wall. Some viewers think they can see the reflection of Pipes in the mirror. It's possible this was intended to be Pipes, but if that's the case then the shot didn't really work as it's impossible to tell if it's Pipes, the sound man Mike Aiton, or just something else creating a vaguely human-like shape.

6. Glory Hole (1:17)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

After the crew remove the board from the door to the cupboard under the stairs, known as the glory hole, it slowly swings open, as it does, we get a very brief show of Pipes stood inside. This is after all the part of the house where Raymond Tunstall took his own life, an act that caused him to return to the house as the sinister Pipes.

7. Ghost In The Static (1:27)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

At the climax of the programme, Sarah ventures in to the glory hole and the door slams closed behind her. Just after this some static appears on screen which shows a broken image of Pipes' face implying he was interfering with the broadcast.

8. On The Gantry (1:27)

Ghostwatch Pipes Sighting

Seconds later we get our final glimpse of Pipes, this time in the BBC studio in London. After inadvertently creating a mass séance, Pipes seemed to no longer be confined to Foxhill Drive and his influence over the until-now safe studio that housed Michael Parkinson was seen as a light explodes. As the remnant sparks fall to the studio floor, we see Pipes stood underneath the light on a gantry.

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