Most Haunted Series 20 Review
I haven't watched Most Haunted in years but when I heard it was coming back for its 20th series in 2017 I thought I'd give it a go and I have to say, I really enjoyed it, it became my television highlight of the week.
Yvette Fielding has always been a strong host and the only person I've ever felt any connection with on the show, but this series I found Karl Beattie and Stuart Torevell really likeable and funny, they're antics added a lot to the show and you knew that if they were off somewhere together, something ridiculous would happen. The show's resident skeptic, Glen Hunt is also very likeable and has a good dynamic with Yvette. He's possibly one of the least skeptical skeptic I've ever seen but I do like his passion for the paranormal.
The last time I watched the show Derek Acorah was still on it, a name that I'm sure the current Most Haunted team would rather I didn't mention in a review. Derek's time on Most Haunted had run its course, his frequent possessions were overdone and his act has become silly. Fred Batt, who currently occupies a similar role on the show is much more subtle than Derek when it comes to paranormal dramatics and Fred's got a nice niche as a demonologist, which means he comes equipped with Satanic props to help him with his investigation.
The first couple of episode I wasn't sure about Fred, he just seemed to be lurking in the background and didn't say much but in later episodes he came out of his shell (or made the edit). He first impressed me when the team investigated The Slaughterhouse in Liverpool. Fred was laying out a selection of occult paraphernalia and his gothic cross vanished and magically appeared several meters away, which I couldn't explain.
The newest member of the Most Haunted team this series was Yvette's two-year-old pet dog. A bulldog, named Watson who appeared in around half of the episodes, whenever animals were allowed. Watson sprung into action in the first episode at Abbey House Museum in Leeds. It was nice to see a canine reaction to the knocks and bangs. To be honest, he didn't add a huge amount to the show but I would like to see him return for another series.
However, Watson did have more of an impact on the series than GORT (Ghost Observing Robotic Tracker). The robotic ghost hunter, which Karl describes as "a highly modified remote control car" was introduced to us in the second episode of the series, but after that first meeting, we didn't see any footage from the car's roof-mounted GoPro until episode four and then only a couple more times throughout the series.
I thought the series had a strong start at Abbey House Museum in Leeds where the team encountered all sorts of items from the museum being thrown around as well as capturing a door slamming on camera. After the first episode alone I was hooked on the series, but it turned out that the opener was nothing compared to the action at Wentworh Woodhouse, a Grade I listed country house in the village of Wentworth, South Yorkshire.
The Wentworth Ghost
Episode two at Wentworth gave Most Haunted its biggest media interest of the series, when Karl and Stuart caught what Yvette described as the show's "most groundbreaking footage we have ever captured." The team caught the unmistakably human-like figure, dubbed the "Wentworth Ghost", on camera walking up a flight of stairs during a nighttime vigil in a derelict stable block near Rotherham.
As I previously mentioned, episode three at The Slaughterhouse was Fred's time to shine and the moment we witnessed a glass being thrown on camera. We also caught a glimpse of the first argument between Yvette and Karl, following an incident where a knife was seemingly thrown on the floor at the bottom of the staircase. After discussing the incident, Yvette discovered that Karl and Glen had asked the spirit to through a knife and Yvette wasn't pleased.
Yvette gave the pair an earful, being married to Yvette, Karl knew to keep quiet and let Glen take the worst of the dressing down, "you're a bunch of bloody kids sometimes, are you really that stupid? What if it had landed in your face you idiot?" Little did she know what was to come later in the series.
From Liverpool the team moved on to Todmorden for episode four where they got their first chance to investigate an ordained church. The church's creepy cellar provided most of the episodes scares, while outside in the graveyard it was harder to take things as seriously when we were treated to Stuart awkwardly trying to explain to Karl over a period of about five minutes that the spooky noise he'd heard sounded like a woman in the throws of passion.
While Stuart might have been providing the laughs in Todmorden, in episode five at Weir Mill it was a different story. Towards the end of the show Stuart was taken home after receiving medical attention following a mysterious incident at the haunted cotton mill in Stockport. It was a shame we never got any explanation of what happened to Stuart, no statement or public explanation has been made by any of the team members since the episode aired.
I thought the episode was probably the scariest of the series, due to the amount of huge crashes and bangs the team experienced. There was also Fred's Satanic chanting and Karl breaking Fred's protective pentagram he'd drawn in salt on the floor, much to Yvette's annoyance. The episode had more jumps and scares than any other in series 20.
For the next two episodes the team headed to Ripon in North Yorkshire where they spent a night in a grim former workhouse and a night at Ripon Prison And Police Museum. Episode six in the workhouse and episode seven in the police museum both felt a little bit tamer than previous episodes where we'd seen ghostly figures, objects being thrown caught on camera, and team members being taken home early with lacerations to their face, but the team did experience plenty of bangs for their buck. Episode six ended with a seemingly very successful ouija board experiment, the board spelled out the name of a former resident of the workhouse.
Then it was on to the season finale, a mammoth two night investigation of Standon Hall, Staffordshire which was spread out over the final three episodes of the series, episodes eight, nine and ten.
The huge abandoned grade II listed building, its maze of rooms and corridors, and its creepy derelict outbuildings proved to be one of the most active locations the team had ever investigated. Early on in episode eight the show's sound engineer Darren Hutchinson made it clear he wasn't comfortable in the building, "there is something in here with us, I am more convinced in here than I have been in many other locations in a long time."
The first part of the investigation was focussed on the main manor house, it ended with a knife being thrown across the kitchen, this resulted in a stern warning from Yvette that no one should go anywhere alone in the building. However, early in episode nine Karl and Fred disobeyed Yvette and returned to the kitchen where a knife again was seemingly thrown by an unknown force, this time it did hit Karl in the face and as you can imagine, Yvette wasn't best pleased, "why did you go down there when I specifically said not to go down there?"
The pair tried to answer back but Yvette interrupted, "shhh, I don't want to hear about it, just do as I ask you to do. You're messing around with bloody knives, it's ridiculous. You should know better Fred. I'm really $&#*ed off with the pair of you because I asked you not to do it and you did it."
Yvette walked off leaving Karl and Fred behind, who instantly started smirking and giggling like a pair of school boys. Desperate to have that last word on camera, Karl cheekily said "Fred made me do it."
The rest of episode nine and ten were mostly focussed around Standon Hall's outbuildings, where Karl witnessed a couple of creepy occurrences while shooting cutaway footage on his own. First a very creepy wheelchair rolled into his shot of its own accord and later a cupboard slammed closed despite the fact no one but Karl was in the room.
The series ended with a fright for Yvette when she spotted a figure stood at the end of a corridor. Yvette lost it, genuinely freaked out by the figure, which at first she thought was Karl. Yvette described the figure as having grey hair, early in the episode Karl had also said he'd seen a grey figure.
A few minutes later a wheelchair was forcibly rammed into a wall by an unseen presence at the same spot as Yvette had seen the figure.
As the team walked out of the dark building, Yvette's voiceover said "this has got to be one of the most active, haunted locations we have ever investigated" as the series of Most Haunted came to an end.
"When our viewing figures are higher today than they were 10 years ago you have to be on top of the world. Well done everyone, Most Haunted still breaking records."
The series has been really entertaining, I've looked forward to each episode and I'll be looking forward to its return. The show has consistently delivered the highest weekly rating on television channel REALLY and according to a tweet from Most Haunted's official account, the this series pulled in more viewers than it did ten years ago.
When the show does return, probably in 2018, it's likely that it will include an "as live" evening-long special, recreating the feel of some of the 'Most Haunted Live' shows from the past but without the high budget of a live show.
I think UKTV and the Most Haunted team have produced one of the best series of the show yet. Thanks to all involved, see you at Halloween?
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