The ‘rules’ of ghost stories

Laurence Rickard is one of the writers on Ghost and also plays both Robin and Humphrey in the show. He told us about two of the storytelling ‘rules’ they kept in mind when creating the series.

Ghosts always seem to be from certain historical periods

When was the last time you heard a ghost story about a caveman? As Laurence highlights, they’re incredibly rare, with most stories being “roughly from the Tudor era up until World War Two.”

Laurence explains the writers wanted to include those ‘classic’ ghosts, as well as some more unexpected characters. “The idea of a caveman just felt funny because I don’t ever remember hearing reports of one, but there’s as much logic to one existing as there is to any ghost,” he says. “And, equally, we wanted to see a couple of spirits from more modern times, as they somehow seem more ridiculous when there’s nothing vintage or gothic about them – they just look like a couple of blokes (give or take the lack of trousers).”

Ghosts don’t always make sense

When it comes to ghost stories, there don’t seem to be any fixed rules about what the spirits can and can’t do.

Laurence says: “We often get questions about the logic of our ghosts – why they can sit on furniture but also walk through walls, or why can they not leave the grounds. All of those ‘rules’ were born out of the existing ghost stories, and the glaring inconsistencies between them. There are tales of ghosts walking through walls (where doors used to be), but equally stories about ones who appear sat on the end of a bed, or in the old armchair. It doesn’t make sense that they can do both, but if that’s what ghosts do, ours will do the same.”

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