Monday, October 23, 2006

Great Moments in Television

Most Haunted, a big television hit in Britain, has an admirer at The Telegraph:

Last year's Hallowe'en special is out on DVD, and I recommend it to any student of stupidity: you will not find a finer example of sustained nonsense. The show comes from a pub cellar in which a murderer's spirit supposedly lurks among the barrels. The show's presenter Yvette Fielding and the entertainer Paul O'Grady are dispatched into the pitch-dark basement, joined only by a cameraman with an infra-red lens. The idea is that they spend the evening down there, recording any unusual events. Meanwhile upstairs, an audience of paranormal enthusiasts gather to watch the unfolding action on closed-circuit monitors.


That action largely consists of Fielding and O'Grady scaring themselves witless, squealing at every gurgle in the pub's plumbing. Occasionally, Fielding's face is framed in the camera, red-eyed and terrified, earnestly asking if anyone else heard what she just heard. No one has, so she shrieks: "Shush, listen, what was that? Did you hear that?" You listen hard, but there is nothing to hear.

At one point, O'Grady is convinced he sees something emerging from a corner of the cellar. In high excitement, the camera dashes over to the corner and discovers precisely nothing. Soon, the two presenters are joined by a medium who, to no one's surprise, given that his livelihood depends on sustaining the myth, quickly communes with the interloping spirit. As he flaps about the place woo-ing and moaning, the stupidity levels are cranked up so high that even Fielding has difficulty maintaining a straight face.

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