‘Ghosts’ UK Has One Big Advantage Over the US Remake


The big picture

  • The original UK version
    created by a collective of comedians, writers and actors, stands out for its friendship and collaboration.
  • The British version of
    it feels fresh and natural, with jokes that aren't recycled, whereas the US version tends to rely on flat character types.
  • Them There, the team behind the UK version, had the opportunity to end the series on their own terms, providing a satisfying conclusion for fans.

America has had its fair share of TV shows that originated in the UK. Remakes are a common thread in American television, either Come dance strictly becoming Dancing with the starsor narrative programs that move to a different audience, including Human being, Life on Mars, and more. Each has had varying degrees of success, depending on how the concept translates into American humor, but perhaps none has been more successful of late than ghostsa supernatural comedy coming to our shores in 2021, after the original version was released in Britain in 2019.

Where some American remakes try to alter their premises to better suit the tastes of a much larger country, both versions of ghosts remain largely the same on the surface: a couple (played by Charlotte Ritchie i Kiell Smith-Bynoe in the United Kingdom, i Rose McIver i Utkarsh Ambudkar in the US) inherits a large, run-down manor house that they intend to turn into a hotel. Little do they know, the house is crawling with ghosts of all kinds, and when one half of the couple has a near-fatal accident that allows him to see them, things go awry as they must learn to manage their new home and the needs of the spirits that haunt her.

It's a simple concept, driven as much by its cast of characters as by its interesting premise. The British version is still as successful as everfinally coming to an end after five seasons and a new Christmas special that premiered in December 2023. The team behind ghosts also produced a book that offers a special inside look at the characters of the series and continues to receive a lot of love from fans, who each have their favorites among the group of specters determined to find peace in Button House.


A group of spirits fight endlessly in an abandoned country house. To his dismay, a young couple inherits the house with a hopeful plan to renovate it into a luxury hotel.

Publication date
May 27, 2020

Matthew Baynton, Jim Howick, Martha Howe-Douglas, Ben Willbound, Simon Farnaby

Lolly Adefope, Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick

Main genre


'Ghosts' UK is defined by its creators

But most importantly, this kit is exactly what the original version does ghosts so special While the American version was developed as a derivative adaptation by Joe Port i Joe Wisemanthe original series came from the mind of Them Therea collective of comedians, writers and actors formed by Matthew Baynton, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard, Ben Willbondi Simon Farnaby. While each has achieved personal success in their own careers, Farnaby most notably co-wrote last year's Wonkaas well as the hit movie Paddington 2 — They are largely known for their group efforts, which began with the creation of Horrible stories in 2009. A comedy sketch show aimed at teaching children about English history (most notably including the iconic “Monarch Song”), the series brought the six creatives together when they were hired out of the UK comedy scene and gave them such success that they teamed up to continue creating, moving on to the fantasy series There onerland and the comedy film Billa humorous interpretation of the life of William Shakespeare, before creating ghosts.

Them There is the backbone of the series, writing the show and playing most of the ghosts that inhabit Button House: Baynton as romantic poet Thomas Thorne, Howe-Douglas as Lady Button, Howick as the cheerful leader of the Boy Scouts , Pat. Butcher (the world's greatest DJ air), Rickard as the decapitated Lord Humphrey and stoic caveman Robin, Farnaby as pantsless Tory MP Julian Fawcett and Willbond as the simply titled Captain. While a few more fill out the cast of specters that plague Ritchie's Allison (including Horrible stories guest star Katy Wix), the collective is the heart at the center of the show that elevates it above the American remake.


The entire cast of “Ghosts” really wants to make a musical episode happen

We caught up with the cast of 'Ghosts' at the Library of Congress, where they were given an incredible tour of the collection.

It's this simple difference that sets the original series apart from its American cousin. Where the American version is made exactly like any other sitcom on network television, with a writers' room and individually hired actors, ghosts UK being a product of friendship and collaboration gives it a homier feel, how I imagine walking into Button House would feel. The writers and stars know each other well, enough to know what kinds of jokes work for whom and exactly what they can get away with given their chemistry. Viewers get the feeling that the ghosts have truly spent hundreds of years (or in Robin's case, thousands) together, their fifteen years of collaboration and creativity blending into the exact right mix for the premise of the program

Comedy Collective 'Them There' Treats UK Cast 'Ghosts' With Their Humor

As a result, the show always feels fresh pulling not only from the situational comedy, but also from the little moments that come from working together, especially when it comes to improvisation or over-the-top reactions, which also make for an extremely entertaining blooper reel. this it never feels like the jokes are being recycledsomething that happens at least moderately in American series, and you hear less fragments on stage and more… well, I'd say it's natural, but there's nothing natural about being able to see ghosts, is there?

Even those who come to the series from outside the collective, including Ritchie and Smith-Bynoe, as well as other ghosts Lolly Adefope — stick to the show's writing, as their co-stars took the opportunity to examine their specific strengths and weaknesses and bonded with those who had already worked together. There's nothing worse than watching a show where the ensembles feel like they're on completely different planets, and although Mike de Smith-Bynoe cannot I will see ghosts, he's as in on the joke as the rest of them, getting a chance to shine as comic support that few actors (including Ambudkar such as the American Jay) are never given.

That doesn't mean the US ghosts it's not funny though tends to defer to flat character types or stereotypes to define their spirits while the original series created characters based on the strengths of its actors. The best example of this is the character of Pat Butcher, one of the few characters copied and pasted directly from the British series to the American one. Although Pat was originally only classified as sweet and cheerful, allowing Howick to play a variety of emotions based on the plot, the American version was renamed Pete Martino and played by Richie Moriarty — takes Pat's charm and flaunts it, often making “nerd” the central part of her personality, without much depth beyond that.

While the American ghosts only ran for two seasons, giving it plenty of opportunity to expand and deepen its cast of characters in the future, it seems like the standard sitcom approach to writing for an ensemble cast does a disservice to american ghosts compared to those in the UK, who have the opportunity to fully expand and create rich inner lives with the help of their actors, who can make decisions for their characters instead of simply receiving material. Whether it's Allison's relationship with the ghosts or how tactfully the show handled The Captain's extravagance, something the British series far surpasses in the American version, it's hard not to see the sentimental and loving side of what many might pass off as a standard comedy. , new layers for every character, living or dead, hidden in the corners of Button House.

The humor of 'Ghosts' UK is widely acclaimed

Charlotte Ritchie as Alison Cooper, looks shocked as the ghosts are after her in Ghosts
Image via BBC One

This is no surprise, then the series is nominated for BAFTAs in both the Scripted Comedy and Comedy Writer categories. Them There know themselves and each other inside out, and that camaraderie is far more natural and engaging than the constructed feel of the American series. Its story lends itself to a natural depth and complexity that not every British series can achieve, even though the comedy on the country's television varies greatly from the fare we're used to in America.

This personal ownership of the show also means that There they had the opportunity to decide when and where the ghost story ends. Unlike the American TV network, which will probably drag the US ghosts as long as it continued to be successful, the team behind the UK version knew there was a natural conclusion to the show's story and voluntarily chose to end it, rather than string the characters simply because of their massive popularity. . While many fans were sad to see the show go, Them There was able to give its audience an emotionally satisfying conclusion, if not the one everyone wanted, instead of being forced to end when the show was canceled. home, escaping the feeling of the dreaded hasty end. There's nothing worse for a beloved series than hitting the can early, forcing a team into half-assed character arcs and the ghosts managed to escape with their lives, or rather, their deaths, intact.


'Ghosts' renewed for Season 4 on CBS

Season 3 is currently running on CBS.

There are strengths in the standard sitcom format (an almost guaranteed audience, for example) and the success of ghosts in the US cannot be underestimated, especially with the way the premise was adapted for American audiences. It's a staple of television in its own right, but I can't help but always come back to the friendliness of Them There, and the feeling that I'm part of a family, if not the Button House one, then the massive, public wonderful that he has developed the show and that he shares my love for a bunch of spirits that make us all feel.

ghosts is available to stream on Paramount+ in the US

Watch Paramount+


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *