Investigating modern-day ghost stories.
Based on the presenter’s BBC Radio 4 hit paranormal podcast Uncanny, the show blurs real-life ghost stories and panel discussions with cryptic stagecraft.
Danny – along with podcast guests award-winning writer and paranormal psychologist Evelyn Hollow and parapsychologist Ciaran O’Keefe – presents two never-before-heard terrifying tales from real people.
‘Listen without judgement’ is the overall message of the show. As the trio states, whether you believe or not, whether these strange happenings can be rationalised or not, like it or not, these ordinary people endured these traumatising experiences that will stay with them forever.
Danny is an energetic host, excitedly pacing the length of the studio space. With a big fan base, he made sure to engage with the audience, referencing past Uncanny podcast episodes, welcoming questions and encouraging the sharing of our own ghost stories.
The stage is set with creepy leafless trees that spell out ‘Uncanny’ in crisp white neon lights and the inside of Danny’s shed where he presents from his desk. It’s an impressive set for the chat show format of the show, complete with revolving walls, working doors and special effect setups ready and waiting to deliver jump scare after jump scare.
With dramatic flair, Danny retells the story of a plumber’s small family who experienced threatening ghostly behaviour. Evelyn categorises the happenings as level 5 poltergeist activity, while Ciaran suggests anxiety could be to blame.
Another harrowing story is told of a woman called Del who looks back on an upsetting childhood memory which turned terrifying after hearing her parents’ side of the story. Upon investigation, the podcasters can’t help but admit there are few other explanations than that of an apparition.
The experts gave balanced arguments for each part of the two stories without attempting to convince the audience one way or another.
I fear, however, that we missed out on the biggest special effect of the night. I won’t spoil it but I think there were some technical difficulties that the stagehands were trying to fix in the interval. Failing that, it seemed Danny had to come up with an alternative effect himself.
In the end, I came away a believer, but it was interesting to learn about infrasound and other theories to explain the ghostly goings-on.
The new Uncanny TV series airs tonight on BBC One.