Charlotte Ritchie believes in Ghosts – the comedy

Charlotte Ritchie believes in Ghosts - the comedy

Bizarrely, although Charlotte Ritchie plays Alison who can see the dead in smash hit BBC One comedy Ghosts, in real life she admits if she did see an apparition she probably wouldn’t believe her own eyes…

“Weirdly, I would fall into the category of a person who should believe in ghosts but I probably don’t. I wonder whether if I saw a ghost I genuinely just wouldn’t believe it. It may be that ghosts exist for some people and not others and it may depend on how open you are to it. I definitely believe there is stuff that goes on, energy wise, and that we all have a collectiveness and I believe people’s brains are incredibly powerful and there is a good chance you can manifest and see things that are not there. But in terms of ghosts, it can’t be a coincidence they’re all Victorian?

“However, despite the fact I don’t really believe they exist, I am absolutely petrified of the dark and of things that go bump in the night. I have seen enough films as a kid to get scared, even though rationally I don’t believe they exist, I still wouldn’t be brave enough to spend the night alone in West Horsley Place, the house we film this series in. There is one particular room that is really cold and that definitely feels really spooky. Naturally that’s our director, Tom Kingsley’s favourite room.”

Charlotte tells us how it felt to return to film the second series of a show she relishes working on and discusses her surprise at Ghosts’ widespread popularity…

“I adored filming the first series, it is the absolute dream job; nice people, funny scripts, lovely crew so I was excited to be returning for series two and see everyone I hadn’t seen for a year.

“I loved this comedy from the moment I read it, so I felt like whatever happened, I thought it was a great show but I was so relieved and chuffed when so many people liked it but also particularly people with so many different comic sensibilities. Its popularity amongst such varied ages is an absolute dream because lots of people have said how nice it is to have a show they can watch with their kids and they can all enjoy it on different levels, which is wonderful because it feels very uniting.

“The team of people who make it are so talented and have such a wide range of references and things they find funny that they cover a broad spectrum and they come together and work so beautifully as a team.

“Having a communal group with all different perspectives means you are more likely to reach a greater number of people. Also, the subject matter is a key reason. We spend most of our time not thinking about death, let alone talking about it or referencing it and although the show doesn’t always face it head on it sometimes does and it references bigger questions in a light way, which is something we need. We need an outlet for that sometimes and to frame it in a comedy is quite cathartic.”

Charlotte reveals where we pick up with Alison, Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) and the ghosts in series two…

“Mike and Alison are pretty much where we left them last series, not a huge amount has progressed in terms of working on the house and they’ve settled into their frustration and monetary problems. What is lovely about this series is that we will see a little more of their day to day lives with the ghosts and how living together works. There are sweet things like Alison’s routine with the ghosts in the mornings and Mike’s special ‘ghosts chart’ where he has pictures of them and descriptions that Alison has drawn for him. We see a lot more back stories, which deepens our relationships with the ghosts. There is a brilliant moment where Mat (Baynton) and Jim (Howick), aka Pat and Thomas, do an amateur radio hour, I am desperate to see that.”

Charlotte explains what it’s like to work as part of this hilarious ensemble…

“It can be quite overwhelming sometimes, to be surrounded by so many people who are so good and so funny and so quick but it means that it is also very inspiring and keeps you on all of the time. We move at such a pace during filming that you have to keep the energy up and keep your brain working really fast. But that is why I like it and why I find comedy so particularly satisfying.

“It is incredibly hard not to laugh the whole time though. Jim is probably the worst in terms of corpsing because it is partly the way he looks, in that costume, and the glasses and the moustache… how can you not? Just looking at him is funny. But he particularly gets a real thrill from making people laugh and he has a twinkle in his eye.

“I adore working with Kiell. He is a total dream, he is so constant in his demeanour which is very reassuring but he is also just a really good friend of mine now and so having him around makes me feel content, and happy and I find him incredibly funny. He’s subtly so funny, he does these tiny little looks with his eyes or a little head nod and it is very small but it’s perfect. I love working with him and I find that to be a huge part of what makes it so enjoyable.”

As for why she enjoys playing her role so much, Charlotte explains…

“I like that Alison is quite chaotic but also very front footed. She ploughs continuously through things; she doesn’t seem to be hugely fazed by daunting prospects and will leap into a situation and try to work with it. She adjusted so quickly to the ghosts and I love that, she doesn’t totally lose it, she manages to make it work so she is pretty resourceful and very funny.”

The house is a big part of the show and Charlotte is very much at home there now…

I love filming there. I love the gardens, they’re beautiful and it is such a treat to be in an old house you would pay to go and visit and walk round for an hour and probably not really take it in but to live in there for months means you find all of these nooks and crannies which are lovely to sit in and books that are 300 years old. Some of the rooms feel haunted and some feel warm and also remembering all of the different scenes that have been filmed there. I have grown a real attachment to it.


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