We probably shouldn’t have been watching these TV shows when we were kids, but we did, and they often made us run for the back of the sofa. Some had scary moments, some had scary episodes and some were just plain terrifying! Here is our list of 10 Scary TV Shows that had us hiding behind the sofa!
Remember the time the BBC had everybody believing that Sarah Greene had been captured by a Poltergeist and Michael Parkinson was possessed! I’ll admit I was fooled up until that point. Ghost watch was one of the most controversial TV shows of the time, broadcast on 31st October 1992, halloween, if you watch it now its hard to believe we ever fell for it, but we did and it had many of us hiding behind the sofa!
The story, based on the tale of the Enfield Poltergeist, was put into production months before and was complete fiction. The presentation contained realistic elements which suggested to a casual viewer that it was an actual documentary. The studio scenes were recorded in Studio D, BBC Elstree Studios, Clarendon Road. The scenes at the house and the street were all shot on location around 5–6 weeks before the recording of the studio scenes. The recorded scenes in the house and street were then played into the studio, where Michael Parkinson, Mike Smith, and “Doctor Pascoe” had to interact with them. A phone number was shown on the screen so that viewers could “call in” and discuss ghostly phenomena. The number was the standard BBC call-in number at the time, 081 811 8181 (also used on programmes such as Going Live!), and callers who got through were connected first to a message telling them that the show was fictional, before being given the chance to share their own ghost stories. However, the phone number was besieged by callers during the showing and many people who telephoned simply got an engaged tone. This commonly happened when phoning BBC “call in” shows and inadvertently added to the realism instead of reassuring viewers that it was fiction. The set and filming methods, including shaky hand-held video cameras, lent a documentary feel. Most convincing of all was the use of actual BBC personalities playing themselves. Sarah Greene and Craig Charles were the reporters on the scene at the house, while Mike Smith (Greene’s real-life husband) and Michael Parkinson linked from the studio.
Ghostwatch was originally conceived by writer Stephen Volk as a six-part drama (similar to Edge of Darkness) in which a fictional paranormal investigator and a TV reporter investigate poltergeist activity at a North London housing estate, gradually discovering more elements of the mystery each week. This would have culminated in the final episode in a live TV broadcast from the property, in the vein of Nigel Kneale’s The Quatermass Experiment and Quatermass and the Pit, in both of which “all hell breaks loose”. However, when producer Ruth Baumgarten doubted the viability of an entire mini-series and recommended instead a 90-minute TV special, Volk suggested that they “do the whole thing like Episode Six”, portraying it as an actual “live” broadcast fronted by well-known TV personalities.
The BBC, however, became concerned about the effect the broadcast would have on the public and very nearly pulled the show shortly before broadcast. Ultimately they insisted on adding opening credits including the writer’s name, in addition to a Screen One title sequence.
2. The Incredible Hulk
It was this point, exactly this point, when Dr David Banner’s eyes turned green that I headed for the back of the sofa, occasionally peeking back until the incredibly sad end theme tune!
The Incredible Hulk is an American television series based on the Marvel Comics character The Hulk. The series aired on the CBS television network and starred Bill Bixby as David Banner, Lou Ferrigno as the Hulk, and Jack Colvin as Jack McGee. In the TV series, Dr. David Banner, a widowed physician and scientist, who is presumed dead, travels across America under assumed names (his false surnames always begin with the letter “B”, but he keeps his first name), and finds himself in positions where he helps others in need despite his terrible secret: in times of extreme anger or stress, he transforms into a huge, incredibly strong green creature, who has been named “The Hulk”. In his travels, Banner earns money by working temporary jobs while searching for a way to either control or cure his condition. All the while, he is obsessively pursued by a tabloid newspaper reporter, Jack McGee, who is convinced that the Hulk is a deadly menace whose exposure would enhance his career.
The series’ two-hour pilot movie, which established the Hulk’s origins, aired on November 4, 1977. The series’ 82 episodes was originally broadcast by CBS over five seasons from 1978 to 1982. It was developed and produced by Kenneth Johnson, who also wrote or directed some episodes. The series ends with David Banner continuing to search for a cure. In 1988, the filming rights were purchased from CBS by rival NBC. They produced three television films: The Incredible Hulk Returns (directed by Nicholas J. Corea), The Trial of the Incredible Hulk, and The Death of the Incredible Hulk(both directed by Bill Bixby). Since its debut, The Incredible Hulk series has garnered a worldwide fan base.
3. Tales of the Unexpected
The dancing lady! that was enough to send shivers down your spine. As a kid I don’t think I really understood what some of these tales were about, I just knew it was scary!
Tales of the Unexpected (Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected) is a British television series which aired between 1979 and 1988. Each episode told a story, often with sinister and wryly comedic undertones, with an unexpected twist ending. Every episode of Series 1, eight episodes of Series 2 and one episode of Series 3 were based on short stories by Roald Dahl collected in the books Tales of the Unexpected, Kiss Kiss and Someone Like You. The series was made by Anglia Television for ITV with interior scenes recorded at their Norwich studios whilst location filming mainly occurred across East Anglia. The theme music for the series was written by composer Ron Grainer.