• The Broadcast Afterlife of the Christmas Ghost Story

    Derek Johnston (see profile)
    Cultural Studies, Horror, Television Studies
    Culture, History, Culture--Study and teaching, Television--Study and teaching, Horror, Mass media--Study and teaching
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Gothic Association of New Zealand and Australia Conference 2017: Gothic Afterlives: Mutations, Histories and Returns
    Conf. Org.:
    GANZA Gothic Association of New Zealand and Australia
    Conf. Loc.:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Conf. Date:
    23-24 January 2017
    Seasonality, Ghost stories, Cultural history, Cultural studies, Television studies, Media studies
    Permanent URL:
    There is a long tradition in the UK, in England in particular, of the Christmas ghost story. The most famous is probably Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, but close behind are the ghost stories of M.R.James. James wrote many of his stories as Christmas entertainments, but this link was reinforced in the 1970s when the BBC broadcast an annual Ghost Story for Christmas, most of which were adapted from James. However, these are not the only examples of broadcast Christmas ghost stories, which also include Christmas episodes of typically non-supernatural programmes which are given a supernatural twist. This paper will examine the significance of this broadcast afterlife of the Christmas ghost story, as a perpetuator of tradition, retaining a largely oral delivery, but which is also subject to the shifting broadcast landscape. This subjects the Christmas ghost story to the gaze of those without this specific cultural tradition, raising the potential for confusion in valuable international markets. In turn, this raises the question of whether the culturally-specific Christmas ghost story has much of an afterlife left in the face of the internationalisation of broadcasting.
    Last Updated:
    4 years ago
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