The Ghosts of Motley Hall 3.6 – Narcissus Bullock’s Bell

In the completely charming series finale, the ghosts finally get out of Motley Hall… and they can’t get back in! Thanks to all that bell, book, and candle stuff, when Gudgin brings a dirty old bell into Motley and gives it a good ring, he drives the residents out. They materialize a couple of miles away and find that their home now has a barrier around it. Between them and the hall, there’s another ghost, an old acquaintance of Fanny’s. He’s a highwayman who haunts the hill where he was hanged.

Amusingly, writer Richard Carpenter’s next project was the LWT series of Dick Turpin, which ran from 1979-82. This highwayman is a lot more talkative than the one we met in The Sarah Jane Adventures last month, which led me to show our son that program’s title sequence.

Overall, this wasn’t one of the more comedic installments, although I was amused that the apparent problem of a banshee is introduced and very little is done with it, and also entertained by an odd continuity error. Peter Sallis’s character’s name is spelled “Gudgin” on his office windows and “Gudgeon” on the keep out sign on Motley’s front door. Our son, however, laughed like a banshee himself when the White Lady threatens to haunt him all the way to Outer Mongolia. He was still giggling about that when we finished.

This show was a complete delight, and I’m so glad that I took the chance on it. It is less well-remembered today than Carpenter’s earlier triumph, Catweazle, but I think this was every bit as good. It’s a genuinely clever, inventive and often surprising little show that still holds plenty of appeal for eight and nine year-olds today. And I’m also thrilled to have watched Arthur English’s excellent performance as Bodkin. I really need to see him in some of the other shows he made. Overall, a very good little show, definitely worth picking up the DVD set from Network.

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