Susan Hill’s Ghost Story, review: the only frightening thing was the run-time

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Douglas Henshall (right) as Adam in Susan Hill's Ghost Story
Douglas Henshall (right) as Adam in Susan Hill's Ghost Story Credit: Channel 5

Susan Hill’s Ghost Story (Channel 5) was initially called The Small Hand, and based on her 2010 novel of the same name. Perhaps the unfortunate association with Donald Trump, nicknamed “Tiny Hands”, prompted them to alter it. Regardless, the revised title wasn’t even close to being the clunkiest thing here.

三级成人视频In her best books, such as The Woman in Black, Hill effectively builds a creeping sense of dread. Here, my principal fear was that this adaptation would never end. The first time we encountered the ghost of Denisa (Neve McIntosh) and her young son, it was mildly diverting; by what felt like the 70th time, it was supremely irritating.

Douglas Henshall, so good in the detective drama Shetland, was given nothing decent to work with in this unconvincing production. He played Adam, an antiquarian book dealer who stumbled across a seemingly abandoned house that inexplicably drew him in. Adam had a lot on his plate, in the form of a secret affair with Alice (a client’s wife) and a brother struggling with mental health issues. Maybe that explains why he seemed almost totally unperturbed by the fact that a woman who had been dead for 40 years was popping up for a chat, while the hand of an invisible ghostly child kept slipping into his.

三级成人视频The mark-up on second-hand books must be pretty good, because Adam had soon found enough money to buy the house. He suffered nightmares in which he was being held under water, a blood-soaked Denisa appeared in the bath and the creepy ghost boy began channelling Damien from The Omen – yet still Adam’s main preoccupation was whether Alice would leave her husband. The final scenes explained how all this led back to a shocking, forgotten event in our protagonist’s childhood. “Repressed emotional trauma!” said a monk included among the characters for no obvious reason.

Television is capable of delivering genuine chills – see last year’s Inside No 9 “live” special. I watched this one alone with the lights off, willing myself to be frightened. No such luck: I found myself idly admiring Adam’s radiators and wondering about his heating bills.