As Ghosts returns to our screens, Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe tell Georgia Humphreys why the family show has resonated with people.
More flashbacks, more backstories, and a big emotional journey for Alison – that’s a taster of what series three of Ghosts has in store.
The sitcom – which airs on BBC One – has been hugely successful and comes from the creators and stars of comedy series Horrible Histories: Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond.
The plot focuses on Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe), a young couple who have inherited a grand country estate – only to discover it is overrun with various, hilarious ghosts who are restless and constantly squabbling with each other.
There’s also the fact their manor, Button House, is falling apart – but the pair are trying hard to make their dreams of turning the place into a “guest house” a reality.
We caught up with Londoners Ritchie, 31, and Smith-Bynoe, 32, to find out more…
This series was a more of a challenge acting-wise for the lead stars, as they explore the impact of a visitor turning up with a life-changing revelation.
The person makes Alison question everything she thought she knew.
“They are very unexpected,” says Ritchie, who has starred in shows such as Call The Midwife, Fresh Meat, and Feel Good. “It leaves everybody warring a little bit. There’s a bit of a question over this person and who they are, essentially.”
The ghosts apparently react to the news in different ways – with fear, mistrust, and, in some cases, delight.
Asked whether it has something to do with Alison’s family, Ritchie answers carefully so she doesn’t give away any spoilers.
“There’s always a question over Alison’s family, and we don’t know much about her parents and stuff. We do find out more about her family in general.
“We’ve met Mike’s family, but Alison has adopted them as her surrogate family.”
When it comes to Mike in series three, he’s holding down a day job but is also keen to put Button House on the map as a destination.
Asked if making the show has made the stars want to do up a house themselves, Smith-Bynoe – also known for Channel 4 sitcom Stath Lets Flats – quips: “I’d love to be gifted a house, but definitely not one like that. You actually get down to the nitty-gritty and the things that don’t work and how much it costs and the maintenance and all of that stuff… If I got to choose, I’d probably pick a three-bed or something!”
“That’s so humble of you,” says Ritchie, with a chuckle. “I’d take the mansion, to be honest with you! Then you could have everyone to stay.
“We do have a lot of conversations on set about what would you actually do if you actually could have the house?”
Smith-Bynoe says he would want a cinema room, while Ritchie would definitely have a “club in the main ballroom”.
“Personally, I’m terrible at interior design,” she adds. “Nothing in my flat has been arranged by me, it’s all my housemates. I have no talent in that.”
Discussing why Ghosts has been such a hit with audiences, Smith-Bynoe notes “there’s something that everyone can relate to” and everyone’s got their favourite ghost.
“There are character traits that we recognise, whether it’s your family or friends or people you work with.”
There’s also the fact it’s one of the few programmes currently on TV that whole families can sit and watch together.
“I’ve had some really nice interactions with people, members of the public who have watched it, saying it’s the only thing they can watch with their children,” says Smith-Bynoe.
“People are so forthcoming about how they feel, watching it. It gets quite deep sometimes, quite emotional.”
“It’s amazing to be able to appeal to small people and older people,” continues Ritchie.
“It makes kids feel good to be able to watch a show that adults like too. I think that’s quite cool for kids. It doesn’t talk down to them at all.
“It’s not designed particularly for them, but it just so happens that they are able to watch it. And that’s great because I think that is rare.”
LOTS OF CHUCKLES
The show has so many wonderful comedic actors starring in it, and Ritchie notes how funny everyone is on set.
“I just watched a couple of the episodes from the new series, and I can’t believe how much every single person makes me laugh out loud, and hits everything on point.”
Indeed, the actress admits she tends to giggle quite a lot while filming Ghosts.
“There are some scenes I’ve seen so far in this new series that I’m like, ‘I don’t know if I got away with that!’ I don’t know if it was the extra hysteria of having been in lockdown… Yeah, I do laugh a lot. They’re funny, what can you do?!”
Ghosts returns to BBC One tomorrow at 8.30pm.