BBC Ghost Stories: Whistle and I’ll Come to You (1968 + 2010)+
A film by Jonathan Miller (1968) Andy De Emmony (2010)
As a Christmas treat in the late 1960s and 70s, the BBC produced adaptations of ghost stories based on the works of M R James, the Cambridge academic and author of some of the most spine-tingling tales in the English language, which were broadcast to terrified viewers in the dead of winter. This was a tradition that was briefly revived by the BBC between 2007 and 2010.
These adaptations, which have a subtlety and style all of their own, have been a major influence on many contemporary British horror filmmakers and have come to be some of the most sought after British TV titles by their legions of eager fans.
Whistle and I’ll Come to You (1968)
A film by Jonathan Miller
When a sceptical professor, played with eccentric intensity in a brilliant performance by Michael Hordern, finds an old whistle on a Norfolk beach he unleashes a horrifying monster from the depths of his psyche
Whistle and I’ll Come to You (2010)
A film by Andy de Emmony
In this 2010 rendering of M R James celebrated ghost story, John Hurt plays James Parkin, a lonely retiree who has left his wife in a nursing home. Troubled by this turn of events, he visits their old holiday haunt, but discovery of a mysterious ring on the beach sparks a series of ghostly encounters and disturbing nightmares which refuse to disappear in the cold light of day.
Atmospheric and emotive, this modern adaptation brings a fascinating new interpretation to an endlessly creepy yarn.
Jonathan Miller and Christopher Frayling discuss Whistle and I’ll Come to You (BBC, 2012, 3 mins)
M R James original storyOh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad read by Neil Brand (2001, 42 mins)
Introduction to Whistle and I’ll Come to You by horror writer Ramsey Campbell (2001, 16 mins)
Ramsey Campbell reads his own M R James-inspired story The Guide (2001, 27 mins)