Harry Price Ghost Hunter Trailor – We talk to author Neil Sping
Harry Price the investigator of Britain’s most haunted house, Borley Rectory, is a pretty hot subject right now. We have already spoken to Ashley Thorpe about Borley Rectory his forthcoming animated short with Reece Shearsmith as Price, but now the story is coming to UK network TV with Rafe Spall as the paranormal investigator in Harry Price: Ghost Hunter.
Based upon Neil Spring’s novel The Ghost Hunters, Harry Price: Ghost Hunter will be broadcast at 8:30pm on the UK ITV1 network on Sunday 27 December. Set in 1920s London, the two-hour film is a standalone story about Britain’s most famous real-life ghost hunter and sceptic Harry Price, who investigated many tales of the paranormal and supernatural.
So what’s it all about? In brief, having withdrawn from society following the suicide of a young soldier, con artist Harry Price is drawn back into the land of the living when an MP’s wife, Grace Goodwin , is found naked in the streets of his local constituency. Fearing the potential scandal may taint the MP’s promising career, Sir Charles Harwood recruits Harry Price to investigating Grace’s condition.
Joining Spall are Downton Abbey‘s Cara Theobold as Harry’s assistant Sarah Grey; Richie Campbell (DCI Banks, The Frankenstein Chronicles), is Harry’s friend Albert Ogoro; and Lewis Reeves (Unforgotten, Uncle) is journalist Vernon Wall. And the Hothouse understands that Neil is doing a Hitchcock (or Ken Russell if you choose) and making a cameo appearance in the TV Movie
We asked Neil Spring what drew him to the story of Harry Price in the first place?
‘The Borley Rectory haunting has it all. “The Most Haunted House in England?” A house so haunted that objects frequently fly through the air unbidden, and locals avoid the grounds for fear of facing the spectral nun that walks there… It’s the perfect ghost story: a cast of complex, competing characters and a dark, terrifying legend. And amazingly, no one has ever dramatised the tale! I wanted to change that. Harry Price was the nation’s first paranormal investigator, a professional ghost hunter. He dedicated his life to investigating unusual phenomena, and lengthy investigation of Borley rectory seemed a logical way in to the story. I soon realised that he, perhaps more than Borley, was the most interesting aspect of the case: the more I discovered about Price’s private life and his curious, contradictory beliefs, which oscillated between scepticism and belief, the more I was fascinated by this historical character and its dramatic potential. I wanted to know what set Price on his path of investigation into the unknown? And, perhaps more intriguingly, why did other intelligent people – many of them academics and scientists – follow him on that path?’
The problem was the many phenomena reported at Borley down the years: so many fantastic events, spanning a period in excess of twenty years, with no connecting thread… I struggled, at first, to see how any coherent and consistent tale could be woven around the subject. But I did my research and discovered that Harry Price had employed a young secretary with whom he was very close. That was it! The inspiration for my narrator, Sarah Grey. In The Ghost Hunters, we see the investigation of Borley Rectory through her eyes, as it might have happened. And it’s terrifying.’
‘Don’t expect the forthcoming ITV film to be the same as my book. The same characters are in there, and a few new ones, but the haunting that falls in the spotlight does not take place at Borley Rectory.’
So has Neil had any ghostly experiences himself?
‘Do I believe that the spirits of the dead can return to haunt the living? Yes – but I would call that conscience. I’ve not had a ghostly experience, but I’ve met and interviewed many credible people who have – and that’s a huge inspiration for both my novels, The Ghost Hunters and The Watchers.
Neil’s most recent book, The Watchers, based upon the reported alien sightings in Pembrokeshire in the 1970s and the subsequent government cover up has just been snapped up by DNA films for a television adaptation.
Both The Ghost Hunters and The Watchers are published by Quercus
We can’t wait to see both.