Two of the finest ghost stories ever written are coming to Blackpool Grand next week, with acclaimed actor Jack Shepherd and The Demon Headmaster himself, Terrence Hardiman, taking starring roles
The Grand in Blackpool welcomes a new production of two spine-tingling masterpieces when Classic Ghosts comes to the resort from next Tuesday to Saturday.
Featuring a double-bill of chilling short stories, The Signalman by Charles Dickens and Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James, this new production has top-class actors.
Jack Shepherd (The Golden Compass, Wycliffe, Waking The Dead) will star alongside Terrence Hardiman (The Demon Headmaster; Cadfael) and Dicken Ashworth (Coronation Street; Emmerdale).
Terrence appears in both tales, as a passer-by in the former and a bluff colonel in the latter, and he is a fan of both tales of the uncanny.
“Telling stories is what the theatre is all about, “ he said.
“And we have two stories which we tell, which are ostensibly ghost stories. Two very good stories which grab you.
“It gives you a few shocks along the way, and it’s entertainment. I think it will make people think and have a bit of a fright. In the old days, people used to sit around the fire telling each other ghost stories and that’s the sort of effect of the show.”
The Signalman is Dickens’ unnerving tale of a tormented railway worker haunted by visions of disaster on his isolated stretch of line.
It was famously filmed by the BBC in the early 1970s as part of their Ghost Story for Christmas strand, with Denholm Elliot taking the role of the tormented railwayman.
M. R. James was a master of the form, and Oh, Whistle tells the story of Professor Parkins, a Cambridge academic on an out-of-season holiday at a bleak east coast hotel in 1907.
At an old graveyard near a deserted beach he finds an old bone whistle that awakens a disturbing supernatural force.
This classic yarn was also filmed by the BBC in the late 1960s. Directed by former Beyond The Fringe star Jonathan Miller and with Michael Hordern as the unfortunate tourist, this nightmarish adaptation set a new benchmark for small screen chills.
Jack Shepherd has a long and distinguished career in film, television and on stage.
His acclaim includes a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award, a Plays and Players London Critics’ Award, and a Time Out Award but he is probably best known for his portrayal of Detective Superintendent Charles Wycliffe in the television series of the same name.
Box Office: 01253 74 33 39 or www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk