16 January 2018

REVIEW: Most Haunted - Series 21 Episode 1 (19th January 2018) Birmingham Central Lock-Up

As you will know if you are a regular reader, I have recently been reviewing classic episodes of Most Haunted mainly due to people asking, but also as a filler as we waited for the new series to arrive, well sadly after having gotten used to Derek Acorah being possessed by a monkey, I now have to reluctantly get on with reviewing the new series. I managed to miss out a lot of episodes from series 20 since they shoved them all on in a week during Halloween, but no excuses now, I have to do it.

So with Watson the Most Haunted Bulldog biting at my feet trying to get my attention, I see what can only be described as a withered, old, wrinkly sack, a once great tight smooth sack, but now decrepit, unwanted and covered in old plasters and dog excrement, inside that sack is blurbage. And alas here is the blurb for this weeks episode.

"Spook-searching with Yvette and co! A wailing woman seems to want to make contact with the team at a disused prison in Birmingham which has housed some notorious criminals."

Hang on a mo, they were in Birmingham and no one bothered to let me know! I could have done a one man protest.

As the title logo appears on screen, I have decided to gaze deep into my crystal balls, and make some predictions about tonight's episode.

1. The ghosts will only perform OFF CAMERA
2. Yvette will scream as if on cue
3. Yvette and Karl will have a carefully planned fake argument
4. Fred will appear suspiciously
5. Glen will sneak a peak at Yvette's curvy behind

Usually over time the production for a TV show will improve, and by that I mean better graphics, better set pieces, better camera angles, and all round a tighter production. Unfortunately this is not the case with Most Haunted.

Looks like Yvette has had a nice Christmas, lots of mince pies.

"A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips"

Must say I do like the new curvier Yvette. I can only imagine Glen's face when he sees her!

With a bit of luck maybe some, if not all of them might end up locked up in the prison as part of a grand OFCOM scheme to put them out of business for good? We can only hope I guess.

Just Glen checking out that booty!

Glen and Yvette are walking around the prison, talking about the history and ghost stories. Usual nonsense, but if you are interested in such things I am sure you will find it educational.

They go into Cell B23, which is supposedly the most haunted cell in the whole prison. There's suddenly a dodgy edit and then a noise, and they go running off to investigate and we get split screen action.

How exciting! Well exciting if OFF CAMERA noises excite you that is.
They waste 2 minutes and find nothing and return back to Cell B23 for some hilarious banter.

When you give the girl you like your best line, and she just laughs and dismisses you.

They actually put some real night vision on (totally not needed as the place is not dark) and the investigation begins.

Suddenly there is a sound of a toilet flushing! So they run into a cell and low and behold a toilet is mid flush, no poop, but it is flushing, how can this be? There is no one in the cell. Hang on, the chain that you pull to flush a toilet is outside of the cell, and guess who is stood right by it as the toilet flushes OFF CAMERA, yes it is Karl, a cameraman then goes to great lengths to show how no one was there and so on. Even though clearly Karl was stood right there. 

Because the plastic bit at the end of the chain is not moving, they say that is proof that no one pulled it, someone then goes to prove this hypothesis, but the footage is cut, so I am guessing it didn't work out how they liked.

Yvette is talking to the ghosties after the gang has split up.

Things are happening OFF CAMERA in the Karl group. While Yvette and Glen are both describing a bad taste in the back of their throats. I believe that this happens after "snowballing". If you don't get that reference then do NOT google it.

Ok the cameraman and Karl have a new gimmick, basically they get a phone out, and move one finger across the keyboard and if they hear a real world tap, they press the key they are over. Hilariously as they do this the phone receives a message. But is ignored. Maybe it is Derek Acorah?

It could be worse I guess, they could download a shitty Echo Ghost Box app thingy off the app store and then expect the viewer to take it seriously? (Sorry Chris Howley couldn't resist)

Glen is feeling drained, exhausted, as if he had been doing something tiring. 
Yvette is convinced she is about to pass out on the floor, but says it comes and goes. 

Back to the idiots with their phone and they have come up with the name "Mary Scott", so to put this in perspective, they are sat down somewhere and they themselves have typed a name into their phone, and they want the people watching to believe this name corresponds with tapping from a ghost.

At least Derek Acorah put some effort into his bullshit names, pulled a funny face, did a strangely scouse accent for every ghost, hell he got possessed by a damn monkey! And that was episode 1 over 16 years ago! Now we have idiots typing names in a phone.

Fred Batt appears suspiciously, and has a few sheets of paper in his hand with names written on from a census, and as if by some kind of miracle, the name Mary Scott is on there! The owner of the phone proclaims clearly "I never saw that before"

Other than a few moments, Karl has really stepped out of the spotlight on this episode so far (17 minutes in), and instead this camera guy seems to have been given a bigger part, he is even talking to the ghosts that do not exist now.

No idea who he is, but he looks like they found him asleep on a street corner, dragged him in with them and said "you wanna be a star?"

No sign of Stuart, guess he is super busy with his car stickers business. And poor old Watson, cant even get on the show these days. Poor animal.

Suddenly there is a noise and a chair has been tipped over OFF CAMERA.

Karl is claiming that the chair was thrown at him with some force. Most likely explanation is that while all cameras were pointed elsewhere, he used his foot to flip the chair.

With Yvette clearly rather proud of her new curvy behind, Karl goes full Treasure Hunt, and films her Anneka Rice style as she runs down the hall looking for a ghost. Wonderful TV moment and I hope they do more of this.

Perfectly on cue we now get the obligatory fake argument between Karl and Yvette as Yvette gives him big eyes. 

More filming of Yvette's bum by Karl, never known this before on Most Haunted, so this is definitely a pre planned filming technique. I am guessing the conversation went like this.

Yvette - "I've been doing my squats every day, and I am really proud Karl"
Karl - "You ain't no Mel Crump love"
Yvette - "I told you to NEVER say that name again!!!"

Karl - "Ok ok, I am sorry, do you want me to film your rear end on the show"
Yvette - "Yes, but don't be too gratuitous, just when I am running or bending over"
Karl - "Yes mum, I mean Yvette, I said Yvette, oh for f*cks sake"

Back with Fred and suddenly some sink taps have been turned on OFF CAMERA. The type that you press from the top and they stay on for 30 seconds or so, so in other words, easily activated with very little effort.

They pretend to look around for anyone who could have done it. 

Yvette hears a loud bang OFF CAMERA, and screams, her and Karl run about looking for the cause. They start arguing again because they know the fans find it funny, so we get a good 5 minutes of it. 

Fred and some other crew members are in a cell, and the toilet flushes again, of course, no camera outside, and no one supposedly outside, this time the chain is moving! Which proves that someone did indeed pull it, and not a ghost.

Glen is on his own in a cell, with a camera and his laptop. I dread to think what he gets up to in there.

Yvette and Karl in a cell on their own with a camera each.

They hear a noise from outside of the cell, and apparently some tables have been moved.

Worth noting at this point in the show that Antix Productions who run Most Haunted insist that all CCTV at a location is disabled before they start filming and do their own investigation. You would think they would welcome the extra cameras, already installed, that are filming all possible angles right?

Now ask yourself why they would insist that all CCTV is disabled?

So this ghost likes to turn taps off, flush toilets and move tables and chairs about. What a wonderful life for this ghost, but he is careful to always do these acts OFF CAMERA. Let us analyse this for a moment, a ghost is doing things so that people know he is there, but he wont do anything on camera because he doesn't want anyone to see him. Yep makes sense to the idiot believers.

Fred is reading from his "5 Steps to be a better Ghost Hunter" book. I wonder if he has set up a patreon yet? Seems to be the thing to do? I much prefer Amazon Gift Vouchers! 

Suddenly there is a noise, and a chair has been thrown OFF CAMERA outside the cell that Fred was in. You would think that Karl could stump up a few hundred quid for a couple of GoPro cameras to just leave filming in the corridors? Would instantly either prove the existence of ghosts, or expose someone chucking things.

Back with Yvette Fielding and Karl and another noise, something has been thrown OFF CAMERA. Also hearing knocks. Karl proclaims "we are definitely not alone", no there is at least another 8 crew members on location, if not more.

Back with Fred etc, and another chair is thrown OFF CAMERA.

"Demons are the most cunning things you will ever come across" - Fred Batt

"Demonologists are the most CONning things you will ever come across" - Me

Yvette is now whistling to the ghosts, and the ghost whistles back. Yes the ghost whistles back, not one of the 8+ crew members dotted around the place.

The team is now back together and they are listening to EVPs that Glen has found, but suddenly there is a bang and a door has been slammed OFF CAMERA.

Glen is still desperately trying to find something vaguely interesting, but there is another bang. 

Glen almost gets caught looking at dodgy websites on his laptop, but quickly changes the screen.

Glen has been manipulating the audio for a while now, and has picked up a disturbing sounding groan on the laptop. The problem here is that the sound could be almost anything, could have been added in by Glen, could be a natural sound from Yvette slowed down to sound spooky. One thing for sure is that it is not a ghost.

Karl makes this face.

So as with all EVPs, they are evidentially worthless. They have no scientific value, and only total amateurs would ever deem them worthy of anything.

We are then shown footage of a camera moving slight on its own, along with a groan, and then the episode ends.

I have to admit this was a better than usual episode, and a good choice to start the new series with. Yes the set pieces were obvious, things were all thrown OFF CAMERA, the EVP was dodgy as hell, but with Yvette showing off her new curves, an interesting location, and a funny face by Karl, I give this episode a decent 3/10

Still terrible, a ball ache to watch and a waste of my time, but 3/10 is better that what I normally give them, so perhaps this series will start a new trend of improvement.

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By Jon Donnis

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