3 March 2018

REVIEW: Most Haunted As Live - Series 21 Episode 8 (9th March 2018) Codnor Castle


The best thing about a good backlash is that Most Haunted will always make things worse for themselves, and with that we go straight into Codnor Castle part 2, we continue straight after the events of Part 1. (Catch up here)

Stuart has just used a remote trigger to set a doll on fire, Yvette nearly spoiled it by giving the game away when she asked "what is that" and pointed at the gimmick used that was hidden inside the doll, this was quickly called a "sound box" because you know, these ancient haunted dolls are known for their modern technology that allows them to make sounds aren't they?


Pretty much something like this was used to set the doll on fire. I wont spoil it too much as it is a magicians trick, and they shout at me when I reveal how things are done.

So with that.....

Quick Blurb
"Spook-searching with Yvette Fielding and co! The foreboding Codnor Castle cottage maintains its attack on the team with dramatic effect, causing Yvette to call an early end to their night."

Predictions for tonight's episode.
1. Something will be thrown OFF CAMERA.
2. A ghost will display an incredible ability to balance.
3. Stuart will saying something that makes him look stupid.
4. Fred will do something suspicious.
5. A big stunt to finish the episode that will make the doll on fire trick look lame in comparison.


Titles roll, and we are back in the room.


We get to see the doll back in its box.
We get a ridiculous discussion about what to do with the doll, and they take it outside where it cant do any damage.

They then carry on the investigation as if nothing happened.

Again the magnitude of what has just happened IF it was real is totally forgotten. That's how you know it's all fake.


Stuart and Beardy are talking, no one is listening.

Again it astounds at me how they are treating the audience here. If a Haunted Doll had really just caught fire, you would shut everything down, cameras off. Call the police, the fire brigade, you would simply not just put it in a box outside and carry on as normal. 

"I'm being thick here now" - Stuart Torevell.


Karl with some classic camerawork here, making sure to film himself and the others instead of you know, the ghosts.

Stuart is getting a good stubble on his head, he will need a good shave tomorrow.

Now there is a very obvious camera edit here at 6 minutes and 20 seconds, even though Stuarts voice does not get edited. So we are getting audio from one device being played over a different video stream. And the moment you realise that, you know something fishy is about to happen. And low and behold we get...


We then get a couple of quick edits to bring everything back together. And the scene continues.

As Karl reaches the scene he gives out the most ridiculous and over the top gasp I have ever heard.


I am sure if you watch the scene you can figure out how it is done. Just a matter of using the audio feed from one camera, and playing it over the other, allowing one camera to be stopped for a moment, Stuart to put the chair in place, pick the camera up. A couple of quick back and forth edits to resync the sound, and job done. A simple fake poltergeist moment, all done OFF CAMERA of course. And apparently a constant recording hence why Stuart is talking non stop in the build up.

Stuart wants to get everyone to see the chair to make a point, but Karl just wants to move on.

Stuart says this is "classic" and like something out of a 1970's horror film.

Not quite Stuart. Not quite.


Back with Yvette and they have found a coin, and have heard a scratching noise. Glen asks the ghosts to make the scratching noise again using the coin, and nothing happens of course.


Whoever this crew member is, he is claiming that he has has a spasm in his chest, he is blaming the ghosts. Although I more suspect that it was the large kebab he had earlier in the day. From now on he will be known as "Gaviscon".


You know, a friend of mine once died of heart burn. I can't believe "Gav is gone".


Ok enough sillyness, back to the sillyness.

For some reason Yvette is fascinated with an old window. Insisting it has been opened.

Stuart and Karl go back upstairs.

Karl scares himself after seeing his own shadow, insists it was a dark ghostly figure.

Stuart is asking the poltergeist if they mean them any harm, there is no response.

Back with Yvette and she can hear low rumbling noises, however we already know that Stuart and Karl are directly below them. 

Yvette is whistling at the ghosts. The ghosts are not whistling back.


Glen holds onto his laptop, like he wishes Yvette would hold onto him. In the scene above, he just stands in quiet contemplation for a good 45 seconds, imagining what a different life he could have had.

Back with Stuart and Karl and suddenly something has been thrown OFF CAMERA. It is a mug. No wait we are the mugs for watching.


Ok it is a tea cup, but if I said that I couldn't do my mug line, so deal with it.

Yvette and gang join Karl and Stuart downstairs.

Karl is talking about how he smells of smoke because of the smoke upstairs, even though he was no where near the doll when it was on fire.


Yvette finally sees the stool balanced on the door, she is suitably impressed.


Yvette has gotten hold of Glen's laptop, unfortunately he never had time to close the image he was looking at, I cant quite make out what it is though, maybe if you click the image above and see a large version and zoom in, you will.

Yvette asks the ghosts if they can hear her.
"Tap once for yes, twice for no"

The ghosts do not care, they have got better things to do, like balance stools on doors.

Fred knocks the table by accident and Yvette tells him off. " BE STILL"
That's quite funny.

She is now moving her finger over the laptop, waiting for the ghost to knock so she can press the key.

Worth noting that depending on how old this ghost is, he or she may have no comprehension of what a laptop even is.

This segment seems like a bit of a time waster. 
Yvette starts then getting annoyed with the ghost (Karl) for not tapping at the right point to spell something out.


Karl making sure the ghost has a clear view of what Yvette is doing so it knows when to tap.


The ghost has conveniently gotten Yvette to type "RUN OR DIE".

SPOILER, No one dies tonight. Just imagine the lawsuit.


Yvette then accidentally gives away the end of the show, as Karl asks the ghosts to do something, Yvette points out that a doll has just been set on fire, and that people have had their arms burnt before. And she even says "Who's to say they cant set your coat on fire." Come on Yvette, you are either giving Karl ideas here, or you are spoiling the whole show.

Don't worry, just ten more minutes to go before we get to the good stuff, be patient.

The teams are split up again.


Notice the poor quality of the shot here, that is because it is legitimately dark while they film here. Remember when the image is clear and sharp, it is perfectly light. When the image is grainy like above, that is when it is dark.


Just a few seconds later, the cameraman switches the light on the camera on, and you can see the difference instantly.

I am just pointing this out as quite often they will try to make out how dark it is, or how they cant see where they are going, most of the time this is simply a lie.


Glen is up in the attic all on his own, time for a quick hand shandy, but then he remembers he needs to record some footage for the show, so starts talking to camera.

Back with Stuart, and beardy is hearing footsteps.

Glen is filming his laptop as it records potential EVP.
It's all gone a bit boring, I suspect this is the calm before the storm.
But as long as Yvette is with Karl, Karl wont do anything, he needs to get rid of Yvette first and get Stuart involved.

Greg then does a fart, Yvette assumes its the door behind him, so investigates, but the door makes no noise when moved, thus proving Greg had farted. He probably had the same lunch that Gaviscon had earlier.

Yvette then conveniently decides that everyone should meet up and then Karl and Stuart can go off to investigate on their own. Hmmmm. Big stunt coming soon I guess.

Karl keeps checking his jacket pocket for something, not sure what, maybe he is looking for his lighter or his Rizzler paper? Maybe he fancies a roll up? Who knows.

Yvette tells everyone to meet up in the attic. Hopefully Glen has had chance to finish his Shandy from earlier. Strange that no one noticed the ectoplasm in the corner of the attic.

Stuart and Karl are together now.
They go into a bathroom, and then hear a noise on the stairs. (Building the tension folks).

They investigate and find nothing.


Major props to Fred here for some excellent "Manspreading".
Not sure what they really think could happen here.

Back with Karl and Stuart and there is a noise, a cup has been thrown OFF CAMERA, but has not smashed this time.


We get some lovely shots of the cup.


We go split screen and Fred is asking the ghosts to do something to Stuart and Karl.

Stuart has a breath from his inhaler, perhaps he knows that things are about to get a bit smoky?

Now, during this whole split screen scene, there is no audio coming from Stuarts camera, we then get a overdub of Stuart saying "Let me just get a..." as he films away from Karl, then there is some flashing lights, Karl's arm has caught fire.

Now at no point do we see Karl's face or Stuart's face during this scene, we cut back to Yvette, so that whole scene was dubbed over.


This is the best frame I could see that shows the fire clearly.
As for how this could be done, easiest way would be to simply light some firepaper, like what magicians use, and what was probably used as part of the doll stunt. The reason that they dub over the sound is so that you don't hear Karl using the lighter, and it allows them to fully concentrate on the stunt when they do it, and not have to worry about what they say to make it sound convincing.


Everyone gets together again, Karl goes outside and we get lots of shots of people sniffing Karl's arm.

"Like a stuntman" - Stuart Torevell

Yes Stuart actually says that line.


Strangely there is no burn marks on the coat, or Karl's arm, which would point to flash paper being uses, as it burns very quickly. So would not cause any damage.

If your coat "spontaneously" caught fire, would you then put it back on after the fire is out? Karl would.

Yvette decides that it is time to end the investigation, but first they go to check the doll. The doll is fine.


Glen looks rather unimpressed by the whole thing, and the episode slowly draws to an end.

Ok how do I score this. The chair on the door frame was a bit silly, but was awkwardly filmed, but still it was a nice little stunt. The big finale of Karl catching fire, well it had to be filmed using the "shaky cam" method, as otherwise it would look a bit crap, so they filmed it in such a way that it would have a better impact. So I give them props for that, although the audio dub was a bit dodgy. They should have burnt Karl's coat to make it all seem more convincing. But I am guessing he cant afford a new coat right now.

Overall an ok episode, only 2 scenes worth watching, and perhaps really you only need to watch the last 5 minutes to see the good stuff.


I give this episode a strong 3 out of 10. Good effort but poor execution.

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By Jon Donnis



12 comments:

Nik Heeley said...

All I can say about this episode (and the last tbh) is "... for FUCK sake".
I honestly can't add anything to that! It's absolutely hilariously predictable and cringeworthy. Your comments about Glen are the best, so thank you again for such a wonderful review.

Jon Donnis said...

Glad you enjoyed the review.
Look as much as I criticise them, at least they gave me something to write about in these past 2 episodes, with the doll and karls arm. Its gets boring talking about knocks and things being thrown OFF CAMERA, so happy they are making the effort, they probably do more harm than good to their own brand with these stunts

Nik Heeley said...

Yeah I totally agree. Also I wouldn't mind so much if they turned around and said, "Hey everybody we're making a programme about ghost hunting, it's not real at all but it'll be entertaining". They'd still get plenty of views, still be able to make it spooky (probably more so), and could do even better stunt-wise!
Bring back Ghostwatch, haha.

John H said...

Love this site and the reviews of Most Haunted especially. My wife loves the show, as did I at one time, but it's now clear that Dr Karl is control freak bully boy and Yvette is happy to do whatever is necessary to keep the show going.

Great work, please keep it up!

firestarter72 said...

Dear Yvette Fielding and co,

Codnor is pronounced 'Codner' and is most certainly not in Derby. Codnor is just into Derbyshire lying on the Outskirts of the Greater Nottingham urban conurbation.
I guess the best example I can give you is Belvoir Castle pronounced 'Bever' on the outskirts of Grantham in Lincolnshire but actually in Leicestershire nowhere near Leicester. Bear this in mind should you visit it and also Southwell Minster. If we can't get the investigations right, lets at least get the location and pronunciation correct.

Yours,

A.Nitpicker.

Jon Donnis said...

Glad to hear you enjoy the site.

L Simon said...

Why is the “live” split screen footage of the fire shown in slow motion?
Why isn't the replay footage the same as the “live,” but instead has an added scene of Karl waving his lit arm around?
To me it looks like this footage consists of at least two, perhaps three, separate scenes stitched together. I believe this was done to make the fire last longer, and therefore seem more dangerous, than it actually was. Presuming the action was slowed to half speed, and presuming edits to either side of it, the part were Karl’s sleeve is actually seen to be on fire would last less than two seconds in real time. Therefore, either something that would burn itself out very quickly was used and had to be reshot multiple times, or the fire was extinguished in a controlled way (also very quickly), which was then edited out and replaced with Karl throwing the coat on the floor.

In the immediate aftermath, just before Stuart puts the camera on the floor, you catch a glimpse of something suspiciously matchbox-like revealed under Karl’s coat when he goes to pick it up. Stuart quickly stops him and puts the camera on the floor, aiming it away from the box. Stuart’s voice then recedes from the camera before the unmistakable sound of matches rattling around a matchbox is clearly heard.

Karl craftily avoids having to show his clearly unmarked coat sleeve to the close scrutiny of the camera by “acting” upset and storming out of the location.

Yvette finally wraps up proceedings with a patently scripted summery, in which she ponders the wisdom of allowing future investigations into such an incredibly dangerous location; while admitting that nothing remotely as extreme had ever been reported before by any previous group.
Karl then tries to justify the notion of this newly arrived evil by stating, “If its’s about energy, we brought the energy, haven’t we?” But by “energy” I think he meant matches.

Jon Donnis said...

I agree with much of what you say. Flash paper itself burns out, well in a flash, so slowing the footage down does make the fire seem longer.

I know the audio doesn't match during part of the scene, as I mentioned in my article.

I never considered that there was more than one pieces of footage stitched together.

L Simon said...

I only noticed it because I was trying to get a decent still of Karl’s sleeve on fire. The “live” footage consists of just the pan to the left away from vertical pile of sticks, and the end sequence with Karl throwing his coat onto the floor (this is the only sequence that seems to be shared between both versions). There is an edit in between these two, presumably because the stunt was messed up and removed. The “replay” footage is complete and better implemented. I have had a closer look at it and the following are where I believe the edits are made:

1) The pan away from the vertical pile of sticks is similar but is darker, so either it is a retake or the original footage was darkened in the edit. Just as the shallow corner in the wall appears frame left, there is a series of white outs of the background. By the time Karl arrives in shot, the shallow corner should have reached the far right of the screen but instead it is directly behind Karl.

2) Karl starts waving his ablaze RIGHT sleeve around very close to the camera, he is gradually drifting out of shot to the left. Just as his burning arm is about to leave the screen, the background is this time blacked out, even Karl disappears. There is just the flame remaining, no environmental cues, and the last shot of it even looks like a flare being held close to the camera lens and pointing away from it, so by Stuart. Karl then reappears out of the gloom CENTRE SHOT and much further away than he should be; and if you watch the footage without slowing it down, his change in position happens almost instantaneously (this jump would be even more blatant if the footage was being shown at normal speed). But the real giveaway, and I have only just noticed this, is that when Karl reappears he is falling backward, but the flaming sleeve is still in the foreground: so his LEFT arm!

3) The final edit is when the sequence of Karl throwing his coat onto the floor is fading in over a blacked out screen.

You have a wonderful little website, by the way. Keep up the good work!

Jon Donnis said...

You should make a video explaining all of this.

As for a still of the fire. The one in the article is the best I could do.

L Simon said...

Your probably right about the video. Would have taken less time too!

L Simon said...

Whoops! I owe Karl an apology. He isn't falling backward, but has flung the coat around his torso so quickly that it appeared that way (to me)! Sorry, Karl! As to how he was able to remove his left arm from the coat sleeve, while simultaneously waving his ablaze right arm around, is a miracle. But when you consider that this tricky manoeuvre was accomplished within a few frames, then it becomes impossible. That is unless he had already removed his left arm from the sleeve before the fire started and had it hidden within the coat; thus making it easy to safely jettison the coat should anything go wrong? Or it’s a simple edit.

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