By Will Barber Taylor
Teenager Tess (Judith Allchurch) is possessed by another soul, and she begins to experience memories that are not her own but those of a woman who died over a century before, in 1890. She and her classmate David (Ian Stevens) decide to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the woman’s death, determined to find out what really happened to her.
The authorities originally recorded the death as a suicide, considered a mortal sin in that era. This led to the woman’s spirit living on through Tess in torment. History buffs Tess and David must now prove the death was an accident to allow the woman’s soul to finally rest in peace, and free Tess from her nightmarish visions.
Made in 1982, Ghost in the Water is an entertaining and imaginative adaptation of Edward Chitham’s 1973 novel of the same name. Set in Dudley, Warwickshire the drama is reminiscent of much of children’s television in the 80s – spooky, partly factual and highly enjoyable. Ghost in the Water captures something which most children’s TV today lacks somewhat; a sense of riveting mystery. Ghost in the Water plays upon fears which all of us have had as children – being laughed at; feeling foolish; being afraid of ghosts. It is these core elements which make the story so engaging – we can empathise with both Tess and David and want them to find out what happened to Abigail Parkes and learn more about themselves as a result.
The acting is great, particularly from child leads Judith Allchurch and Ian Stevens. Allchurch brings panache to the role and she seems utterly believable as Tess. Allchurch brings out Tess’s curiosity and desire to find the truth excellently and it’s a shame that she never did more with her talents as she would surely have gone on to have a good career.
Ghost in The Water is an excellent short drama that packs in history, adventure, mystery and comedy into 45 minutes of blissful fun. I would highly recommend checking it out as it the sort of joyful and fun children’s drama that we don’t see that often now.
You can purchase Ghost in the Water here.