Ghosts is a 2019 BBC One comedy-horror sitcom written by and starring the original cast of Horrible Histories (Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond). This marks their fourth project together, after sketch show Horrible Histories, fantasy comedy Yonderland and feature film Bill.
The premise revolves around a young couple, Alison and Mike (Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe), who inherit the derelict Button House with plans to turn it into a hotel. Little do they know, Button House is also home to numerous restless spirits who have died there over the centuries, unable to leave the grounds and resigned to squabbling with each other for eternity: Robin (Rickard), a caveman and the oldest of the ghosts; Mary (Katy Wix), an eccentric woman burned as a witch during the Stuart era; Kitty (Lolly Adefope), an excitable and naive Georgian aristocrat; Thomas (Baynton), a melodramatic and easily-infatuated Romantic poet; Lady Fanny (Howe-Douglas), the repressed and overbearing Edwardian-era owner of the house; The Captain (Willbond), a pompous World War Two-era military officer; Pat (Howick), a friendly scout leader accidentally shot with an arrow by one of his scouts; Julian (Farnaby), a slimy Conservative MP who died as the result of a scandalous sex mishap; and Headless Humphrey (head - Rickard; body - Yani Xander), a beheaded nobleman who, due to his own clumsiness, spends most of his time trying to reunite his head and his body.
When the ghosts learn of the couple's plans, they conspire to scare the couple away. Things dont quite go as they expect, as the ghosts prove themselves to be pretty ineffectual at haunting. However, thanks to one of the ghosts, a near-death experience gives Alison the ability to see and hear them.
After finding out that her husband has taken out a massive loan to renovate the house, which the couple can't get out of, Alison and the ghosts form an uneasy truce as both she and Mike try their best to stop their dream home/hotel from turning into a complete nightmare.
This show provides examples of:
- The '80s: The opening of Happy Death Day takes place in 1984.
- Armour-Piercing Question: In Getting Out, the ghosts protest Alison wanting to leave until she asks them "Can any of you honestly tell me you wouldn't leave if you could?" In doing so, she points out that the house has become something of a prison to her and they'd likely do the same in her position. None of the ghosts have a response to that.
- Armor-Piercing Response: When Lady Button is horrified at the fact that two women are getting married in the house and goes into a rant about how it goes against decency and tradition, Headless Humphrey quietly tells her that the arranged marriage between him and his wife was perfectly traditional and proper — but at the time he was fourteen and she was twelve, they didn't love each other, and in fact his wife didn't even like him. "Might have been nice if we could have chosen who we married."
- Artistic License Astronomy: A lunar eclipse is shown as the moon being covered up, like a solar eclipse.
- Artistic License History: Mary was burned at the stake after being accused of witchcraft, when in real life she would have been hanged rather than burned. Shame the show isn't set in Scotland... note
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Some people who die, such as Alison's distant relative the last Lady Button, do this, while others become ghosts. The ghosts talk about the hope that they will eventually ascend to a higher plane themselves, but nobody knows why (or how) it happens.
- Bad Omen Anecdote: As Mike tries to reassure Alison that the ghosts are all in her head:Mike: My uncle Graham, he thought he could smell toast but you know what? There was no toast.
Alison: He was having a stroke! He died, Mike.
- Barred from the Afterlife: This has effectively happened to the ghosts, though nobody knows why.
- Beer Goggles: Downplayed in "About Last Night". While drunk, Alison admits to Thomas that if he was alive, they were the same age and she wasn't with Mike, something might have happened between them. Thomas is elated...while a sober Alison, having just remembered what she said, is horrified.
- Big Fancy House: Button House is a deconstruction. While it was once grand and beautiful, the show goes into quite a bit of detail about how those British country houses that look so impressive from the outside can be absolute money pits to maintain and restore for the owners. It's only by the end of Series 2 that Alison and Mike restore it enough that they can hire it out for weddings, and even then it's still a long way off from being a proper hotel.
- Big "YES!": Thomas when he learns that a period drama to be filmed at Button House is set during the Regency. He's so caught up in his joy that he drop-punts Humphrey's head out of the room.
- Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: In episode 4: "Red bill... red bill... ooh, normal bill..."
- Blatant Lies: When Robin gets caught interfering with the lights on the set in 1x04 he claims "bigger boy made me do it."
- British Brevity: Both series so far consist of the BBC's usual six episodes (though also with a Christmas Special).
- Burn the Witch!: How Mary died, with the result that she tends to start emmitting smoke when she gets upset and the living can smell something burning should they step through her.
- Camp Gay: Martin the wedding planner from series 2.
- Comically Small Demand: After three days of non-stop trying to scare Alison away she tells the ghosts she cant leave and asks them what they want from her. The answers? Tank documentaries, a portrait taken down and to simply say hello. Subverted with Thomas, who wants Alison to leave her husband, kill herself and spend eternity with him, all of which is soundly rejected.
- Cranium Chase: Humphrey's series-long quest to be reunited with his body that keeps walking past him because it can't hear him call.
- Creator Thumbprint: Another historical-themed comedy with surreal/fantastical elements from the team behind Horrible Histories, Yonderland and Bill.
- Creepy Child: Jemima, the plague girl. Even the other ghosts are scared of her. She honestly doesn't understand why people find her recital of "Ring a Ring a Roses" so unsettling.
- Crowded Cast Shot: Happens a few times as there are ten permanent cast members.
- Dead Man Honking: In "Happy Death Day", a flashback to Pat's death shows that after being shot in the neck with an arrow, he got in the troop bus and tried to drive himself to the hospital. He passes out at the wheel and drives into a tree, followed by the horn blaring.
- Death-Activated Superpower: Thanks to her brief brush with death (courtesy of Julian pushing her out of a window), when Alison returns to Button House, she can now see the ghosts.
- Death as Comedy: Naturally. Julian's sex scandal death has left him to spend eternity without any trousers on. Even the quite horrific deaths of Lady Button (pushed out of a window by her husband) and Pat (shot through the neck with an arrow by one of the children in his youth group) count.
- Depraved Homosexual: Most of the LGBTQ characters are portrayed in a positive light, but not Fanny's husband George Button. Fanny caught him not only cheating on her, but cheating on her with two men, an act that would almost certainly have been frowned upon in The Edwardian Era. Then, to make matters worse, he pushed her out the window because he couldn't trust her with his dirty secret. Ironically, she kept her death a secret from the other ghosts for more than a century (though the older ghosts admit that they already know, as they saw the whole thing go down).
- Distracted by the Sexy:
- The Captain with Mike, Kevin the builder, and Adam the 1st AD. The latter makes him lose his train of thought twice.
- Fanny in series 2, when she develops a crush on Mike after reading Lady Chatterley's Lover, and becomes increasingly waylaid by his doing mundane things.
- Doom It Yourself: Mike's attempts at D.I.Y.
- Do Wrong, Right: In Bump in the Night Fanny spends the entire episode being more upset that the burglars are stealing less than worthy loot than her actual task at monitoring them.
- Dramatic Irony: Played for comedy in The Grey Lady. After failing to get the ghosts to do a haunting for a group of paranormal enthusiasts, Alison and Mike tries to do a faux haunting of their own in hopes to earn money. Unfortunately, Alison screws up and the episode ends with the enthusiasts thinking that the Button House is a hoax. One woman in particular calls Alison 'exploitative' because the enthusiasts are open-minded enough to accept that ghosts are real.Female Ghost Believer: Because, let me tell you, there are spirits all around us.
[The camera backs away to reveal the ghosts surrounding Alison]
Female Ghost Believer: I just hope one day you come to embrace them.
Thomas: [gazing wistfully at Alison] At least.
- Equal-Opportunity Evil: Fanny's husband murdered her in cold blood to ensure her silence after she caught him in a threesome with the groundskeeper and the butler. This is in contrast to other LGBTQ characters who appear in the series (and other works by the creators), who are generally treated more positively.
- Ensemble Cast: Each of the multiple regular cast are treated as significant.
- Epic Fail:
- The ghosts first attempt at haunting as detailed in the Funny tab.
- In Bump in the Night Mary and Kitty are assigned to make a list of things the burglars are stealing while the rest try to stop them. Considering one is a semi-literate Cloudcuckoolander and the other is a Kindhearted Simpleton borderline The Ditz, this goes about as well as you'd expected.
- Everybody Knew Already: Having led everyone believe she jumped out of the window, Lady Button finally reveals to the other ghosts that she was in fact pushed by her husband after she caught him with the groundskeeper and the butler. The older ghosts then admit that they already knew because they watched the whole event.
- Everyone Has Standards: The ghosts did want Alison and Mike out of the house in the first episode, but (save for the Captain) they are very unhappy that Julian pushed Alison out of a window and nearly killed her.
- Everyone Knows Morse: The trope is invoked by name in Bump in the Night when the ghosts are trying to communicate with Mike despite their very limited ability to affect the material world. This is justified in that the two ghosts who say this are a youth group leader from a boy scouts-style organisation and a WWII army officer — two people who might well think that way.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Pat's realization that his wife was having an affair:Pat: He was always such a support to her, even before I died. [...] I remember one Sunday I came back from camp and I found all his clothes in the hallway. Everything. His socks, his knickers, they were all strewn up the stairs. [beat] Oh no.
- Extended Greetings: Pat's attempts to greet Alison and give her a house tour in Gorilla War.
- Failed Dramatic Exit: Julian's attempt in Gorilla War. As he's a ghost, his hand goes straight through the door. The others stand around staring in amusement and he has to come back in.Julian: Imagine that slammed!
- Fictional Counterpart: The group of which Pat was a leader wasn't a branch of the official Scout Association but a generic activity-based youth group with similar uniforms.
- Flanderization: Mike had a few dumb moments in the first series, like taking out a massive loan to renovate the house without getting Alison's approval/opinion, being worried about the ghosts watching him use the bathroom and being slightly insecure over Alison interacting with Toby Nightingale, but he got over them. Come series two, he's suddenly terrified by everything, is massively insecure about his relationship with Alison, and nearly ruins a wedding because he overheard Alison saying some negative things about him and stormed off without hearing the end of her story - which was heartwarming and painted him in a very favourable light.
- Fluffy the Terrible: A building version. Button House is the most harmless-sounding name possible, but it's haunted, falling apart enough to be hazardous ''and there's a limpet mine buried in the grounds.
- Forged Message: Francis writes two fake letters to trick his cousin Thomas, and his lover Isabelle that they dont love each other anymore. Thomas didnt know his cousin did this until Humphrey reveals he saw him writing them. He still carries the fake letter from Isabelle many years after his death; trying to remove it results in it re-materializing in his pocket.
- The Friends Who Never Hang: Thomas is a particular victim of this, but in general most of the ghosts give the impression that they don't spend time together because they've been stuck in Button House for so long with only each other to talk with.
- Funny Background Event: The show employs a lot of these due to the fact that Alison is the ONLY living person who can see the ghosts around her. It's common for the ghosts or the living to be talking or doing something hilarious in the background while someone else is talking in the foreground.
- Funny Foreigner: Not from another country but another time period. They might pick up the occasional modern word or manner but their references and behaviors are very much of their time.
- Gilligan Cut:
Alison: But they are not going to be our problem soon. We can find an un-haunted house to live in.
- In the episode Getting Out a hotel agent has offered Alison and Mike a substantial amount of money for the house. Horrified, the ghosts offers to find other means for the two to make make money. After being left alone, Mike is surprised at the fact that the ghosts wants them to stay.
Mike: Let's not get ahead of ourselves there.
Alison: Yeah, no, we should wait until it's official.
[cuts to them standing out a new house as their real estate agent approaches]
Alison: Well, her photos all over Facebook, so we can say goodbye to doing events. No-one wants a haunted wedding.Mike: No-one will know. [points to his phone] Look it's only one window and he doesn't say where it is...
- In The Grey Lady everyone finds out that Fanny actually shows up in photographs:
[someone tags the photo to their house]Alison: Hmm.Mike: Okay, but does anybody actually read the comments?
[cuts to a group of people hanging outside their gates taking videos and photographs]
- Glamour Failure: In the first series episode Moonah Ston, one of Barclay Beg-Chetwynde's dogs barks incessantly at ghosts Robin and Pat, the latter of whom attempts to pet them.
- Go into the Light: Subverted when Pat thinks he's moving on after coming to terms with the fact that his widow remarried. Then the light goes out and it turns out that it was just an ordinary stage lamp all along.
- Good News, Bad News: Mike to Alison. Just as she's about to ask for the good news, he reveals the bad news is the extent of the repairs they'd need to make on the house would require a substantial amount of money that they don't have. The good news? He took out a massive loan.
- Got Me Doing It: In Moonah Ston, Thomas picks up on Robin's poor grammar, saying "me" when he should say "I" and vice versa as Robin does.
- He does the same thing in season one when he picks up Mary's tendency to pluralize words, saying "And how you dies... Died!"
- Hair of the Dog: Julian suggests this as a cure for Alison's hangover in "About Last Night". He apparently made the suggestion the night before as well, which led to her drinking more booze...and getting even more drunk.
- Haunted House: The whole point of the show.
- Hideous Hangover Cure: Mary suggests one for Alison in "About Last Night". It nearly makes her throw up.
- "Home Alone" Antics: Or at least that's what the ghosts think they're doing.
- Hypocritical Humour:
- Lady Button calls Alison an "ill-bred hen" for shrieking, then sees her husband's portrait and shrieks.
- Julian boasts about getting a luxurious house using parliamentary expenses note , then immediately asserts that builders are all thieves. He later becomes frustrated when he can't catch them out.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Keith, the man who accidentally killed Pat when he was a boy, opens up a bottle of beer in order to cope with being at Button House when he's coincidentally invited to a wedding being held there.
- I Take Offense to That Last One!: Inverted in "Moonah Ston". Barclay knows about Lady Button's death but he gets all the details wrong, like which side of the house she died in and what color dress she was wearing. The ghost of Lady Button constantly corrects him—up until his last point about her being a twenty-something beauty, which is something she doesn't bother to correct.
- Ignoring by Singing: Alison tries this with the Captain. It backfires when he realizes two can play at that game.
- Inheritance Backlash: Alison inherits a massive stately home; unfortunately it's not only haunted but needs so much work done to make it inhabitable, let alone possible for it to become a hotel, that she and Mike lose money in the process.
- Intangibility: Unsurprisingly, ghosts can pass through solid objects (except that they can stand up, sit down, or lie on the floor or the furniture). However, passing through living people and creatures is very uncomfortable/painful for them. They're also not intangible to each other.
- Invisible to Normals: The ghosts are invisible to humans by default. Alison only gains the ability to see them because she was clinically dead herself for a brief time until revived by paramedics.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Kitty for Alison and Mike.
- Is It Something You Eat?: In "Redding Weddy", Pat attempts to explain to Robin that man has walked on the moon:Pat: Think about it, Robin. Man has always looked up at the moon, and thought...
Robin: "Can you eat it?"
Pat: No, "Can you walk on it?"
- It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: In the episode "Bumps in the Night", two burglars break into the house on a night where Alison went to a party and Mike (who cannot see or hear the ghosts) is alone. Eventually, the ghosts manage to find a way to communicate with Mike by turning on the tap and fogging up the mirror. When Mike asks how many burglars are in the house, Julian (the only ghost who has the power to physically interact with objects) initially writes "2", but then he writes "0" next. Because of this, Mike believes that there are twenty burglars in the house and decides to run away. When the other ghosts ask Julian why he did this, he explains that he wanted to write "2 of them". When the ghosts comment that he only needed to write the number "2", he replies:"Well, you know, hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn't it?"
- Jacob Marley Apparel: The ghosts are stuck wearing what they died in, complete with clothing damage inflicted by the accidents that killed them. (Though oddly, the beheaded Tudor nobleman is wearing all his finery, complete with ruff, when execution victims were actually beheaded wearing only an undershirt and trousers. The writers are well aware of this fact, so presumably it's Artistic Licence and the fact that it's easier to hide the 'body's' actual head.) This has led to some frustrating details for Julian and Thomas in particular, as Julian is stuck going around without any trousers after he died during an unspecified sex scandal and Thomas can't get rid of the forged letter that led to his death even after he learns the true circumstances of his demise, the letter reappearing in his pocket any time he tries to leave it behind.
- Jumping on a Grenade: The Captain, caught up in the moment, jumps onto a bomb he buried in the garden (when he was alive) before it explodes. He admits afterwards that it was a futile gesture.
- Karma Houdini:
- Fanny's husband got away with her murder, as everyone believed his claim that she fell out the window by accident.
- Thomas's cousin, Francis Button, got away with stealing the woman Thomas loved (who he eventually married in order to get her inheritance) and indirectly murdering Thomas.
- Mike very nearly ruins Clare and Sam's wedding after hearing only half of Alison's dialogue about how she had cold feet at her wedding. Since he only hears Alison saying she thought she was too young and that Mike has bad habits that irritate her, he walks away dazed and extremely hurt. Unfortunately, he walks up to Sam and blurts it all out, leading to Sam finding out that her soon-to-be wife is having doubts. This nearly derails the wedding and almost ruins Sam and Clare's relationship. Although everything is cleared up, the most Mike gets for this moment of pettiness is being called 'insensitive' by Alison and a threat that she too might walk off (on him). But the two do make up and the impact of his actions is never visited again.
- Mike's sisters face absolutely no comeuppance for their treatment of him during the Christmas special (mocking and humiliating him until he snaps and then filming the results to make a Stupid Statement Dance Mix).
- Kissing Cousins: Played for Laughs. After hearing Thomas's backstory, Alison realises that she and Thomas are related. Thomas assures her that they're distantly related. note
- Knight's Armor Hideout: In Bump in the Night, Mike hides in a decorative suit of armour when he finds himself alone in the house with an unknown (to him) number of burglars. Then he tries to intimidate them by pretending to be a ghost. Unfortunately, he falls flat on his back.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: A paranormal investigator claims to be able to sense ghosts due to her long experience with them — while remaining oblivious to the two sharing the same room with her.
- Lightmare Fuel: It's a horror comedy. Some of the attempts to haunt Alison count as does Pat's death scene which, while funny, is genuinely unsettling.
- Long Speech Tea Time: The ghosts whenever Thomas launches into his poetry.
- Major Injury Underreaction: Pat when he's shot with the arrow. This is mainly because he doesn't want to frighten his youth group.
- The Middle Ages: The opening of About Last Night takes place during what is presumably the outbreak of The Black Death.
- Money Dumb: Mike has shades of this in series 1. He takes out a big loan without consulting his wife first (which is usually a big no-no with married couples), only skimmed over the terms and conditions which leads to them being stuck in the house, and didn't correctly calculate how much money they would need in order to fix up the house, as they blow through the loan money very quickly.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Julian's "extraordinary skill" is the ability to push cups. When he's tasked with pushing a vase off the table to scare Alison, the frantic cutting between Julian's struggle, the ghosts cheering him on and the dead silence of what Alison can see make it brilliant. The fact that she fails to notice makes it even better.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: How Thomas died. As we learn in season 2, while it wasn't directly murder, his death was planned and ensured by his cousin, Francis Button, so he could marry Thomas' beloved and inherit the house.
- Noodle Incident: Whenever Julian talks about his sexual history a lot of it are these.
- No Name Given: The plague victims up to Getting Out, when one of the victims reveals he's called Nigel.
- Oh, Crap!:
- In "About Last Night", Alison is horrified when she finally remembers that she flirted with Thomas while she was drunk the night before.
- In "Bump in the Night", Mike is terrified when the ghosts accidentally make him believe that there are twenty burglars in the house.
- Once More, with Clarity!: In the episode "The Thomas Thorne Affair" we see flashbacks as Thomas, Robin, Mary and Kitty all tell their slightly different versions of the story of Thomas' death, but it isn't until Humphrey's flashback that we get the revelation that Thomas' cousin betrayed him and arranged his death, a fact that not even Thomas was aware of.
- Percussive Maintenance: Mike gives up on trying to figure out the boiler and just whacks it with a hammer. The basement ghosts are not impressed.
- Phoning the Phantom: During the party in "About Last Night", Alison tries to tell Kitty that Alison can't respond to anything Kitty says by talking into her phone, but Kitty doesn't realize that Alison was talking to her.
- Pin-Pulling Teeth: In "The Thomas Thorne Affair", Kitty is narrating what happened during Thomas' duel. In the flashback, Thomas suddenly pulls a grenade and does this (as well as his single shot dueling pistol firing multiple times without reloading). The scene then cuts back to the house to the reveal that the Captain has hijacked the narration and is explaining what he would have done in that situation.
- Plot-Triggering Death: The series begins with the death of Heather Button. Even though it's about people who have died in the same house and become ghosts, she doesn't (in fact, so far she's the only person who's been shown to immediately Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence), but it results in the Unexpected Inheritance that's central to the show.
- Plumber's Crack: Lady Button finds herself surrounded by these when the builders are in.
- Ponzi Scheme: Julian suggests one as a way to get money for Alison in Getting Out.
- Put Off Their Food: Mary comments that Alison's Rice Krispies sound like tiny people calling out for help as they drown in the milk. When Alison comes back into the room Mary remarks that, "they have stopped calling out, they are dead!" Suddenly Alison doesn't look like she wants to eat it anymore.Mike: Cornflakes were actually invented to stop people from touching themselves.Julian: [waggles his eyebrows] Never did like cornflakes.
- Rapid-Fire Comedy
- "Rashomon"-Style: The episode "The Thomas Thorne Affair", as Thomas, Robin, Mary, Kitty and Humphrey tell Alison their slightly different versions of the story of Thomas' death.
- Regency England: The period drama being filmed at Button House is set in this era.
- The flashbacks in "The Thomas Thorne Affair" are set in this period.
- Remember the New Guy?: Inverted. Mary casually mentions another ghost called Annie while telling a story. When Alison asks who she is, the other ghosts are surprised that they've never mentioned her before, before explaining that Annie was "sucked off" before the series started (presumably sometime before Pat died, since she wasn't there to witness it). They also mention that there have been many other ghosts who used to haunt the house, and have since moved on.
- Reset Button: In the first season, every attempt Alison and Mike make in trying to get money to fix up Button House — or failing that, to hand it off to someone else — is doomed to end in failure.
- Right Behind Me: Alison's "God, I hate estate agents!" before remembering one is standing right behind her. He doesn't mind.
- Running Gag:
- Alison and Mike have a continuous problem with pigeons invading Button Hall. This gets taken Up to Eleven in Getting Out, when the pigeon is killed by a dog and comes back as a ghost.
- People manhandling Headless Humphrey's head without thinking, and sheepishly apologising for it.
- The Scream: Fanny does this when she finds out that her husband pawned the jewel that could've helped Alison out of her money troubles.
- Severed Head Sports: Happens a lot with Humphrey. Thomas drop-kicks his head in a fit of excitement, then realizes and apologises. Later Humphrey joins in with Mike and his friends shoe-throwing game by punting his own head onto the roof and then realises he cant get down again. At one point, he even agrees to his head being used as a volleyball.
- Ship Tease: Between Mary and Robin in "About Last Night" culminating in an Almost Kiss, although nothing comes of it.
- When Alison and Mike first arrive Pat exclaims "it's Kim Wilde!" due to the song ("Kids in America") playing on their car's radio. Robin calls Alison Kim Wilde repeatedly after this.
- One of Fanny's criticisms of Alison is that she uses rouge. In her words, "Ladies pinch. Whores use rouge."
- When Alison is talking to the ghosts, Mike thinks he should call someone. Alison's response? "Who you gonna call?"
- Alison refers to Robin as "budget Tarzan". After reaching the limit of her panic and patience with the situation, as well as his habit of popping up in expected locations and shouting "Boo!" at her, she also yells "Captain Cave-Prick!" at him at one point.
- The name of the period drama being filmed in the house: The Life of Byron.
- When Mike is doing DIY, he does an impression of Robocop stomping around with his drill/gun.
- The episode title "The Thomas Thorne Affair", to The Thomas Crown Affair.
- Silly Spook: A house full of them.
- Skeptic No Longer: In episode two, after (understandably) treating Alison's I See Dead People powers as mere side-effect hallucinations resulting from her massive head trauma, both Alison and Mike very quickly accept the presence of ghosts once given a concrete reason to do so:
- Alison's occurs after her hospital visit when the first doctor who attends to her turns out to be a ghost as well, as she realises that she can see different dead people in different places rather than just seeing the same people, as would be the case if it was just a product of her mind.
- Mike's occurs after first seeing a spectral presence (Julian) type out a search on his laptop, followed by Alison talking to the plague villagers in the basement to get their help in fixing the boiler.
- Smash Cut: In the first episode. The ghosts learn that Alison and Mike plan to turn the house into a hotel, thereby overrunning the place with strangers.Robin: What is hotel?
Pat: Well, Robin, a hotel is-
Robin: Kill them.
- Spooky Photographs: In "The Grey Lady," when Alison is having professional photos of Button House taken, Fanny sticks her head out through the window and demands that she move the photographer off of the grass. The photographer captured her in one of these spooky photographs and posts it online, which drives the plot of the episode with several ghost hunters converging on Button House to look for the Grey Lady.
- Ten Paces and Turn: In "The Thomas Thorne Affair" Thomas is shot in the back because his cousin Francis had lied about the pace count so that his opponent can easily shoot him as he had already taken the correct amount of paces.
- Together in Death:
- Something Thomas is hoping for. Alison being alive is an obstacle but if she commits suicide, they can be together. Alison is not impressed.
- Pat suggests this in "Happy Death Day" by asking Alison to murder his widow, but soon realizes what an immoral idea it is.
- Technologically Blind Elders: Although the house has been occupied up until the early twenty-first century, the last owner was a long-lived recluse with no time for technology, so most of the ghosts have never seen television or the internet until Alison and Mike show up.
- Unexpected Inheritance: Alison inherits Button House from a relative she never knew existed. The closest way people can find to describe the extremely tenuous relation is 'step great-aunt/great-niece'.
- Visual Pun: Julian is an MP who died in a sex scandal; as he no longer wears pants, he's literally "caught with his trousers down" for all eternity.
- Wham Line:
- "You should be wearing a hard hat." Towards the end of the first episode, as reconstruction work begins Julian wanders up behind Alison to watch in curiosity. Alison turns and says this to him, unaware that he is a ghost and revealing that she can now see the dead.
- A hell of one in "Gorilla War", after Alison gets overwhelmed by all the ghosts, goes to a hospital... and receives a rather unexpected diagnosis. The attending doctor states that her Near-Death Experience has left her with the ability to see the dead, and when Alison reacts in astonishment asks if she can see him. When she reacts with the obvious, he drops the bombshell: "Exactly. I'm dead."
- What Did I Do Last Night?: The plot of "About Last Night" is basically this, in which a hungover Alison and Mike try to figure out what happened during the party the night before while they attempt to clean the house before the wedding planner gets there.
- World War II: The Flashbacks in Redding Weddy are set in this period.
- Writing Around Trademarks: They avoid mentioning Google by name by having Julian mispronounce it as "Goggle" whilst whatever search engine actually appears on Mike's laptop screen is clearly not Google. On the other hand, Youtube does get namedropped.
- You Can See Me?: Stray ghosts Alison runs into are often surprised to be seen, with two in particular eagerly greeting her.