Jim Howick talks about the Ghosts book and the final series of the sitcom interview

Ghosts. Pat (Jim Howick)

With new book Ghosts: The Button House Archives coming out this week, we spoke to Jim Howick - who plays Pat - about the hit sitcom coming to an end.

Hi Jim. We're really sad Ghosts is coming to an end with this year's Christmas special. Why have you decided to end the show?

There's a temptation when things are going well to stick around too long and, from the very beginning, we've always been conscious of the standards we want to keep for the show. We all feel that to end on a high after five wonderful years is an enormous privilege. That said, of course we're all sad not to be making it anymore. We'll miss everything about it. The beautiful location, our wonderful crew and all the laughs we shared together.

What have been your personal highlights over the last five series?

There are so many. A working day on Ghosts guaranteed a good time and I loved the camaraderie. As most of our crew remained the same each year, the familiarity grew and the set became an incredibly warm and encouraging place to be.

I loved the days when all of us were in together. The plague scenes were always fun to shoot but the pantomime scenes in the Series 4 Xmas special is probably my ultimate highlight.

Ghosts. Image shows left to right: Pat (Jim Howick), Kitty (Lolly Adefope), Lady Button (Martha Howe-Douglas), Humphrey's Body (Yani Alexansandrov), Robin (Laurence Rickard)

The concept of a show within a show, performing whilst performing, made us all very giddy. When there's that many funny people together in a room it has a hadron collider effect. Laughs and bits start to accelerate and things become wonderfully hysterical very quickly.

We spent a morning filming the Plaguers reaction and, apart from the standard Panto audience participation lines, it was unscripted. The result was the most delightful chaos and a lot of it made the final cut.

Any clues about how the last episode will end?

Well, there may be some tears is all I will say. Whether they're happy tears or sad tears is up to you.

Fans of the show will be able to get even more out of the companion book, Ghosts: The Button House Archives. Can you tell us more about that?

It's a collection of cuttings, notes, entries, art, letters and documents from and about each of the Ghosts during their living years. There are also some present day documents transcribed from limbo by Alison.

It features entries from The Captain's diary, postcards from Pat's holidays abroad, Thomas's love letters, the transcripts from Julian's many public inquiry appearances and loads more. Most of the material is original and some are jokes and stories that we couldn't fit into the show itself. It's fun packed and at times thoroughly nerdy to satisfy the Ghosts ultras. It's available to pre-order now from most book shops and released on October 26th.

The six of you wrote the book together? Did you divide up the pages by character, or do all the pages together?

We worked across all the characters but mostly wrote individually for the characters we play. We would meet and drum up ideas then go away and write them up at home, then meet again to edit and finesse the material, much like we did with the actual series. Even though each character's material isn't completely equal, it feels like each character is represented fairly.

Will you work together on a new project now, or head your separate ways? We guess you're busy filming more episodes of Here We Go...

Yeah, we're all either working individually or having some down time and that's given us a natural pause. I'm sure before long we'll all be back in a room discussing the next project.

And yes, I'm currently mid way through filming Here We Go 2. Tom Basden has written another excellent series and I'm very excited for people to see it!

Ghosts: The Button House Archives

By Mathew Baynton, Ben Willbond, Simon Farnaby, Jim Howick, Martha Howe-Douglas and Laurence Rickard

The comic companion to the BBC sitcom Ghosts, perfect for all the family.

Everybody leaves a trace. The ghosts of Button House may have been dead a long time - some of them a very long time - but they have all left their mark on the world (even if, in Robin's case, that mark is just a handprint on the wall of a cave).

Gathered together in this volume is a treasure trove of unearthed cuttings, original records and rare artefacts that explore the unseen lives of those who died at Button House: from Thomas's love letters to Pat's 'Summer Camp Rap', and from Julian's campaign promises to Lady Button's Rules of Etiquette. There are even documents dictated to the one person who can see and hear the ghosts: Alison Cooper.

Written by the show's creators - Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond - this eclectic archive is a unique chance to discover more about the beloved ghosts of Button House. Thank be to Moonah!

A book for all the family, it is as warm-spirited and deliriously daft as the series itself.

First published: Thursday 26th October 2023

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury
  • Pages: 224
  • Catalogue: 9781526669902

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Published: Monday 23rd October 2023

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