Elstree Film Studios, is situated north of London at Borehamwood, and is legendary in film making history, being the home of some of British films iconic franchises including Harry Potter and James Bond.
Over the years, the great and the glamorous have twirled and sparkled on the massive sound stages on the vast lot. Stanley Kubrick created ‘The Overlook’ hotel there for ‘The Shining’ and actors such as Grace Kelly and Clark Gable, created magic to be projected on the Silver Screen, all over the world.
These days, most of the lot looks and feels like the Marie Celeste- an eerie silence sits over this one time jewel of British film making, so it isn’t surprising that the echoes of the past are regularly reported. Night watchman from the 60s, witnessed a ghostly Roman legion, marching across a car park. After checking that no Roman epic was filming a night shoot at the time, the feeling is that it is a visit from the time of the Roman Invasion of Britain.
Since the BBC first broadcast it’s Saturday night dance extravaganza, “Strictly Come Dancing”, in 2004, it has dominated the Autumn weekend television schedules. For almost 20 years, the UKs famous has twirled themselves over the sound set, that is the famous ballroom, twinkling and fake tanned.
The first report of any paranormal activity, came in around 2007, and has continued periodically over the years.
Crew, contestants and audiences alike, have reportedly heard the chattering of a small monkey in the gantry platform over the dance floor.
Several audience members, over one recording, testify to seeing a small monkey, dressed in a red jacket, cross over the lights and also were hit with sweet wrappers and discarded fruit. The sweets could be explained by careless lighting crew members, but the fruit had tiny teeth marks in it.
One contestant, who kept a supply of grapes and bananas in her dressing room, told of locking her room to go to rehearsals, and on her return, pieces of fruit had been thrown around the room, and had the indentation of tiny, sharp teeth marks, all over it.
The presence of the monkey, is alleged to be the spirit of one of the small capuchin monkeys, used in Indiana Jones’ “ Raiders of the Lost Ark”, which was partly filmed on the same lot.
Contestants on Channel 4’s “Big Brother” have also reported hearing a monkey’s chatter, as the ‘Big Brother” house, was situated nearby. It's difficult to know if the sightings are true- or just a TV wannabe, desperate for more camera time!
In August 2017, the show’s star, Sir Bruce Forsyth passed away, aged 89. He continued working on the show, until his mid 80s, and according to BBC sources, began haunting the Strictly dance floor, when the show began again, in October 2017. The TV favourite is reported as a "friendly presence”, on the dance floor. and cast and crew alike, report the tapping of shoes in the area he stood on the dance floor to present the show. Bruce loved working in show business, so it wouldn’t be unthinkable for him to revisit where he felt his most happiest. He was extremely proud of “Strictly Come Dancing” and his involvement in it. He thrived in the public eye, and would want to check that a tight ship was being run. Sir Bruce was the ultimate show business professional, and would not do anything to disrupt the show. The Strictly production team feel quite comforted in his regular visits on filming days.
So, is ‘Strictly Come Dancing” haunted by a thespian monkey, and the ghost of Sir Bruce Forsyth?
That is for you to decide!
Beverly- Tales from The Blithe Spirit.