Originally aired as one of the BBC’s Christmas ghost stories, The Stone Tape is a fascinating piece of work and classic Nigel Kneale. Kneale is probably best known as the creator of Quatermass and the classic BBC adaptation of Susan James’ The Woman in Black so it’s fitting that The Stone Tape, with it’s melding of science and superstition, sits somewhere between the two.
The story follows the research and development department of an electronics firm as they seclude themselves in a country house to develop a new recording medium and stumble across a haunting that they think might help them in their task. As ever, Kneale’s teleplay balances the two aspects perfectly as modern technology clashes with ancient ideas. Of course, its also a cracking ghost story.
The BBC’s horror output, the A Ghost Story for Christmas strand and related dramas such as The Stone Tape (intended as an episode of the Dead of Night anthology) and 1992’s Ghost Watch, are pretty much all excellent viewing and, thanks to the BFI’s efforts, very available.