With spooky season well and truly upon us, kicking back to enjoy some of the creepiest films and TV shows from years gone by is the perfect way of getting into the Halloween spirit. During this time of year, many of us tend to retreat to spooky favourites including the likes of
The Nightmare Before Christmas, Halloween and Hocus Pocus, to name a few. But, if you cast your mind back to the 1990s and 2000s, you’ll soon recall that British television had some truly chilling shows on offer, whether they were intended to be or not.
Some of the creepiest British TV shows to have aired throughout the ’90s and ’00s included a Russel T Davies-penned black magic mystery, a demonic headmaster, Australian supernatural forces, unintentionally terrifying puppets, an animated woodland bloodbath, among others.
If you fancy revisiting some of these frightening TV favourites from the past, you can take a stroll down memory lane with the list below and rediscover some of the scariest shows from the 90s and 2000s, which, to this very day, are creepy AF. For the really brave among us, some are even still available to watch online, so make note if you want to crank Halloween 2021 into high gear.
The Demon Headmaster
the books by Gillian Cross of the same same, this oddly chilling CBBC drama first aired between 1996 and 1998. The titular role is portrayed by Terrence Hardiman, whose demonic character ruled over a school with his menacing green eyes that had the power to hypnotise his pupils. The BBC series had school kids across Britain quaking in their Clarks originals, and if they weren’t afraid of their headmasters before, they certainly were after sitting through an episode of this.
sequel to the original series began airing on CBBC in 2019 and is now available to enjoy on BBC iPlayer. Watch the original series on BritBox. Century Falls
Following on from his science-fiction series
Dark Season, this early Russell T Davies outing aired in 1993 and follows the story of Tess Hunter, who moves with her mother to the village of Century Falls. As time goes on, it becomes clear that the village is haunted by its tragic past dating back to the 1950s. Tess eventually befriends the only other children living in Century Falls, siblings Ben and Carey, and the trio winds up caught in the midst of a conspiracy centred around black magic.
Sadly this one isn’t available to watch online but you can check out a trailer
here. Tots TV
Although not intended to be scary in any way,
Tots TV was one of the creepiest TV shows to have emerged in the ’90s. Airing between 1993 and 1998 on ITV, the series centred on three puppets, Tilly, Tom, and Tiny – as well as their pet donkey and a mischievous dog named Furryboo. Although viewers were lured into a false sense of security with the delightful opening credits, the notion of puppets coming to life is an extremely unsettling one. There was life in their eyes. It was haunting.
To make matters worse, the original set of the popular children’s TV show was
rediscovered back in 2018, and the eerie abandoned Tots TV cottage is a far cry from its former glory days. Watch on BritBox. Rosie & Jim
Tots TV, this hugely popular ITV children’s show revolved around the shenanigans of two talking – and unintentionally creepy – dolls. Airing for ten years between 1990 and 2000, and created by John Cunliffe of , the series followed the adventures of two rag dolls named Rosie and Jim, who reside onboard a narrowboat and come to life when nobody is looking to explore the world around them. It all sounds very jolly, but strange-looking dolls coming to life is way creepier than the show creators probably ever realised — and don’t even get me started on the truly bizarre Rosie and Jim voiceovers. Postman Pat fame
Rosie & Jim is not available to watch online but, for those who are really desperate, the DVDs are available via Amazon. The Worst Witch
The Worst Witch books by Jill Murphy, this British-Canadian series aired for three seasons between 1999 and 2001 and followed the adventures of a clumsy young witch-in-training, Mildred Hubble, and her friends during their time at the Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches. Think Harry Potter but with slightly more budget costumes and a distinctly creepy edge to it. Watch on BritBox. Knightmare
computer game-inspired TV game show aired throughout the early ’90s and saw a team of four children complete a string of tricky challenges. It all seemed like a bit of harmless fun. However, the series was set within a creepy medieval backdrop and contestants would often run into several unusual characters during their quest, many of whom brought a very sinister vibe to the show. Watch on BritBox. Round the Twist
Although an Australian show,
this oftentimes chilling supernatural series was a British TV staple throughout the 1990s. The upbeat and inexplicably catchy theme song was arguably very misleading for a show that included storylines centred on terrifying scarecrow monsters and evil living dolls, and, whether it intended to or not, Round the Twist left millennials with nightmares for years to come. Rent on Amazon. Jeopardy
BBC science-fiction drama aired between 2002 and 2004 and tells the story of a group of Scottish high school students and their teacher who travel down under to the Australian bush in search of UFOs. During their search for extraterrestrial activity, the students are given handheld camcorders to capture any potential alien sightings — and the results are pretty weird. The Blair Witch Project but... for kids.
Sadly this one isn’t available to watch anywhere online – we’ll just have to live with the memories.
Based on the 1972 novel of the same name by Richard Adams, this animated fantasy series aired between 1999 and 2001, following the enchanting story of woodland creatures who team up to defeat the evil humans who threaten to destroy their home. However, those who anticipated an uplifting tale featuring some delightful fluffy animals were no doubt horrified to discover that
Watership Down is actually pretty brutal, just like the 1978 movie. The 2018 remake was far milder in tone.
Sadly the original series is not available to watch online but
the remake is.
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