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Ghosts: What was behind the decision to end the BBC's original UK version?

The original version of the CBS hit sitcom just ended after five seasons, but why?

Ghosts
Image credit: BBC

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Although the successful U.S. version of the show is entering into its third season on CBS, the original version of Ghosts — a sitcom that aired on the BBC in the United Kingdom — recently completed its run after five seasons. That doesn’t mean that the show wasn’t a hit, however; instead, the show was able to end on its own terms, as the creators wanted.

The creation of the collective Them There — who had previously had UK hits with Horrible Histories and Yonderland — the original Ghosts centers around Alison and Mike Cooper, a young couple who inherit the decrepit Button House from a distant relative, only to discover (after a near-death experience) that it’s filled with ghosts of previous inhabitants, all of whom are less than thrilled with the Coopers’ plan to renovate the building into a hotel.

The series debuted in April 2019, and ended December 25, 2023 with a holiday special that wrapped up the over-arching storyline in a way that I’m certainly not going to spoil here (although it was a surprisingly well-earned ending, I’ll say that). But… why did the series end, when it was still going strong? The answer, it turns out, was because its creators thought it was time.

“We talked about it really from when we started writing series 4. We all sort of agreed, really, then, that if we made it to 5, then it would be time to stop,” co-creator and co-writer Bill Willbond told Digital Spy about the decision to end the show, although he admitted, “every time I talk to somebody about it now, I feel like we’ve made the wrong decision, because we love it so much.”

Laurence Rickard, another writer and creator on the show, also addressed the choice when talking to the outlet. "I think we wanted to be able to end it on our own terms, and give it a definite ending, and a definite send-off for the characters,” he explained. “We knew we were doing the last couple of backstories in terms of how the ghosts came to the house.”

Will the same fate await the U.S. show? Time will tell. For now, Ghosts season 3 debuts on CBS February 15.


Ghosts has become a phenomenon in the UK, America, and around the world. With CBS's third season of Ghosts underway, get to know your favorite apparitions with a guide to how the ghosts of Ghosts died, where to watch both Ghosts shows, a guide to the casts of Ghosts, why BBC's Ghosts ended, and learn about the other Ghosts the original show planned but never used. We even have some thoughts on why the American Ghosts has its own worthy charms.

Ad you can watch full convention panels with both the cast of BBC's Ghosts and CBS' Ghosts exclusively here on Popverse.

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