Andy Says Film & Television Series

Spirited Away: A Look Back at the Spooky BBC Series Apparitions

Martin Shaw as Father Jacob in Apparitions

“God will speak! You will listen!”- Father Jacob / Apparitions


Spooky Sunday #2…
October is probably our favorite month around here. It’s a great excuse to trot out Halloween themed decorations and leave them up til… I never did put away my crystal skull Murray from five Halloweens ago. (Yes, I did name him, but I digress…) Pete and I share the same twisted love for Hammer Horror films and go out of our way to scare up (I can’t believe I said it either) anything that can fascinate and terrify us at the same time. With this in mind, here’s our second Spooky Sunday entry from the dark dimension.

Romy Irving as Donna in Apparitions

Holding Out for a Hero…

A few years ago I discovered a series on Netflix that left its mark on me, much the same way that those early Hammer Horror films and films like Rosemary’s Baby (1968), The Exorcist (1973), and The Omen (1976) had many years before. Apparitions is the 2008 BBC supernatural drama about Father Jacob Myers, a Roman Catholic priest (portrayed by Martin Shaw – Coronation Street, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad), tasked by the Vatican to find worthy candidates to promote to sainthood — only to be drawn into the age-old struggle between good and evil.

Father Jacob examines evidence of true miracles, however, his skills extend far beyond this realm, much to the chagrin of his superiors. When the news gets out that Father Jacob is also an exorcist, 11-year-old Donna (played by Romy Irving – Law & Order UK) seeks him out, pleading for help with her father Liam (Shaun Dooley — Woman in Black, The White Queen, Broadchurch), whom she fears is a victim of demonic possession. It doesn’t take long for Father Jacob to discover Donna’s claims are more than just a troubled little girl’s fantasies. Concerned for her safety, Father Jacob puts himself on the line with Social Services, the police, and his Vatican masters to protect Donna at all costs.

Father Jacob (Martin Shaw) facing down evil Dirty Harry style.

“They won’t get through me.” – Father Jacob / Apparitions


He’s a Super Priest! Super Priest! He’s Super Priesty!

Father Jacob is a man emboldened by his faith and the courage of his convictions. He is patient, kind, and clever, but make no mistake, he also has a hint of danger about him. Underneath that collar, you just know Jacob Myers is a badass, willing to take on any challenge. That may have something to do with actor Martin Shaw’s charismatic portrayal and the fact that his resume is littered with roles as policemen, tough guys, and lawyers. I’m not religious, but I’d still want Father Jacob in my corner. He’s the guy who will always have your back. Yes, he’s compassionate, caring, and devout, but he will also hand you your ass if you step out of line. There is definitely more to this man than meets the eye.

Elyes Gabel as the tortured Vimal in Apparitions.

Untimely End…

 deals with some tough subjects — including homosexuality, abortion, homelessness, war, and the divide between Christians and Muslims, all of which may have made some viewers uncomfortable.

When Vimal (portrayed by Elyes Gabel – Game of Thrones, Scorpion) begs Father Jacob to perform an exorcism to rid him of his homosexuality, Father Jacob is torn. Likewise, when he must protect women at an abortion clinic he feels are under spiritual attack, Jacob is equally torn. Ultimately, Father Jacob is forced to confront many truths, and like a good detective, he uncovers a conspiracy that threatens to lead him to the abyss. But like the superhero he is, he comes to the rescue without judgment or recrimination.

Apparitions was written by Joe Ahearne (Ultraviolet, Doctor Who) and has some disturbing and graphic scenes to rival even the original The Exorcist. Unfortunately, the controversial BBC series was met with mixed reviews, and sadly, after only 6 episodes, was canceled. Much to fans’ disappointment, we never learned all there was to learn about our mysterious hero in black.

Andy Says…

Apparitions is full of chills, thrills, and gore. Definitely not suitable for younger viewers or the faint of heart. Personally, it even gave me a few sleepless nights, but if you’re a fan of The Exorcist (the film or TV series), you’ll love Apparitions. It’s the perfect Halloween-themed binge watch.

You can catch the full run of Apparitions on the free streaming app TubiTV. For more, check out the trailer below:

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