Ghosts: S1.E4. “Free Pass”

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Screen Capture
Screen Capture: "Ghosts."



For episodes into the first series, with Ghosts set in a grand country house, it was only a matter of time until the situation comedy addressed period drama. Period drama, a huge aspect of BBC entertainment, is synonymous with British television production.

Brief Episode Synopsis: “Free Pass”

A television company needs a country house to film a period drama. Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) see this as an opportunity to refresh their financial fortunes and fund house renovations. For the couple to take advantage of the money, the shoot must go off without a hitch.

Meanwhile, the failed poet Thomas Thorne (Mathew Baynton) and Lady Fanny Button (Martha Howe-Douglas) learn what the term “free pass” means in respect to marriage and monogamous relationships. Deceased Conservative Party MP Julian Fawcett (Simon Farnaby) tries his luck with betting on a horse race.

Simon Farnaby, Jim Howick, Martha Howe-Douglas, Ben Willbond, Katy Wix, Charlotte Ritchie, Mathew Baynton, Laurence Rickard, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, and Lolly Adefope in Ghosts (2019). Image Credit: IMDb

SPOILERS ALERT: If you have yet to watch this episode, please feel free to stop reading at this point in the article. Continue reading after you watch the episode.

In real life, Button House is West Horsley Place. Even though it is a magnificent example of 15th-century structure, the house features a mid-16th century façade. The house is perfect for period drama.

What is the Captain’s (Ben Willbond) interest in the director?

Could it be the military precision of the filming crew which impresses the Captain or is it something else? It takes a lot of organisational skill to pull of filming a television series and or a film on location.

Screen Capture: Ben Willbond as the Captain in the Tom Kingsley directed Ghosts episode “Free Pass.”
Screen Capture: Ben Willbond as the Captain in the Tom Kingsley directed Ghosts episode “Free Pass.”

As the Captain stares out of the first-floor window down at one of the crew, it is evident the ghost has more than a passing interest.

Screen Capture: Caoilfhionn Dunne as the Director in the Tom Kingsley directed Ghosts episode “Free Pass.”
Screen Capture: Caoilfhionn Dunne as the Director in the Tom Kingsley directed Ghosts episode “Free Pass.”

For a moment, I was beginning to think the Director (Caoilfhionn Dunne) could be a descendent of the Captain. There is of course another possibility. The Captain’s latent attraction to men could be surfacing. The Captain is representative of a period in British history where homosexuality was illegal. If the military officer does have an attraction to men, it is understandable why he might want to keep that aspect of his being to himself.

Screen Capture: Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Caoilfhionn Dunne as Mike and the Director, respectively, in the Tom Kingsley directed Ghosts episode “Free Pass.”
Screen Capture: Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Caoilfhionn Dunne as Mike and the Director, respectively, in the Tom Kingsley directed Ghosts episode “Free Pass.”

If the Captain does have a latent attraction to the Director, it is more likely because of his organisational skills. Being the director of a television production takes much effort. It is not something one could just try without having previous experience.

Thomas and Lady Button are introduced to the “Free Pass”

Screen Capture: Rory Fleck Byrne as Toby Nightingale in the Tom Kingsley directed Ghosts episode “Free Pass.”
Screen Capture: Rory Fleck Byrne as Toby Nightingale in the Tom Kingsley directed Ghosts episode “Free Pass.”

When Toby Nightingale (Rory Fleck Byrne) shows up at the house, Mike in unnerved because the actor is Alison’s ‘free pass.’

Do you have a ‘free pass”? Contextually speaking, free pass pertains to an individual and or individuals which one might engage in sex with and not have it impact the relationship with the girlfriend, wife, boyfriend and or husband. The individuals on such free pass lists are typically persons one would not normally meet in real life. Consequently, many people consider the concept a joke.

Screen Capture: Mathew Baynton and Simon Farnaby as Thomas Thorne and Julian Fawcett, respectively, in the Tom Kingsley directed Ghosts episode “Free Pass.”
Screen Capture: Mathew Baynton and Simon Farnaby as Thomas Thorne and Julian Fawcett, respectively, in the Tom Kingsley directed Ghosts episode “Free Pass.”

While Thomas and Lady Button are disgusted by the concept, Julian confirms he frequently exercised his ‘free pass’ at every opportunity. What else would you expect from a disgraced Tory MP?

Is there a trailer for the series?

Final Thoughts

A lot of work goes into making a period drama look authentic. An aspect of creating a period drama is finding the perfect filming locations. Locations must fit the period in which the production is set.

One cannot simply select an old house because it’s old. It must reflect the period precisely. If a period drama is set in the 16th-century, filming in a building that was not built until the 17th-century does not work. Period drama aficionados pay attention to every detail within such productions. It’s not easy fooling these people.