Review of "Marley's Ghosts (DVD)"

published 03/03/2017 | elfbwillow
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Returned to see ciao has been lost :( so sad. Added a review before i realised. Let that be a parting gift. Where is everyone going now? So sad :(
Pro A barrel of laughs from beginning to end
Cons Some weaker performances, too few episodes
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Marley's Ghosts

Marley's Ghosts

Marley's Ghosts

Please note: This is a review of the first and second season combined as seen on the DVD, though it is not the DVD itself. The DVD can be purchased online from £9.95 as of writing this review.


Marley's ghosts is a British comedy show which originally premiered on the 'Gold' channel in September 2015, with the second season following in October 2016, and even though I have only just come across it, it is not difficult at all to catch up as there is only two seasons to date (I am unsure as to whether there will be more at this point) and I do wonder whether they originally did not think it would be popular as the first season (if you can call it that!) consists of three, forty minute episodes and the second season having only six!

Despite the lack of episodes, I found myself hooked from the beginning, so please do not let this aspect put you off.

Marley's Ghosts follows (dum dum dum) Marley, a young woman who finds out she has a gift, albeit one she would prefer not to have most of the time! She can see ghosts! Yes, the storyline is a simple as that, but there is so much more to it, what with the fact that the three main ghosts, who take residency in Marley's home, are her former husband (who she had not divorced and realises she still loves), her lover (who died shortly after her husband) and her 'friend' the vicar (who died the same time as Marley's lover, and so Marley is suddenly overwhelmed by these over the top characters 24/7 with no escape, and only she can see them!

Now I have only seen a few reruns of the 1976 television series of 'Rentaghost', though from what I have seen, although the story is very different, the feel and the comedy is quite similar! From the very first scene in the very first episode, I could not stop laughing!

I will also mention here that despite the name, this series has nothing to do with 'A Christmas Carol'!

Due to the limited number of episodes, the main storyline remains quite a basic one, though despite this, it is able to carry through right to the end of season two. Each episode follows the main storyline as mentioned above, each with its own sub-plotline, though I would not recommend watching the episodes out of order as you will lose a lot of comic understanding if you do not get to know the characters and storyline from the beginning.

The flow of the story is disjointed, though unlike most other series', the disjointedness actually works for the better. Sounds unusual, I know, though this series is very much on the unusual side of things, another aspect which simply adds to its appeal.

If I had to choose one word to describe this series it would be 'Bizarre' but at the same time, fantastically brilliant. The comedy is mainly tongue-in-cheek and is really a laugh-a-minute. A lot of this does come from the characters, though the storyline also aids in this considerably. I do not want to give much away as part of the humour is in the surprise, though I will say that season one literally acts as an introduction to the characters and to Marley's situation and season two follows Marley and co as they move to another area and attempt to fit in (which is difficult when you are always arguing with invisible people!). We establish that Marley works as a magistrate (which adds to the insane humour later on) and is struggling to juggle her work life with her personal life, becoming a unwilling 'refuge' to her dead, ex-alcoholic husband who is determined to make it up to a ghost, her dead naïve, yet somewhat intelligent lover who continues to try to prove himself as Marley's number one, and the local eccentric vicar, who, as you would guess, is also dead and rather useless. The trio of ghosts combined are fantastic, really carrying the show, even though it is named after Marley. The comedy throughout is never dull and never-ending, though you also see some serious moments, even though they are very short, bringing in the 'reality' side to an otherwise ridiculously hilarious programme.

As the series is so short, as well as being a comedy, do you really get a build up in characterisations? The simple answer is not really, though we do get enough to satisfy our needs in this aspect. As it is not a serious programme, it is not necessary to add the whole backstory of each character and situation, and still works really well, combining what we see on screen with a little backstory. The over-the-top storylines make up for the lack of knowledge with the characters and I never really got the sense of needing more than I got.

The first season did not really have a proper ending to which I was satisfied with. Yes, it left it open for another season in many ways, though there was no real 'closure' of the season as such, and no cliffhanger to urge you on to the next season. Had I watched this when it first came out, I am not sure, after a year of waiting, whether I would have been eager to watch more, though luckily I could go straight onto the second season, and so to me, it was like watching one season only. The ending of the second season was much better, and although no real cliffhanger, there was a storyline in which I really want to see more of. Whether we will or not, I do not know, though I am hopeful.


Of course, there is no point having a brilliantly funny programme without having an equally funny and competent cast to match. I often find in television programmes and movies alike, that actors tend to either have the comedy within them or not, and with this genre, it really shows when they dont have it. Perhaps comedy is one of the hardest genres to perfect, I know from my drama days, I always found comedy difficult, though that is possibly more to do with the fact that I am just not funny!

Anyway, onto the cast of the show!

The main cast is extremely small with some supporting roles more in the background. There are only four characters/actors which appear in all nine episodes. The rest come and go, bringing in their little bit, often without lines, and then vanish for a while until an opening appears for them. This is certainly not a bad thing, though, as due to the lack of character building in this show, it is much easier to focus on only a few characters rather than complicate matters with many.

The main four characters and their respective actors are as follows:

Sarah Alexander ... Marley Wise
Jo Joyner ...  Vicar
Nicholas Burns ...  Michael
John Hannah ...  Adam

All four actors are very competent actors in my opinion and play their parts well. I was already familiar with three out of the four of them, so I had preconceived expectations, already partially knowing their strengths and weaknesses, though I was eager to see how they all worked together, though I need not have worried, as all the actors bring their own comic take to the character foursome and really highlight one another's strengths and are able to cover for any weaknesses they may have (which never truly show too much).

Sarah Alexander takes on the main role of Marley with clear confidence. She is no beginner with television sitcoms and has appeared in such shows as Jonathan Creek and Green Wing and so knows the ropes, so to speak, and it shows in her performance. I perhaps would not have chose her for this part, though, as she doesnt 100% seem to fit in with the other three characters and quite often seems rather static in comparison. Perhaps this works for some people as it separates her (the alive one) from the ghosts, though for me it was a little off-putting. In saying this, though, due to her confidence in the main, I was able to overlook this small negative and it did not put me off of the show in any way.

Jo Joyner takes on the role as the vicar, and I could not stop laughing. I have seen her in a number of things including Eastenders and Dr Who, though I think in this show, she has really found her calling. She comes across as naturally funny with a side dish of insane, which is simply perfectly performed and matched for her part. There is no forced acting with Joyner as she is simply fantastic to watch. Her character is written to be rather annoying, and she pulls this off brilliantly without over exerting the characterisation, and thankfully, even though she plays an annoying character, within herself, she is not off-putting or annoying. Personally, in many ways, I think she carries this show with perfection. I can no longer imagine any other actor playing this role and hope to see more of her in possible future series'

Nicholas Burns is rather unknown to me, though I later found out he had appeared in some shows I have seen. Unfortunately, he must have been unmemorable in these shows as I simply can not remember him, and sadly, although he somewhat fits his character as well as fitting with the other three, I feel he is once again rather unmemorable. His acting, as such, is well done in many ways, though there is just something about him in this show that does not stand out. He does not pull the show down, though, so no worries there, though the best I can describe him in this is rather drab. When in scenes with others, especially John Hannah, I feel his comic side only comes out due to the character support rather than on his own merit.

Talking about John Hannah, he is the complete opposite of Burns as well as very different to Joyner. His comic side is so natural and he can bring the house down with laughter even when he keeps a straight face upon him. He does not need to go over the top like Joyner and instead plays a calmer character, still bringing in a whole host of comic scenes. He is able to bring out the best in the other actors and often rules a scene without even meaning to, though instead of overshadowing the others, he works perfectly with them and shows many sides to his acting. He has built wonderfully on his character and is able to show many emotions throughout the show, not just humour. A wonderful actor to watch and perfectly suited to his part in this show.

As mentioned, there are number of other smaller parts which often appear so briefly in this show, though there are some that, although small, are reoccurring characters. There are too many to really list, though there are a few worthy of a mention.

Mina Anwar plays Tina, a friend and neighbour of Marley, and although she only appears in three episodes, she is an amazing character to watch. Her confident humour is semi over-the-top, though this works perfectly with her character as she delivers a near perfect performance in each scene she is in. Elizabeth Berrington plays another neighbour in the second season and really makes the most of her small character. Like many of the others chosen for this show, she comes across very confident with great ability. Laura Jane Hudson only appears in one episode, and within this episode she does not have a huge role, yet she takes on her role perfectly and aids with the humour of the show.

All in all, the producers picked wonderfully for this show, and even the weaker actors are not able to bring it down. It is a fine mix of confident, funny actors and slightly less confident and less memorable characters, all working together perfectly to bring out one another's strengths and aid with their weaknesses.


That is probably how this show will be remembered. 'That Crazy Show'! And it is certainly no lie, for every single scene brings a new wave of craziness, brings insane to new heights, and introduces us to a blatant, perfectly timed comedy show which will have you on the edge of your seat, clutching your chest as tears roll from your eyes with laughter. You will want more, even though the story itself is not always compelling, you will want to know the next line, even though a few actors fail to deliver them perfectly, and you will want to fast forward in the hope that a third season will be coming out, despite the ending of the first one failing to hit the mark. Yes, this show is not flawless, though if you are after a good, yet short, laugh then this is certainly a show to watch. It is a shame there is not more episodes.


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Comments on this review

  • jesi published 04/04/2017
    I've not heard of this before.
  • euphie published 11/03/2017
    e :o)
  • rolandrat123 published 10/03/2017
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Product Information : Marley's Ghosts (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

Product Details

Classification: 12 years and over

Genre: Comedy

EAN: 5060352303582

DVD Region: DVD

Production Year: 2016

Actor(s): Sarah Alexander, John Hannah, Jo Joyner, Nicholas Burns, Mina Anwar


Listed on Ciao since: 16/02/2017