Scary Sleepover




Anna Williamson


Granada/Wised Up Productions for ITV1, 9 September 2004 to 9 February 2005 (14 episodes in 2 series)


Three primary school kids are challenged to stay in an old house for the night, apparently that of an explorer who travelled the world collecting magical and mysterious items before suddenly vanishing.

What this really means is that someone's set up a studio so it looks a bit gothicy and rustic whilst everything's wired up so the production team can make it jump when the kids go near it.

If the kids can stay the night (apparently nine PM until six AM) without pushing the flashing red panic button near the exit they win a trip to the Splash Landings hotel at Alton Towers - the sleepover of their dreams! But if it all gets too much for them they can hit the button and leave immediately.

During the night the fireplace reveals the locations of three individual dares and who should take them. The dares normally involve going into a darkened room or tunnel and collecting thing or things whilst more things jump out at them. Successfully completing the tasks earns special rewards to make the night a little easier (messages from home, objects from home, that sort of thing).

Very occasionally, if one kid wanders around and strays near the panic button, a wall will suddenly shoot up and separate the kids for a bit leading to a lot of tension. Also, during the final half hour the producers throw everything they've got at them, thunder, lightning, moving walls, levitating mummies, the works.

Whilst it's possible to question the morality of subjecting kids to this sort of pressure, it is a very good realisation of the traditional haunted house idea.

Key moments

Should the team fail to get through the night by the End of Part One, a new team was introduced in Part Two.


Remember... sleep well!

Web links

Bother's Bar review


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