Frances Dodge, Angelo Abela (Gerard) or Sabra Williams


Joe Hall as "Barry Mafia"


ITV, 21 April 1990 to 24 August 1991 (as part of Ghost Train)


Skull was a segment shown within the Saturday morning kids show Ghost Train. Kept in-line with the storyline within Ghost Train, the aim is to battle against the evil Barry Mafia in a series of games in order to win a Ghost Train jacket.

Round 1

A messy game involving "scunge" (or gunge, to you and me) where the host and a contestant would leap into a smallish pool of ankle-deep coloured water and stringy gunk, named "The Pool of Putrescence". Whilst being squirted by four of the evil Barry Mafia's followers (called "Mafiettes"), all wielding gunge guns, the contestant was to find a skull hidden, submerged in the murky pool. The host was supposed to be of help in locating this, but was usually more of a nuisance, slipping around a la Peter Simon. The skull, once found, would have a flip-top head that would open up, revealing a card containing general knowledge questions. The squirting would cease at this stage, by order of the host.

In the second part of this first round, the contestant would attempt to answer the set of questions, each being read out by the host. For each incorrect answer, more squirting of the contestant and host as punishment would take place, as well as the unfortunate addition of a Mafiette in Round 2 (more on this later). During the question-asking and answering session, Barry Mafia would most likely be taunting the contestant at any available opportunity.

Following the completion of the three questions, a fourth and final one would be set by Barry, himself, with a topic usually to do with his own self. One example would be: "What is my favourite colour?". As contestants were unlikely to get this right, they'd always be guaranteed to face at least one Mafiette in the second round. However, it has been known that at least one contestant had been able to guess correctly the answer to this question, much to the shock and disappointment of Barry.

Round 2

Rules from latter series: In a small room tiled with large black and white squares, blindfolded Mafiets would spin around aimlessly, armed with maces. The contestant's aim was to reach the other end of the room (and to ring a bell) without: a) stepping onto a black square, or b) get smacked in the face by a Mafiet. Should the contestant lose in this round, Barry Mafia would come barging through the door, excitedly, and "claiming" the contestant to be one of his own. The contestant is then supposedly whisked away straight to the operating theatre for a brain operation, resulting in the "conversion" to become his follower. Lovely.

Rules from former series: Under similar rules, except there were no black and white tiles meaning the contestant was allowed to roam anywhere they wished as long as they didn't get hit by the spinning maces.

Round 3

This game is similar to the Round 2, except it's a head-to-head with the Mafia man himself. Both would be blindfolded in this case, in yet another room. Once the game started, should the contestant get hit by Barry, the game would end and the contestant would be dragged out of the doors to a painful end (or beginning, depending on how you look at it!). Should the contestant whack Barry first, however, victory would be theirs, and the game would end with a Ghost Train jacket presented to them by the host.

All in all, this was a rather original game, but at the end of the day, was it really worth getting soggy and mucky, or dodging around to prevent your face from getting walloped by a large stick, and risking your precious mentality, sanity and dignity.. all for an overrated jacket?!

Key moments

The host being transported from the Ghost Train set to the Skull set via... a shower cubicle!

Barry Mafia dragging defeated contestants away with great force.


"Squirt them!!"

See also

The Haunted Dungeon, the game show segment from sister programme Ghost Train on Sunday.



Where is that skull?


Mafiets squirting host and contestant.


The gunge may look like water, but it sure changes the colour of your face.


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