In an ultra-competitive bidding situation, Blumhouse Television and Michael Seitzman’s Maniac Productions have secured the rights to BBC Radio 4’s “The Battersea Poltergeist” podcast and will be developing into two series, one being titled “Blumhouse’s Ghost Story” that explores the haunting of the Battersea poltergeist and Shirley Hitchings’ experience, that remains the longest paranormal investigation in history.
They have also secured the rights to Hitchings’ life story, as well as the rights to her and James Clark’s book, The Poltergeist Prince of London: The Remarkable True Story of the Battersea Poltergeist.
During the twelve-year-long investigation into the haunting activities, it was said that strange noises plagued the family, items flew around the room, a poltergeist spoke through letters found around the home or by scrawling messages on walls, and fires started out of thin air. Paranormal experts gathered to find answers and perform exorcisms (pictured below). The family’s young daughter, Shirley, quickly became the focus of the entities.
The wildly popular docu-drama podcast, written and presented by Danny Robins, was the #1 drama podcast worldwide on Apple Podcasts and features the voices of Dafne Keen (Logan) and Toby Jones (The Dark Crystal). The podcast documents the strange events focused around Shirley Hitchings in 1956 that was investigated over a 12-year period, the longest documented poltergeist haunting in history. The podcast boasts nearly 3 million streams and downloads since its launch and has been at the forefront of the boom in audio storytelling in the UK. It was co-produced by Robins with Simon Barnard for Bafflegab Productions and commissioned by Rhian Roberts for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds.
From our first listen to Danny’s captivating podcast, we were hooked and could easily envision how to bring the story to life – in both scripted and unscripted formats – for television viewers,” said Chris McCumber, Blumhouse Television president. “We’re grateful to Michael Seitzman for identifying the project early on, and championing it so aggressively.”
It’s been an amazing journey making the podcast for the BBC and now I couldn’t have hoped for a better partner than Blumhouse, a leader in the genre, when looking to further develop it,” said executive producer and series creator Danny Robins. “I’m thrilled to work with them and Michael to bring the series to life visually. Ghost stories don’t get stranger or scarier than this.”
Once you listen to the gripping and terrifying true story of Shirley Hitchings, it’s easy to understand why Danny’s podcast inspired two-page spreads in every newspaper in the UK,” said executive producer Michael Seitzman. “It was exactly what we’d been looking for to launch our new ongoing series based on true hauntings. As he did with his podcast, Danny Robins will have viewers sleeping with the lights on after they watch his show!”
Danny Robins, Michael Seitzman, Jason Blum, Jeremy Gold, and Chris McCumber will executive produce both the scripted and unscripted series, and Emma Cooper (The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, Bikram) is attached to produce, via her company Empress Films, on the unscripted series with the aforementioned team.
Robins co-created the BAFTA-nominated BBC series Young Dracula, which won a Royal Television Society Award. His credits also include Rudy’s Rare Records, The Cold Swedish Winter, Trollied, and the critically-acclaimed podcast Haunted.