Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The uncanny place: a critical appraisal of popular paranormal TV shows.

Smith, Fiona; Ironside, Rachael



This article examines the construction of the uncanny place in reality paranormal television. Two introductory sequences from the British programme Most Haunted (2002-present) are analysed that investigate 'ordinary homes' to consider the way that place is framed. Using textual analysis, the content of these sequences, including visual, auditory and discursive signifiers, is considered to identify themes where the inversion of the ordinary and the de-stabilizing of homeliness emerged. The use of binary oppositions and representations of liminality are identified as frequent tropes in the production of reality paranormal television. It is argued that these elements frame places as potentially uncanny and invite the viewers to participate in the paranormal possibility of the home. The uncanny, it is concluded, forms an integral part of the narratives that construct reality paranormal programmes and their success at sustaining an engaged and exploratory audience.


SMITH, F. and IRONSIDE, R. 2022. The uncanny place: a critical appraisal of popular paranormal TV shows. Journal of popular television [online], 10(1), pages 95-198. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 4, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2022
Publication Date Mar 1, 2022
Deposit Date Apr 4, 2022
Publicly Available Date Mar 2, 2023
Journal Journal of Popular Television
Print ISSN 2046-9861
Electronic ISSN 2046-987X
Publisher Intellect
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 1
Pages 95-108
Keywords Construction; Haunted; Liminality; Mediation; Supernatural; Uncanny
Public URL


SMITH 2022 The uncanny place (AAM) (395 Kb)

Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
This is a pre-peer review preprint . © Smith and Ironside, 2022. The definitive, peer reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Journal of Popular Television, 10(1), pages 95-108, 2022,

You might also like

Downloadable Citations