Everybody leaves a trace. The ghosts of Button House may have been dead a long time – some of them a very long time – but they have all left their mark on the world (even if, in Robin’s case, that mark is just a handprint on the wall of a cave).
Gathered together in this volume is a treasure trove of unearthed cuttings, original records and rare artefacts that explore the unseen lives of those who died at Button House: from Thomas’s love letters to Pat’s ‘Summer Camp Rap’, and from Julian’s campaign promises to Lady Button’s Rules of Etiquette. There are even documents dictated to the one person who can see and hear the ghosts: Alison Cooper.
Written by the show’s creators – Mathew Baynton, Simon Farnaby, Martha Howe-Douglas, Jim Howick, Laurence Rickard and Ben Willbond – this eclectic archive is a unique chance to discover more about the beloved ghosts of Button House.
A secret that I’ve long hidden until now is that I am a diehard fan of Horrible Histories (the RAF Pilot Song may have been my awakening) and The Six Idiots troupe. They’re an insanely talented bunch.Yonderland remains my go-to comfort show whe life – and the world – feels a little bleak, so naturally, Ghosts was always going to be top of my watchlist.
After five years and five series, Ghosts has come to an end and I am heartbroken. Naturally, The Button House Archives, a companion book to the series and its hilarious cast of characters, was a must-read for me and as the series wrapped up towards the end of 2023, I was determined to get involved in the farewell festivities and give Ghosts the send off it deserves. Part of this was attending An Evening with the Cast of Ghosts at the Gillian Lynne Theatre with Mathew Baynton, Laurence Rickard, Jim Howick, Martha Howe-Douglas. It was a hilarious evening complete with a live rendition of parts of The Button House Archives, including Fanny’s utterly side-splitting complaints letter to the Titanic and Pat’s summer camp rap.
Additionally, I was fortunate to run into a trio of ghosts at the Foyles Charing Cross Road Christmas Evening event and can confirm Ben Willbond, Larry and Martha are the loveliest. Side note: I highly recommend attending Foyles’ Christmas evenings if you ever get the chance. It’s free to attend, there’s mince pies, music and lots and lots of books! Other guests aside from Ghosts included Dolly Alderton, Michael Palin, Rob Delaney – it was a joy!
So what about the book? Well, if you’re a Six Idiots fan then you’ll absolutely love it. It’s full of amusing tid-bits that give a glimpse into the histories of Button House’s ghostly inhabitants. From Thomas’ love letters, to Fanny’s advice on etiquette and even Julian’s much-anticapted election campaign materials, the book gives us a peep behind the curtain at all the lives (and deaths!) of its much beloved characters that we didn’t get a chance to see in the show.
It’s a wholesome hoot, with the Six Idiots’ signature style on every page. One teeny tiny criticism is that I struggled to read the handwritten sections and while the penmanship was absolutely beautiful, I did spend a while squinting at those pages trying to decipher the contents. Maybe those parts work better in the audiobook?
Overall, The Button House Archives is an easy, laugh-a-minute read. Ghosts is a modern classic and I’m still bereft. The show was a godsend during the pandemic and it genuienly feels like losing family friends. That being said, I can’t wait to see what the gang do next!