Review: Uncanny (Radio Version)

October 20, 2023

I first heard the work of Danny Robins in Live Ghost Hunt, the single greatest spoof of paranormal investigation I have ever found. Uncanny isn’t a spoof however, it is a serious investigation into people’s real life paranormal events, although it does take a while to hear his voice and not expect a punchline.

Uncanny’s 30 minute episodes are almost perfect. Members of the public are allowed to narrate their potential paranormal experiences at length, and Robins asks questions and frames the story. There is no hyperbole, there is no manufactured drama or posing, as Robins is an interviewer in the class of John Ronson. As he teases out these stories, speaking calmly, we learn their accounts. Some historical follow up is done if people mention names of local legends. This is everything I have ever wanted in paranormal content.

There is a problem however. Objectively, Uncanny is a perfect, 10/10 show. The interviews are paused while paranormal writers and researchers give opinions, allowing sceptical and rational alternatives to be aired. All these commentators are polite, even handed, fair and respectful of the interviewees while also explaining solid points. It is a balanced, investigative, but not dismissive show.

But that’s not what I want. The rest of Uncanny is so perfect at telling paranormal stories that interrupting the flow and challenging those stories ruins it for me. Maybe because I am heavily into this subject and know all the rational answers, and have been so averse to pantomime podcasts of the paranormal, that the fact Robins has created almost so perfect it annoys me we can’t just listen to the accounts. There is no way to skip forward.

But I have to be fair. This is a review, and yes, this is a 10/10 production. If you like the paranormal, it’s worth a listen, and the new television series probably is too. But, ultimately, it’s a missed opportunity for me.

3 season of Uncanny are on BBC Sounds.

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