Once upon a time, we knew Yvette Fielding for Blue Peter, not least her infamous cooking on the show. Now? She’s front and centre of Most Haunted, and to tie in to the new DVD releases for the show, she spared us some time for a natter…
How did the American investigations compare to the British ones? Did you do anything differently?
It was just the locations that changed. There are some really good ones out there. The American jail we visited [Eastern State Penitentiary, reviewed here], the one in Pennsylvania, that was terrifying. Dark, full of atmosphere…to be in a cell where Al Capone was kept was amazing. That was one of the best. And investigating Sleepy Hollow, with all that history…but there were no differences in the actual investigations, just where they were.
Are there any American paranormal shows you particularly like or which have influenced you? Would you join up with one of their teams to work with them?
I don’t watch anybody else’s show! Everyone has different ways of doing things and we’d all just get frustrated. I’d be saying, “That’s not how we do it!” and they’d probably be saying, “She’s a bit weird”…to be honest I don’t watch TV full stop, so I don’t watch anybody else’s programmes. I hear there are some good ones but everyone works differently.
How did you cope with the seven- or eight-day-long Most Haunted Live events? Did they take their toll?
They’re frustrating. They’re just too long. You get very tired and the less energy you have, the less likely it is you’ll get something happening. Because that’s what I believe, you know, that they use our energy, and if there isn’t any there you’ll get nothing, no activity. You just end up shattered. I prefer the one-night, three-hour shows.
When they came to us on the American ones we were terrified about doing seven hours live to an American audience. We had no idea what was going to happen, if anything, but it went really quickly and we enjoyed it.Would you ever do an investigation in your own home? I hear you live in a haunted house!
No – although we did do a programme called Screaming Banshees for The Unexplained Channel with Cath Howe and Lesley Smith [from Most Haunted] where we took the night-vision cameras in. They kept hearing all these noises and bumps and they were jumping out of their skin. They kept asking me, “How on earth do you live here?” And I was saying, “I love it here, this is my home! Nothing’s going to harm you!”
Where’s Most Haunted off to next?
We’re planning to go to Prague – that’s exciting because of the history. Everything’s built on witchcraft, torture, murder…there are kinds of locations you’d never get in England. I’d like to go to some way-out places like Asia.
Is there a particular culture out there that you associate with, then?
No, no culture, just England. You can’t beat our history. I love being at home.
You had experience of live TV very early on in your career presenting Blue Peter. Did that help with the live shows?
The live aspect is daunting but I did eight years of it and after that long it’s in your blood – you get used to it. Obviously, we have scripted bits, like the history of the location, and people actually make more mistakes when it’s scripted, they mess up because they know they can do it again.
You know, there is no show like Most Haunted, which makes it even more nerve-wracking. Yeah, you have your scripts and your pieces to camera but the rest of it is night-vision and investigations. If nothing happens, you’re stuffed. If something does happen, everyone says you’re faking it.
You can’t win.
Right. So you get people who say, “Yes, you should sit there and analyse everything and do scientific studies,” and that’s fair enough but it wouldn’t be Most Haunted then. People don’t like quiet, they don’t watch TV for that, it’s frustrating for some people. They want to see us doing things and stuff happening. But then when something does actually kick off, you get people saying that it’s faked and silly and complaining about that. You can’t please everyone.I’d understand if you don’t want to answer this next question, but recently it’s been in the news that some people got together on the Internet and allegedly threatened some really nasty things against you. How have you dealt with it?
Well, my husband tries to keep it all away from me, but we’ve upped the security – we’ve had people trying to get in and that was really scary. I can’t be alone in the house any more. It’s what you get with the Internet, it’s dangerous.
In the early days I used to visit all the forums and fan sites to see what the fans wanted – you got criticism but it came with ideas, like, “This is what we don’t like but here’s how to make it better, here’s what you could do.” Then I stopped for a while, but recently I’ve been visiting the forums again and it’s all abuse and it’s so upsetting. I’m not going to bother if all they have to say is horrendous, nasty, hurtful things.
After the last series I started to think, “What are people saying?” and had a look. The odd comment is positive but mostly it was just horrendous. I was close to tears and just said, “I’m never going to look again.” I honestly think some people get off on hatred.
Do you think Most Haunted will keep going? What would you like to move onto if it runs its natural course?
I hope it will keep going. I’ll keep going until people have had enough. I won’t stop the investigations, though, I love it, I’d have to keep doing those. But I would love to go back to acting, that’s where I started. I’d love to play a zombie…
That would be a Davina McCall moment!
Ha, yes, I’d play a zombie that gets murdered in the first few minutes. I bet people would love that! Or a guest actress in a drama. I’d like to do that before I’m old and crumbly.
Yvette Fielding, thank you very much!