Ghosts (US) vs. Ghosts (UK)

Published on 25 November 2023 at 14:07

In October 2021, the American version of the show Ghosts debuted on CBS and Paramount Plus in the United States. The show based on a popular British show of the same name grew its own popularity with two successful season airing, so far. However, following the end of the second season in Spring 2023, a third season was unable to get underway due to a writer’s strike and then an actor’s strike. In November 2023, CBS and Paramount Plus began airing the British version of Ghosts in the same time slot the American version aired in previous years.

As of this writing, two episodes have aired in the United States. Let’s take a look and compare the two shows.

Fanny vs. Hetty

The primary ghost in each series is the former lady of the house that has been passed down to a distant relative who can interact with the ghosts. In the British version, Fanny Button is the former lady of the House. She is a bit pompous and overbearing and was murdered by her husband after she caught him in a compromising position while he was having an adulterous affair. Fanny re-enacts her murder each and every night.

In the American version, Hetty serves the same function as Fanny in the British version. She is pompous and overbearing as well. Much like Fanny, Hetty’s husband constantly committed adultery during their marriage. However, to date, Hetty was not murdered by her husband as she outlived him when he got stuck in a safe in the house and suffocated.

Both of these women are perfect for each series they represent. If I have to pick one of them, I tend to enjoy the representation of Hetty more than Fanny. Neither is my favorite ghost on their series, but I think Hetty can carry a scene better than Fanny.

The Captain vs. Captain Isaac Higgentoot

Both series feature a closeted gay man who died while serving in the military. In the British version, the Captain is a World War II veteran who was stationed at the Button House during his service and died of a heart attack while sneaking into the gathering at the house after the end of the war. He is stuffy and sees himself as the leader of the ghosts. He brings an air of gravitas while also being annoying.

While Captain Isaac Higentoot shares many similarities with the Captain as he is a military officer who couldn’t be his true self during his time. However, Isaac was a colonial officer during the American Revolution who died of dysentery on the grounds of the Woodstone manor (the name of the home in the American series). It’s revealed that he killed a British officer, accidentally, on the grounds and both are haunting the grounds. Amazingly, the pair enter a relationship in the afterlife. Isaac’s ghost power is an awful smell due to his death from dysentery. While his character most resembles the Captain, this power is reminiscent of Mary, the witch who was burned at the stake in the original series.

Both characters are stuffy, conceited, rude and downright hysterical. They provide different views given their times in different wars. I think I’m going to like the Captain a little better than Isaac, even though Isaac is amazing in his own right.

Pat vs. Pete

This is the most direct comparison of ghosts between the two series. Both Pat and Pete are personable scout leaders who were accidentally killed by scouts in their care. Both took an arrow to the neck. The only difference between the two is that Pat was overseeing boy scouts when he was killed while Pete was overseeing girl scouts.

So far, Pat is enjoyable, but Pete is a personal favorite ghost. In the end, I have to give the advantage to Pete in this comparison.

Julian vs. Trevor

Both of these shows feature younger ghosts caught in positions without their pants and both can interact with the corporeal world. Julian is a politician who died of a heart attack in a sex scandal. Early on, it’s presented as if Julian is responsible for Alison Cooper being able to see the ghosts as it’s heavily implied he pushed her out a window similar to how Fanny died.


Trevor, on the other hand, is a womanizing stock broker who died during a party at Woodstone Manor. Trevor also died of a heart attack with no pants, but his death is connected to mixing drugs after giving his pants to a friend who was being forced to run through the woods without any pants. Trevor also seems to fall in love with Sam (the American version of Alison Cooper) at first sight, which is similar to the ghost named Thomas in the British version.

In the end, Trevor is presented with more redeeming qualities than Julian is. Both perfect their performances, but I have no affinity for any politicians, so Trevor is more appealing to me as a viewer.

Robin vs. Thorfin

The oldest ghosts in their respective series, Robin is a caveman while Thorfin is a Viking. Both died of lightning strikes on the grounds that would eventually become their respective homes. And both can manipulate electrical currents due to the lightning strikes. Both also have trouble recognizing modern technology such as automobiles. 

The differences between the pair come with how they arrived at the land. Robin grew up in the area and all of the ghosts are eventually revealed to be distant descendants of his. Thorfin traveled across the sea with Vikings and was left behind when they returned home.

While both bring a lot of joy and fun to the series, I’m giving the edge to Thorfin. I just prefer Vikings to cavemen. 

Humphrey vs. Crash

Both series also feature a ghost who was beheaded leading to all sorts of hijinks when the ghost loses its head. Sir Humphrey Bone is a Tudor nobleman who was executed after being falsely accused of planning to assassinate the queen. Humphrey struggles with his body but the character appears in almost every episode.

Meanwhile, Crash is a 1950s greaser who was decapitated. He loses his head in the pilot and doesn’t appear again until season two where the ghosts learn more about how his head disappeared.

While Crash is fun for a seasonal gag, Humphrey is more important to his show’s overall development. Humphrey wins this round.

Plague vs. Cholera

There are ghosts that inhabit the basements of both homes that were lost due to an epidemic. In the British version, these are plague ghosts while in the American version, these are cholera ghosts. Both are effective uses of mass casualties resulting in ghosts to help fill out the paranormal roster without any of them being major characters. I’m going to give the edge to the British ghosts because while both are deadly, the plague carries more frightening historical connotations than cholera.

Other Main Ghosts

There are three more ghosts in each series that make up the rest of the main ensembles. In the British version, these include a chummy noblewoman named Kitty, a poet named Thomas and a witch named Mary. In the American version, these include a 1920s singer named Alberta, a hippie named Flower and a Native American named Sass. While I love a good witch, like Mary, in a television show, Alberta and Sass hit a lot stronger than Kitty and Thomas. I think the American ghosts win this one.

Which version of Ghosts is better?

 That depends on the viewer. While I think the comparable ghosts among these characters favors the American version, I’m also an American and it speaks more to me culturally than the British version does. But still, the British version has five seasons under its belt while the American version only has two. Who knows what my feelings will be when both have five seasons under their belts.

Ghosts has been a favorite of mine and my family since it debuted in 2021. My son calls it his favorite show. We are excited to watch the UK version in its place while we wait on a third season to be developed.

Check out both versions of Ghosts on Paramount Plus and Ghosts UK is currently airing on Thursdays on CBS in the United States.


Written by: Jeremy Brown 2023

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8 months ago

Thor is the best ghost in the US version. I look forward to watching the UK version, I’m a big fan of the US version.