It’s got toxic spectres and is really about how old people have messed everything up for the kids.
Joe Cornish and Ruby Stokes give the inside scoop on their new Netflix series, Lockwood & Co.
1. It’s an alternate reality where ghosts took over the UK in the 1980s and young people are the only ones who can fight them….
‘It’s a world where the physical still rules and analogue is king,’ says creator Joe Cornish. ‘It’s where people associate face to face and fight ghosts in person with iron swords, salt bonds and magnesium flares.
‘It was fun when you have to leave the house to meet your friends. I spent most of my youth with Adam Buxton and Louis Theroux and we all lived in south London so we would be round each other’s houses every night or loitering around the West End, going into record shops or stinky bars and gloomy nightclubs.
‘You had a relationship with the city that happens less with young people now. In Lockwood & Co, when the sun goes down, young people own the city. They are in great danger, yes, but if you’re strong enough or smart enough, then London is yours.’
2. Ruby Stokes took a huge gamble to play the lead part of Lucy Carlyle.
Ruby Stokes left a plum job as Francesca Bridgerton, the sixth youngest of the Bridgerton clan, to tackle ghosts in Lockwood & Co. Is she satisfied she made the right decision?
‘Working on Bridgerton was incredible and everyone was wonderful on that,’ she says. ‘But as an actor you want to be afforded variety and something about Lucy spoke to me – and I was super excited by the difference.’
3. It’s a show about young people rebelling against the tyranny of old people.
This is a theme Cornish has returned to in his past films such as Attack The Block and The Kid Who Would Be King – and it appeals to him for a simple reason.
‘Because the older generation has totally f***ed up the world and the younger generation now has this job to try and fix it,’ he says. ‘As Whitney Houston said, oh so eloquently, I believe that children are the future.’
4. A single touch from a ghost can kill you.
‘That changes everything,’ says Cornish. ‘Your usual ghost, what can it do? It can scare you so much that you have a heart attack or run into a brick wall. It can possess your daughter.
‘But other than that, there’s not a huge amount it can do to you. But as soon as you introduce this idea that the substance of ghosts is acutely toxic, you’re in a completely different place.’
5. Poor Ruby had to spend a lot of time in graveyards…
While Lockwood & Co isn’t an out-and-out horror, it definitely can give you the chills. ‘We spent a huge amount of time in graveyards. And there are moments when you’re left alone and I’d be running to the toilet – I’m not a fan of the dark so god knows how I did this show – and I’d pick up my pace because even at the ripe old age of 22 I was a bit scared.’
6. Joe isn’t short of people he’d like to haunt.
‘That’s a hell of a question, isn’t it? I mean there’s quite a lot of Tory politicians I’d like to haunt but I think they might be haunted enough in their own dreams,’ he says. ‘I suppose it’s tempting to say that I’d haunt the people I loved because I’d want to be with them after I die – but I’m not sure they would want that.
‘When my grandmother died, she said to my mum, “If there is an afterlife, I will try to contact you, I promise.” And then the night after she died the phone rang in the middle of the night and my mum picked it up and she could hear breathing on the other end. My mum swore that was her. That’s the closest I’ve come to a ghost.’
Lockwood & Co is streaming on Netflix from Friday