The M1 Ghost Story

The M1 Ghost Story

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Belfast, M1 motorway




Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage



black and white


05min 14sec




British Film Institute, UTV

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Restrain your hearty laughter and hear a sober tale of a ghost that hitchhikes on Northern Ireland’s new motorway. 

Just two years after the opening of Northern Ireland’s first motorway legends have already begun to take root. Join Charles Witherspoon on the M1 flyover as he interviews William Nesbitt for Ulster Television news about his roadside psychic experience. This encounter with a ghostly hitchhiker is not Mr Nesbitt’s only tale of telekinesis, judge for yourself as he testifies to the viewers at home. 


The M1 is Northern Ireland’s first and longest motorway. An urban myth was circulated that the straight sections of the M1 were built so that the US Air Force could use them as supplementary runways if war broke out with the Soviet Union. Plans for the motorway were announced in 1946 but work only began in 1959. The first stretch opened without ceremony on 10th July 1962. The RUC instigated a vigorous campaign to educate people on how to use the new motorway. Northern Ireland remained free for years from the 70 mph speed limit that was introduced in the UK. This material is courtesy of the UTV Archive.


Digitised as part of Unlocking Film Heritage

Reporter: Charles Witherspoon

Interviewee: William Nesbitt



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