The Blagger's Guide To...The Woman In Black

So scary, Ruth Rendell had to sleep with the light on

*The Hammer Film Productions adaptation of Susan Hill's 1983 novel The Woman in Black opened in UK cinemas this weekend, having been billed as the scariest film of the year. It stars Daniel Radcliffe as the young solicitor, Arthur Kipps, and Liz White as the titular woman in black.

*The actor who played Arthur Kipps in the 1989 ITV production of the film was Adrian Rawlins, who played Harry Potter's dad, James Potter, in the Harry Potter films. That version was adapted for the small screen by Nigel Kneale, the writer of the Quatermass TV dramas, husband of Judith Kerr (author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and the Mog books) and father of Matthew Kneale (author of the Whitbread-winning English Passengers) and Tacy Kneale, an actress and special effects designer who worked on the Harry Potter films.

*A film tie-in paperback is published by Vintage at £6.99.

*Hammer's publishing imprint is releasing a series of horror stories by literary novelists. Helen Dunmore's Second World War thriller The Greatcoat was out on 2 February; Jeanette Winterson's Daylight Gate, a story based on the Pendle witch trials of 1612, will be published on the 16 April.

*The Woman in Black was first published six years before Daniel Radcliffe was born. In 1987, the book was made into a successful West End production, which the actor has not seen. However, he has read the book, and when he met Hill they discovered that they both have border terriers sired by the same stud.

*On the stage play's first night, Ken Russell was in the audience and said that it would close within a week. It is still running in the West End.

*Susan Hill was born in Scarborough in 1942. Her first novel, The Enclosure, was published in 1961, written when Hill was 15 and published when she was still in her teens ("Schoolgirl writes sex novel" screamed one newspaper headline). Her headmistress told her: "You have brought shame and disgrace on to this school." She went on to study English at Kings College, London, and publish 24 further novels (the most recent, A Kind Man, published last year, 50 years after her first), four short story collections, 13 children's stories, nine works of non-fiction and five plays. She is the author of the Simon Serrailler crime novels. She sat on the Man Booker Prize judging panel last year.

*The atmosphere that lends such creepiness to The Woman in Black was inspired by a trip that Hill took to the Suffolk coast in the early 1970s. She didn't start writing it until 10 years later, after reading lots of ghost stories and wondering why there were so few full length ghost novels. Her aim was to equal the tension in Henry James's The Turn of the Screw.

*Hill wrote the novel by hand and read it into a Dictaphone for a friend, who was doing a typing course and wanted the practice. The typist found it so frightening that she could only listen to the tapes if she was not alone in the house. The typist, Jane Tranter, later became the BBC's Head of Drama. The crime writer Ruth Rendell has said that she was so frightened by the book that after she read it she had to sleep with the light on.

*This Christmas, BBC2 will screen an adaptation of Hill's 2010 ghost novel The Small Hand.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence star in new film 'Serena'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week