Ghosts star Ben Willbond, aka The Captain, almost joined the army himself

Ghosts star Ben Willbond as The Captain
(Image credit: BBC/Monumental Television/Steven Peskett)

Everyone loves The Captain in Ghosts, well when he's not bossing everyone around at least!

Ghosts star Ben Willbond, who plays The Captain in the BBC1 comedy, has revealed he almost joined the army himself.

The Captain became one of the show’s most popular characters in the first series and fans are thrilled that Ghosts season 2 will kick off tonight.

Ghosts cast series 2

Alison, Mike and their spooky housemates in series two of Ghosts (Image credit: BBC/Monumental Television/Steven Peskett)

And Ben, who co-created the series which stars ex Call the Midwife actress Charlotte Ritchie as a woman who can see ghosts, says he was close to becoming a military man.

"I was actually about to join the army when I was 22, so I went through all of that training and I had a very military upbringing so I am used to things like The Captain’s uniform and all of these weird details that I think are normal but others think are weird because I grew up around it," says Ben.

“I was in every single kind of cadet force. However, I was told quite quickly I didn’t belong there. I think it would have been a mistake. For that and other reasons it was pretty obvious, for me, that I would play this role. I love The Captain; he is so brilliantly flawed and desperate. I love those characters."

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Meanwhile, Ben, who’s also known for Horrible Histories and Yonderland, reveals that he’s delighted by the response to the first series of Ghosts, which has become a big hit.

“I feel very fortunate. We worked really hard [on series one] and we did what we felt was right and we are very happy it paid off. Feeling that going into the second series is nice because you feel much more confident in the characters, they are set in by that stage and so you are slightly more relaxed.

“Whereas the first time around you’re constantly thinking ‘is that alright?’, and as we are all the creators you have six lots of nervy questioning creatives on site. We are a lot more relaxed and I hope that comes across with this one. I certainly had more fun."

We find out more about The Captain in Ghosts...

The Captain keeping order in Ghosts

The Captain likes to keep order in Ghosts (Image credit: BBC/Monumental Television/Steven Peskett)

Ben adds that we can expect to find out more about The Captain’s past in this series.

"We realised we could show elements of the ghosts’ pasts without showing their demise or beginning and it was nice to take a look at a snapshot of what would have been their daily life.

"There is so much more to learn about the ghosts, that is what we felt we were doing and there is also a lot more fun to be had with them. It is always nice to see characters relaxing and having fun; they really come to life this series - as it were. At its heart this show is joyous family silliness."

Ghosts returns for its second series on Monday 21st September at 8.30pm.

David Hollingsworth

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years working for TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer for TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!