Saturday, 18 June 2011

My Friend the Ghost

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), first transmitted during 1969-70, was a Private Detective series starring Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope as the private detectives Jeff Randall and Marty Hopkirk, respectively. The series was originally created by Dennis Spooner and produced by Monty Berman. It aired in the United States under the title My Partner the Ghost.

In the initial episode Hopkirk was murdered in the line of duty, but returned as a ghost. Randall was the only main character able to see or hear him. However, at least two minor characters were able to see and hear him in separate episodes.

ITC film corporation produced a single series of 26 episodes during 1968 and 1969 which was aired between September 1969 and March 1970. The pilot episode was originally broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom on Friday 19 September 1969 on ATV Midlands. LWT broadcast the Pilot on 21 September 1969.

The series was remade in 2000 as Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), starring British comedy duo Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer..

On May 10, 2010 the SYFY Channel announced that it had secured the rights to 'Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)' and were looking to develop a pilot.

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) was conceived by producer Dennis Spooner in 1967. Spooner had a keen interest in the paranormal and ghostly phenomena, which he believed would be an inspired idea for a television series, incorporating it with the characteristic crime, drama and action of other earlier productions in the 1960s such as The Avengers and The Saint.

Spooner was strongly influenced by other paranormal films such as Blithe Spirit and Topper which had a profound impact on him, providing him with an understanding of the elements of the fantasy genre, studying the aspects of paranormal activity upon which a television series could be based.

While working on The Baron for ITC, Spooner met the producer Monty Berman, with whom he later formed the production company Scoton. Spooner had already worked with Mike Pratt and Annette Andre in The Baron in 1966 and 1967, and had known Pratt and Kenneth Cope from other series such as The Avengers and his work on the BBCs Z-Cars. Pratt and Andre had also appeared in The Saint earlier in the 60s which both Spooner and Berman were familiar with. Screen testing began in late 1967 and soon both Monty Berman and Spooner agreed the trio would make an ideal casting and the three were soon confirmed in the major roles.

Soon after this, Scoton were informed that they were to commence the filming of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) in 1968 alongside the production of Department S. Filming commenced in 1968 and the cast worked strenuously into 1969 to complete the series. The first episode was broadcast on 19 September 1969 on ATV Midlands..

In the pilot episode, "My Late lamented Friend and Partner" Marty is murdered during an investigation and returns immediately as a ghost whom only Jeff (and the occasional psychic) can see, to help Jeff bring his murderer to justice. However in helping Jeff with his case, Marty stays out of his new grave for too long and is cursed to walk the Earth for 100 years. Seeing the advantages of having a ghost at the detective agency Marty stays as an invisible partner playing the key role in helping Jeff solve crime thereafter, also meaning that he can see his widow Jeannie Hopkirk who works as a secretary at the agency every day.
Marty is instrumental throughout the series in ensuring Jeff is aware of the occurrences of crimes and more often than not is responsible for saving his partner's life in each episode by using his supernatural powers. However, his powers are very limited in that he physically cannot touch anything and has no extrasensory knowledge of events that take place when he isn't present. Whilst Marty aids Jeff immensely in his investigations, his persistence at urging Jeff to follow leads when Jeff has other engagements, where there is no obvious criminal activity or where he is putting his life and reputation at risk can seriously infuriate and terrorise the short-fused Jeff. The comedic aspect of the series came to the surface in episode 2, "A Disturbing Case", which dealt with hypnotic suggestion. Written by Mike Pratt himself, the episode features Marty impersonating the thick German accent of the German psychiatrist Dr Conrad (David Bauer), allowing him to direct the glazed drugged Randall to do exactly what he wants whilst he is in his pyjamas in a nursing home. Although the second episode is undoubtedly the most comic of the series, Marty's ability to control hypnosis is an important source of comedy in subsequent episodes, notably later in episode 10, "When did you last stop seeing things?", in which he eventually manages to hypnotize a hypnotist himself to save Randall by directing him to behave like an animal (a panther) and perform like a Secret Agent in direct contrast to the behaviour a professional would usually follow.
In episode 3, "All work and no play", a number of story elements important for later episodes in the series are introduced, particularly exposing the vulnerability and naivety of Jeannie Hopkirk, traits which can leave her life in danger due to her willingness to help people. Jeannie is manipulated by the Foster Brothers who, by using electronic equipment, falsely convince her that her late husband Marty is a poltergeist and that they as spiritualists will lay his spirit to rest. The brothers plan to employ Jeannie to bring other widows to them and use their supposed exorcism of Marty as a reward. Her falling into their trap nearly costs the life of another woman.
As she is invited into their manor house we see the start of a much used setting in the majority of the Randall and Hopkirk episodes, an eerie lavish country manor with a grand hallway and rooms and 1930s eccentric d├ęcor creating an element of suspense. The same set with a few alterations was used on the majority of later episodes filmed in the same studio set. The third episode also sets the scene for the themes of exorcism, paranormal spirituality, pyschic mediums and placing Marty Hopkirk to rest which also feature in later episodes such as "Whoever heard of a ghost dying?" and "But what a sweet little room"

The Characters

Jeff Randall is a successful but often financially struggling private detective whose success in mystery solving becomes inevitably greater once he has the benefits and paranormal abilities of his deceased partner Marty Hopkirk. Randall is described as fairly tall, around 6 ft, very thin and dishevelled looking although he is mostly clean-shaven. Throughout the entire series aside from a grey or dark suit with a white shirt for work Randall consistently wears brown or beige clothing, instantly recognizable by his tan leather jacket and beige polo neck jumpers or his long beige mac.

He is quick, agile and light on his feet and is able to manoeuvre around attackers very briskly. Randall is known to have a short fiery temper and can become particularly irritated with certain situations and people, particularly the ghost of Marty who torments him as much as helps him. He smokes regularly and is a heavy drinker in stressful situations.

Jeff at times can be a highly ambiguous character. In certain episodes he can show morals and respect for other characters. However at times he can also appear as immoral and verging on criminal in his behaviour. In episode 5, "That's How Murder Snowballs, for example, Randall rather than informing the Police after the murder of the theatre performer, rang a newspaper immediately to ensure that his tip off earned him a substantial amount of money for leaking story, 'blood money' as Jeannie called it, making money out of a dead man.

Randall is also a womaniser and he attracts many beautiful women from episode to episode. However any love interest also fizzles out very quickly due to his commitments to follow up Marty's leads leaving them stranded.


Marty Hopkirk is a deceased private detective murdered in the line of duty. After being the victim of a hit and run, Marty returns as a ghost, selecting Jeff Randall as the only man who can see and hear him as he returns to the world of the living. Staying out in the daylight to help Jeff solve an early case, he is cursed to roam the Earth for 100 years. Marty is a highly persistent character clad in an all white suit to mimic that of a ghost. At times his pressuring of Jeff to pursue cases and follow up leads that he has witnessed nearly puts Jeff at breaking point and haunts Jeff almost as much as he aids him in fighting crime.

As a ghost Marty travels by teleporting from one place to the other, although he can seemingly walk as a human would in whatever location he is in. Although he cannot physically touch people or things he can manipulate objects such as vases and furniture which prove crucial in many cases in putting attackers of Jeff at bay. Marty's use of wind blowing also proves very important in distracting people allowing Jeff to manoeuvre and enter situations, which would have otherwise proved impossible. In one episode ("Just for the Record"), Marty saves Jeff's life as he is being burnt in a warehouse, by using his concentration to shatter the alarm bells.

However Hopkirk can also be a highly jealous character and is often quick to jump to conclusions. For instance in the episodes "Never Trust a Ghost" and "Murder ain't what it used to be" when it appears that Jeff and Bugsy had bedded his widow Jeannie, he becomes highly irritated and angry at the situations. This also shows that while Marty can move from place to place by teleporting and has certain extra sensory abilities his abilities to understand situations where he is not present are as limited as a human's.

Despite being a ghost, there are many situations where Marty proves that in many ways his feelings are still human and he shows as much fear of other ghosts and paranormal activity as any human would. In the episode "The House on Haunted Hill", Marty shows a great fear of electronic equipment producing the sounds and noises of ghosts in a house attic. He is far more afraid than even Jeff, and he doesn't appear to have any sense of other paranormal phenomenon when he cannot physically see them. He also shows a subservience to the 1920s American gangster ghost of Bugsy in episode 8, "Murder ain't what it used to be".

In episode 21, "The Ghost Talks", which is a flashback of Marty when he was living also reveals he was physically very weak and would lose in a fight very easily. His physical strength appeared to be particularly lacking for a professional detective.

Jeannie Hopkirk (Annette Andre) is the young widow of Marty Hopkirk and serves as a secretary at the Randall and Hopkirk Private Investigation office. She is an attractive woman with neat blond hair and a petite frame and build. Jeannie can prove a very useful character in Jeff's exploits and she has saved him many times from an early demise. She is highly resourceful and able as a secretary but often she appears as very naive and vulnerable, which has put her own life in danger on many occasions. In only the third episode, "All Work and No Play", she believes the tomfoolery of the Foster brothers as they use electronic equipment to pretend that the Poltergeist of Marty is destroying her apartment. She believes that they are spiritualists who indeed have the ability to contact her deceased husband. In episode 10, she again believes the enemy when they pretend that Marty's spirit needs to be exorcised and true to her nature she is as helpful as possible in aiding them unknowingly, placing her in another difficult situation. Later, in episode 15, "The Man from Nowhere", Jeannie goes as far as to partly believe that an impostor is actually her deceased husband Marty in spirit, again emphasizing her vulnerability.
Episode #Prod #TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal airdate
14001"My Late Lamented Friend and Partner"Cyril FrankelRalph SmartSeptember 21, 1969
In the pilot episode Marty Hopkirk is murdered by the husband of a client but returns as a ghost to help Jeff bring the man responsible for his murder to justice.
24022"A Disturbing Case"Ray AustinMike Pratt and Ian WilsonSeptember 28, 1969
Concerned for Jeff's mental health Jeannie sends Jeff to Dr. Conrad at the Lambert Clinic where it turns out he is the mastermind of a series of robberies of his patients using hypnotic suggestion, forcing Marty to try and find a way to break Jeff from his control before Jeff has been so severely hypnotized that he loses the ability to see Marty. David Bauer stars.
34012"All Work and No Play"Jeremy SummersDonald JamesOctober 5, 1969
Two eccentric conmen brothers (The Foster Brothers) who claim to be spiritualists try to convince Jeannie that Marty is haunting her as a poltergeist using electronic equipment
44014"Never Trust a Ghost"Leslie NormanTony WilliamsonOctober 12, 1969
Two enemy agents murder a high British Secret Service official and his wife and pass themselves as their impostors in their own home to steal important documents
54011"That's How Murder Snowballs"Paul DicksonRay AustinOctober 19, 1969
When a theatre performer is murdered by a loaded gun during one of his acts Jeff joins the theatre as a mind reader to investigate his murder and hunt down the killer. David Jason appears as Abel
64019"Just For the Record"Jeremy SummersDonald JamesOctober 26, 1969
Aristocrat Harold Pargiter and his Lords rob the British vault for a document proving that his family titles and deeds were stolen by King John in the 13th century and his succession to the throne. Starring Ronald Radd
74024"Murder Ain't What It Used To Be"Jeremy SummersTony WilliamsonNovember 2, 1969
Notorious American crime boss Paul Kirstner travels to London for "business" and hires Randall to take care of his daughter. However his wicked past and his haunting by the 1920s Chicago gangster Bugsy catches up with him.
84010"Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying?"Ray AustinTony WilliamsonNovember 9, 1969
Knowing about Marty, a crime syndicate, in disguise, hire Jeff to begin surveillance on a gang of criminals (themselves), knowing that he will use Marty. Using an elderly psychic they detect Marty's presence, and deliberately mislead Jeff and the police.
94021"The House on Haunted Hill"Ray Austin
Tony Williamson
November 16, 1969
Jeff investigates a diamond theft in which the manager is implicated who threatens Jeff to lie about his investigation. Whilst also investigating a haunting at a country manor in turns out the diamond gang are using it as a hideout
104018"When Did You Start To Stop Seeing Things?"Jeremy SummersTony WilliamsonNovember 23, 1969
Jeff is hired by a company to find out who is leaking information in the stock market. Finding Jeff suspiciously out of character- and also now being unable to see him-, Marty finds out that the real Jeff has been captured and that the fake Jeff is an impostor, using his status to conduct murders of financial personnel. Marty uses a hypnotist to save the day.
114023"The Ghost Who Saved The Bank at Monte Carlo"Jeremy SummersTony WilliamsonNovember 30, 1969
Marty's Aunt Clara hires Jeff as a bodyguard for a trip to Monte Carlo where she plans to win £100,000 on her self-devised gambling system. Closely followed and watched by several different gangs they only lose their would-be robbers by Marty manipulating the final game of roulette losing the money
124003"For the Girl Who Has Everything"Cyril FrankelDonald JamesDecember 7, 1969
Jeff is hired by a ghost hunter to investigate at a manor where the lady appears to be haunted. When the ghost hunter is murdered whilst on night watch Jeff investigates. When the man of the house is shot by his wife believing she saw a ghost, Jeff becomes suspicious and discovers that it was part of her plan to get rid of her draining husband and leave the country with her Butler toyboy.
134002"But What A Sweet Little Room"Roy Ward BakerRalph SmartDecember 14, 1969
Jeff investigates the disappearance of a wealthy young heiress's aunt. When she is then killed by a hit and run driver he is led to a medium previously visited by the aunt and uses Jeannie as a decoy to foil a thieving operation in which middle class men rob wealthy widows by murdering them in the room of the episode title, which then transpires to be a gas chamber in disguise.
144006"Who Killed Cock Robin?"Roy Ward BakerTony WilliamsonDecember 21, 1969
In this murder mystery, Jeff is hired by a large estate manager to investigate a series of bird shootings in the manor aviary. Under the terms of the will of the manor's late owner, the estate is being held in trust for as long as the birds live (which could be twenty years or more), and will be divided up equally among the surviving relatives only when all the birds are dead. While Jeff keeps guard of the valuable birds, he discovers that members of the family of the manor are being murdered one by one, gradually narrowing down the suspects, leaving Jeff with the surprising culprit.
154016"The Man From Nowhere"Robert TronsonDonald JamesDecember 28, 1969
A man enters Jeannie's life pretending that he is Marty returned from the dead. As he gradually builds Jeannie's trust with his alarming knowledge of Marty's life, Jeff, suspicious from the beginning finds that he is a runaway member of a gang and has taken Jeannie to the Cotswolds where she and Marty had their honeymoon to dig up something of the past.
164013"When The Spirit Moves You"Ray AustinTony WilliamsonJanuary 2, 1970
Jeff becomes involved with a conman and a stash of $125,000 of stolen bonds from the United States that a criminal racket are after.
174025"Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave"Cyril FrankelDonald JamesJanuary 9, 1970
Marty finds somebody digging around his grave. He sends Jeff to investigate the cemetery and in doing so is knocked unconscious several times by a masked 18th century axe wielder. Suspecting the gardener, Jeff accepts a job for a wealthy man in the nearby mansion and stumbles on an intricate plot to steal his insane agaraphobic son through an underground tunnel pretending to hold him to ransom. It is all part of a plot to inherit his father's fortune but when he marries his young housekeeper the plan is demised.
184020"Could You Recognize The Man Again?"Jeremy SummersDonald JamesJanuary 16, 1970
When Jeff and Jeannie find a dead body in their car unknown to them at the time that the man they met outside was a killer, Jeannie is held hostage to keep Randall from confessing to the police and giving a testimony in court. And even the ghostly Marty can't locate her until the very last minute.
194004"A Sentimental Journey"Leslie NormanDonald JamesJanuary 23, 1970
A reluctant Jeff agrees to take a valuable item worth £10,000 from Glasgow to London on the overnight express. When the consignment turns out to be an attractive blonde, Jeff initially concedes that the assignment is to his liking. How gradually becoming suspicious it turns out the blonde is a traitor involved in stealing a highly valuable postage stamp.
204015"Money To Burn"Ray AustinDonald JamesJanuary 30, 1970
Randall is offered by a dodgy friend to take part in a money salvaging operation whereby £500,000 of old money is to be incinerated but is replaced with newspaper pieces. Not informing the police nor accepting any part in it, Randall watches from a nearby street and is caught by the police and imprisoned. Using his lady friend lawyer she tracks down his dodgy friend at his London club finding the real culprits are his lady dancers freeing Randall.
214026"The Ghost Talks"Cyril FrankelGerald KelseyFebruary 6, 1970
With Jeff in a hospital bed with an arm and a leg in plaster, having fallen off a balcony while attempting to apprehend a safe-cracker, Marty seizes the opportunity to tell him about a spy drama that he handled alone (Jeff being out of town at the time) while he was still alive, involving a corrupt MI5 official and spy ring, the details of which he had never revealed before.
224008"It's Supposed To Be Thicker Than Water"Leslie NormanDonald JamesFebruary 13, 1970
Playing postman to deliver an envelope to an escaped convict strikes Jeff as simple until he finds out it contains an invitation to murder and before long his own life is on the line.
234009"The Trouble With Women"Cyril FrankelTony WilliamsonFebruary 20, 1970
Jeff is hired by a woman and deliberately set up her husband's murder. In disguise she misleads Randall with her club owner boyfriend she is secretly having an affair with, almost leading to his shooting at a quarry.
244017"Vendetta For A Dead Man"Cyril FrankelDonald JamesFebruary 27, 1970
A vengeance-seeking escaped convict decides that since Marty Hopkirk, the man who put him behind bars is dead then his widow Jeannie will have to suffer.
254005"You Can Always Find A Fall Guy"Ray AustinDonald JamesMarch 6, 1970
Jeff is hired to retrieve stolen funds by a Nun, only to discover the nun is not what she seems to be and he is being set up.
264007"The Smile Behind The Veil"Jeremy SummersGerald KelseyMarch 13, 1970
Only a ghost would notice the smile behind the veil of a funeral mourner. Marty stumbles upon a hidden murder mystery to complete the series

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