Friday, 24 June 2011

Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) - Episode Five: That's How Murder Snowballs!

That's How Murder Snowballs is the fifth episode of the classic 1969 ITC series, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) starring Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre. Directed by Paul Dickson and written by Ray Austin, the episode was first broadcast on 19 October 1969 on ITV.
Jeff and Jeannie find themselves in the audience of "The Fabulous Fernandez and Abel" at the Palace Theatre. While performing a stage act that involves a loaded gun, the Mind Reader Fernandez is killed by his assistant Abel (David Jason), causing Jeff to go undercover to try to track down the murderer.
Joining forces with the police, Jeff adopts a mindreading act (with Marty's help) and is hired by the theatre. Jeff discovers that one of the performers, Gloria Marsh, was the wife of Fernandez, aka Ronay Thompson. Some years ago she had been involved in a drunken car accident whereby she had killed someone and Fernandez took the blame to save her from prison. With this hold over her, he refused to allow her a divorce when they grew apart, and demanded money from her while cheating on her with a string of other women. When Gloria takes a lover of her own, choreographer Kim, in order to remove the obstacle of her husband, he plots to kill Fernandez by dressing as a woman in the audience and placing a loaded bullet in the gun's chamber during the act. When Gloria is about to spill the beans under the force of Randall, Kim kills her to try and protect his secret. In trying to escape detection, the choreographer goes on a murderous rampage attempting to kill the ticket booth operator, one of the show girls and then Randall several times. Finally he is apprehended by police, performers and an intrepid Randall who is injured falling from a stage rope and confined to a hospital bed as a result.

In this episode themes of morality are raised when after Fernadez is murdered Jeff tips off a newspaper contact named Barry Jones who pays him well for story information. Jeannie on the other hand shows some moral compunction by questioning Jeff's ethics in selling a story. "Well, did you get your blood money?" she demands of Jeff.

We also learn that Jeff once paid Jeannie with a gold earring "in lieu of salary" again revealing his financial difficulties.

Jeff is hit many times in this episode. He is coshed over the head, shot at four times, nearly hit with a large sandbag and a thrown revolver, and worst of all is knocked out by a shelf tipped on him in the basement as he is searching for clues.

Meanwhile in this episode Marty acquires a taste for dining at the finest restaurants, remarking that he had recently dined at the Savoy with Harold Wilson.

File:Randall and Hopkirk Deceased titlecard.jpg

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