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[sticky post] Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) - Episode List

The intended broadcast order of the episodes in the original series, plus screenwriter. Donald James was certainly prolific if nothing else, with eleven scripts to his name, followed closely by my favourite, Tony Williamson, with nine. Mike Pratt contributed one plot - 'A Disturbing Case' - and Ralph Smart penned the first episode and 'But What A Sweet Little Room' (I like his style, too). Just FYI!

My Late Lamented Friend and Partner - Ralph Smart
But What A Sweet Little Room - Ralph Smart
For The Girl Who Has Everything - Donald James
A Sentimental Journey - Donald James
You Can Always Find A Fall GuyDonald James
Who Killed Cock Robin? - Tony Williamson
The Smile Behind The Veil – Gerald Kelsey

It’s Supposed To Be Thicker Than Water - Donald James
The Trouble With Women - Tony Williamson
Whoever Heard Of A Ghost Dying? - Tony Williamson 
That's How Murder Snowballs – Ray Austin
All Work And No Pay - Donald James
When The Spirit Moves You - Tony Williamson
Never Trust A Ghost - Tony Williamson
Money To Burn - Donald James
The Man From Nowhere - Donald James
Vendetta For A Dead Man - Donald James
When Did You Start To Stop Seeing Things? - Tony Williamson 
Just For The Record – Donald James
Could You Recognise The Man Again? – Donald James
The House On Haunted Hill - Tony Williamson
A Disturbing Case - Mike Pratt/Ian Wilson
The Ghost Who Saved The Bank At Monte Carlo - Tony Williamson
Murder Ain’t What It Used To Be! – Tony Williamson
Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave – Donald James
The Ghost Talks – Gerald Kelsey 


Murder Ain't What It Used To Be!

AKA, Two's company


Personnel trivia:

Marty has been dead for twelve months

'What more do you want, Jeff? Ectoplasm?'Collapse )


You Can Always Find A Fall Guy

AKA ‘The one with the nun’


Personnel trivia:

-          Jeff lives at Hanover House, St John’s Wood High Street

-          Marty used to drive at 20 mph (according to Jeff)

-          Jeannie is thinking of trading in Marty’s car

'Start worrying when the doors fall off'Collapse )


The Smile Behind The Veil

The lowdown: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Smile_Behind_the_Veil

 Personnel Trivia

- Jean still buys flowers for Marty (carnations this time), and visits his grave – complete with watering can!

- Marty calls Jeff a materialist (and Jeff later returns the compliment), and Jeff accuses Marty of never growing up

- Jeff apparently knows how to diffuse bombs

- This is the episode where Jeff dies (temporarily) and Marty sends his ghost back into his body, so that Donald Seaton can resuscitate him


Recorded Dialogue

Marty: I’m not having my Jeannie giving you flowers!

Jeff: You’re jealous!

Marty: Jealous! Of course I am. That’s all there is left between us. Anyway, buy your own button holes!


Marty: She [Caroline]was cheated, the same way I was


Marty: Who’s gonna run the business if we’re both dead?


Jeff: (On being a private eye) Unemployment benefit pays better, but this sounds more respectable


Jean: Oh boy, you really needed Marty – to keep you out of trouble!

Jeff: If only you knew!


Jeff: I’ve been beaten up, flung in a river, half-drowned –

Marty: Ah, but only half drowned!

Jeff: You mean you got me out?

Marty: Yes. I watch over you like a guardian angel

Jeff: You’re presuming a lot. You haven’t been classified yet!

Marty: Now, Jeff. Don’t speak ill of the dead

Jeff: But you won’t stay dead!


Jeff: Money doesn’t matter. You can’t get away with murder, Madam!


Cynthia Seaton: Randall and Hopkirk. I presume Hopkirk was the one with the brains!

Jeff: (Looks at their names on the door) Tcha!


Hiker: I wish I were a millionaire!

Jeff: (From the bottom of the well) Well, I wish I were out of this perishing well!


Case Notes

- Marty’s grave is back in roughly its original location (after moving around the cemetery in ‘Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying?’ and ‘Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave’)

- The footage of Mike Pratt in his white suit was recycled in an episode of the Reeves and Mortimer remake

- Robin Hawdon, who plays Grant, the non-bearded goon, is not only a talented ac-tor, but also a playwright, whose credits include ‘The Mating Game’ and ‘God and Stephen Hawking’


The gang's all here: Robin Hawdon (on the left) as Grant, with Peter Jesson, Hilary Tindall and Alex Scott





Final Report

This is a surprisingly competent, if low-key, episode: a decent storyline, with some Christie-esque twists and a logical solution. Marty gets Jeff mixed up in a case of murder, identity theft and fraud, on the suspicion that his new ‘neighbour’, Caroline Seaton, was killed off by her family. In fact, I was half-expecting a guest appearance from Caroline, the ‘popular and attractive racing car enthusiast’, but that might have upset the balance of the show. One ghost is enough.


The dialogue is also funny and fast-paced, with one of my favourite squabbles from Jeff and Marty over Jeff’s near death experience. This is actually a fairly successful episode for Jeff, who is roused into action after being repeatedly beaten up and nearly drowned by Seaton’s goons – he puts all the pieces together after stumbling across the real Donald Seaton, AND calmly diffuses a homemade bomb in the office! Also, word to the supporting cast – I’m not Australian, but at least Gary Watson’s accent sounds convincing and doesn’t make me cringe, and Alex Scott (Pseudo Seaton) actually is an Aussie!

Jeff Randall: Danger UXB!


Book review: Ghosts from the Past

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Ghosts from the Past

Graeme Grant

Boxtree Ltd.


252 pages

The improbably named Tallulah Joplin, an old flame of Marty’s from his random phase as a nightclub entertainer, turns up at the office (or, ‘Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Security Services’, to quote the full title). She is dressed all in white, so naturally Jeff assumes she must be a ghost, like Marty. Tallulah wants R+H to find a former ‘underworld’ associate recently released from prison, Dave Day, before he can find her. She doesn’t know that Marty is dead, despite the honking great sign on the door, and Jeff doesn’t bother to update her. In fact, he does little more than gape at this ‘ghost from the past’, thinking that Marty will be able to fill in the blanks, and so she leaves Jeff her card. Jeannie later discovers from her sister’s friends that Tallulah must be an ‘Angel with a Broken Wing’, a group of women with dubious pasts who have been ‘reformed’ by handing over all their money to stay in a Priory-style retreat. Which would be an intriguing premise, except that the flimsy plot dissolves into a morass of hokey devices and ‘ironic’ B-movie villains from this point forward.

It turns out that Tallulah stole a computer program from Dave Day, the nightclub owner and ex-con she asks Jeff to track down. This program was designed to hack into various bank accounts and siphon the proceeds off without trace. Way back in the day, pun intended, Dave asked Marty to destroy the incriminating files after Marty and Jeff masterminded a police raid at Dave’s club. Marty’s plan was to lure a local crime lord into The Terrapin Club, with the help of a solicitor named Jeff Randall, tip off Dave in good time, and escape with Tallulah, a ‘sexy vamp’, before the bust. Needless to say, it went wrong – Dave was busted for dealing heroin, Tallulah stole the program and ditched Marty, death and destruction ensued at the club, and Marty and Jeff ended up going into business together. So now Tallulah wants revenge on Marty and Dave, Dave blames Marty for setting him up, Tallulah and the police chief in charge of the raid have the computer program, and the ‘Angels with Broken Wings’ retreat turns out to be a front for an international plan to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Srsly.

The BBC rehash of the 1960s cult classic ‘Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)’ was a Saturday evening masterpiece of style over substance, and in that sense, this spin-off novelisation ticks all the boxes. Graeme Grant was presumably attempting to imitate the hard-boiled detective mysteries of Chandler and Hammett, the absurdist narration of Douglas Adams, and the childish humour of Reeves and Mortimer, while staying true to the ‘vision’ of Charlie Higson’s remake. Fail, fail, win, win, in that order. Just as Higson et al missed the charm of the original series by overdosing on CGI, Grant soon loses the thread. His grasp of Reeves and Mortimer’s random humour and northern dialect in the show slips into a generalised pastiche of American cop shows and old B movies, losing any trace of real personality given to the characters by the actors. Marty is conceited and childish, Jeff is useless, and Jeannie is basically the sixth Spice Girl, all kinky leather dresses and martial-arts training. I believe she is even referred to as ‘feisty’ at one point, a sure sign that there is nothing going on beneath the PC dressing:

‘Jeannie had cropped blonde hair and a doe-eyed elfin beauty that suggested fragility as well as urban chic. But ‘fragile’ was the last word anyone would use to describe Jeannie’s personality, and the dress duly implied that its owner was possessed of a steely determination.’

That’s really my main issue with this little book, which is obviously aimed at the same pre-pubsecent demographic as the remake: it’s basically published fan fiction, written for fans who have little imagination and just want to read the television. There is no introspection or emotion to balance the action and ridiculous violence, adding little to the show itself. Reeves’ Marty is tall, Mortimer’s Jeff is short, and Jeannie comes from a well-to-do background and has a clipped accent just like Emilia Fox, but otherwise nothing is learned about the pasts or personalities of the three main characters. Even Jeff and Marty’s previous careers are only plot devices – the loud extrovert was an entertainer, surprise surprise, and Bob Mortimer – sorry, Jeff – the quiet, sensible partner, was a solicitor. I’m probably expecting too much, but it’s the characters that make or break a story for me, whether on screen or page, and R+H 2K is merely popcorn for the mind, instantly forgettable.

Also, on a nitpicking level, Grant’s writing is very repetitive. His habit of inappropriately breaking up dialogue quickly starts to grate – “I don’t,” said Marty through gritted teeth, “like spider plants”, “Why,” he whispered as Marty materialized at his side, “did you do that?” – and nearly everybody at some point drawls, ‘Ye-es’ in reply to a difficult or stupid question. Also, reproducing great chunks of narrative to indicate history repeating itself is not clever, only lazy – although it is handy for skipping the odd page!

Verdict: For diehard fans of the remake only.

Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave


Just For The Record


All Work And No Pay


Ghost Whisperer

Or, It Had To Happen

It's the worst kind of obsessional spin-off: an American series. Starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Distributed by a Disney company.