Jeff Randall and Marty Hopkirk
Created by Dennis Spooner
Although the idea's been dredged up several times since, I think ITC's Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) was possibly the first teaming of two private eyes where one of them had already shuffled off this mortal coil. At best, one could say this one had definite echoes of Hamlet. At worst you could call it silly fluff.
Yep, JEFF RANDALL was more-or-less your average mildly-competent TV eye, London Division, a heart-on-his-sleeve bloke, still trying to make ends meet, not exactly the greatest gumshoe in all the U.K., often accepting cases with little or no chance of financial compensation. He's a bit of an idealist, can be rather headstrong, and has been known to act impulsively, and sometimes unwisely. A nice enough guy, really, the kinda guy who relaxes with a glass of whiskey, and the occasional company of a pretty lady. The one woman who's a constant in his life, though, is his partner's wife, Jeanie.
It was his partner, MARTY HOPKIRK, who was the real brains. But Marty had passed on, was no more, had ceased to be. He had expired and gone to meet his maker. He was a stiff, bereft of life. His metabolic processes were history, he'd kicked the bucket, shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile. He was an ex-detective.
But that didn't seem to stop him from giving Jeff assistance and advice.
Of course, Jeannie's marital status was changed forever when Marty was murdered in a hit-and-run while investigating what seemed to be a fairly routine divorce case. A tough break, indeed, and when Jeff heads to the cemetary to pay his respects, Marty's ghost pops up (in a dazzling white suit, no less), determined to help Jeff find his killers.
After the two crack the case, Marty decides to stick around, help Jeff out, and keep an eye on things. And that's really what the gag is. See, Marty's a worrier, almost to the point of compulsion, and he's not shy about giving advice to Jeff, whether it's asked for or not. So Jeff has to listen to Marty nag about his driving, his detecting skills, his personal life, how he's running the business...everything! And of course, only Jeff can see Marty, adding to the hilarity, and Jeff's frustration. Imagine a personal, otherworldly Felix Unger!
And it turns out Marty's also got a mean streak of green. Whenever any man starts to develop any kind of relationship with Jeannie, Marty's intense jealousy rears its ugly head. Of course, any hint of anything between Jeff and Jeannie, is bound to set him off. And just to further complicate things, Jeannie soon goes to work in the agency, to help Jeff out.
It may sound gimmicky, and too cute by half, but it was actually a rather entertaining mix of comedy and drama, with an engaging cast, particularly Kenneth Cope as Marty. Despite the fact it only ran for 26 episodes, it gathered a huge cult following, and is fondly remembered in Britain and several other countries around the world. It wasn't quite as popular in the States, though, where NBC aired it late at night as My Partner, The Ghost. Too quirky, too British, and way too low in gun battles and car chases, you could almost say say it never stood a ghost of a chance...
But never say never. Such was the popularity of the show in the U.K., that in 2000 it was announced that BBC1 was preparing a big budget revival of the show, with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer taking over the roles of Marty and Jeff. One interesting guest star is Guy Pratt, son of Mike Prat, the original Jeff Randall.
- "My Late, Lamented Friend And Partner" (September 21, 1969)
- "A Disturbing Case" (September 28, 1969)
- "All Work And No Pay" (October 5, 1969)
- "Never Trust A Ghost" (October 12, 1969)
- "That's How Murder Snowballs" (October 19, 1969)
- "Just For The Record" (October 26, 1969)
- "Murder Ain't What It Used To Be!" (November 2, 1969)
- "Whoever Heard Of A Ghost Dying?" (November 9, 1969)
- "The House On Haunted Hill" (November 16, 1969)
- "When Did You Start To Stop Seeing Things?" (November 25, 1969)
- "The Ghost Who Saved The Bank At Monte Carlo" (November 30, 1969)
- "For The Girl Who Has Everything" (December 7, 1969)
- "But What A Sweet Little Room" (December 14, 1969)
- "Who Killed Cock Robin?" (December 21, 1969)
- "The Man From Nowhere" (December 28, 1969)
- "When The Spirit Moves You" (January 2, 1970 )
- "Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave" (January 9, 1970)
- "Could You Recognise The Man Again?" (January 16, 1970)
- "Money To Burn" (January 30, 1970 )
- "The Ghost Talks" (February 6, 1970)
- "It's Supposed To Be Thicker Than Water" (February 13, 1970)
- "The Trouble With Women" (February 20, 1970)
- "Vendetta For A Dead Man" (February 27, 1970)
- "You Can Always Find A Fall Guy" (March 6, 1970)
- "The Smile Behind The Veil" (March 13, 1970).
- 1st Series
- "Drop Dead" (March 18, 2000)
- "Mental Apparition Disorder" (March 25, 2000)
- "The Best Years of Your Death" (April 1, 2000)
- "Paranoia" (April 8, 2000)
- "A Blast from the Past" (April 15, 2000)
- " A Man of Substance" (April 2000)
- 2nd Series
- "Whatever Possessed You?" (September 29, 2001)
- "Revenge of the Bog People" (October 6, 2001)
- " O Happy Isle" (October 13, 2001)
- "Pain Killers" (October 20, 2001)
- "Marshall and Snellgrove" (October 27, 2001)
- "The Glorious Butranekh" (November 3, 2001)
- "Two Can Play at That Game" (November 24, 2001)
VIDEOS and DVDS
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Flo for a friendly reminder, and for pointing the way.
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