This Is The Interlude This Is OR KC and The Sunny Jim Band

Just a few days ago, I made an outright STUNNING discovery on Spotify…in addition to the near entire original and BEST Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) soundtrack, there are also some pretty downright cool, humorous, and RARE tracks from the pre-Randall and Hopkirk portion of Kenneth Cope’s illustrious career. A few years before he was Marty Hopkirk, Kenneth Cope became a household name through not one, but TWO shows…Coronation Street and That Was The Week That Was (alias TW3). It was around that time, 1963 to be specific, that Cope was approached about recording a single record/two songs with composer Tony Hatch and a backup group called The Breakaways (NOT The Sunny Jim Band…sorry Corrie fans 😛 😉 )…those two tunes ended up being “Hands Off! Stop Muckin’ About” and “Why Am I So Shy”, the A-side and B-side respectively. And although not a tremendous hit (BUT was the closest thing to a hit single Kenneth Cope ever had), “Hands Off!” did end up landing Cope a disc jockey job with Radio Luxembourg during the mid 1960s.

To my delight AND surprise, given how rare the single is, “Hands Off!” is on Spotify(!!), and at the very moment of discovery, was naturally put onto the official radio station for this here place. And for those who don’t feel like waiting for “Hands Off!” to come around or press the skip button however many times or scroll down, it is also available on YouTube along with its B-side sibling (“Why Am I So Shy” will probably never be on Spotify…genuinely hope to be wrong about that, but its scarcity makes “Hands Off!”‘s rarity seem common in comparison, and to the point of I’m honestly amazed it is on YouTube).

As neat as it is to find “Hands Off!” for Spotify posterity, an even more sweet discovery is several of Cope’s skits from That Was The Week That Was…something I never, ever thought I would happen upon outside of YouTube (again). For those of you not familiar with TW3, it was not your father’s news satire show…in addition to being hosted by a certain David Frost (yes, THE David Frost), the topics covered and parodied tended to be pretty damn cutting edge stuff for its time.

Bear in mind that this was done in 1963.

The Kenneth Cope TW3 skits and tracks found on Spotify (and also included in this blog’s radio station) are the theme song, “Emergency Call”, “Peter Cadbury”, “Stop Press”, “Ad Nauseum”, and “Skybolt”.

Also featured in the blog’s official playlist, alongside other equally great late 60s/early 70s/retro-centric music and other treats, are the songs that won Mike Pratt two Ivor Novello Awards, “Little White Bull” and “Handful Of Songs”, which he co-wrote with Lionel Bart for Tommy Steele; as well as Mike’s son Guy’s work with Pink Floyd and David Gilmour, and Kenneth Cope’s sons Mark and Nick’s work as The Candyskins (and Mark’s solo venture, Nine Stone Cowboy). Not being one to leave out wee ones (most especially as much as the classic and BEST Randall and Hopkirk has always appealed to kids and kids at heart), there is also a secondary radio station for them centering on Nick Cope’s solo work for children, and also contains “Little White Bull” and “Handful Of Songs”, as well as some good and gentle ‘young person’s intro to Swinging London/late 60s/early 70s music’ entries. 🙂

Caroline “Music and laughter makes the world AND Limbo go ’round.” Smith

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All Together Now OR Spirit Rally!

Courtesy of Icy Twaine’s Tumblr.

Well, when Marty Hopkirk is sighing/yawning, at least a little action really does need to get going…and most particularly with Randall and Hopkirk Revisited. I did my duty about two weeks ago and donated, and it has been AND especially is time for all of you to do yours. Even if a donation is a little much to manage, a link/mention on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etcetera is every bit as valuable and most appreciated all the same. The more of a word we can get out and spread about this BRILLIANT project and much more respectable homage, as well as help it and all involved, the better. As of my typing and posting this, there are only twenty/nineteen days left before the deadline…I hope they can extend the time for people to be able to donate, but I honestly don’t know if they will be able to do that. If they are not, then please, PLEASE give £5 or £10 IF you can, for every little bit does count and is certainly better than nothing.

I know it does not seem like a long time after my first post about Randall and Hopkirk Revisited, but two weeks is a significant amount of time, which could have brought about more donations than it sadly did. And without any acknowledgement, and constantly at that, the one shot the original and forever BEST Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) has at a much, MUCH deserved sequel and follow-up will be tragically lost. There is still enough time to make some headway, so please, one way or another, act now in lending this project as much support as it needs and some. Please do it for the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the original series, its cast and crew still with us and in spirit, Revisited’s cast and crew, and the Randall and Hopkirk community as a whole.

A tremendous thank you to those who have acknowledged Randall and Hopkirk Revisited thus far (including Icy Twaine, whose utmost brilliant animation is displayed above), and in advance to further hopeful supporters and donators.

Caroline “Although Marty may just be in a funk about Everton’s last four games (I’m right there with him)…between them and this, some goals most definitely need to happen.” Smith

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Be Seeing You! (I Wish) OR It’s Their Party

This was announced over a week ago, on September 5th to be specific, but better late than never.

Per The (absolutely fabulous) Unmutual, Annette Andre (who was in the episode titled “It’s Your Funeral”, which will eventually be reviewed here) is going to be one of the special guests at Network’s The Prisoner 50th Anniversary bash on September 29th at Portmeirion, Wales!! Also among the guests is a smaller degree of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), but a degree none-the-less(!) in Jane ‘Sandra Joyce’/”Who Killed Cock Robin?” Merrow, who was in the episode titled “The Schizoid Man” (AND with another Randall and Hopkirk-er in Anton ‘Calvin P. Breem’/”When The Spirit Moves You” Rodgers as that particular episode’s Number Two).

Here at The Ghostess Talks, we take pride in being respectful (for the most part 😉 ) to Randall and Hopkirk’s ITC neighbours and contemporaries. And now is the perfect time to say that The Prisoner is a must-see for any and everyone remotely interested in the history of ITC, what is deemed British Cult Television, and/or 60s pop culture in general. As much as I sing Randall and Hopkirk’s praises in and outside of here, even I have to admit that The Prisoner is the most psychedelic series that ITC ever produced, thanks to the situations that truly did play with your head as much as Number Six’s, bolder than usual colors, mad visuals like the Rovers (actually weather balloons, and inspired by a real weather balloon that star and producer Patrick McGoohan kept seeing over Portmeirion), and especially Portmeirion alias The Village itself.

Speaking of The Village, back to the aforementioned event…unfortunately, if you want to attend, I am dreadfully sorry to report that the tickets have been sold out and for sometime now. Not at all surprising given the ginormous following The Prisoner has remarkably maintained throughout the half-century of its existence. Needless to say and on the behalf of the original and BEST Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and its *sighs* smaller fanbase, I cannot help but be a wee bit envious.

That said, an interesting thing in common between the two shows…they both have godawful, way-off-the-mark remakes. I talked at length and some about Randall and Hopkirk’s remake a week ago in the post below/next to this one…The Prisoner‘s remake was quite eerily similar with its details. The grandest differences were that The Prisoner remake was American (produced by AMC…yes, the people behind freakin’ Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead) and intended to be a miniseries just like the original Prisoner, NOT an ongoing series. The similarities include a modernized plot that was honestly too ‘hip and cool’ for its britches, delving considerably more into the science-fiction/fantasy territory than the original ever did AND really ever needed to (the ‘mechanics’ of The ‘new and improved’ Village are to The Prisoner what Wyvern, the marathon trips to Limbo, and Marty Hopkirk’s ludicrous myriad of near-godlike powers were to Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)), and hoping that the main cast containing massive star power with at least one member would make up for any and all numerous glaring weaknesses (Prisoner’s Ian McKellen as Number Two versus Randall and Hopkirk’s Tom Baker as Wyvern). And I can personally attest to the crappiness of The Prisoner‘s remake…I was witness to its first three episodes when they were brand new back in 2009. It started off okay…but then they introduced its own special form of the ‘mindfudge’ element, which was just a little too much Matrix-like (hell, the title cards did the code jazz, and all that was missing was remake Number Six wearing a Neo Coat a la remake Marty) with The Truman Show thrown in for good measure, and truthfully made all the more trite with the complete lack of elements of psychedelia and the mid-late 1960s. There was also hardly any distinctive color, figuratively AND visually, and down to The Village itself being a nightmarish mix of muted pastels and ‘Floridian/Californian’ colours, making the program all the more as bland and off as week old oatmeal. When it became more and more incredibly evident that they were going down the literal ‘The Village is not at all what it appears to be!” rabbit hole (and it was a maze I pretty much had figured out within the show’s first fifteen minutes…no joke), I revoked my viewer card and didn’t look back…a decision I have never regretted at all to this day and forever.

Anyways, to those who are getting to attend The Prisoner‘s 50th Anniversary bash (lucky all of you), have fun, and as difficult as it may be to do, try not to inquire about who does Number Two work for. Certainly don’t want anyone to be sucked up by Rover, or at the very least, be swatted with a rolled up edition of The Tally Ho.

Caroline “I bet all The Village’s muzak station plays is “Revolution #9″ and Number One knows how many ‘remixes’ of it.” Smith

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I Confess! (And I Am Not Going To Be Seated) OR Hell Hath No Fury Like A Ghostess Scorned

I can’t do it. I just can’t do it…I can’t review even just one episode of the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) remake. I tried, I REALLY tried, but I just bloody can’t do it.

I know, I know…I kinda sorta promised that I would review the infamous 2000-01 remake, talk about its connections/homages to the original and best Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), and eventually also review its three books (two novels and a “The Files” ‘guide’) and the soundtrack and theme song single. But two hours into reviewing “Drop Dead” the night before last, I had an epiphany.

“Y’know, you really, REALLY do not AND should not have to torture yourself like this.”

And it was not just that thought, but also the realization that I was already in serious ‘hate-watching’ mode at not only the first episode, but just its first five minutes. Thirteen episodes of that is a wee bit much, and not just on a screen/monitor, but also in typing too.

There is also what I call the Oscar Wilde factor…and it involves one of my all-time favorite quotes from its author and in general.

“The only thing worst than being talked about is not being talked about.”

I much, MUCH rather talk about the 2000-01 Randall and Hopkirk remake for just two articles (this one and an eventual list about the mess-ups sometime down the line) versus SEVENTEEN(!!! the thirteen episodes, the two novels, “The Files”, and both the soundtrack and theme single reviewed together)…yikes. That would be an incredibly ridiculous amount of discussion (which would pretty much maintain the same theme of “What were they thinking?!” and “What the hell?”) for something that not only took pride in its being a virtual parody of the classic that remotely allowed it to be a remake in the first place, but also took pleasure in disrespecting facets of the classic to various degrees AND playing the ‘everything you did, we can do better!’ game. At least four quotes from the freakin’ “The Files” book epitomize this…starting with Exhibit A.

“The plots of the original series revolved around fairly mundane elements…thefts, murders, bodyguard duties. While other ITC series such as Department S and The Persuaders(!) did their best to break out of the straitjacket of naturalistic drama, the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) seemed determined to break back in. Despite its limitations, people seemed to like it.” – Andy Lane (author of “The Files”)

Yes, people DID AND DO like it…and immensely more than most people have ‘liked’ the remake. Also, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Department S were filmed at the exact same time. So maybe, MAYBE The Persuaders(!) was more groundbreaking than those two programs with its coming a couple of years later, its actually being filmed abroad, AND sporting the likes of not only Roger Moore but also Tony Curtis. But Randall and Hopkirk will always remain my utmost favorite, as well as the utmost favorite for quite a few people, for being so much more down to earth (and there really is a lot to be said for that) than everything surrounding, preceding, and following it.

“At the risk of offending anybody who was involved in the original series, it wasn’t that great. It was made very cheaply and quickly, and for various reasons they couldn’t really capitalize on the central idea. The special effects were fairly primitive, they were limited in what they could do, and I believe that after the first few episodes they got into trouble for dealing too much with the implications of one of the characters being dead, for dealing flippantly with death. I think there was a lot of religious pressure on them. So they steered it towards being basically a fairly straight detective series.” – Charlie Higson

Oh…oh boy. Yes, with the original and ALWAYS BEST series, there were concerns about how to tackle the subject of death in a way that handled it with kid gloves and yet kept it amusing and fun at the same time. Unfortunately, the fussbudgets still had ignorant words to say about it…but that was a given the very moment Dennis Spooner and Monty Berman came up with the concept. Fussbudgets were and are always going to fussbudget…and I would bet all of the tea in the world that a certain precious ‘better than that old thing’ remake and especially its considerably more classless take on death was not at all exempt from that very same criticism that plagued the original. The grandest difference is that one version more than most certainly deserved it far and away over the other.

Also, the version that never deserved such condemnation (and for the most part never had it THAT extreme…come to think of it, the disapproval was much more of a general one than of a religious bent, all the more contrary to the above quoted malarkey) did not have all of its straight detective episodes near the end. Ok, yes, there was “The Ghost Talks”, the last episode in the production order and was a detective story through and through with a living Marty Hopkirk, but the circumstances behind that changed the story at what was practically the last second. And to be honest, that was easily the most straight detective story of the entire twenty-six episode lot…the other twenty-five episodes have such a marvelous blend of detective, supernatural, comedy, drama, and even a smidge of absurdity in a couple of episodes, that you really cannot hang a genre label on the original and BEST series, no matter how hard people like Higson may try.

“The over-riding impression left by the original series is that, apart from the seedy offices of the detective agency, it took place almost entirely in hotel corridors, anonymous apartments, and warehouses, with the occasional excursion into the Elstree back lot for variety.” – Andy Lane

I wonder if he does his shopping at the Tesco miserably occupying the former ‘dreaded’ Elstree back lot. I have never cared at all for the tone in these quotes and the other to follow…both things, as well as the crass attitude towards original cast and crew, and my seeing the third episode/”The Best Years Of Your Death” for the first ever AND only time (all of my 2004 BBC America viewing AND intro to the franchise…no, I’m not at all proud…was the second series/season) in all of its fart joke laden glory, among other very off-putting things, are what royally turned me off the remake roughly ten years ago. I cannot believe I was considering doing seventeen blog articles for this rubbish. By the way, can you believe the above three quotes plus this upcoming one were printed next to pictures from the original and BEST series?

All the more proof that there are some things you just can’t make up.

“There was a sort of dinginess to it, it was all quite downbeat and, well, while it wasn’t exactly cheap looking, it wasn’t expensive looking either. It wasn’t something like The Avengers, which was an absolute classic and was very stylish and had a lot of memorable bits and memorable characters. A lot of people can’t even remember who the original actors were.” – Charlie Higson

Okay, that very last sentence’s syntax and juxtaposition makes it sound like it is talking about the Avengers actors (and as you can see in the above picture, I did not alter it at all). But it is aimed at the original Randall and Hopkirk actors, and what a load of “Our show is infinitely better than that old, wretched show ever hoped to be.” horse manure. I am sitting here gobsmacked as I am typing this…I already knew, for the most part, the remake people very unnecessarily took it upon themselves to deride the original in “The Files”, but I had actually forgotten how bold, brassy, and condescending it all was/is. What a difference not having read these quotes in a decade makes.

By the way, if the original Randall and Hopkirk actors were and are ‘not so memorable’, then I don’t think there would have been a Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Appreciation Society AND conventions in the late 80s and early 90s, nor would Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre have been receiving numerous upon numerous letters and autograph requests all through the years, and not just for Randall and Hopkirk but other projects as well. Mike Pratt has also been very fondly remembered throughout the years by cast, crew, and fans alike, and once had a terrific fan site devoted to him. Not to mention that if Pratt was so ‘forgettable’, his image would not have (sadly) been used in the remake. Also, the very same sets (save the Randall and Hopkirk office, Jeff Randall’s flat, and Jeannie (and Marty) Hopkirk’s apartment) happened to be used interchangeably between Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) AND The Avengers!!

One teeny-tiny bit of praise I will dish out is that Vic Reeves did actually compliment the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) in “The Files”, stating that he loved it and always counted it among his favorite shows. While that was nice to see in a book that is otherwise cancer to the original and BEST series, I still say AND always will say that Kenneth Cope’s Marty Hopkirk has a hundred metric tons more class and style in his pinky than Vic Reeves’ Marty has in his entire way overgrown man-brat being.

And that there is the keyword that separates the two versions…CLASS. The original and BEST (I don’t care how much of a ‘broken record’ I tend to be with this, because it is the truth) Randall and Hopkirk may not have had the most extensive collection of sets, nor the most fancy, overblown, computer-enhanced effects, but it had class. And that class took on several forms…the enduring camaraderie and friendship between Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope, and Annette Andre (and really, the grand majority of the supporting cast and crew) on and off the set; the bonafide hard work and effort (and nonstop at that, given the cast and crew had absolutely next to no break in the fourteen months they worked on the series) that went into each performance in each episode, the genuine writing behind each script, the sheer heart that went into making the characters exquisitely likable (something that cannot said at all about ANY of the characters in the remake) and beautifully only human, leaving certain things to the imagination, not resorting to boorish humor and situations, and most especially noteworthy of all, nobody, NOBODY involved with the original Randall and Hopkirk went out of their way to bash another series, cast, crew, production, this or that to prop their own. That said, if considerably less bashing of the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) had occurred on the part of the remake people, as well as none of the terrible attitudes said to be had by the remakers towards any and all original cast and crew contacted, then I would have left well enough alone. But if supporting and defending the forever BEST Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and its forever great people makes me a ‘fanatic’ that cannot be described with words from a dictionary from the 1950s per a quite unnecessary comment about the remake on a website to which I refuse to link, so be it. At least I am in remarkably good company with the likes of Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre, that is if ‘fanatics’ includes any and everyone who frowns upon the remake. And given the context of that comment, I think it should, and I know that Mr. Cope and Ms. Andre most definitely AND rightfully do not approve of the remake themselves. And I cannot blame them one iota between how one of them was treated when approached about participating in the remake and how two downright despicable characters in its very first episode/”Drop Dead” were named after Cope and Andre…Kenneth Crisby and Annette Stylus. Note how they did not just usurp Cope’s first name, but also his initials. Coincidence? I honestly cannot help but think not.

Kenneth Cope: “Did you see the remake they did?”

Cyril Frankel: “No.”

Annette Andre: “Yes.”

KC: “It was totally unbelievable.”

AA: “I saw three episodes. I couldn’t believe it..such junk.”

CF: “I was surprised they didn’t consult Monty (Berman) and myself.”

KC: “Yeah..they asked me, and I refused.”

CF: “Good.”

KC: “They used stuff which we put in anyway. They shouldn’t have done it.” – “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” commentary, 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set.

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“What I found with the remake was that the relationship and chemistry between the three people was absolutely non-existent. It really was non-existent, there was no relationship.” – Annette Andre, TV Zone #218/August 2007, “The Ghost Talks and the Widow” by Anthony Brown.

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“There was a remake…I nearly got killed because of it. The problem was Michael and I could act without being conceited in any way. But those two guys, they’re stand-up comedians, they’re very very funny, and I’ve seen them, they’re good, I like them, they make me laugh…but they can’t act. And I was in Liverpool in a taxi, and this guy had seen the remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), and he was telling me how much he hated it, how much he loathed it, and that it was no good and not anything like the original. But unfortunately, *cocks his head* he was doing it like that, talking to me in the back, and he hit a bus head-on. And he could have killed me…that would have been amusing, I suppose, in a funny way. The ghost got killed by the remake!

They wanted me to do something in it, and they were a bit rude and silly. It’s so easy to be pleasant in life, and I got thrown about a bit. The ghost in that long coat* was so wrong. If they’d ask me to visit and give advice, or offer stuff freely and with love, I would have told them “Don’t let him wear the long coat, it looks STUPID!”. Anyway, he was supposed to jump in next to Michael Pratt, who was the original gentleman, who is now a ghost and in white, and because he did die for real, and the idea was he was a ghost and stuff. And they wanted me to come into the scene, but I refused. Anyway, he stood next to Mike and said “I am a better ghost than you.” And I just…they were abusing dialogue that was already in the scene directed at me originally. And I didn’t like it because it was taking the mickey out of Michael Pratt. And his estate was there, and somebody should have stood up and said no. And I did, but they used the bit, but I wasn’t in the scene, because I was supposed to make it a threesome as a figure in white, but I wouldn’t do it.

I don’t think it worked. They spent so much money on it…they spent more on one episode than we did on the whole of fourteen. And they had special effects, they had special effects which were great and much better than ours. But I’m very fond of when my ghost goes a bit faint when he walks through a wall because, as I told you, it’s on a sheet of glass behind the camera. But I got very fond of that because it was pleasant. We were in the hotel corridor once looking for an escaped person or something, and I’m jumping in the rooms, because it’s nighttime and to see who’s in. And I jump in this room, nothing, and the next one, nothing there…and I come out the next one, and I say “I’m terribly sorry, madam!”. Obviously, there’s a woman there, and it’s all off-screen, you don’t see it. It’s just a funny thing…it was my idea. They nicked it in the remake, and they disturb a sort of terrible, dreadful, perverted sex scene, which is unnecessary. What we prided ourselves on..much later, not at the time because we didn’t know it was going to happen..but now, the whole family can watch our show. And nobody ever, ever, EVER is going to be upset as a parent about their kiddies watching it with them. They’re not going to be embarrassed. I may sound a bit prune-faced and silly, but I believe there are some standards left.” – Kenneth Cope, “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

Caroline “That sound you just heard? A worldwide mob of teenyboppers and twentysomethings all breathing a sigh of relief that I left David Tennant alone.” Smith

* – That was/is what I call a Neo Coat, for it was very popular thanks to The Matrix being a super hot property at the time. Nothing SCREAMS 1999/2000 like a Neo Coat, and at one point during my high school days, I swear I saw at least five-ten different people wearing those very coats practically every school day.  They allowed remake Marty to rock that damned thing, and yet they had the bloody nerve to deem the original Randall and Hopkirk ‘dated’. That alone is funnier than all of the ‘jokes’ throughout the remake combined.

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Randall and Hopkirk (Revisited) OR Calling All Randall and Hopkirk Ghosts And Ghostesses!

The moment I first learned of this project in one of two Randall and Hopkirk Facebook groups (this one, as well as that one…warning, they are both private groups and you will of course need a Facebook account to join) I just proudly joined a few days ago, I most immediately became jazzed.

Randall and Hopkirk (Revisited) is a much hopeful revamp of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) that will feature Jeff’s daughter, Rebecca, taking the place of her father, who has been killed, and none other than the spirit of ‘Uncle’ Marty Hopkirk himself will help her solve her father’s murder! With the approval of the one, the only Kenneth Cope to the point of his being an active participant and will be featured in the final product, as well as also the approval of Annette Andre, this project is going to be absolutely AMAZING. I am looking quite forward, to say the least, to the end result of this project, which I get the feeling is going to really, REALLY school a particular remake on how you revive Randall and Hopkirk.

But alas, they need funds…£3,000 worth of them, to be specific. And while I wish I could donate that to the last pence and/or make it appear out of thin air like a roulette ball in a Monte Carlo casino, I can’t. Plus, it would not be right nor fair to take away opportunities from other fellow Randall and Hopkirk ghosts and ghostesses to get their names in the credits, autographs, character sponsorships, among other smashing things. That is where each and every last one of you who reads this comes in…even if all you can afford to give is £5 or £10, PLEASE DONATE IT! Each and every last little bit goes a long way and will be much, MUCH appreciated by the Randall and Hopkirk (Revisited) crew and cast. For £5, you can get your name in the credits, for £10, you can receive an autograph in addition to the credits thank you and acknowledgement, and for more and beyond, bigger and better perks. No matter how much you donate, everyone will win…from the cast and crew for coming up with and producing a longtime much needed addition to the true Randall and Hopkirk mythos, to the admirers like myself and you who have LONGED for a sequel of sorts to accompany the original and forever BEST Randall and Hopkirk.

Oh, and by the way, if you happen to have any sort of a social media platform, please, PLEASE spread the word of Randall and Hopkirk (Revisited) as I have here. They need the love, support, and word of mouth every bit as much as the money to make happen what I believe is going to be an utmost glorious offering to the Randall and Hopkirk world and community.

Caroline “It’s about time, it’s about space…in more ways than one, a certain remake is going to get put in its place!” Smith 

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“My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” OR White Is The New Black

Foreword

That took me awhile, didn’t it? Well, in order to put a lot of love into these, time is a requirement…a whole lot of precious time. It takes a lot of patience and time to do it right (child). But okay, the cheesy 80s (actually and originally 60s) song reference aside, I really feel it best to take considerably more time with these versus other posts. Smashing episode, good episode, or lesser episode, in the realm of classic and BEST Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), there is honestly no such thing as a worst episode. I like to think of this and each and every single one of the twenty-five reviews/analyses to come as love letters to a series that not only was the first and STILL practically only ghost detective show ever, and therefore as unique as a television show and franchise can be, but also the best portrayal of a ghost and ghostly matters ever seen on any screen that, despite having a little bit of everything, was also much undeservedly downtrodden by critics and cynics and tends to be sorely overlooked at times to this day and forever.

In the process of penning this first review/analysis, I had to not only get a feel for the formula, but also make the decision of what to include and exclude. And I decided that shooting locations (for the most part), the vehicles used, and the further careers of guest stars (again for the most part) can and should be left to the utmost magnificent, can never be praised enough Randall and Hopkirk (Declassified) AND Avengerland (which not only features a plethora of shooting locations for Randall and Hopkirk, but also those of other ITC/Cult favorites!). In addition to my thoughts and observations, I figured history to be fair game too…so without further ado…

Introduction

I wrapped my head all over the ways I could have introduced “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner”, and I honestly felt there was no better way than to completely delve into the history of all that went into what “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” heralded to Britain and eventually the world. So not only does the following further explain why this entire review/analysis took some time to put together, but is also an article within an article.

A Brief History of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) OR Legend Of A Show

In 1966, the story was unfolding…in the corridors of power, people were talking. Specifically Dennis Spooner and Monty Berman, having met while working at ITC (Intercorporated Television Company internationally, Independent Television Company in America) and on The Baron, decided to form their own production outfit called Scoton. It was a creative partnership that would last four years, and right before those years, Spooner had already made quite the name for himself between not only penning episodes of The Baron, but also and especially creating Man In A Suitcase. Spooner’s next creation would be Scoton’s first production and ITC’s closest thing to a live action superhero show during its 60s heyday…The Champions, which through some interesting twists of fate, was also virtually the genesis of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). Not only did the near-entire stable of writers and directors employed by the eventual Randall and Hopkirk production all assemble over time through The Champions’ own production, but also a certain Annette Andre tried out for the role of Sharon Macready alongside five other girls, only losing to Alexandra Bastedo (who went on to play Carol Latimer, Cecil Purley’s assistant in “Whoever Heard Of A Ghost Dying?”, and she and Andre have remained steadfast friends). This assembly of writers and directors included greats within the ITC circle such as Tony Williamson (who Dennis Spooner had known since National Service days), Donald James, Gerald Kelsey, Cyril Frankel, Jeremy Summers, Leslie Norman, Roy Ward Baker, and Robert Tronson. As the sun set upon The Champions and its fountain of action and imagination in late 1967, a new spirit was manifesting…one fueled by Dennis Spooner and Monty Berman brainstorming ideas for the head of ITC, Lew Grade’s requested proposal for another up and coming series to follow The Champions.

Dennis Spooner (pictured on the right, and courtesy of Television Heaven) held a longtime fascination with spiritualism and the paranormal, which coupled with certain favorite films of Spooner’s, made a series idea light bulb explode over his head.

“I was interested in the idea of ghosts, but there hadn’t been anything about ghosts except for Topper. I remember a marvelous film called Angel On My Shoulder. Claude Rains was the Devil, and I think Paul Muni was in it. Paul died and came back to Earth, and Claude Rains was invisible to everybody and made Paul do things. The idea of someone walking around and not being able to be seen was what I liked. Then Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) had overtones of Here Comes Mr. Jordan, Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, and so on. It became a detective show because when you do a television series a detective is always good for a lot of stories.” – Dennis Spooner, Fantasy Empire #3/Spring 1982, Dennis Spooner Interview by John Peel, as quoted on Randall and Hopkirk Revisited, 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set.

And standing in the path of the inventive explosion was none other than Monty Berman (pictured on the left, and courtesy of The British Entertainment History Project).

“Dennis and I worked in adjoining offices at the Elstree Studios. One day, he had an idea for a series which was rather unusual, and when he told me about it, I had to agree with him! Whenever we were trying to sell a show, Dennis would write something like a six-line outline, and I would go and put the idea to Lew Grade in his office at 7 AM. Lew would say “Yes.” or “No.”, just like that. Because films had been made along similar themes, I was confident that Randall and Hopkirk would work.”Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) by Geoff Tibballs and SFX #161/October 2007, “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” by Steve O’Brien.

Spooner and Berman worked fervently on what would be more than a mere six-line outline…which was at first drastically different from what would actually make the small screen.

  • – Jeff Randall was ‘Steve Randall’ and his age was imagined to be in his late twenties. His original description also included that he was ‘ambitious’ and preferred to settle arguments with his fists instead of reason. He is also described as ‘headstrong and fair’. But then it was said of ‘Steve’ that ‘he has respect for the law, but will go his own way if he has to’…and Jeff, contrary to what certain Scotland Yard inspectors would want us to think, did the best he could to stay on the right side of the law.
  • – Marty Hopkirk remained the same in name, but is described as being in his late twenties as well (particularly, ‘around the same age as his partner’), and also chubby and accident prone.
  • – There was no sign or mention of the Jean ‘Jeannie’ Hopkirk character, with the apparent notion that our detective pair were supposed to both be bachelors.
  • – “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” was plotted to have Jef..I mean, Steve Randall be highly optimistic for that one case that would be Randall and Hopkirk: Investigators’ big break, while Marty Hopkirk would have been happy working the meager cases they get and be fine with the way things and life were. They get that one enormous case, only for Marty to be killed during it. While Jeff Randall certainly retained that optimism (as most especially revealed in “All Work And No Pay”), he had no problem with small/easy cases like the divorce ones that are the meat of he and Marty’s overall tasks. On the other hand, the Marty Hopkirk we know and love is practically a 180 from this one, right down to worrying more about life and finances than being comfortable with them AND not being a fan of rinky-dink cases (particularly said divorce ones, as revealed in “Whoever Heard Of A Ghost Dying?”).
  • – After otherwise staying practically true to what would become the actual storyline of “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” (other than the talk about Steve/Jeff and Marty blaming themselves for the circumstances of Marty’s murder…that certainly did not happen, at least not obviously for we are not mind readers), there is another diversion, and a quite hefty one at that, where it is revealed that Jeff cannot see or hear Marty, but that does not stop Marty from trying as hard as he can to communicate with his best friend. And evidently, in this proposed state, the show and each episode would have revolved around what different way Marty was to going to try to convey this warning or that crucial clue to Steve/Jeff and overcome Steve/Jeff not able to converse with him at all.

All of the above/bulleted courtesy of Time Screen #14/August 1989 – “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” by Vanessa M. Bergman, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) by Geoff Tibballs, and Randall and Hopkirk (Declassified).

One of the first changes, if not THE first change, made to the initial outline was the revision of Randall and Hopkirk being bachelors, with the Jean ‘Jeannie’ Hopkirk character added for the potential show to follow the ‘two males, one female’ group formula set by The Champions. But that formula was being poured into a mold being broken by one of the males of course being a ghost…and there were, astoundingly, concerns about that. Some of the ITC heads felt that one of the leads being a dead man turned wisecracking, comical specter would be perceived to be in bad taste. One of those heads was more than most likely Lord Lew Grade (Pictured on the right and courtesy of Travalanche.) himself, who reportedly frowned upon the overall idea of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). The project was cursed before the light of day even touched its very presence…or so it seemed.

As if like a gale force breeze out of nowhere, someone rushed in to save Randall and Hopkirk from Grade’s potential exorcism. That someone being the one, the only Ralph Smart, a creator, producer, director, writer, perceived father figure at ITC, and an extremely crucial role-player in the very existence of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). If it had not been for the utmost approval of Smart to the degree of immediately AND enthusiastically wanting to scribe the pilot/what would become “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” and “But What A Sweet Little Room”, Lew Grade would not have budged from his stance and green lighted the program’s casting and production to commence.

“He (Smart) saw the concept and thought it was terrific. He said “I wanna write the pilot!”. I was delighted that he wrote the pilot because that convinced Lew that we should make the series.” – Dennis Spooner, Time Screen #6/June 1986, “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Only You Jeff! Only You!” by Andrew Pixley and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) by Geoff Tibballs.

Casting for Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) began with ITC probing around for who should play Jeff Randall. Supposedly, while penning his scripts for the series, Tony Williamson had Dave Allen, an Irish stand-up comedian, in mind. One has to wonder if Donald James was also thinking of Allen with this line of Jeff’s said to Kevin O’Malley in “Money To Burn”…

“There’s a bit o’ Irish in me and all!”

Randall ended up being a quite easy role to fill…Dennis Spooner and Cyril Frankel had both worked with Mike Pratt, an Elstree Studios stable regular who, since his ITC debut in Danger Man’s “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove”, (and he also appeared in the same series’ “A Most Dangerous Game” and “The Black Book”) guested in several ITC property single episodes, mostly as a heavy/henchman. Pratt likely caught Spooner’s eye for casting potential when he was featured in an episode of The Champions titled “Twelve Hours”. Frankel had no apprehensions about such a choice.

“It was already clear who was going to play Randall. We all knew Mike Pratt, we knew he was right.” – Cyril Frankel, TV Zone Special #14/June 1994: Cyril Frankel Interview by David Richardson.

And to say Mike Pratt would turn out to be a perfect fit was and will always only be the tip of the iceberg.

“Michael I found very, very enthusiastic towards the show and people on the show..the crew and people like that. Always very helpful, very helpful. And I think he was a great asset to the show.” – Ray Austin, Mike Pratt Remembered, 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set.

The Jeannie Hopkirk role went every bit as swimmingly to fill…Annette Andre (who had trained to be a ballerina at the age of four!) was another Elstree stable favorite who had seen her fair share of ITC guest slots too, starting with “The Saint Walks In” episode of The Saint (and from that moment forward, Andre and Roger Moore famously remained the best of friends), and including The Baron’s “Roundabout” and The Prisoner’s “It’s Your Funeral”. As with Mike Pratt, The Champions is again where Dennis Spooner first became acquainted with Annette Andre when, as mentioned earlier, she tried out for the part of Sharon Macready. Cyril Frankel, as well as near most of the ITC circle, was quite familiar with Andre himself, making the decision very straightforward.

“We’d all worked with her. She had that reliability and warmth that we wanted in that character.” – Cyril Frankel, TV Zone Special #14/June 1994, Cyril Frankel Interview by David Richardson.

Annette Andre was in Scotland when she received the call from her agent about the Jeannie Hopkirk role. She was not sure about it and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) at first, but the more her agent told her, the more intriguing both the part and program became. Annette Andre still could not help but be slightly hesitant due to fear of being typecast. But the more she rolled the show and idea around in her head, the more Andre opened up to how it sounded fun and different, and that alongside the fact that she had previously worked with Mike Pratt on This Is My Street, a TV movie, in 1963, and a BBC TV play not long after that sealed the deal. (And Andre would go on to work with Pratt yet again on one episode of The Brothers before his untimely passing in 1976.)

The final piece of the main casting puzzle proved to be rather elusive. There were no automatic choices for who should play Marty Hopkirk, and it soon became clear that the role would most likely go to someone then outside of the regular ITC/Elstree stable. The solution would not reveal itself until, of all things, a 1968 springtime evening visit to one of London’s then most trendy restaurants. At Trattoria Terrazza in Soho, Cyril Frankel was seated at a table adjacent to where Kenneth Cope was making his wife, Renny, laugh. Frankel immensely liked what he saw and overheard, and within minutes thought “That’s it! We have found the ghost!”, rapidly putting in a phone call to the casting director, Bob Leonard.

“This is why I owe Cyril Frankel such a lot. I owe him at least a dinner. Because if you want to get on in show business, folks, take your wife out to dinner and make her laugh, because that’s what happened.” – Kenneth Cope, 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set commentary for “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner”.

The next day, Cope received a phone call himself from Leonard, and was told “Kenny, we want you to star in a series where you get killed in the first episode!”…

“That casting director must have waited his whole life to say that!” – Kenneth Cope, 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set commentary for “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner”.

…“But you come back as a ghost.”

At that stage, Cope was best known for That Was The Week That Was and Coronation Street (Where he played Jed Stone, a crook quickly transformed into an adored comedy relief character, and pictured on the left courtesy of Coronation Street: Back On The Street.), with his only work for a Dennis Spooner related property then being the “The Bird Who Knew Too Much” episode of The Avengers, and was more than most likely remembered by Spooner from that stint, completing the main casting puzzle…or was that truly so?

Kenneth Cope was also told over the phone that ITC had actually already made up their mind about the Marty Hopkirk role, but they still wanted to audition him anyway. The audition, which took place on either a Saturday or Sunday and consisted of the first ever graveyard meeting between Jeff Randall and Marty Hopkirk, saw Cope perform as Hopkirk without what would become the (in)famous wig and also encounter Mike Pratt for the first ever time. Not only did Cope instantly land the part, but Pratt was also gracious enough to stop by Cope’s home right after the audition and let him know he had won the role, a gesture Cope has never forgotten, and sparking a swift and enduring friendship between the two men.

“And we did get on…we could be doing a scene, and I’d look at his eyes and he’d look at mine, and I could tell where he was going. I could speak to him, you see, quickly something off the top of my head, to get him back on track, and he would do exactly the same for me. And we never, ever, ever had to do a retake because we overlapped, or we got it wrong, or whatever because we got each other out of the mess. Because we knew, we were trying to control it, we knew what we were doing. He was such a nice man, and we did get on so well. And I do still miss him…we used to see each other on a Friday night, usually in a West End restaurant to wind the week up. And he had his lady with him, I had my lady, and we used to have dinner together, and it was very, very nice.” – Kenneth Cope, “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

“I think he and Kenny were born to play on the show with each other, born to play.” – Ray Austin, Mike Pratt Remembered, 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set.

Kenneth Cope and Mike Pratt’s instantaneous rapport was not the only such singular thing on the newly formed set of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

“Annette was nice to work with as well, she was charming and beautiful, and she looked great. Socially, I used to go around with her quite a bit…I used to introduce her when we were out together “You’ve met my widow, haven’t you?”, and because she really basically was my widow.” – Kenneth Cope, “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

In addition to the very often used hall, office, library, and other stately room interiors seen in many upon MANY an ITC offering, three permanent sets created solely for the production of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) made up the overall Randall and Hopkirk set as a whole…the Randall and Hopkirk: Investigators office, Jeff Randall’s flat, and Jean (and Marty) Hopkirk’s apartment. They all utilized forced perspective photographic backdrops of buildings outside the windows, and they could be illuminated to simulate nighttime scenes. As for the exteriors…the Randall and Hopkirk office exterior was, in reality, Adams Furniture Fabrics, a retail soft furnishings outlet based on Springfield Road in Harrow, London, although the doorway actually led to some flats. Although best known as the Randall and Hopkirk office exterior, Adams Furniture Fabrics was also utilized for Budgie a couple of years later. Unfortunately, as of 1996, the site where Adams Furniture Fabrics once stood began to house a shopping center, with the Adams building having been demolished years earlier. Equally tragic is Elstree Studios itself also no longer existing, with a Tesco Superstore currently occupying twelve acres of former Elstree land.

When Lew Grade approved Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) for production, it made for a first in ITC history…never before in the company’s existence had Grade’s finance been promised for not one, but TWO programs back-to-back. Randall and Hopkirk’s sibling program was Department S, and had been given the green light two weeks before Randall and Hopkirk itself was upheld (the delay no doubt being Grade’s aforementioned apprehension about the concept). The two projects were to be filmed practically side-by-side, as well as share members of behind-the-scenes crews, most notably Cyril Frankel, who would first become creative consultant for Department S, with that position sticking for Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). Department S began filming approximately two weeks before Randall and Hopkirk, and Frankel divided his creative consulting and directing duties between the two shows with next to no period of rest.

“I was involved because Lew Grade said to me, “Cyril, if your name comes up on the screen as director, I know I don’t have to worry, I can sell it.”. Which was nice of him.” – Cyril Frankel, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) by Geoff Tibballs.

About halfway/two-thirds through the production of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Cyril Frankel would give more priority towards Department S. It is quite likely that Frankel shifted his focus onto Department S in the later half of the Randall and Hopkirk production due to being outvoted on wanting more serious, even ‘hardboiled’ stories versus the cast and Dennis Spooner and even ITC desiring stories leaning more towards dramedy with slightly more comedy than drama. At the time, Cyril Frankel was a massive fan of Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain novels, and really wanted the feel and atmosphere of such works reflected in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)’s plots.

“I started off with certain intentions which became somewhat lost as the series progressed. When I wasn’t directing an episode, Kenneth Cope was apt to make his scenes more comic and that led to a little friction between us. My idea for Randall and Hopkirk was to make the series fairly realistic with this afterlife fantasy element, and the comedy was supposed to come from the ghost, while Monty (Berman) wanted a private detective side of things as serious as Humphrey Bogart. I think I got all that in the pilot.” – Cyril Frankel, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) by Geoff Tibballs.

In the 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set’s bonus documentary, Randall and Hopkirk Revisited, Frankel admitted that Kenneth Cope had been right all along about the need for comedy.

In addition to including more comedy, Cope also wanted to explore and incorporate more supernatural/ethereal elements into Marty Hopkirk’s character and being…but was unfairly held down by ITC.

“I’d like to have seen some fantastic things in the show, such as showing what happened to me in Limbo. I wanted to come back and say I’ve just had drinks with such and such who’s dead, and make out I was having a great time wherever I was. But they wouldn’t let me stick those sort of things in. I think they were over-careful about the subject of my death. I suppose it was a bit of a taboo subject.” – Kenneth Cope, TV Zone Special #7/November 1992 – Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Grave-Talk From Kenneth Cope by Graeme Wood.

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) was a very meticulous production, and right down to the actual shooting. As with all other ITC properties, there was as much location shooting within London, particularly West London (which was adjacent to Elstree Studios), as there was on-set shooting at Elstree. According to Ken Baker, the assistant director, and Malcolm Christopher, the production manager, on the 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set’s Randall and Hopkirk Revisited documentary, location shooting in London was a lot easier back then because of good cooperation in general from most people, as well as on/off help from the police. But it was still dreaded because of having to stop the traffic, which could be a pain, and most particularly when the police were not as supportive as they were on other days.

Time was every bit as much a concern as the budget was with many an ITC project…and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) was absolutely no exception to that, especially under Monty Berman’s watch, figuratively AND literally. He was always ‘hovering’ over the set with his pocket watch in hand, ready to point to it if needed to urge cast and crew alike, to make sure everything wrapped up on time and to beat the teams of the other shows in production (particularly Department S and The Avengers) at that time who might have needed the same sets.

“You got Big Brother now, but what we had in those days, or what we imagined, was Monty Berman, our producer, was stuck in his office looking rather worried or whatever because Michael and I were trying stuff. And we got it in time, there was never any problems. But he had a monitor there and was watching what was going-on on the floor. And I think Annette noticed him once..he came down with a stopwatch, and seeing how much time was wasted. You couldn’t really veer too much off the script because of shooting time. You had to get so many minutes into the can every day. And if you do mess about, and play, and get giggles and whatever, or put stuff in that doesn’t work, you have to go back and redo it, you’re just wasting time. But our stuff, with Michael and I, because we were so immersed deeply in the plot and everything, it worked for us, and we always got it in time.

I think it worked with us because Michael was genuine, I was genuine, and we were actors from repertory companies and from way back in drama school, and we made it believable. You got to make a ghost believable, and you got to make a fella who’s talking to a ghost believable because Michael used to talk on his own for ages, and it was pleasant. It worked because both of us tried so hard. And we did. We sat together for ages checking the script and writing it.” – Kenneth Cope, “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

While Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope took to Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) like ducks to water with not only their acting, but also writing and contributing ideas, Annette Andre stood on the shore and was not as involved with the creative processes at first. But that changed after a couple of episodes, and with the encouragement, support, and even protection of Pratt and Cope.

“We worked well together, and I liked it because they (Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope) were inventive and creative. And we’d often spend time together after the day was finished…stay on at the studio to discuss the script or what was coming next or possible ideas that we could give to particularly Ken and Mike because they were very good at that. And in fact, I think it was really through them that my part became enlarged somewhat because they didn’t involve me a lot in the beginning. Women weren’t involved a lot in those days. And gradually, when we all talked about it, and I said you know, she should be doing this and this, so I became more involved in the series. But we had good chemistry.” – Annette Andre, “A Sentimental Journey”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

The twenty-six episode entirety of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) was filmed over the course of fourteen months, from June 1968 through August 1969, with next to no break for nearly everyone involved. Not even on Sundays, which were used for pick-up shots, I.E. any missed bits and scenes from a previous episode, NOT the then current one. Needless to say, this took its toll on the team over the course of the production, and most especially the three main cast members.

“We never had a break. In today’s world, you do so many episodes and then you have a break. In those days, we just went straight through the whole lot. It was a tough routine. From half six in the morning, I’d be there in the makeup room, and we wouldn’t get away till perhaps seven at night. And you’re doing that every single day, every week, every month…you need a break. So by the end of the series, everyone was starting to get on edge with each other, and that made it a bit tough.” – Annette Andre, Cult TV: The Golden Age of ITC by Robert Sellers.

“That’s how we did it…we just looked after each other. Michael was intrepid until he broke his legs, I was alright until I had to carry on me own, and Annette was brilliant until she was overtired. People don’t realize making these series…” – Kenneth Cope, “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

Just like Monty Berman and his pocket watch, Dennis Spooner himself spent a considerable amount of time on and around the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) set. And he was much more-so a common sight, naturally with his associate producer duties, than almost all of the other writers combined. The exceptions being Ray Austin, a stuntman turned director who not only directed “A Disturbing Case”, “Whoever Heard Of A Ghost Dying?”, “The House On Haunted Hill”, “When The Spirit Moves You”, “Money To Burn”, and “You Can Always Find A Fall Guy, but also wrote “That’s How Murder Snowballs”; and Mike Pratt, who penned “A Disturbing Case”.

“We didn’t see much of the writers whilst filming. Dennis Spooner, who was the creator of the series, was on the set a lot because he was an associate producer, and he became a very, very good friend. We used to have dinner together. Writing is a very lonely job, and when they weren’t socializing , they were thinking up ideas for those two daft detectives. We did get on well with (the writers) when they appeared.” – Kenneth Cope, Time Screen #11/Spring 1988, “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): The Ghost Talks – An Interview With Kenneth Cope” by Annette Buckley

The set of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) became something akin to a haven for other Elstree actors, most particularly those from the neighboring Department S set. On the 2007 Network R&H(D) Special Edition DVD set’s commentary for “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner”, Kenneth Cope recounted that they not only embraced such visits, but also offered cups of champagne to their callers. Guest performers for the episode then being filmed also got to partake of a cup of champagne at 11:00 AM, provided on the part of Kenneth Cope as a welcome to the show and working with Cope, Mike Pratt, and Annette Andre, as well as relax the guest and make them happy.

“Just a cupful (of champagne) to people who were visiting and looking after them because if you’re visiting a set of a strange production, you are nervous. And if people make you feel welcome, you give it your best instead of saying “What’s the matter? Why aren’t they talking?”…we made them feel at home.” – Kenneth Cope, “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

One of the most frequent visitors to the Randall and Hopkirk set was Department S cast-er, Joel Fabiani, who very apparently and understandably just simply had to get away time and again.

“We all liked each other and got on very well. Because in some of the series, my God, the cast were at each other’s throats all the time. Joel Fabiani from Department S used to come on our set and say “I’ve just come over to sit with you for awhile, because it’s so tense over there on our set.” He always thought it was much more fun than his own set. We had a lot of fun and laughs. And the crew were terrific. They would do anything for you and didn’t pull the plug if we ran ten minutes over. And Ken would make you laugh. In the story, you’re not supposed to know he’s there, and then he’d do something and we’d all end up in peals of laughter, and have to do the whole take again..” – Annette Andre, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) by Geoff Tibballs, Cult TV: The Golden Age of ITC by Robert Sellers, and SFX #161/October 2007, “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” by Steve O’Brien.

As Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) maintained a strong, consistent quality of entertainment product in front of the cameras, it equally strove in its reputation of being one of the friendliest, most drama free projects behind those same cameras.

“There was never, ever, ever cross words. Never. Or shouting or racket on the set, because as I have said before, there was a live guy, very good, a dead guy, who was not so good (chuckles), and a woman, a female, Annette Andre. And there was never any conflict. There was never anyone who said “He’s got more lines than me!”.” – Kenneth Cope, “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

In addition to an utmost bountiful beaucoup of laughter and jokes between the performers making its rounds on and off the set day after day, there was even a song.

“We made up a song..do you want to hear it? Do you want to hear this song? Listen to this.. “Randall and Hopkirk and widower Jean, together again on the telly machine!” *chuckles* That was wonderful…we used to sing that on the set. I mean, it was a bit camp, but that doesn’t matter..it was fun.” – Harry ‘Aitch’ Fielder (Mike Pratt’s stand-in), Randall and Hopkirk Revisited, 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set.

And that very camaraderie extended beyond the set…to the dressing rooms and even at least one other program. While working on Randall and Hopkirk, Kenneth Cope also appeared in one other Avengers episode, “The Curious Case of the Countless Clues”. Linda ‘Tara King’ Thorson’s dressing room was next door to Cope’s (his room was between Thorson and Annette Andre, with Mike Pratt’s across the hall), and she gave him her electric kettle when The Avengers wrapped up its long run, as Cope recalled.

“Linda Thorson, God bless her. She was leaving The Avengers, and I was still doing Randall and Hopkirk, and she gave me her electric kettle as a going away present, so that meant I could have hot tea. We had adjacent dressing rooms, she was leaving, and I got the kettle. Silly childish things like that are important to me.”TV Zone #218/August 2007, “The Ghost Talks and the Widow” by Anthony Brown.

“I thought it was a very touching thing to do, because you know, when people are kind to you, you remember them all your life.” – “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

Yes indeed Mr. Cope, as I can most personally attest.

To this day and forever, thank you Mr. Cope.

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)’s overall production was a wrap around August 1969, with the only things left to do being some very last minute edits and clean-ups to various episodes. The show’s official on-air debut was made in September 1969, only to unfortunately (and unnecessarily) be critically lambasted out of the gate. The Daily Telegraph called it “A farrago of childish rot.”, and The Sun said “Its chief virtue is its extremely attractive colour.”. Even more unfortunately, letters of complaints about the ‘tastelessness’ of the concept reared their ugly heads on at least a couple of letters pages in the TV Times. And to add salt to the literally critical wound, only London Weekend Television is officially known to have carried the show in its 26 episode entirety during its premiere run, with nearly all other ATV/ITV affiliates throughout the UK either not showing the entire series, being sporadic with the episodes they did choose and/or were able to initially air, and/or not even airing the series until several months to one or two years later(!!).

“See, Randall and Hopkirk, it was filmed in the dark, we didn’t know what we had. Obviously, it has been successful because it’s lasted so long. But then, we didn’t know. There was a four month delay before it was shown on the screens, so we couldn’t get any reaction from anybody. We made sure visiting people gave their best, and because we had some control. And everybody enjoyed it. But nobody knew whether it was going to be a hit or whatever. In fact, the critics, when it first came out, panned it. They said it was rubbish, and because there was so much good stuff coming out of Elstree around it, it was a bit odd. But it has survived. And we did shoot it in the dark.” – Kenneth Cope, “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

Despite critics and naysayers’ best attempts at a disparaging downpour upon Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), the majority of audiences who did manage to see the program during its premiere run and the first repeats absolutely adored it. And although not loud enough to be heard at the time, there were wishes for a second series/season. Such aspirations were actually shared between viewers and the main cast members in spite of exhaustion and having to move on to other roles and projects.

“We did all of the shows and then just walked away from it. It was another three or four months before the public got to see it, and by that time the entire team had disbanded and moved onto other projects. I think that’s why there was never a second series. By the time interest had grown with the second repeats, it was far too late to go back to it.” – Kenneth Cope, TV Zone Special #7/November 1992 – Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Grave-Talk From Kenneth Cope by Graeme Wood.

Annette Andre was most especially keen on a second season/series.

“We had all these plans for a second series. At the end of the first series, we were all a bit shopworn, you know, because we’d been a year, and in those days, you didn’t get a break, like a hiatus thing. You just kept working all the way through…I know the two boys were exhausted, and so was I. So at that particular moment, we probably didn’t feel like it. But we had plans that we talked about in terms of how it should go, and I think it would have been really good. It became so popular, we should have done more. At that time, we had no idea about a follow-up. I mean, it was just doing a series, and if it worked, they would go on and do another series. And, like The Avengers…The Avengers was about the only one that went on quite a bit, except The Saint. And there was no merchandising in those days. It wasn’t the hype that you have today…nothing like that. I mean, we weren’t big stars, we were, you know, just stars of a series that people liked. So when it went on after several years, suddenly it started coming up, I know I was amazed because Mike had passed on by that stage, but Kenny and I have always been surprised by it.” – Annette Andre, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set “A Sentimental Journey” interview.

“In those days, unless you got sold to the States and went network, they wouldn’t do anymore. And that was stupid. And unfortunately, Randall and Hopkirk didn’t get networked, we were syndicated, and so they said ”That’s it, no more.”. They just didn’t look to the future, because I think Randall and Hopkirk was a cut above a lot of the other ITC shows.

Some of the ideas we were talking about were to try to get more interesting locations and locations abroad. And that it would be more fun to have more ghosts coming in, and that Jeannie would become more involved, a partner with Jeff. Dennis Spooner liked our ideas, and I think it could have been fun. I really think it could have expanded the show. I think it was a terrible shame we didn’t go on and do a second series.” – Annette Andre, Cult TV: The Golden Age of ITC by Robert Sellers.

Dennis Spooner was also disappointed at the show’s demise, as was Ray Austin, who tried to get Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) back up and running as an American comedy, but could not secure the rights from ITC. In spite of the cold critical reception and not great premiere run, the show sold worldwide in 35+ countries, including Mexico and Ghana. Kenneth Cope has sometimes joked that he would get a royalty check for forty-three pence from Tahiti.

“In fact, wherever you go in the world, in Australia, in a hotel room, I had the television on, and Randall and Hopkirk was showing!” – Malcolm Christopher, Randall and Hopkirk Revisited, 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set.

As the years continue to pass, the critics have only continued to be proven quite wrong by the sheer longevity of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) on not only television screens, computer monitors, and even cell/smartphone screens throughout the world, but also and most particularly the minds and treasured memories of fans, crew, and cast alike.

“As a series, it was very satisfying to work on, largely due to Dennis Spooner’s laid back approach, and Monty Berman’s experienced control. I think the majority of the episodes had the right blend of comedy, which is not as easy as it looks. And there has been nothing quite like it since.” – Tony Williamson (Who penned nine episodes for Randall and Hopkirk, including ”Never Trust A Ghost”, “Whoever Heard Of A Ghost Dying?”, “When Did You Start To Stop Seeing Things?”, and “When The Spirit Moves You”.), An issue of Time Screen, number and date unknown, as quoted on Randall and Hopkirk Revisited, 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set.

(And in my opinion, even with the remake lingering around, I would argue that there still has not been and more than likely will never be anything like the original Randall and Hopkirk.)

“It was great to work on, and everyone was friendly.” – Harry ‘Aitch’ Fielder, Randall and Hopkirk Revisited, 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set.

“It was a really good series to work on because we got along very well, there wasn’t much dissension. And that helped…some of the others were having problems.” – Annette Andre, “A Sentimental Journey”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

“Looking back on Randall and Hopkirk, it was a lovely series to make. Annette was a smashing girl, and I remained great friends with Dennis Spooner. And Mike and myself remained firm friends right up until he died. And although I had a few run-ins with Monty Berman, all that’s in the past. At a recent (sometime during the early 90s) Randall and Hopkirk convention, I went up to Monty and put my arm around him. I swear there was a tear in his eye.” – Kenneth Cope, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) by Geoff Tibballs and TV Film Memorabilia/June 2007, “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” by Ann Evans and Rob Tysall.

“God bless Mike, I loved him to death, fantastic guy. And I think what we left behind are 26 great shows. And they are becoming even more loved now with DVD and stuff. And I get fan letters every day mentioning Randall and Hopkirk…and it’s nice. So I’m glad I did it. It’s one of the best things I ever did.” – Kenneth Cope, “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

“My personal theory as to why Randall and Hopkirk (people sometimes used to get the name wrong…Michael and I called it ‘Marshall and Snellgrove Diseased’) has stood the test of time is that it harks back to nicer days when the sun shone. The sun always seemed to be shining when I went to the studio.” – Kenneth Cope, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) by Geoff Tibballs.

The time has come to let that sunshine back in all these years later, as if 1969 never ended, and for the magical mystery tour that is dying to take you away and through all twenty-six episodes of Marshall and Snellgro…er, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) to commence!

Roll up! And that’s an invitation.

Let us begin our magic carpet ride with none other than the as-advertised pilot episode…

”My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” OR White Is The New Black

“Don’t be morbid, Marty.”

Starring: Jeffrey “Jeff” Randall – Mike Pratt, Martin “Marty” Hopkirk – Kenneth Cope, Jean “Jeannie” Hopkirk – Annette Andre.

Guest-Starring: Sorrensen – Frank Windsor, Happy Lee – Dolores Mantez (misspelled ‘Dolorez’ in the credits and ITC brochure), Night Porter – Harry Locke, Beatnik – Ronald Lacey, Fay Sorrensen – Anne Sharp, Hotel Proprietor – Anthony Sugar, Assassin – Harold Innocent, Detective – James Donnelly, Doctor – Tom Chatto, Manservant – Makki Marseilles, Electrician – Dave Carter.

Screenplay by: Ralph Smart.

Directed by: Cyril Frankel.

Produced by: Monty Berman.

Created by: Dennis Spooner.

An ITC Production, Filmed at Elstree Studios.

Production Order #: One, and listed in the ITC brochure as “This episode must be transmitted first.”.

Mythos, History, and Observations

The episode as well as and especially the series opens with Jeff Randall not only visiting a business client as usual, Fay Sorrensen, but also coming off as honestly as can be about his drinking and hangover tendencies. That certainly would not fly today! But it is historic in being the very first character establishment of the series in that Jeff Randall likes his drink, and is not at all afraid to hit the bottle, be it at his leisure or when the situation calls for it, as well as is unabashed about it. And yes, it may have its naysayers in this wonderful day and age, but personally, I think there is a lot to be said for Jeff’s frankness, which is already some further character establishment, and all in just the first minute!

While Jeannie Hopkirk/Annette Andre could AND more than most certainly should be considered THE ‘Randall and Hopkirk girl’ over and above all other female characters throughout the series, Fay Sorrensen/Anne Sharp ends up having the honors of being the first ever ‘Randall and Hopkirk girl’, and we see her within the first ever minute of not only “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner”, but also Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) in general. Fay happens to also be one of several names that the writers had a knack for using at least more than once, for it shows up again in “It’s Supposed To Be Thicker Than Water”. Speaking of names, Fay’s hubby goes simply by Sorrensen, with nary any mention of his first name at all. There also seems to be a tiny debate as to whether it is SorrenSEN or SorrenSON…the official credits and ITC propaganda state SorrenSEN, while Andrew Pixley in his “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Only You Jeff! Only You!” article in Time Screen #6/June 1986 and Randall and Hopkirk (Declassified), among other potential sources, say SorrenSON. I personally side with the former because not only is it official, but also and especially if you listen to Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope’s enunciation of the name, it is without any doubt SorrenSEN.

But getting back to the soon-to-be-ex wife of the oh-so-lovely couple, Fay is not exactly as appreciative of Jeff’s efforts as she should be, instead being rather sharp to him and his advice about mixing marriage with business. While you cannot blame Fay per se (rhyme unintentional), you honestly cannot blame Sorrensen either…it is a perfectly clear cut case of neither half of the couple is necessarily a good person. But the grand difference is that one would rather resort to divorce versus deciding that murder is the answer to all personal woes and obstacles…and thus signaling who the villain, er, actually villains (more on that in a moment) of this fifty minutes are.

We see the Randall and Hopkirk: Investigators office interior for the first ever time when Fay calls up Marty Hopkirk about needing Jeff to meet her solicitor. Evidently AND presumably, there is more than one case going on at the time of the Sorrensen one based on Jeff Randall being out of town, which of course ‘conveniently’ allows Marty to fatefully take over the Sorrensen case.

Marty/Kenneth Cope’s (in)famous wig mix-up first becomes apparent here.

“We had this Canadian hairdresser and she didn’t know which way it had to go. Neither did I. It was all right, but I looked like the middle one of The Three Stooges! Nobody noticed, nobody said anything until I said to the hairdresser “Shouldn’t it be the other way round?”.” – Kenneth Cope, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) by Geoff Tibballs.

And it would remain apparent in “But What A Sweet Little Room” and “For The Girl Who Has Everything”, the second and third episodes, respectfully, in the production order. BUT the backwards wig can actually be explained within the mythos…perhaps Marty was trying a new hairstyle at the time of what will be his death, and decided to go back to what he had before with his appearance unto those who can see/sense him. Per the Randall and Hopkirk Revisited documentary on the 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set, Kenneth Cope still has the wig, and he wears/wore it as part of the Cope family/household Christmas festivities.

Not one but two pivotal phone calls are made…the aforementioned one to Marty by Fay, and before that, Sorrensen placed a call to a killers-for-hire service with a rather unique method of contacting them. Immensely more cryptic and covert than most, if not all others of their kind in and out of ITC fare…kudos to Ralph Smart for that!

If the intro to this episode was done at least 25-30 years later, they would have saved the title/credit sequence for the second episode, and instead rolled the title logo and credits over Marty Hopkirk’s car driving to and approaching the Sorrensens’ home. Oh, to not care about “spoilers” again…

The first ever bit of character establishment occurs for Marty Hopkirk the very second he steps into the Sorrensens’ place…when he lived, he always arrived at his appointments five minutes early. Which seems to imply that his best friend and business partner has a tendency to arrive late-ish. Well, better late-ish than not giving a damn, as demonstrated by Fay with her deciding to take a bath at the very last minute despite the knowledge of Marty and her solicitor (Where is he anyway? Probably for the better he did not show up since you best believe that Sorrensen and murders for hire would have had him whacked as well. Two murders are bad enough, even if one is necessary to the hilt for the sake of the series and its concept.) planning to meet her downstairs at ten o’clock in the morning, and in turn making Marty wait for who knows how long. Talk about being bloody selfish and inconsiderate…

Now maybe, MAYBE the operation is not as ‘covert’ as I want to credit…setting up Fay’s murder in front of a slew of witnesses in the children playing outside (hell, in the picture, look at the boy just staring at the fake electrician putting the finishing touches on the death trap) AND a woman walking by too?! Not bright, murders for hire…but somehow, someway, they get away with it for the time being, and Fay Sorrensen is not only the first ever on-screen ‘Randall and Hopkirk girl’, but she of course also becomes the first ever murder victim in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) history. The first ever murder in the series/franchise is, for my money, probably the most elaborate and clever killing setup in ITC history, or at least up there. It involves holes drilled into a window sill and a bathtub, with a bare wire inserted into those holes, and connected to a seemingly innocent electrician’s van outside waiting to deliver that fatal jolt. But it has to be asked…how were there not ANY electrical burns on Fay’s body?! We hear her scream for at least a good five or so seconds, indicating that right before she dies, she was being fried alive in her bath, which should leave at least some sort of indication of electrical burn. Come to think more about it, if this episode was to be done today, in the classic “We can’t leave anything to the imagination anymore!” manner, we would no doubt be privy to these burns showing themselves quite graphicly…suddenly making me ashamed that I went there in the first place. Moving along…

(As if I haven’t already expressed it enough AND will keep doing so time and again, I honestly hate how television is done today versus back then.)

But then again, to think like Marty Hopkirk is not at all a bad thing…that is, as long as you are not caught by someone with the ability to sic a killer on you. No doubt Marty was pondering about the electrical burns thing himself when Sorrensen walked in on him. Yes, the death needs to happen and all, but bless Marty’s heart (and body)…he royally messed up things in being so overly proper and gentlemanly (more character establishment!) and telling Sorrensen who he was when he should have high-tailed it out of there. Moments like this make one cannot blame Jeff for wanting to win the ‘better detective’ argument whenever that arises.

Frank Windsor does a fantastic job of making Sorrensen downright calculatingly sinister and in turn a brilliant first episode villain. His tone and demeanor towards his now ex-wife in the opening combined with his eyes indicating that something must be done about Marty Hopkirk. Which, that said, and as Sorrensen watches Marty continue his work on the street below, while Sorrensen and murders for hire were not banking on a private investigator visiting their victim, they should have known A LOT better than to do their operation around kids!!

Not counting the title/credit sequence, we see the Randall and Hopkirk office exterior for the very first time when Jeff Randall arrives from wherever he has been for the day while Marty visited the Sorrensen home. The first door we saw Jeff entering had Randall and Hopkirk: Investigators in a different font from that seen in the original/nowadays alternate title sequence. The title sequence’s door font is Impact (just like the show logo, episode titles, and credits accompanying those titles throughout the series), while what is seen here (and other times the door is seen throughout the series) is a gothic font.

Some major character development and establishment occurs in this brief exchange between Jeff and Marty…Marty is quite the worrier, with the subject of his worries at the moment being Randall and Hopkirk: Investigators’ finances, or lack there of, and eerily enough, what Jeannie, his wife would do if something happened to him. Jeff, on the other hand, is quite the optimist, telling Marty that it is the time of year as to why there is not much income, that he will look after Jeannie, and to not be so morbid in his mindset. And speak of the wife, she rings the investigators’ office, interrupting her husband getting ready to demonstrate his observation chops as he was going to tell Jeff (whose observation skills are somewhat no slouch when noting the convenience of Fay’s death for Sorrensen) about what, exactly, he saw at the Sorrensen home, and that he might have figured out the elaborate murder setup…despite the not-so-private PI botch with Sorrensen, perhaps Marty was/is the better detective! The phone call not only introduces Jean ‘Jeannie’ Hopkirk to the audience, but also tells us more about Marty’s worrisome yet caring nature (He asks her if she is alright before giving the phone back to Jeff…oh, and his last ever words to her? “I’m on my way, right now.”), and that there is an interestingly slight flirtatious nature to her and Jeff’s friendship. In addition to worrying, Marty can also have quite the jealous streak, and to the point of not even his best friend is exempt from it! And given the exchange between Jeannie and Jeff, can you honestly blame Marty? But Marty Hopkirk’s even being married is most extremely unusual in that private investigators, particularly given the nature of their business, do not get married more often than not. And although not mentioned until “Whoever Heard Of A Ghost Dying?”, Marty dislikes divorce cases, making one the cause of his physical death rather ironic.

I cannot believe it has not been said/mentioned at least once in most/all Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) fan fare, at least what I have happened upon over the last decade…but the ITC/Elstree availability of the car aside, one has to wonder if they did not go with the very famous red Mini Cooper for the Hopkirks/Marty’s car as a cute little nod to Paddy Hopkirk, who won the 1964 Monte Carlo Rally in a red Mini Cooper, numbered thirty-seven. That is very potential, as well as remarkably subtle character development with Marty in that he was/is possibly quite the motorsports enthusiast to the degree of owning an automobile like that of his most likely favorite racing star (if not an untold relative of his!). Given how religious about driving Marty was when living AND will continue being beyond the grave (just ask Jeff), this is very plausible. But for someone who is highly protective of their car in and out of their body, Marty sure did not take great pains to lock the doors, and in turn makes way for the debut of the crazily spry beatnik named Hendy (the name will not actually be first mentioned in the episode until later), and who is getting ready to play a most crucial role in an impending turn of events.

The most iconic sequence in Randall and Hopkirk history would have to easily, EASILY be that of Marty’s hit and run murder (which clocks in at only just twelve minutes and five seconds into the episode…a far cry from the ludicrous near-thirty minutes it took in the bloody remake), and not just for its use in the opening title and credits, but also and especially for the fact that if it had not happened, we would have of course not had a ghost and star attraction of the concept at hand. The entire scene was filmed in two days in Maida Vale, London. And the hit and run itself was done in one take, consisting of stagehands pushing the car towards Kenneth Cope, who actually hit the windscreen and rolled off of it. The very last shot of Marty right before he is run down is exactly what is used in the title sequence. Harry ‘Aitch’ Fielder played one of the few bystanders who, while not witnessing Marty’s murder, do see Marty lying in the middle of the road. Aitch’s voice was obviously dubbed over, and I mean OBVIOUSLY to the point of the bloody thing does not even match his lips.

Although I appeared in a few crowd scenes during the series my claim to fame are those immortal words I say to the onlookers as Hopkirk is run down by the bad guys car.. I compose myself and utter “He’s dead!”. I had a few fan letters in after that scene was shown on TV suggesting I go back in the timber game.. (It wasn’t even my voice, it was dubbed..) – Harry ‘Aitch’ Fielder, courtesy of his utmost marvelous and most highly recommended website and its Randall and Hopkirk section (scroll down).

The aforementioned spryness of Hendy’s comes in very handy against Marty’s killer, as well as a nice display of street smarts. Ronald Lacey was an incredibly distinguished character actor, as proven by his utmost expansive resume (including a great many British television favorites AND Raiders Of The Lost Ark (as the bespectacled Nazi, Ernst Toht) and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (as an uncredited Heinrich Himmler). That said, Hendy is my pick for the most distinctive supporting character of this episode, and will most likely make my Best Randall and Hopkirk Supporting Characters list sometime in the distant future. Although a slight argument could be made for Fay Sorrensen in all of her stingy glory with her being the absolute first ever supporting character seen in Randall and Hopkirk history. But what puts Hendy over and above Fay is his rather strong return potential had there been at least a second series/season. If he was brave enough sometime after his soon-to-be-discussed encounter with Jeff Randall, I could see Hendy approaching the Randall and Hopkirk office with a case or some sort of scheme for better or for worst.

In my opinion, the most shocking aspect of this episode, and really probably the series too, is that Jeff is NOT one of Marty’s pallbearers! I understand that it makes for a more dramatic shot to have Jeff looking forlorn while standing next to and consoling Marty’s widow. But given that both Marty and Jeff regarded each other as best friends to the point of confidently running a business together (and a friendship combined with a business partnership that remains stable to the point of the pair constantly still regarding each other as best friends is very rare), Jeff honestly should have been a pallbearer. This is the very first scene in which Annette Andre performed as Jeannie Hopkirk, and according to her on the commentary for this episode on the 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set, she had yet to meet Kenneth Cope, so Andre was mourning for a character whose performer she had not even seen nor talked to yet!

We see Jeff’s flat for the very first ever time, (It seems that I am saying that a lot, doesn’t it? Well, consider that a curse as much as everything being introduced in this episode and into Randall and Hopkirk lore is a gift in and of itself.) and we also meet the night porter, Sid. Ostensibly, and at least back then, if you were lucky enough to own a London flat complete with a porter, you could actually request to not allow calls through to your phone. Take THAT telemarketers! But all kidding aside, this plays a most interesting and important role in the first ever communication between Jeff Randall and the newly ethereal Marty Hopkirk.

It is further established that Jeff can be quite the drinker, as evidenced by, understandably after his best friend and business partner’s funeral, his having partaken of a glass or two or three of whiskey based on that very glass being next to him as he tells Sid to hold his calls.

The decor in Jeff’s flat was supplied by none other than Mike Pratt himself! (Many upon many thanks to the remarkable Mike-Pratt.co.uk and its Biography page/section for this cool tidbit!) Pratt took such an immediate liking to the character that he took it upon himself to bring his own personal posters and items to decorate both Jeff’s flat (including the red-orange bedspread and curtains, the blue tablecloth, various elephants and Indian lamps (including an ENORMOUS one behind the couch), and his own guitar (Mike was also quite the accomplished musician, having won not one, but TWO(!!) Ivor Novello Awards alongside Lionel Bart for co-writing “Little White Bull” and “Handful Of Songs”, both big hits for fellow musician friend, Tommy Steele) on the trunk in front of the bed) ) and the Randall and Hopkirk office (a Taj Mahal calendar, and a uniquely designed India travel brochure and even more extraordinary MartinDisraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire Sharp Hyde Park Cannabis Rally poster (a corner of which can be very briefly seen in the earlier office scene), among at least a couple of other things…), as well as also incorporate some pieces of his personal wardrobe into Jeff’s own. This decor was also naturally prevalent in his Elstree dressing room.

“He was into music, and always playing his guitar, and he was into Indian stuff. He always had incense in his dressing room and he put his bed halfway up the wall to create more space, but it was like a brothel. It always smelt like a nice place.” – Kenneth Cope, Time Screen #11/Spring 1988, “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): The Ghost Talks – An Interview With Kenneth Cope” by Annette Buckley

Based on this very decor, just like Mike Pratt, Jeff has an affinity for the counter-culture of the time, as well as India and its art, culture, and music (the most prominent record in Jeff’s collection is Ravi Shankar In New York) too.

On the more frivolous front, Jeff is a Life Magazine subscriber too, as evidenced by the pile of the couple of issues laying next to his phone.

Midnight is appropriately, if not also predictably, when the absolute first manifestation of the ghost of Marty Hopkirk occurs…in the form of psychic contact via telephone, marking the first ever spectral power (or powers, with not only the psychic aspect (as especially proven by the upcoming recording bit), but also the electronic manipulation aspect too) displayed by Marty.

While Jeff is at first delighted to hear his best friend’s voice on the phone, we immediately already see the haunting conflict that Jeff will constantly wrestle with throughout the duration of the series emerge in the form of his disbelief that the spirit of his friend would try to contact him AND that it has to be a prankster. But it has to be said…Jeff’s skepticism and lack of acceptance towards Marty’s reaching out to him beyond the grave is more than incredibly understandable, but does he not realize what a remarkably, to say the least, good impersonation of Marty’s voice this ‘nutter’ is doing? Not to mention the echoing/reverberating, which outside of supernatural means could only be done on expensive studio equipment not available to commoners at the time. But perhaps Jeff was certainly aware of all of this, and simply did not want to admit it to himself. Speaking of studio equipment, a quirky aspect of ‘chosen one’ lore comes into play here…although Jeff is and will be told he is his best friend’s chosen one, even he cannot hear Marty Hopkirk’s voice when it is supposedly recorded.

And as frustrated as Marty has to be with Jeff at this point…

Courtesy of Icy Twaine’s Tumblr.

…you cannot blame him at all for what he is getting ready to pull later.

A nice small slice of ‘suspense’ is utilized when Sid arrives at Jeff’s door, making Jeff as well as the audience think that Marty Hopkirk is getting ready to have his first physical manifestation OR, on top of everything else already happening at this point, an actual ‘nutter’ is paying Jeff a visit. I wonder if Sid would have taken back his tranquilizer suggestion had he known that Jeff had downed at least two-three glasses of whiskey. Come to think of it, Jeff’s ‘hearing voices’ could more than most certainly have been blamed on that very whiskey…shades of “When The Spirit Moves You”?

When Jeff invites Sid into his flat for a moment, we first see the number of Jeff’s apartment to be forty-one (it was once and mistakenly fourteen in “For The Girl Who Has Everything”). This marks the first of MANY instances throughout the series where people start thinking of Jeff as being a little ’off’ due to his interactions with Marty’s spirit. You can tell it is all Sid can do to not say to Jeff that perhaps he should start seeing a psychiatrist (some terrific bit role acting on the part of Harry Locke) when Jeff stupidly reveals that he is already hearing Marty’s voice. But Jeff makes up for such a gaffe somewhat in refraining himself from saying furthermore to Sid.

At four in the morning, we bear witness to the second AND third ever displays of Marty’s powers…his being one with the wind and through that wind, opening the window to Jeff’s flat, AND possessing(!!) a sleeping Jeff to make him finally come down to the cemetery as requested earlier. We also see that Marty can already manipulate the window to close back (how naturally polite of him) and command his possessed subject to drive a car. It is probably the most safe/Marty-preferred driving that Jeff will ever do on this side of “A Disturbing Case”. The opening and closing of windows was done with fine wires, and the wind effects with, well, a wind machine. And per Kenneth Cope in Time Screen #11/Spring 1988’s “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): The Ghost Talks – An Interview With Kenneth Cope” by Annette Buckley, during one use of the wind machine in “A Sentimental Journey”, Cope had to tell director Leslie Norman “Go easy on the wind machine, it’s blowing my wig off!”.

The late night/early morning graveyard meeting between Jeff and the newly astral Marty is officially the very first scene where we see Marty in his trademark AND iconic white suit. There was not just one suit, but either five made by Savile Row (and for which Kenneth Cope himself had to be personally measured), according to Cope in several interviews/articles OR six according to SFX Magazine #7/December 1995, “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) 1969” by Jon Abbott…personally, I am inclined to agree with Mr. Cope considerably more because, pure and simply, he was there AND the number of suits being five has been said A LOT more. Here, we see the one suit of the lot that is considerably more off-white than the others. Still much, MUCH better than the pale green that was initially proposed to be the colour of Marty’s ectoplasmic wardrobe.

Also of note about the white suits…they had to be ironed, pressed, and dry-cleaned after every single remote use of them! Kenneth Cope would do all of his rehearsals in jeans, white shirt, and white tie, and then put on his white jacket, white pants, and white boots without time to go to a changing room, for an official take. After “That’s a print!” was said to wrap up the official take, Cope would take the jacket, pants, and boots off again without time to go to a changing room. There were concerns that coffee (as well as food, notably sausage rolls and bread and dripping, and the ashes from Mike Pratt’s cigarettes) might get on the suits during rehearsals. And despite how immaculate they tried to keep the suits, sometimes a little makeup would get on a suit anyway (most likely around the collar and/or lapel of a jacket), and they would have to tippex/white-out the stain, with the dry cleaning eventually taking care of both. After the absolute final shoot for the series, Cope could not help but leap into a humongous tank filled with muddy water with the white suit still on as an act of rebellious celebration! Although Cope has admitted on both the 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set “The Ghost Talks” interview and the 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set’s Randall and Hopkirk Revisited documentary that he has regretted doing that because the suit, in all of its tippexed glory, could have amassed a fortune(!), be it on eBay or elsewhere.

The white boots originally had felt on their soles, to have Marty Hopkirk move around as quietly as possible with his being a ghost and not having a physical body and means of making noise with his feet. This was nixed not too long into the production of the series due to the felt (most likely the reason Marty’s boot bottoms were white for a remote few episodes, including “The Trouble With Women”, from which the picture on the left hails) being as much a hassle, if not more-so, to maintain as the rest of the all-white outfit, AND everyone quickly accepting that there was only so much they could do to make the Marty Hopkirk role/character as ghostly as possible. Interestingly, there were also initially plans to have Marty leave white footprints with every step he took. As quickly as those plans were axed (obviously right before the production of the very first episode), it is honestly a wonder that they retained the notion to put white felt on the bottom of Kenneth Cope’s boots. While still on the subject of trying to keep Cope/Hopkirk’s appearance as ghostly as possible, according to Ray Austin, there was a mandate to try to not have a shadow fall upon Cope/Hopkirk at all. But sometimes, this was a very tall order, to say the least, as certain shots/scenes throughout the series would prove.

If I had to pick my favorite scene in the entire episode, it would be so fiercely difficult, but I would just about have to go with the cemetery meeting between Jeff and the newly materialized Marty. Let me count thy ways…there is just simply so much wondrous character development that occurs in all two minutes and seven seconds of this bit. From there being more shades of Jeff’s series-long conflict with being haunted by his best friend and business partner as he still disbelieves what is going on despite having been possessed(!!) and wants to believe it is all a dream/nightmare to Marty retaining his kindness and not realizing that possessing Jeff to coerce him to the graveyard would frighten his best friend AND at first not even also realizing he is a ghost until Jeff reminds him.

“You mean you are a ghost?” “I suppose I am, really. Now pull yourself together, it’s only me!”

Jeff’s gradual borderline acceptance of the situation is a marvel to behold here, and all thanks to Mike Pratt’s brilliant and underrated acting. Jeff immediately but organically evolves from being scared and unsure to already seeming to be somewhat alright with the situation, getting to where he is curious and even comfortable enough to touch Marty’s new form…which Marty advises against since Jeff is ‘scared enough as it is’ (and further notes that Jeff’s hand would go right though him) but still begrudging (as indicated by the ho-hum “Thanks.” he gives as Marty explains that other than the odd manifestation, only Jeff will see and hear him). And it should be noted that Kenneth Cope’s acting and how he fleshes out the Marty Hopkirk character in and out of the flesh is every bit as marvelous, and the series would have been sorely lacking if both men had not landed their respective roles.

This scene is where it is first said and contributed to the overall Randall and Hopkirk lore that the car that killed Marty Hopkirk is a black saloon. The actual car model ‘playing’ this infamous automobile was a Humber Super Snipe. We also find out there were no witnesses (which we know is an absolute lie), and that the police have a singer named Happy Lee as their top suspect for the hit and run, the first mention of her in this episode. Despite his knack for observation (as is important to have if you are going to play the private detective game), Marty never even saw a glimpse of his killer due to being blinded by the headlights. Interestingly, in spite of being a detective himself, Jeff never suspected Marty’s death being a murder until this very part and Marty having to spell it out for him. Further proof of why Marty almost always wins the ‘better detective’ argument time and again. But, perhaps Jeff is still a wee bit slow to accepting that Marty was killed, as evidenced by his asking who would want to kill his best friend, with Marty immediately stating Sorrensen. In addition to Jeff’s stress, if only Jeannie had not interrupted what Marty was getting ready to reveal to Jeff that fateful night…maybe, MAYBE Jeff would be connecting the dots a little better than he is doing here.

As an ethereal bell (if not Big Ben itself) tolls to signal to all earthbound ghosts that it is time to return to their graves, we first hear this part of a highly iconic rhyme…

“Afore the sun shall arise anew, each ghost unto his grave must go.”

There is a teeny-tiny debate as to whether the (in)famous rhyme/curse begins with “Afore…” or “Before…”, with Andrew Pixley stating the latter in his “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Only You Jeff! Only You!” article in Time Screen #6/June 1986, BUT Time Screen Revised #6/Autumn 1991, “R&H(D): Only You Jeff! Only You” by Michael Richardson revising that to the former and Randall and Hopkirk (Declassified) agreeing. I side with Richardson/Declassified/the “Afore…” camp…if you listen carefully to Kenneth Cope/Marty Hopkirk during the graveyard scene, he clearly says “Afore…”.

Quite naturally, Marty has already begun to worry about Jeannie. Prompting another iconic (I know I am saying this a lot too, but again, tis the nature of the episode) scene where Marty tells Jeff that he made Jeff his chosen one, not Jeannie due to not wanting to frighten and upset her.

“And I chose you, Jeff. You’re the one. You’re the only one, Jeff! I chose you!”

This was, of course, even more famously emulated in the original title sequence seen on airings of episodes up through the 70s, as well as the American airings, and can now only be seen (for right now AND as far as I know…those of you with the 2009 and Blu-Ray sets, please enlighten me) on the 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition’s Disc Five episodes and on YouTube.

“Jeff, it’s alright, Jeannie can’t see or hear me! Nobody can! Only you, Jeff, only you!”

In Time Screen #6/June 1986’s “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Only You Jeff! Only You!” article by Andrew Pixley, it is said that Jeff Randall always had ESP and hence why he can see and sense Marty Hopkirk’s spiritual presence. I disagree with this…my theory/argument is Jeff’s ESP was awakened the moment Marty made Jeff his chosen one, be it on his own or in some sort of deal with a higher-up entity, most likely about wanting to avenge his murder before ascending to his final destination (had he not been cursed).

While Jeff’s acceptance of the situation and Marty’s new state of being is better than before, he still questions why Marty, especially ‘with his (heavenly) connections’, would want his help. Marty ‘has not reported yet’ to wherever his afterlife destination is, and once he does, ‘that’s the end, there’s no coming back’. Both this and what Marty says to Jeff about seeing him later that night raise a compelling question…can a specter choose to not go to their afterlife destination AND stay on the earthly plane as long as they are good about returning to their grave before dawn every day? I really want to say why the need for Marty to be cursed with this notion…but realize that would have put a kibosh on Marty being able to aid Jeff during the daytime AND let‘s face it, the curse just makes for that much more of a cracking story.

Even though Marty claimed that Jeff was not dreaming, Jeff wakes up in his bed! Making he and we wonder which powers of Marty’s on display were real and which were not…certainly one of the most ‘mind-fudgey’ moments of the entire series AND franchise, if not THE one.

Sorrensen almost, ALMOST pulls no punches when he automatically tries to blame Jeff and the Randall and Hopkirk business for his wife’s ‘final heart attack’. I say ALMOST, because if Sorrensen truly wanted to pull no punches, he would have been as trigger happy with calling murders for hire on Jeff as he was with Marty. So apart from storyline convenience, what keeps Sorrensen from calling murders for hire when it is already clear that Jeff is on to him? Perhaps he does not want to arouse any more suspicion with three murders (four if that solicitor had shown his face)…but why stop at two when that is already suspicious enough? Not only does Sorrensen naturally refuse to pay for what is owed on Fay’s account, but he was addressing the Scottish Steelmasters’ Association at the exact time of Marty’s death, which is stated by Jeff, and in turn entered into Randall and Hopkirk lore, to have been 8:30 on a Wednesday night.

Speaking of that exact time, while ghosts do wear a watch as part of their outward appearance towards those who can see and sense them, they cannot refer to that watch for the actual earth plane time due to it being stuck on the very precise time when they died, right down to the last second. Interestingly, this is never exactly mentioned in this version of the Randall and Hopkirk mythos, but has been accepted as part of it since in at least one or two spots, Kenneth Cope’s Marty refers to either Jeff’s watch or a clock to know what time it is, despite his left wrist being adorned with his own white watch.

In my opinion, the interrogations of Sorrensen and Happy Lee are far and away the most ‘boring’/slow part of the episode, BUT is necessary. And not just for further finding out that Happy did not do it, but also to show how mundane Jeff’s detective work would be and pretty much is without Marty’s aid. Happy Lee is quite the trusting soul to pick up a hitchhiking Hendy like she did for ‘someone to talk to’ while driving from Manchester to London (a two hour trip). The police do not believe Ms. Lee and think she made up the beatnik (whose name is revealed to be Hendy here) she dropped off outside of the Hopkirks’ apartment building…well, the police got to have something to do, given that this is among a surprising number of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episodes that do not have an inspector du jour to give Jeff a varying difficult time. In addition to being an agile beatnik, Hendy is also mealymouthed (per Happy’s car ride experience with him), claims to live in the Paddington area of London (more on that later), and is a bit of a jerk (but a paid jerk, again, more on that later) with his refusing to confirm that he and Happy Lee met on the night of Marty’s passing AND she did not cause that passing, tantalizing Ms. Lee in addition to making her out to be a liar. We are thankfully spared of a so far Marty-less Jeff tailing Hendy throughout London until the beatnik turned murder witness books into a hotel.

Alongside Jeff, we arrive at Jean (and Marty) Hopkirk’s flat and view its exterior AND interior (as well as the Hopkirks’ apartment number is eight, once mistakingly twenty-one in “The Man From Nowhere”) for the very first time. We also see that Jeannie is depressed about her husband’s passing to the point of presumably sleeping in all day, for she is in her pajamas when it is only between seven and eight in the evening. But despite such very natural depression, she is certainly not shy to have coffee ready and waiting despite being early in the evening AND go ahead and offer Marty’s slippers and chair to Jeff! No wonder Marty was jealous of Jeff and Jeannie’s friendship when he lived!

Which brings up yet another question…would Marty have been so quick to materialize if such a personal envy causing situation had not occurred? Per the establishing shot of the building housing the Hopkirks’ apartment, it is not even nighttime per se…the sun is setting, but is not completely, 100% down yet. So is it possible that, although not necessarily mentioned in rhyme, Marty broke another ghost-dom rule in emerging from his grave before the actual sunset?

Before the manifestation in the Hopkirks’ apartment, there is further establishment that Marty was(is) quite the worrier. Probably THE character trait that is discussed and mentioned the most of those that all three main characters possess throughout the series (although Marty’s jealousy obviously ranks up there too). But such a trait is proof of how not only was Marty the more caring and empathetic of the detective pair (although that’s not to say that Jeff does not have his caring and empathetic moments, BUT he is safely not as sensitive about this and that as Marty tends to be), but also the brains of the outfit versus Jeff’s brawn. That said, as shown in “The Ghost Talks”, Marty did have the added bonus of holding his own in a physical confrontation too when he needed and/or wanted to do so.

The moment of materialization in the Hopkirks’ flat occurs (and complete with more of Marty’s being the wind itself) right when Jeannie talks about how Marty’s perpetual worries were predominantly about her…establishing the subtle psychic link between her and Marty that will be seen at several points in the series. So even though only Jeff can see and hear Marty, as further confirmed in this scene…

“She can’t see or hear me…I told you Jeff, you’re the only one.”

“So you did.”

…there is definitely something going on in the ether between Marty and Jeannie too. Something remarkably abstruse, but something none-the-less.

By the way, the off-white suit being used in this episode becomes even more ascertainable in these shots, especially with the shirt and the tie being more actually white compared to the jacket and pants.

Off the bat, Jeff comes insanely (no pun intended) close to Jeannie catching him ‘talking to himself’. And even though she does not get that impression yet, she can tell that something is amiss as utmost suddenly in a hurry as Jeff is to get out of there and back into the rainy evening after drying off and getting warm. While sometimes not thinking things through as well as she honestly could (I got to be ridiculously careful whenever this is brought up, BUT I would make the argument that “All Work And No Pay” and “The Man From Nowhere” highly revolve around situations that could have been avoided if Jean had handled things as thoroughly better as she should and could have), Jeannie does have her moments of Marty having taught her well and his observation skills having rubbed off on her and mingling with her own. And this is definitely one of those moments. Speaking of said observation skills, Jeff was already not exactly careful with his ‘sanity’ around Jeannie…most particularly around the door, where he gives off the glaring impression of trying to avoid bumping into an unseen person AND opening the door for them.

As Jeff and Marty proceed out into the hall, it took Jean a moment, but the incident with the ‘unseen person’ makes her pop out and check on Jeff while he is still in the hallway. Although, in my opinion, she gets a wee bit callous in requesting of him to not let her down the next day…not let her down?! I know she is in a most unpleasant state of mind with Marty’s passing AND I am wholeheartedly trying to not be insensitive to that, but Jeff and his detective skills are not chopped liver. Have their off moments, yes, but they are overall still nothing to sneeze at. He did thoroughly well for the day, especially being without Marty’s aid.

And the first moments of Jeff and Marty’s new tangible/intangible partnership are off to a rollicking start with Marty’s jealousy rearing its ever-loving head, as super expected after a couple of minutes ago. Jeff’s conflict with Marty’s haunting him emerges yet again when Marty makes mention of ‘not being cold in his grave yet’ and Jeff does not like hearing that. Jeff’s saying that he and Jeannie are ‘seeing the stone’ also does not sit well with Marty (who goes as far as to think that Jeff and Jeannie are already getting engaged…that is a hell of a jealous streak!), until the stone is revealed to be the one for Marty’s grave. Contrary to what Wikipedia states, Marty does not arrange the epitaph (the iconic “Faithful Unto Death”)…he does help arrange the flowers, but NOT the epitaph. Jeannie is behind that.

“She was thinking of “Faithful Unto Death”.”

“Yes, that’s nice. I like that. Nothing else?”

“Lilies.”

“Oh no, not lilies!”

“What’s wrong with lilies?”

“They’re morbid!”

Later, it will be shown that Jeff and Jeannie go with roses for Marty’s grave, not lilies as requested by the specter.

Proof that the original (and BEST) Marty is so much better AND especially smarter than the remake’s Marty…he can keep his ectoplasmic composure in Jeff’s car without ‘slipping out’, WITHOUT TRAINING, and other such gobbledygook.

One would think that Jeff could have made the connection between Hendy, the money he miraculously earned despite his non-profitable lifestyle, and Marty’s killer, but his need for Marty’s wits becomes all the more evident with such details not completely coming to mind. Although the little details do not necessarily abandon Jeff every time…later on, he will make fantastic use of his spotlight at least once or twice. But there are just times when it clearly shows that Marty is that much more so the brains of he and his best friend’s operation.

If any episode in the entire run of the original (and again BEST) Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) played the straight detective feel perfectly, this one would have to be my prime candidate over the several other such episodes (which I like a little more than most people do AND feel they have their merits and moments, but that is for later). Mike Pratt’s Jeff Randall is one of the utmost best and grossly undervalued representations of a classic-style private eye ever on television, needing Kenneth Cope/Marty Hopkirk’s (whose own private eye deserves a bit more appreciation than he gets, as we will especially learn later on in “The Ghost Talks”) help or not.

Yet again, the off-white suit used in this episode becomes all the more discernible. If it is this noticeable, at least to me, on the regular DVDs from Umbrella and Network…can you imagine how much more perceptible it will be on the Network Blu-Rays (and is for those lucky enough to already have them)?

This episode is a goldmine of nearly all of Marty’s ghostly powers and, in turn, is honestly the downright best showcase of such things in the entire series. At the beginning of the hotel sequence, we learn that Marty, whether in wind form or in humanoid form, has a bitterly cold tinge to his presence that can be felt by most mortals, including animals (in this case, a cat), but presumably not by Jeff/his chosen one. The only relatively real indication of Jeff possibly feeling Marty’s chill is in “Who Killed Cock Robin?”. In that episode, Marty materialized at the dining room table causing one of the guests, Mrs. Howe, to gripe about the room suddenly being cold, and prompting Jeff to note that it was a bit drafty. But there was a sarcastic tone to Jeff’s voice in that scene, complete with a small glare at Marty, which would seem to indicate that Jeff is more than most likely immune to his best friend’s ethereal chill. A more clear-cut indicator of Jeff’s immunity would have to be in “The Trouble With Women”, where the extreme cold of a rainy autumn/winter late night was getting to Jeff (who was complaining about he should have worn his sheepskin liner), but NOT Marty’s presence in the back of Jeff’s Vauxhall…as proven by Jeff still shivering and trying to keep warm after Marty disappearing.

If the hotel clerk’s cat being frightened off by Marty’s coldness counts, and I think it should, then this is the episode where it is also first revealed that Marty has an effect on animals, be it inadvertent (like here and “Who Killed Cock Robin?”) or intentionally (notably “Who Killed Cock Robin?” again, “For The Girl Who Has Everything”, “The Man From Nowhere”, and “You Can Always Find A Fall Guy”). Despite the already impressive array of abilities we have seen from Marty, he still retains a fair bit of humanity…not just in maintaining as much of a humanoid form as he can, and his jealousy and politeness (which shows again when he apologizes to a woman he peeps in on during the upcoming first ever pop-in and pop-out sequence), but also and especially in no matter how hard he tries, Marty cannot ‘glide through walls’! BUT he does glide through when he backs up to make a go for where Jeff wants him to glide! And yes, ‘Jeff wants him to glide’…just as Marty is evolving in what he can do as a ghost a lot more than not do (and the latter just depends on a little time and practice), Jeff too is finally warming up to the idea of someone who can snoop and sneak around infinitely more than a human can. Jeff also is having some fun with this even though he is having to stay on his guard. This very scene would have to be my second favorite in all of the episode for how it is all a continuation of what began in the graveyard scene, and the evolution of Jeff’s attitude towards the new chapter of he and Marty’s still ongoing business partnership and friendship AND Marty’s existence is every bit as organic here as it was there.

While Marty struggles with gliding forward, backwards is no problem…and he uses that to spy on his first subject. But it is here that Marty realizes that he has a far easier time with manifesting and teleporting, and we see the first of the quite iconic pop-ins and pop-outs, complete with eyes closed (but without the trademark harpsichord sting). There is a reason for Marty preferring materializing versus ‘gliding’…in real life, ‘gliding’ (as well as the occasional shot that would show us Marty’s more ‘true’ and transparent appearance) required a very, VERY tedious and expensive, in regards to both money and time, effect called Pepper’s Ghost.

“Walking through walls was difficult. It took a long time to set up and they did it as meticulously as possible. I had to be behind the camera against a big piece of black velvet cloth hanging from the gantry. And they had a light on me when they wanted to see me and there was a sheet of plain glass at an angle in front of a camera lens. When there was a light on me, there was a reflection on the glass, and the camera picked up this reflection, but it was a mirror image. The time consuming element was trying to get the reflection to match up with what was happening on the set and getting the sizes right. It was very lonely for me because I was twenty-six feet away from everyone else facing the wrong way.” – Kenneth Cope, Time Screen #11/Spring 1988, “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): The Ghost Talks – An Interview With Kenneth Cope” by Annette Buckley.

In addition to Mr. Cope’s quote, Ken Baker agreed with him on the 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set’s Randall and Hopkirk Revisited documentary that setting up for the transparency and wall gliding scenes ‘was a nightmare’ (his exact words). And those very scenes, on top of the regular ones, had to be shot within what was already a super tight schedule, and because of that very schedule, Baker dreaded such shots. Also according to Ray Austin, again in Randall and Hopkirk Revisited, there was a rule about Kenneth Cope/Marty Hopkirk’s transparency scenes…that he could walk through a building, a wall, or something only once per episode because it was all they could afford, again both money and time.

On the other hand, the manifesting effects were most easily pulled off by stopping cameras with the actor(s) remaining still until Kenneth Cope/Marty Hopkirk either joined or left them, and the cameras would start rolling again (as soon as the cigarette smoke floated up) to continue the scene in a method simply called a ’jump cut’. A BEAUTIFUL example of this, a scene from “Money To Burn”, was found in the ITC vaults and is a bonus feature on the 2007 Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Network Special Edition DVD set (as well as also seen in the Randall and Hopkirk Revisited documentary).

“It was purely a camera thing…freezing the action, then starting again. We just had to collaborate with the editor and explain what we were doing, and encourage the actor(s) to be still.” – Cyril Frankel, TV Zone Special #14/June 1994, Cyril Frankel Interview by David Richardson.

Kenneth Cope admitted in his 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set “The Ghost Talks” interview that the more they did the jump cuts, the more cheeky he became, and would saunter in/take a little sweet time and/or try to make people blink (considered a no-no and required a redo) while everyone was frozen and waiting for the “Action!”. Further according to Annette Andre and Cope, the jump cuts took a little getting used to, but were overall not too terribly difficult to do. And apart from an extremely rare mistake, notably when Cope ‘accidentally’ trod on Andre’s toe, which was sometimes an intentional joke, along with making her move aside or react with a small outburst and laugh by brushing past her, when she was not supposed to move or acknowledge Cope/Marty at all, the grand majority of the cuts were done with not only time to spare on the tight schedule, but also laughter had by everyone at Cope’s antics.

“I got a bit naughty, but it was all in fun. And they used to scream at me afterwards…they wanted us to get it in one take, and they’d say “Ken, if you do that again, we’ll kill ya!” (laughs) But it was great, it was lovely.” – Kenneth Cope, “The Ghost Talks”, 2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set.

When Hendy is finally found, and asleep, given his digs for the night AND that he blew his hush money on booze and who knows what else, I highly dispute and doubt that Hendy honest-to-goodnessly lives in Paddington, as he and/or the police claimed earlier in the episode.

For once, Marty actually saves Jeff from being pummeled (and it would have been quite the blow…from a whiskey bottle!) and losing the first ever fight on his card before he can land the first punch. This, surprisingly, does not happen as often as it should between Marty’s emerging psychic prowess (which, one can argue came about the moment Hendy started to stir when hearing Jeff unlock the door) and Jeff’s street smarts. One would think these would make for a rather infallible combination…but the course of the series proves that this is where Marty remains every bit as human as his living partner. The fact that the writers did not go the ‘perfect’ route and went with the ‘more/only human’ route with such situations is actually highly commendable…because, let’s face it, ‘perfect’ would get boring pretty quick.

While Jeff, for the most part, is not the kind to carry a gun or a weapon, and prefers to be reliant on his fists and street fighting skills, here he happens to have on his person a pocket knife, which he uses to make the tumblers give way in the lock on the door to Hendy’s room. And I say ‘for the most part’ because in “But What A Sweet Little Room”, Jeff carries a gun when he goes to deal with Arthur De Crecy, and in “Whoever Heard Of A Ghost Dying?”, Jeff shows that he is definitely no stranger to firearms and shooting ranges. BUT, we do learn in ”Murder Ain’t What It Used To Be!” (seventh in the London Weekend Television/standard airing order AND before “WHOAGD?”, OR third to last in the production order) that Jeff overall prefers not carrying a firearm if he really, REALLY does not have to do so. Also, Jeff was not at all opposed to using a pike against one of his kidnappers and assailants in “When Did You Start To Stop Seeing Things?”. So yes, there are some mixed signals as to Jeff’s overall stance on guns and weapons.

Jeff may be a brawler, but he does maintain some morals and principals with his brawling…while Jeff could have bashed Hendy over the head with the whiskey bottle intended for Jeff’s own noggin, Jeff instead chooses to just put the bottle aside, give Hendy a knuckle sandwich, and pin the beatnik to the bed, only using his fists to threaten Hendy to cough up what he really saw on the night of Marty’s murder. (Take THAT, Steve Randall!) And when Jeff takes no crap, he does not care what people think of his ‘talking to himself/thin air’…this is especially put to use in not only this part of “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner”, but also the end of “But What A Sweet Little Room” and the middle portion of “When The Spirit Moves You”. Jeff uses his ‘insanity’ to the utmost effect in frightening Hendy all the much more with it.

Although not necessarily new because of the earlier part with Jeff’s phone, Marty and we discover that he can expand his electricity manipulation in the form of making a building’s lights (if not the entire circuitry) go bonkers. And yet another iconic Marty power moment: When he retains humanoid form, Marty can make like a bellows and focus his wind ability to blow at gale force! This is used, famously, to great effect to dispel the hotel manager and guests bothered by Jeff’s dealing with Hendy.

Hendy’s total hush money payment? *insert drum roll here* Five hundred quid! *insert cymbal crash here* That’s a lot of whiskey (and again, who knows what else), unless you aim for the top shelf stuff.

No wonder Jeff put aside that bottle.

As we ride along into the night again with Jeff and Marty, we learn that the official legal terminology for Marty’s murder, per Jeff, is death by misadventure since there was no obvious motive. And if the driver had been caught, the heftiest charge put upon him would have been manslaughter. Well, speaking of the driver getting caught, Jeff and Marty’s next destination is a Fulham Road townhouse, 2B (or not 2B).

And already, Jeff forgets his friend’s spectral nature (and in turn has rapidly grown to be very comfortable with it) when he smells gas coming from the murderer’s flat and warns Marty about it.

“That won’t bother me!”

“I’m sorry I spoke!”

In order to make the flat safe and gas free for the mortal half of the pair, Marty gives his first ever (if not second, considering the earlier closing of Jeff’s flat’s window…BUT that could very well have been the first ever demo of Marty’s ability to be like a vacuum when he inhales) demonstration of telekinesis, using that to open this particular flat’s window to ventilate the noxious gas fumes. Even with Marty’s effort, the gas was still choking enough to make Jeff cough a bit on his way to turning off the killing furnace. Although set up to look like a suicide (complete with a forged note), Marty’s killer was most likely ‘whacked’ by the murders for hire outfit as punishment for his cover being blown to Hendy.

Marty’s hit and run artist is revealed to be none other than the fake electrician seen outside Sorrensen’s home at the very beginning of the episode, and therefore was also Fay Sorrensen’s murderer. And meanwhile, the off-white suit keeps retaining its being outright noticeable. Maybe new ghosts’ ectoplasm is cream colored at first, and then becomes totally white as their days upon the earthly plane progress. Maybe uncursed ghosts and their ectoplasm are ecru colored…

That said, because of Marty being due at his grave at sunrise, Jeff has no choice but to force Sorrensen’s hand into calling ‘a certain organization’ right before the crack of dawn. As Jeff points out, Sorrensen did not have to let him in…but all that posturing on Sorrensen’s part would seem to indicate that he is hiding at least a little guilt or something no matter how much he does not want to admit it. If Sorrensen had ended up paying Jeff the twenty-five thousand pound bait intended to force our main villain to call the ‘certain organization’ to go after their quarry, Jeff would have definitely had the largest income ever in his career AND life, as well as this series. Although those one pound notes would have been a hassle to handle, but would have come in handy at the laundromat and many a cigarette machine.

It has to be said again, given how trigger happy Sorrensen was with the ‘certain organization’ that fateful last Tuesday and Wednesday…what on Earth stopped him from siccing the murders for hire on Jeff right after he asked around about Marty’s death and whether or not Sorrensen had a black saloon car? Apart from storyline convenience and what-not, Sorrensen must have actually felt that three murders in somewhat less than a week would have made Scotland Yard incredibly suspicious of him. But, again, two murders would not have eventually had that effect?

I almost, ALMOST cannot believe that Ralph Smart and the good folks at ITC passed up a subtle reference to The Prisoner, and had Jeff saying “Be seeing you.” instead of “I’ll be seeing you.” to Sorrensen.

Yes, feel more than free to groan at that.

And again, Frank Windsor BEAUTIFULLY nails how terrifyingly calculating Sorrensen is with those eyes of his and a mere expression. Jeepers creepers…easily one of the original (and yet again BEST…cannot be said enough) Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) series’ best villains, and as Sorrensen should be, given he and murders for hire are utmost historic villains in the overall mythos at that.

As Sorrensen falls for Jeff’s bait, Marty gets to witness what the genesis of his murder looked like. And consummate professional Marty is, living or dead, he actually and amazingly never gets the least bit emotional about it…not even so much as to shake an ectoplasmic fist at Sorrensen.

Even his otherwise keen mind cannot help Marty remember the rest of the poem about why ghosts should not stay out of their graves past sunrise. To add insult to injury, Jeff thinks of it as nothing more than a ‘children’s nursery rhyme’…but then again, it is most easy to feel that way when you are at the mercy of murderous thugs and need that much more divine aid to hopefully survive. Here is what Marty tries to remember of the iconic and infamous rhyme, but only in bits and pieces:

“Cursed be the ghost who dared to stay, and face the awful light of day.”

With the mention of Jeannie and what she would do if Jeff were to not be around, one has to wonder if Marty was really going to be all that willing to head on to his final destination if he and Jeff had managed to finish their work before dawn. That said, Marty’s decision to stay is for Jeannie’s sake, as he made and said to Jeff right when the sun rose.

The phone number of the ‘certain organization’ is the same as their main vehicle’s register…OYR-877F (and speaking of auto registers, as seen earlier, the register for Jeff’s Vauxhall is RXD-996F and the one for Marty/now Jeannie’s Mini is BAP-245B…leaving no trivia stone unturned!). I wonder how they pulled requesting one or the other without raising ANY eyebrows, what-so-ever. Also and evidently, when you pay the ‘certain organization’ enough money and/or prove yourself to be a regular customer, you are entitled to the perk of getting to tag along on your requested whacks, as we see happen with Sorrensen.

We only hear it once here, but Marty’s nickname, and perhaps since childhood (we unfortunately never hear of how far back Jeff and Marty’s friendship goes, but with the constant proclamations of being best friends, I would be quite surprised if their friendship did not go back to either their childhood or teenagehood), is ‘Hoppy’. “Hop it, Hoppy!” Also, another sign of no matter how much he grows as a ghost, Marty is still every bit as human as he was in the flesh: His utterance of “They’re going to shoot us!” despite being bulletproof to the nth degree.

People tend to harp on this climax, but I personally love the irony of something so covert and intricate like this ‘certain organization’ being foiled by something so utterly simple (with or without Jim Capaldi warbling about it) like a ghost blowing a newspaper onto the would-have-been-murderers’ car’s windshield. I do not care what anyone says…that is bonafide genius and a true credit to Ralph Smart and his script writing. Not to mention that since Sorrensen and any organization member involved with this climax was not killed, only hurt and/or arrested, that left things super wide open for a return from Sorrensen and/or the organization had there been at least a second series/season. I, for one, would have been most thoroughly interested in how Sorrensen would attempt to get his revenge against Jeff Randall (and Marty Hopkirk).

With the first showing of Marty’s new gravestone, we see that there are no birth and death dates in addition to the iconic “In Loving Memory, Marty Hopkirk, Faithful Unto Death” engraving. Something I am surprised has never been questioned all that much. But if they had included dates, that would have further dated the show something fierce, so leaving those off I can understand. We not only see that as kinda, sorted requested by Marty, Jeff and Jeannie go with roses, not lilies, for the first flowers to be placed upon the grave post-funeral, but also learn that when you are a cursed ghost, you are not at all allowed back into your grave, and are rejected every time you try to re-enter. And the first ever chapter of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) closes with rest of the seminal and infamous rhyme, as well as a brief musing from Jeff and Marty about it.

“He shall not to the grave return, until a hundred years be gone.”

“A hundred years..”

“A hundred years!”

Review and Thoughts

“My Late Lamented Friend And Partner” is THE pilot episode just about all, if not ALL pilot episodes dream of being. In a day and age that sees many, MANY people complaining about when an origin story is separate from the actual plot, this episode was honestly ahead of its time in not just introducing the first (and really still only) ghost detective show, but also and especially having the origin of how Marty Hopkirk became a ghost be remarkably interlaced within the overall episode plot with nary any diversion what-so-ever.

All of the ingredients that make an outstanding Randall and Hopkirk episode all the more truly incredible are here…good story/writing, excellent acting, overall fine pace, well fleshed out characters. And the very latter is truly a rarity within a pilot episode, and usually does not come into its own until at least a couple to a few episodes later. This is a true testament to the undeniable yet underappreciated talents of Ralph Smart, Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope, and Annette Andre.

Let me just go on more about these characters, for it is not every day that they are every bit in their element in the pilot as they are quite later into the season/series. Everything we basically know AND need to know about Jeff and Marty, their friendship and business, and how Jeannie beautifully and necessarily rounds out the trinity is here and ready to guide all viewers, brand new and veteran, into the wondrous, ‘something for everyone’ world of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). While the ITC pantheon has produced several highly memorable characters, the others of them are not nearly as thoroughly human as Jeff Randall, Marty Hopkirk (in or out of the flesh), and Jeannie Hopkirk. You are not going to find more ‘only human’ moments in the ITC universe such as…

  • – Jeff’s evolution of an at first begrudging acceptance of his best friend’s being an ethereal entity to realizing the boons of such a circumstance AND that Marty is still quite human outside of a vessel as he was when bound to one.
  • – Marty and that very humanity dominating his very otherworldly being…in his first forty-eight hours as a specter, he puts on a cavalcade of ghostly abilities of which many a poltergeist would be utterly jealous. And yet, despite these astral fireworks, Marty remains every bit as much a human being, as proven by his politeness, jealousy, and worrying still as prevalent as ever; the ‘gliding through walls’ sequence, his difficulty in remembering the ancient rhyme, and his preference to stay and unselfishly help his best friend and, in turn, also be around for his wife. Therefore, Marty is not just still magnificently only human in his ectoplasmic form, he also has heart and, well, soul.
  • – Jeannie’s mourning for her husband to the degree of sleeping in all day and only wanting to step back out into the world to ‘see the stone’. In my opinion, this is the epitome of how the little things do truly count in developing not only an episode, but also and most particularly the characters and the world around those characters. Jeannie is by far the most subtle of the three main characters, but she packs a powerful punch here with hitting home as to how devastating Marty’s murder is, despite what we know, see, and especially enjoy of his most marvelous new existence and powers.

In a series that would develop a small bit of conflict behind the scenes (but very thankfully did not cause any real rifts between at least the main cast…as I will be discussing on/off between other reviews and posts, I absolutely adore the genuine friendship on and off the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) set between Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope, and Annette Andre and most especially how it thoroughly augmented the chemistry of their characters and the overall series) as to whether there should have been more comedy or more drama, the two are terrifically melded together here with the added bonus of the private eye aspect not being too obtrusive and, if anything, further enhancing the overall story.

You cannot get nor find a better series opening AND historic-within-the-mythos villain than Sorrensen and his beloved murders for hire outfit. Yes, they do have their flaws, but apart from my admitted nitpicking/wisecracking/probably being too ‘Hopkirk-esque’ for my own good (blame my Scots-Irish/potential Liverpudlian/Scouser blood), these flaws, like most other classic/best Randall and Hopkirk flaws, can and should be overlooked. Sorrensen and Co. are the utmost proof that sometimes, and most particularly in the overall context of this episode, typical and street level is not at all a bad thing.

The supporting characters are never cumbersome nor memorable for the wrong reasons. Of them, Hendy is easily, EASILY the standout, which is expected with the talents of the late, great Ronald Lacey at work. But Dolores Mantez’ Happy Lee and even Harry Locke’s night porter/Sid are quite crucial pieces of the puzzle as well…and without them, we would not be witness to the little things that make the Jeff Randall character tick, such as his feelings for Marty and how mundane his line of work would be and is without his best friend’s spiritual aid.

It is only the first episode, and already Marty’s abilities and the special effects behind them are a showstopping tour de force. Although I will not disagree that a few other certain episodes present possibly more fun and/or clever uses of what Marty can do as a specter, you are honestly going to be hard-pressed to find a more awesome array of Marty’s powers outside of this episode. It was bold of ITC, Spooner/Berman, and Ralph Smart to showcase Marty’s abilities in one fell swoop like that instead of spreading out each ability’s debut over the course of the series. But as with all great television series, there needed to be a hook to keep viewers wanting more and willing to tune in week in and week out…and really, there is not an absolutely better hook than what, exactly, a newly materialized ghost can do. And it is all done in such a way that we not only want to see more of Marty as a ghost every bit as much as still a human being, but his powers really do not ever get trite, contrary to what some critics have said, still say, and likely always will.

“No, I didn’t touch anything. I blew stuff. Lenny Henry was on Parkinson, I think he was, and he couldn’t believe the success of the show. He said ‘All that ghost does is blow!’.” – Kenneth Cope, TV Zone #218/August 2007, “The Ghost Talks And The Widow” by Anthony Brown.

What was/is Mr. Henry on about? Somebody needed/needs to show Mr. Henry this episode, STAT. It may not change his mind, but it proves him utmost wrong about everything the ghost can do.

The special effects, as ‘primitive’ as they may be by today’s overblown standards, are to Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) what George Martin was to the Beatles. I think there is a lot to be said for telling the story in such a way that it still leaves just enough to the imagination in a way that feels organic, not at all overelaborate, and allows the performers, their characters, and the situations surrounding those characters to rightfully be the stars over and above everything else. And in something as super character driven as Randall and Hopkirk, to say that is of the utmost importance is only scratching the surface.

Yes, the climax is basic, and people either love it or hate it with no in-between. Again, I am in the ‘love it’ camp, and personally dig the irony of how something so complex like the murders for hire organization ends up being taken down by something as absurdly simple as a newspaper blown onto a windshield. It cannot be said enough…the little things, people, the little things, and every single one of them in this episode put that much more of an exclamation point on how damn fine the writing was, still is, and always will be overall for this puppy.

Just like the murders for hire organization was not exactly as covert as they probably thought they were, sure there are some flaws in spots of this episode. But they are the kind of flaws that honestly add that much more charm and love to the whole of the Randall and Hopkirk series and mythos, making it all every bit that much more-so the most human ITC offering, and as such should be appreciated right down to providing that much more of the occasional jolly good laugh, as Mike Pratt certainly would want, God bless him, and also Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre too.

Rating and Consensus

A PERFECT episode off the bat, and the PERFECT place to start for absolutely new and potential admirers of the tangible and intangible detective pair.

TEN OUT OF TEN BLACK SALOON CARS or OFF-WHITE SUITS!!

Everything you could want in a lesson on why the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) is still fondly remembered today AND why ITC was once a television juggernaut can be found here. This is a virtual syllabus for ‘Randall and Hopkirk 101’, and even though there is no such thing as an abysmal classic/best Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode (BUT some are admittingly weaker than others…that is what eventual reviews/analyses are for), this is more than certainly among the series/franchise’s strongest and most dynamic offerings. And there is no reason, what-so-ever, to skip ahead of this one in beginning your 1969-70 Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) odyssey.

Up next on the review card…”A Disturbing Case”, alias the episode authored by Mike Pratt, and often regarded by cast, crew, and fans alike as one of the series’ most brilliant comedy gems.

Be seeing you!

Caroline “All you need is love…and champagne!” Smith

The A Brief History of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)/Legend Of A Show introduction and this review, particularly the history portions and the photos (which are the property of ITV Global Entertainment), as well all other eventual classic Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode reviews and their history portions and photos would not be possible without the aid of these sources.

Avengerland/A Guide To Avengerland by Anthony ‘Tony’ McKay, Annette Hill, and Chris Bentley

Cult TV: The Golden Age of ITC by Robert Sellers

HarryFielder.co.uk

2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set and its bonuses, especially the commentary for “My Late Lamented Friend And Partner”, the Randall and Hopkirk Revisited documentary, and the Mike Pratt Remembered mini-documentary.

Mike-Pratt.co.uk

Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) by Geoff Tibballs

Randall and Hopkirk (Declassified)

SFX #7/December 1995 – “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) 1969” by Jon Abbott

SFX #161/October 2007 – “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” by Steve O’Brien

Time Screen #6/June 1986 – “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): “Only You Jeff! Only You!” by Andrew Pixley

Time Screen #11/Spring 1988 – “The Ghost Talks – An Interview With Kenneth Cope” by Annette Buckley

Time Screen #14/August 1989 – “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” by Vanessa M. Bergman

Time Screen Revised #6/Autumn 1991 – “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Only You Jeff! Only You!” by Michael Richardson

TV Film Memorabilia/June 2007 – “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)” by Ann Evans and Rob Tysall

TV Zone Special #7/November 1992 – “Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Grave-Talk From Kenneth Cope” by Graeme Wood

TV Zone Special #14/June 1994 – “Cyril Frankel Interview” by David Richardson

TV Zone #218/August 2007 – “The Ghost Talks and the Widow” by Anthony Brown

2005 Umbrella Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) DVD set and its bonuses, especially the “A Sentimental Journey” Annette Andre interview and “The Ghost Talks” Kenneth Cope interview.

A profuse amount of thanks to these sources and their authors, producers, and everyone else involved…let us work together in being ‘Faithful Unto Death’ to keep the Randall and Hopkirk spirit alive.

And please, please, PLEASE buy the Blu-Rays and/or DVDs of the classic and forever BEST Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)…man and woman cannot AND should not live on intricately detailed reviews alone.

Further Information:

Randall and Hopkirk (Declassified) – Episode/programme page.

Avengerland – Shooting locations.

YouTube – The ENTIRE(!!) episode available for viewing.

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Floydian Slip OR It’s Either This Or “Total Eclipse Of The Heart”

When you catch glimpses of the bassist to the slight right of Nick Mason’s drums and in front of them, that is none other than Guy Pratt, Mike ‘Jeff Randall’ Pratt’s son! Pink Floyd’s PULSE is honestly one of my utmost favorite concerts (the DVD is an absolute must-have for lovers of good music, psychedelic rock, and/or progressive rock in addition to Randall and Hopkirk)  and concert albums ever…and ever since it first came out in 1995. My dad (bless his soul) got the 2 CD set just a week or so after release, it had the famous LED light blinking on the side! Funnily enough, I believe I listened to that set way more than my dad ever did. And I adored every song and still do, but if I really, REALLY had to pick the one tune I listen to a little more than the others, it would be this one.

Though, ever since getting the PULSE DVD about ten years ago, this has come pretty damn close to rivaling “Astronomy Domine” as my top PULSE favorite. And not just because it is Guy Pratt’s showcase piece AND I can actually do a pretty good impersonation of the title-sake one spoken line. 😀

Neat and wild fact: Guy’s Christmas present from his dad in 1975 was a bass guitar and a copy of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. Just typing that brings a small tear to my eye, and you’ll understand why if you ever read Guy’s My Bass And Other Animals, another thing I can’t recommend enough, especially as both a Randall and Hopkirk/Mike Pratt admirer and sheer music lover.

Caroline “See Caroline Play!” Smith

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Four-Eyed Overdrive OR Marty Hopkirk Wins…Totality!

As shared by Icy Twaine from Acid Violet on Tumblr.

Check out those shades! Marty knows how to be ready for the big solar eclipse AND party during it, and in a style that would make Flavor Flav envious!

For real, this is an advertisement from the early-mid 90s for when a channel aired our beloved Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). My bet on what channel it was being Bravo…for this was not their first piece of propaganda in regards to airing R&H(D). There were also these cards, which not only feature the R&H(D) logo looking just like it does above, but also are among the goodies I’d love to add to my collection one day sooner or later…

I wouldn’t mind collecting the other cards in addition to these…the game they’re evidently for seems rather intriguing and hopefully not bad for something simply advertising a television network.

By the way, the uppermost image is more than possibly the closest we will ever come to seeing what the original (and BEST) Marty Hopkirk would have looked like in the initially proposed pale green before Dennis Spooner and Monty Berman up and decided that all white was considerably better. Let’s just say that I 100% support them on that decision to this day and forever.

Caroline “Yo, can you see me? Yo, can you hear me? I can telekinetically make a mean cup of tea!” Smith

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From Screen To Page OR Mint Condition

(Consider that second title my feeble attempt to reference Cream’s “Blue Condition”.)

Alright, I’ll admit it…I am a comic book junkie. Not quite to the degree I was up through my early-ish 20s, but even ever since then, the comic book/graphic novel medium has held a special place in my heart. And if there ever was AND still is an entertainment franchise that has always, ALWAYS deserved its own comic book, it is so Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). Most especially (and obviously, in the case of this place) the original 1969-70 version…although maybe, MAYBE I would give a remake-based comic a chance IF their R&H were written like the old school R&H despite their appearance. Nah…scratch that. It has to be the classic Jeff and Marty that should be portrayed in graphic/print form AND NOBODY ELSE. For cripes’ sake, Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope’s Jeff and Marty just looked considerably more like men who weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty with the London underworld…

Getting back to the subject of comics (no, NOT THEM)…, if there honestly has been and is anything similar to the Randall and Hopkirk concept between Marvel and DC, two characters, one from each company, immediately spring to mind, Moon Knight and Deadman. Moon Knight is Marvel’s virtual answer to “What if Jeff Randall up and decided he was an Ancient Egyptian Batman one day?” OR “What if Jeff Randall embraced his potential insanity over his best friend’s passing AND hearing his voice in his head?”, complete with a Marty Hopkirk-esque white suit whenever he patrols the streets and nighttime as ‘Mr. Knight’. As a matter of fact, I will admit that, in addition to really digging his gameplay mechanics (and having an amazing build on him), that white suit/Mr. Knight outfit is why Moon Knight is one of my utmost favorites to play in the Marvel Heroes MMORPG. But speaking of Hopkirk-esque aesthetics, Deadman is DC’s practical answer to “What if Marty Hopkirk was a superhero?”. Deadman is basically a good guy ghost who was murdered, is invisible/intangible to most people but mystics and psychics, and can possess mortals. The only things keeping Deadman from being completely like Marty are a lack of telekinesis, telepathy, and the ability to generate hurricane force wind; no white suit, no chosen one, and that he had been a stuntman (and his alias comes from that very occupation), not a private investigator when he lived. Yeah, I can hear some of you…what about Spectre and/or Ghost Rider? Ghost Rider is easy-peasy to cross out here (as much as I also like playing him in Marvel Heroes), yes he is a supernatural character and has ‘ghost’ in his alias, but that is definitely where any and all ‘similarity’ begins and ends. Spectre…yes, he is ghost-like AND his name is a synonym of ghost, but I would make the argument that apart from being able to possess mortal beings too, he is a bit too godlike to be compared to Marty Hopkirk and other spirit types.

But enough comparing and contrasting…well, ok, a little more: As will be discussed in this blog a bit time and again, it is such a royal shame that the original Randall and Hopkirk did not receive nearly as much promotion and merchandise during its time as the remake did in its time. If there is any area in which this could have been remedied, even if just by a tiny measure, it is most certainly comic publishing. Especially considering the numerous upon numerous 60s television shows that did manage to get their own comic books…including, on the ITC front, The Saint, The Prisoner, The Champions, Department S, and The Persuaders(!). Yes, you read that right, the Champions, the Persuaders(!) (ok, I know the Persuaders(!) are 70s, but they’re still definitely worth mentioning), and even R&H’s production ‘sibling’, Jason King and Friends* have, once upon a time, had their own comics…all the more proof that some things you just can’t make up. But that said, it just makes it all that much more ‘Oh, what could have been…’ about Randall and Hopkirk having a comic that could have boosted their original and best show, or at the very least kept it in the public conscious to up the demand for a much deserved second season/series (something else that will be talked about a bit time and again as well). Not to mention that it would have be downright neat to see Jeff/Mike Pratt, Marty/Kenneth Cope, and Jeannie/Annette Andre illustrated in that gorgeous, detailed, even at times psychedelic 60s/70s comic art style, the likes of which will never be seen again.

Believe it or not, I do not think a Randall and Hopkirk comic book/graphic novel is all that impossible today, especially as well as independent comics are doing versus Marvel and DC currently. My most enormous concern about such a thing would far and away be how true to the original (and again, BEST) source material it would end up being. In my mind, the utmost PERFECT 2017-forward Randall and Hopkirk graphic novel/comic book series would be true to the source material and utilize art that is modern, yet remarkably and very appropriately retro. That said, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, let me quite happily and proudly introduce one of the absolute best Randall and Hopkirk discoveries I have made in awhile, if not ever in the art of Icy Twaine!

Courtesy of Icy Twaine’s Tumblr.

This would be and is a BRILLIANT first issue cover for a potential Randall and Hopkirk published medium. Preferably of the graphic/illustrative nature, but it just dawned on me that a properly done novelization would be downright fun to read as well. To say I love this would-and-should-be-cover is putting it mildly…I particularly dig the lilies in the lower right corner. What a nifty touch in all of its symbolism.

And this is not to say that the near-entire Edwin Astley original R&H soundtrack being on Spotify is not an awesome discovery in and of itself…but really and seriously, just look at this would-and-should-be-cover in the fourteenth (sixth in the production order) installment of the what-if R&H comic/novel series…

Courtesy of Icy Twaine’s DeviantArt page.

How could anyone, lifelong lover of this franchise or novice viewer/reader, not be remotely pulled in by these illustrations? The just absolutely perfect melding of modern with retro is breathtaking. And in its own wonderfully weird way, it just somehow fits Jeff and Marty, their adventures, and even their more humorous exchanges.

Courtesy of Icy Twaine’s Tumblr.

Bar none the best way to introduce Randall and Hopkirk to a younger audience (as well as just purely delicious art for longtime appreciators like yours truly)…today, comics/novels with simply fabulous art tailor made for now AND then just like this, tomorrow, the Blu-Rays or even Netflix carrying the 1969-70 series for much deserved new viewers alongside the perpetual ones.

Oh, and we certainly can’t leave out Jeannie, can we?

Courtesy of Icy Twaine’s Tumblr.

Caroline “Welp…well, I guess Wyngarde and Co. won THAT much of the ‘sibling rivalry’.” Smith

* – Granted, it was not a regular comic, but a one-off in a Thunderbirds Annual…but still…Marty?

Nuff said.

Addendum as of August 23rd, 2017: I came upon an interesting tidbit in Andrew Pixley’s notes for the 2007 Network Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) Special Edition DVD set…In Look-In (a “Junior TV Times” magazine published circa at least the late 60s and early 70s) #23/June 12th, 1971 edition, Kenneth Cope was used to introduce a ghostly comic strip which had no connection with Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), darn it. But I would say that is by far the closest Randall and Hopkirk came to kinda, sorta having their own comic (yet not, grr arrgh) when the original/best show was current.

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More Spotify Sleuthing OR Ghost Music!

As the title indicates, I have discovered more(!!) Randall and Hopkirk music on Spotify! It turns out, most marvelously, that the 3 CD original Edwin Astley and orchestra soundtrack from Network is available for many a Randall and Hopkirk admirer to add to their playlist(s). As with all Spotify offerings, each and every single track sounds fantastic, to say the least. And needless to say, the entire soundtrack was an INSTA-ADD to my overall playlist/’radio station’, which can be accessed from the Spotify link under Other Haunts on the right sidebar.

I am a proud owner of the actual 3 CD official soundtrack set (released by Network in 2008, and obtained by moi sometime around 2009) and do plan to review it one day, but not for a long while. I want to get at least half of the episode reviews out of the way before taking on the first of the collectible/merchandise reviews.

In the meantime, here is a very small but still nifty sampling of said soundtrack.

Oh, and you best believe I have added this piece of vinyl to my list of R&H goodies I would love to possess one day sooner or later.

Caroline “My Spotify ‘radio station’ is just like the original and forever BEST Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)…something for the kids, grandma and grandpa…” Smith

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