RANDALL AND HOPKIRK (DECEASED)
Jeff Randall Ė Mike Pratt
Marty Hopkirk Ė Kenneth Cope
Jeannie Randall Ė Annette Andre
THEY ALSO SEE DEAD PEOPLE
My Late, Lamented Friend And Partner
Jeff Randall and Marty Hopkirk are friends as well as partners in their private investigation firm. When one of Jeff's clients turns up dead after confronting her cheating husband, Marty isn't willing to let the death go uninvestigated himself and is mown down in a hit and run accident. Jeff is willing to accept that it was just an accident right up to the point that Marty reappears as a ghost and tells him that it was really murder.
This initially starts out as the kind of crime thriller show that ITC were well known for at the time, but it takes a left turn with Marty's sudden, and unheralded (except for the title of course) death. Randall's subsequent grief, confusion and disbelief are nicely handled by Mike Pratt, giving them some weight even though the plot and running time require that he get past them pretty quickly so that he can get on with solving the crime.
Marty is initially also a touch confused, relating that he hasn't fully reported to wherever he has to go because he wants to see Jeannie is all right first. This leads him to staying out of the grave after dawn, which means he can't return there for a hundred years. Appearing all in white, he discovers the power to walk through walls in the most obvious effects sequence, though you can also see the wires when he 'blows' things around. His appearing and disappearing, though, are well done.
The crime plot is simple and Randall wandering around an empty London without being seen is a bit ridiculous, but this is the opening episode with an origin story to tell and there is much promise for later stories.Top
A Disturbing Case
Jeff is still coming to terms with the fact that Marty has come back as a ghost, so when Marty's wife Jeannie and her sister catch him apparently talking to himself, they get him checked into a treatment centre for the confused. Since the centre is being used by a doctor to hypnotise people into giving away all their most valuable items, Jeff's presence there might just save the day if Marty can break his hypnosis.
Quite apart from the huge coincidence of Jeff being checked into the very health centre being used by the criminal conspiracy, this episode is rather fun thanks to the fact that Jeff is hypnotised and Marty can make him do what he needs to, but only if he talks in the Doctor's german accent.
It is hard to believe, however, that a supposedly good private investigator fails to notice the huge tape recorder that the women use to catch him out.Top
All Work And No Pay
Jeannie takes a job with a couple of failed spiritualists who have decided that if they can't get the spirits already dead to contact them then they will kill someone after giving them strict instructions to do so. The perfect target turns out to be a woman hired by Jeff to talk Jeannie out of it.
The two brothers, George and Henry, are very funny characters who enliven this story no end with their eccentric ways. The idea that they would decide to kill someone in order to get them to come back after death to contact them is as bonkers as the electronic gizmos they use to 'create' poltergeist hauntings.
Marty saves the day by destroying a fuse panel in a power station, but wouldn't it have been just as easy to blow the fuses on the brothers' machines?Top
Never Trust A Ghost
Marty sees a murder take place and persuades Jeff to call the police in only to be presented with the victim, very much alive. Further errors lead Jeff to believe that Marty is caught in an afterlife hallucination, which is not good when he is the only person who can save him.
A standard mystery story is spiced up a little with the side issue of a professor who believes (for no reason that can be ascertained) that all ghosts exist in a perpetual fantasy state. This makes the confrontation between Marty and the professor some quite good fun, but it is in service of a story that isn't worthy of it.Top
That's How Murder Snowballs
Jeff goes undercover as a mindreader on stage in order to find out who placed a live round in the gun that killed a man who used russian roulette as the centrepiece of his act. Marty provides spectral support.
Using his ghostly partner to provide the information that makes his 'mind-reading' act work is the only original thing that this story has going for it. Apart from the sheer coincidence of Jeff being in the audience when the performer got shot there is the fact that the identity of the killer is obvious and the so-called twist easy to see to undermine things.
And Marty doesn't do very much other than provide the answers to the questions that Jeff's act needs.Top
Just For The Record
Jeannie is chaperoning the Miss London entry in a beauty contest when Marty realises that the woman is planning a robbery at the National Archives. Jeff would much rather continue trying to get off with Miss Moscow than investigate.
The robot arm that is the key to the robbery at the archives is a deeply unconvincing piece of kit that doesn't look for a second like it could hold the file of papers were it not so obviously empty. There are other issues with the plot such as why Jeff's agency would be called in as chaperones to the girls anyway. The nature of the villains and the motivation for their crimes is the least likely of all.
The background of the beauty contest is very much of the time, but it could have been a good deal less leery even when it was produced.Top
Murder Ain't What It Used To Be
A dead prohibition era gangster threatens to hurt Jeannie unless Marty can persuade Jeff to kill a visiting American crook.
This is the first time that Marty has met up with another ghost and he learns a bit about what ghosts can actually do with a bit of practice. For one thing, they can punch each other, manifest to whomever they like when they want to and have much more control over their environment.
Considering that Bugsy can do all of this, it seems ridiculous that he is unable to bring about his enemy's death himself. It does at least make him a credible threat to Jeannie and that drives the episode.
It's also interesting to see Jeff being forced to work for a man that he palpably detests and the ending is surprisingly downbeat makes a lot of what goes before seem rather pointless.Top
Whoever Heard Of A Ghost Dying
A criminal gang use Marty to provide disinformation about their intended crimes to Jeff who then goes to the police. Once they pull their last caper, they plan to rid themselves of him with the help of a medium and an exorcism.
This episode does more that just use Marty as an easy way for Jeff to find out what he needs to know and to save him in the nick of the time. The idea of using a genuine medium to first disrupt Marty's 'vibrations', thus making him feel ill, and then get rid of him through an exorcism puts the ghost right at the heart of things and creates a genuine threat to the ghostly partner.
The crime side of things is much less successful since it relies on the police so utterly dim that if a crime doesn't take place at the specified time of one am they all go home before two.Top
The House On Haunted Hill
Jeff is caught up investigating two cases. The first involves an apparently haunted house and the second a diamond robbery. It would be easier if he could get Marty to help, but he's afraid of ghosts!
The idea that the two cases should just happen to be connected is utter nonsense, of course, and it doesn't help that there is no explanation given as to why one of the comedy relief ghost hunters can actually see and hear Marty. The plot requires it and so it happens.
What does help is that one of the gang turns out to be convincingly unhinged killer who sets up a realistic threat to Jeff and Jeannie's sister (imaginatively called Jenny).Top
When Did You Start To Stop Seeing Things?
Marty is left in a difficult position when Jeff stops being able to see or hear him. What has caused this change and why is Jeff acting so strangely about the insurance company case?
This is one of those episodes when the answer is obvious from a very early stage, but is so utterly unbelievable that you can't help looking for others solutions along the way. It all falls apart most completely when you consider that Marty is drawn to Jeff by their otherworldly connection and so the mistake that he makes really doesn't make any sense at all.Top
The Ghost Who Saved The Bank At Monte Carlo
Marty's dotty aunt Clara believes that she has a system for beating the odds and sets off to Monaco with Jeff and Jeannie as bodyguards. Once there, they fall foul of two sets of armed men.
This is as close to a French farce as the show could possibly get. There are a number of people being knocked out and knocked off without the principles even noticing, leaving Marty to do a lot of mouth-open double takes and just act all confused.
That said, itís light and frothy and silly fun, using all the usual stock footage to create the sense of the location. It also features Nicholas Courtenay and Roger Delgado amongst the bad guys for all the DOCTOR WHO fans as well as Brian Blessed.Top
For The Girl Who Has Everything
A ghost hunter offers Jeff half of his fee to prove that Crake Castle is not haunted despite the owner having seen the ghost. Then the hunter turns up dead, apparently at ghostly hands.
Thereís a twist here as the team try to prove a ghost doesn't exist whilst every piece of evidence points to the opposite. The resolution might seem like something dreamt up after a night playing CLUEDO and the whodunnit is far too obvious, but there is plenty of fun to be had with Marty's being afraid of ghosts and the presence of a tea shop owner whose handywoman status is doubtful at best.Top
But What A Sweet Little Room
Jeff and Marty investigate a scam whereby recent widows are wooed by a financial consultant who picks them up at sťances held by a fake medium and then gasses them in an escape-proof room.
The method of despatch used by the murderer in this episode is a nasty little one and is shown in detail as the first victim is seen right through the process of choking to death. The story then switches to the pretty ordinary investigative process and is resolved by both Marty being suddenly able to converse with a medium previously considered to be utterly fake and Jeff being able to withstand the force of a considerable explosion by being inside a wooden box.Top
Who Killed Cock Robin?
An eccentric millionaire left all of her estate to be split between her surviving family members only after her precious rare birds have all died. The birds are now being killed off and the family members are not far behind.
This is another CLUEDO style storyline that contains some fun characters, but really doesn't have much of a plot and has almost nothing for its resident ghost to do.Top
The Man From Nowhere
Jeannie is shocked by the arrival of a man who claims to be Marty in another man's body. Jeff starts to investigate, but Jeannie takes matters into her own hands, putting herself at risk from the suspicious trio following her would be husband.
The idea of a man claiming to be Marty reincarnated is a nice one and could have been played out longer had the ghostly Marty been kept absence a bit longer. Instead, we are treated to another by the numbers crime plot that is beyond the realms of all believability in the coincidences required to make the plot work.
The addition of the effete and oddball couple chasing the faux-Marty and their thug assistant gives it a real AVENGERS feel, but doesn't add a lot to improve it and the scene where Jeff and the thug fight it out in a warehouse of obviously empty cardboard boxes is inappropriately funny.Top
When The Spirit Moves You
When a con goes wrong and brings the perpetrator into contact with a notorious mobster, he implicates Jeff and puts both their lives in danger.
This is a straightforward crime story with Jeff being dragged into the wrongdoing against his will and having to use his wits to get the better of the bad guys. The only wrinkle in the plot is that the con man is slightly psychic, but can only see Marty when he is stinking drunk.Top
Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave
Marty's grave is desecrated, but nobody believes Jeff that the person responsible came from the 18th Century. Then he gets involved with the eccentric neighbourhood millionaire and his rebellious agoraphobic son.
To say that this plot doesn't make a lot of sense is a real understatement. Things aren't helped by the fact that the millionaire is played by an actor in a very bad fake beard that makes the audience suspect that he is more than he turns out to be. Even so, he is a lot more convincing than his right-on son.Top
Could You Recognise The Man Again?
Jeff and Jeannie are witnesses to a murder and finger the gangster responsible, but then his family kidnap Jeannie and warn Jeff not to testify.
Another straightforward crime story that has almost nothing for its ghost to do until right at the very end when he levitates and discovers something that could have been worked out with a little bit of deduction. As a result, it's all a bit disappointing.Top
A Sentimental Journey
Jeff takes on a job for a gangster accompanying a woman who is apparently worth £10,000. When the job goes wrong, he is on the run from two lots of gangsters and the police.
They could almost take the 'Hopkirk' out of the show title as the ghost is left once again with nothing to do by a plot that is more interesting in the twists and betrayals going on than finding a role for Marty to play. In the end, all he does is keep an eye on where the real culprits are.Top
Money To Burn
Jeff finds himself in prison as the prime suspect in hijacking half a million pounds of used notes on their way to be burned. It will take his friend, lawyer and a ghostly partner to get him out of this one.
Apparently the main characters of the show are no longer that interesting for the writers since this episode sees the live one sitting in a jail cell doing nothing and the ghostly one with nothing more to do than watch the minor characters do all the work and report back to Jeff. The plot has a couple of twists, but nothing that should challenge anyone who is even remotely paying attention.Top
The Ghost Talks
Jeff is in hospital after falling from a balcony. To cheer him up, Marty tells him the story of a case that he solved whilst Jeff was away involving state secrets.
A real-life injury to Mike Pratt forced the production to come up with this fill-in story that completely dispenses with the supernatural elements of the show's set up and follows the very live Marty through a ridiculous case of spies and double-dealing. It shows that Marty wasn't the brightest of detectives, wasn't a fighter and probably needed Jeff more than Jeff needed him.Top
It's Supposed To Be Thicker Than Water
Joshua Crachan is having a party and Jeff's job is to keep out anyone who doesn't have an invitation. Life gets more complicated when people start dying and Marty is doing what Jeff has asked him to do; stay away.
One way of solving the problem of having a ghost in a straightforward detective story is to come up with a reason why the ghost can't be there to help. Jeff and Marty's argument is that reason and comes over as completely false. The rest remains uninteresting as a result.Top
The Trouble With Women
Jeff is is hired by Mrs Lang to find out if her husband is cheating on her, but it turns out that her husband is a top gangster and people seem to end up dead around him.
This is another case that hangs on the private detective being so immensely stupid as to not check who has actually hired him. Most contracts would require some sort of proof of ID and the fact that a man's already dead ought to have suggested some level of caution of Jeff's part.
The rest is rather too dull and predictable.Top
Vendetta For A Dead Man
A convict with a grudge against Marty breaks out of jail to take his revenge and decides that Jeannie should inherit the blame as well as her husband's worldly goods.
Marty's concern over Jeannie going out with a new man is far more interesting than the bog-standard escaped con thriller. The torture that he and Jeff visit on the married man who wants to seduce Jeannie is suprisingly harsh and more than strictly required to get the information.
Otherwise, it's not very interestingTop
You Can Always Find A Fall Guy
Jeff is hired by a nun to reclaim some embezzled money and finds himself being set up in an industrial espionage conspiracy.
OK, this is getting well beyond a joke. How much effort does it take to pick up a phone and check with the Winchester Parish that there is a convent where there ought to be? Once more Jeff fails utterly to check into the identity of his client and quite frankly deserves all that he gets as a result.
What he does get is a pretty standard betrayal plot that is fairly predictable and less than exciting. At least Marty has something to do, resorting to using a dying man to get a message to the police.Top
The Smile Behind the Veil
Marty tricks Jeff into getting involved with a group of killers and has to come to the rescue when they attempt to kill his living partner.
There are a few twists and turns in this story of stolen identities and murder, but that's not enough to hide the fact that once again Marty's only purpose in the show is to get someone to come and rescue Jeff when he gets into trouble.Top
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