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Cult Times #54
Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) The Man in the White Suit: Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)
All you'll ever need to know!

The Premise: Jeff Randall and Marty Hopkirk run a private investigation firm. Marty is killed in an apparent hit and run, but reappears to his partner as a ghost: “Don’t worry Jeff. Jeannie can’t see or hear me. Nobody can. Only you Jeff! Only you!”

Transgressing a curse to bring his killer to justice, Marty cannot re-enter his grave for a century, becoming Jeff’s invisible asset on his new cases.

Background: Created by Dennis Spooner and produced for ITC by Scoton, this comedy-thriller film series was produced by Monty Berman. It was originally conceived as a possible vehicle for comedian Dave Allen.

First Run: From 19th September 1969 by ITV network ATV-Midlands.

Number of Episodes: Twenty-six commercial one-hours.

The Good Guys: Jeff Randall (Mike Pratt), the happy-go-lucky surviving partner of the down-at-heel detective agency. The spirit of Marty Hopkirk (Kenneth Cope) keeps an eye on both Jeff, and his widow, Jeannie (Annette André).

The Cops: The ulcer-ridden Inspector Large (Ivor Dixon) is never happy to find Jeff involved in his latest case and will try to arrest him – often simply to keep him out of the way.

And Isn’t That... Frank Windsor as the murderous husband in My Late Lamented Friend and Partner; David Jason as the music hall assistant accused of murder in That’s How Murder Snowballs; Peter Jones as a ghost hunter in The House on Haunted Hill; Keith Barron as a hitman in When Did You Start to Stop Seeing Things?; Lois Maxwell setting Jeff up in For the Girl Who Has Everything; Anton Rogers as a dipsomaniac con-man in When The Spirit Moves You.

Overdone Clichés : Jeff gets caught by the bad guys or gals. Marty then uses his powers with hypnotized/dying/psychic/occulty people to send a message through to the authorities, bringing rescue in the nick of time.

Fashion Statements: Spotless white suits if you’re a ghost, and bright pastel shades of Sharron Macready cast-offs if you’re a ghost’s widow. Hair can be worn back-to-front at times by ghosts.

Spiritual Highs

My Late Lamented Friend and Partner
A wonderful pilot, mixing grins and thrills as Jeff is persuaded by his late partner to help track down his own killer.

A Disturbing Case
Mike Pratt co-authors an hilarious entry in which Jeff falls victim to a very crooked German hypnotist, and becomes a sleepwalking pawn to Marty’s commands.

All Work and No Pay
The sinister Foster brothers decide the best way to contact “the other side” is to keep killing people, until someone comes back to them.

That’s How Murder Snowballs
Marty is the ideal invisible partner for Jeff when he poses as a mind-reader to investigate a music hall murder.

Six Foot Under

The episode Money to Burn barely warrants Marty’s involvement; The Ghost Talks – due to Mike Pratt having broken his legs – is a ghostless flashback to when Marty was still alive and kicking; Could You Recognise The Man Again? is just dull.

Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)
• March 2000 UK Transmission details: BBC Choice – Wednesdays from 22nd, 21.00 • Also available on Carlton Video

New version, starring Vic Reeves, Bob Mortimer, Emilia Fox and Tom Baker airs in late March
Official BBC site

Andrew Pixley

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Photo © ITC
Feature © Visual Imagination 2000.
Not for reproduction.