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Friday, 22 February 2008 08:03

Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)

The original 1969 version of the ghostly detective format ...


UK - 1969-71 - 26 episodes (60 mins) - colour

Marrying the down-at-heel private detective genre with supernatural fantasy, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) was created by Dennis Spooner and Monty Berman, who produced the show in tandem with Department S.

When Marty Hopkirk, one half of a detective agency, is murdered he returns in spirit to help his partner, Jeff Randall, to help track down his killer. Failing to return to his grave before sunrise, he violates an ancient curse that leaves him stranded on earth.

Balancing the supernatural and detective elements, Spooner and Berman keenly exploited the comic potential of the situation. Like I Dream of Jeannie, the spectral Marty can only be seen by Jeff. Although their investigations benefited from one partner not being bound by physical laws, his ghostly actions were blamed on the living partner, resulting in frequent beatings and even hospitalisation when he appeared to be talking, and more often arguing, with himself.

The scripting, mostly divided between Tony Williamson, who was more comfortable with the fantasy elements, and Donald James, whose work tended toward realism, meant that the series sometimes suffered from an inconsistency in tone. Although enjoyed by the public, negative reviews and the inability to attract an audience in America, where it was retitled My Partner the Ghost, meant that it failed to be recommissioned.

Remade in 2000, with the emphasis firmly on the comedic, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer took on the title roles, with the character of Jeannie, remodelled as Hopkirk's fiancée rather than wife, given a more pro-active role.

Mike Pratt as Jeff Randall
Kenneth Cope as Marty Hopkirk
Annette Andre as Jean Hopkirk


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