Part One of Vanessa Bergman's investigation
of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)
We start off with the central
characters of the series, first reminding ourselves how these
characters are introduced to us in the early episodes of Randall
and Hopkirk (Deceased).
JEFF RANDALL is the live
half of the duo. He's in his late thirties and, after several years of
running a detective agency with his partner, he is still struggling to
pay the rent. This is due, no doubt, to the fact that most of the
cases he undertakes tend to have no financial reward at the end of
them! He's tough, but a sympathetic, easy-going man.
MARTY HOPKIRK, around the
same age as his partner, is killed in suspicious circumstances while
working on a seemingly routine divorce case. When his ghost returns to
continue the partnership with Jeff, it soon transpires that the
ethereal Marty is just as much a worrier as when he was alive! But for
all his worrying, he is perhaps the one with the ideas. It is he who
often has the bolt of inspiration to help Jeff out of awkward and
often dangerous situations... even though it is usually Marty who has
put him there in the first place!
JEAN HOPKIRK, an attractive
blonde, is the widow of Marty Hopkirk, who assists Jeff in the office
after Marty's death. She is a rather melancholy character who
obviously misses her husband a great deal, but at the same time, she
doesn't hide the fact that she is attracted to Jeff.
In Spooner's original format, he
described the characters as being quite different...
(STEVE) RANDALL is in his late twenties, early
thirties. He's ambitious and he's handsome. Women
approve of him - to say the least. A direct,
blunt, honest man of tall, athletic build. He's a
man of action who prefers to settle an argument
with his fists rather than a persuasive logic.
Headstrong, but just and fair. He'll see a case
through to the end, even if it begins to look as
though it may break him or lose him his licence.
He does have respect for the law but he will go
his own way if he has to. Steve Randall never
sits on the fence. He always takes sides.
(MARTY) HOPKIRK, around the same age as his
partner, is a chubby, kind, likeable, friendly
man. He's humorous and rather accident-prone;
things never quite work out as planned, but
there's always the next time.
There is no description of Jean
Hopkirk, or indeed any leading female character. Therefore, we can
assume that Spooner intended for both of his original characters to be
bachelors. ITC, however, were fond of including at least one female
role in their Sixties series (Sharron Macready in The Champions
and Annabelle Hurst in Department S for example) and this is
the most likely reason that Jean Hopkirk was introduced.
Apart from that, let's see what
else has changed...
First of all, and most obvious,
there is the name change from 'Steve' to 'Jeff'.
There is the age difference.
Dennis Spooner had intended for our two heroes to be a few years
Steve Randall is described as
'ambitious'. Well, Jeff certainly isn't!
Although it would appear in the
series that Jeff gets beaten to a pulp every fifteen minutes, I'm
certain that, given the choice, he would prefer to use a persuasive
logic rather than his fists, to ward off his adversaries, the
reverse of Spooner's original suggestion.
Steve Randall will go against the
law if he feels he has to, whereas Jeff tries very hard to keep on
the right side of the authorities, even though the police do not
always appreciate this!
Steve Randall is obviously a
ladies' man whilst Jeff, who certainly has an eye for the girls,
doesn't have women figuring greatly in his life. On the occasions
where Jeff is attempting to entertain a female companion, Marty's
sudden, unwelcome intrusions - always to Jeff's annoyance -
certainly don't help Jeff in forging relationships!
There are some familiar
characteristics, however. For instance, Jeff Randall does tend to be
headstrong at times, and he will side with anyone who feels they are
blameless for any misdeed.
And Marty Hopkirk?
Spooner's original character is
accident-prone, whereas the final Marty was transformed into a born
worrier! You name it, he would worry about it! The business, Jeannie
(his widow), the car, Jeff's driving... everything! He is also very
jealous and protective where Jeannie is concerned.
The description of the character
being 'chubby' is also at odds with the character as we know it,
though this may well have been jettisoned in tandem with the
Again, there are characteristics
that we are familiar with, not least in that 'before and after', Marty
is a humorous, kind and extremely likeable character.
Origins: In the Beginning • Forward to
Document: Scoton Productions / ITC •
Feature by Vanessa Bergman
Previously published as In the Beginning in
RAHDAS Newsletter No. 1 (Spring 1989)
and as Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased): Before and
After in Time Screen No. 14 (Autumn 1989)
Reprinted with permission
acknowledges the help given to her by ITC in the
preparation of this article.