Part Four of Vanessa Bergman's investigation into
the origins of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)

As this analysis of Dennis Spooner's original treatment for Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) draws to a close, we now focus our attention upon the parts of the document that were utilised in the series in one form or another. This essay deals with plot points from Spooner's treatment as presented in the previous part of this section, All Change.

For instance, does the scene with the 'waiting list' at a seance ring a bell? It should. The scene is identical to that in Tony Williamson's The Trouble With Women - the ninth episode in production - when Marty jumps a queue of waiting spirits to get his message across to the police that Jeff is about to be shot!

In Williamson's Who Killed Cock Robin? - the sixth episode before the cameras - Marty did indeed convey a message via an upturned wine glass. Jeannie was at a party where some of her friends decided to hold a 'seance'. Marty was able to pass a message to Jean that Jeff was in trouble and a telephone call was necessary to help him.

If the incident with the psychic lady sounds familiar, you'd be right. Cast your mind back to Donald James' For the Girl Who Has Everything - the third episode to be filmed. Remember Mrs Pleasance, the old lady who ran a little tea shop? She was psychic and could see Marty seated at a table waiting for Jeff. Quite a firm friendship was struck with the old lady. She even helped to save Jeff's life... and in time too for him to race to a court inquest with fresh evidence, before a callous woman could get away with murder...

Back at the Randall and Hopkirk offices, Marty was relishing the idea of having another living person to communicate with when suddenly, he looked around to see Mrs Pleasance, totally dressed in ghostly white garb. Marty had strongly advised her to call in an expert to mend an electrical fault at the tea shop, but Mrs Pleasance had been a very stubborn character and wanted to fix it herself, and now it was too late. She had called to say goodbye - all of this mirroring the "elderly, eccentric lady" plot in the treatment, right down to her dying and returning as a ghost, with the little details and manner of her demise subtly altered.

An interesting story appeared much later in production which was perhaps written with Spooner's original conception in mind - that of the living partner who was unaware of his ghost partner's presence. This was another of Tony Williamson's stories, When Did You Start to Stop Seeing Things?, in which it appeared that Jeff Randall could no longer see or hear Marty. And what's more... it didn't seem to bother him, either!

Remember also when Marty is wandering aimlessly around London at the opening of Williamson's Never Trust A Ghost? Perhaps it wasn't Chelsea High Street, but it is the only scene in the whole of the series where Marty is shown to be utterly alone and dejected.

One concept though, which was never altered, and which in fact remained consistent throughout the whole of the series, and that's Dennis Spooner's own summary at the end of the document, in which he states:

 

Very simply, this situation is the basis for an action series, with the emphasis very much featuring the mystery, thrills and adventure of the cases of Randall and Hopkirk.

However, in addition to all the normal advantages of a fast-moving, crime-breaking, modern television series, there is a further 'bonus' and difference, of having on part of your team a... ghost!

 

But, when all is said and done, I am rather pleased that Marty's ethereal suit was exchanged for white rather than green. I can't see Marty wearing green, somehow...

Back to Origins: In the Beginning

Proposal 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

The author acknowledges the help given to her by ITC in the preparation of this article.

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