Written by Tony Williamson • Directed by Cyril Frankel

ORIGINAL ITC SYNOPSIS

It's useful to have a ghost help you when you are playing cards - but it's a game in which Randall is being framed for murder.

The blonde, who gives her name as Susan Lang, provides Jeff Randall with a straightforward enough assignment - to confirm her suspicions that her husband, Paul Lang, is having an affair with another woman.

Marty Hopkirk is suspicious. He says he doesn't like the blonde's aura - but Jeff likes the £100 advance payment she has made.

What Susan hasn't said is that her husband is the owner of a crooked gambling club, and Jeff not only loses his £100 but a couple of hundred more when the club manager, Alan Corder, forces him to play while visiting the club in the course of his enquiries. And Jeff has 24 hours in which to pay off the debt. He has the satisfaction, though, of confirming that Paul Lang is having an affair with a striking brunette.

Marty comes to his aid when Jeff returns to the club, demonstrating that it's very helpful to have a ghost as an accomplice in a card game. Jeff wins back his money, with substantial interest.

The case seems to be proceeding more smoothly, but when Susan 'phones to say that her husband will be away all day and that this will be an opportunity for Jeff to visit their home and acquire all the confirmation needed to prove that Paul is a crook, he falls into her trap. For Paul's dead body is discovered while Jeff is there and the police arrive. Everything points to his being the killer. He realises, too late, that he has been deliberately framed.

The police, however, agree to give Jeff time to clear himself before arrest, and it's Marty who finds the wig which proves that Susan and 'the other woman' are one and the same person. The blonde pose is for Jeff's benefit; the 'brunette girl-friend' seen with Paul was, in fact, his own wife. And now that Paul has been murdered, the way is open for Susan and the club manager Alan Corder to pursue their romance openly and to take over the club - if they can pin the murder on Jeff.

When they realise that Jeff knows the truth, there is only one course open. He, too, must be murdered. And the ghostly Hopkirk is the only man who can save him.

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
Production Code: RH/DCW/4009
Filming Dates:
September-November 1968
Production Completed:
Mid-January 1969
Recording Format: 35mm Colour Film
Archive Holding: 35mm Colour Film

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

Anglia: Mon 14 Jun 1971, 11.00pm
ATV: Fri 23 Jan 1970, 7.30pm
Border: Fri 23 Apr 1971, 7.30pm (B/W)
Channel: Sun 15 Mar 1970, 9.10pm (B/W)
Grampian: Wed 7 Oct 1970, 8.00pm (B/W)
Granada: Fri 3 Apr 1970, 7.30pm
HTV: Sun 28 Dec 1969, 3.45pm (B/W)
LWT: Fri 20 Feb 1970, 7.30pm
Scottish:
Sat 12 Feb 1972, 11.10pm
Southern: Wed 22 Apr 1970, 8.00pm
Tyne Tees: Thu 25 Feb 1971, 8.00pm
Ulster: Unconfirmed
Westward: Sun 15 Mar 1970, 9.10pm (B/W)
Yorkshire: Unconfirmed
(B/W) = Transmitted in Black and White
(B/W*) = Transmitted in B/W due to ITV Colour Strike
CHARACTERS & CAST
Jeff Randall
Marty Hopkirk
Jean Hopkirk
Alan Corder
Susan Lang
Paul Lang
Harry
Brin
Mrs Holloway
First Poker Player
Second Poker Player
Inspector
PC Russell
First Ghost
Second Ghost
Third Ghost
First Man at Sιance
Second Man at Sιance
Mike Pratt
Kenneth Cope
Annette Andre
Paul Maxwell
Denise Buckley
Edward Brayshaw
Robert Russell
Nik Zaran
Gwen Nelson
Arnold Diamond
Neil Arden
Frederick Treves
Keith Grenville
Howard Goorney
Harry Hutchinson
Tony Allen
Douglas Cooper
Fred Wood
STAND-INS
Jeff Randall
Marty Hopkirk
Harry Fielder
Dougie Lockyer
STUNT DOUBLES
Jeff Randall Rocky Taylor
ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK

Music for this episode was recycled from stock and therefore no release of a soundtrack of The Trouble with Women has been issued.

DVD EXTRAS

Network DVD (United Kingdom):
Photo Gallery.
Umbrella Entertainment (Australia):

Photo Gallery.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Writer – Tony Williamson
Series Theme & Musical Director –
Edwin Astley
Creator & Executive Story Consultant –
Dennis Spooner
Creative Consultant
- Cyril Frankel
Producer –
Monty Berman
Director –
Cyril Frankel

Ronald Liles (Production Supervisor)
Gerald Moss (Director of Photography)
Charles Bishop (Art Director)
Philip Aizlewood (Post Production)
Clifford Robinson (Associate Art Director)
Jack T. Knight (Editor)
Jack Morrison (Production Manager)
Jack Lowin (2nd Unit Director)
Brian Elvin (2nd Unit Cameraman)
Denis Porter & Len Shilton (Sound Recordists)
Guy Ambler (Sound Editor)
Alan Willis (Music Editor)
John Owen (Casting), Sue Long (Set Dresser)
Bill Greene (Construction Manager)
Val Stewart (Camera Operator)
Michael Meighan (Assistant Director)
Elizabeth Wilcox (Continuity)
Peter Dunlop (Production Buyer)
Gerry Fletcher (Make-Up Supervisor)
Jeannette Freeman (Hairdresser)
Laura Nightingale (Wardrobe Supervisor)
A.J. Van Montagu (Scenic Artist)
Frank Maher (Stunt Co-ordinator)
Cinesound (Sound Effects Suppliers)
and Chambers + Partners (Titles).

Made on Location and at Associated British Elstree Studios, London, England
An ITC Production

THE TROUBLE WITH WOMEN • REVIEW

Tony Williamson's second script for Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) is hardly one of its most inspired. The whole scenario is a familiar ITC standard and consequently it all feels rather run of the mill. Despite this, it remains an entertaining watch thanks to a series of good performances, not least from Denise Buckley as the scheming Susan Lang, even if the idea of her duping Jeff (or the audience!) with a wig and a bit of make-up is stretching credibility somewhat. Edward Brayshaw is sadly under used, but makes his mark with what he is given, while Paul Maxwell, one of ITC's rent-a-Canadians, does well with what is essentially not the best defined character ever to feature in a television script. Cyril Frankel's direction does its job in keeping the attention from the lacklustre script and the central cast are superb as ever. In a nutshell, a 'treading water' episode which doesn't reach the heights the series could often reach, but is an amusing hour's viewing nonetheless.

THE TROUBLE WITH WOMEN • DECLASSIFIED

  • Teaser... On a cold, rainy night, a policeman is walking his beat. Nearby, on Sycamore Street outside a gaming club, Jeff Randall sits in his Vauxhall keeping an eye on the apartment block across the road, complaining that he should have worn his sheepskin lining. Marty is sitting on the back seat, his feet resting on the front passenger seat. He tells his friend that he is getting soft. Jeff readies himself to light another cigarette. The policeman turns into Sycamore Street, sees Jeff in the car and approaches him, gesturing that he should wind down his window. Jeff explains that he is a private detective and that he is on a divorce case. Satisfied that Jeff is not breaking any laws, the constable leaves, but not before he has made a sarcastic comment about Jeff's profession: "I suppose we've all got a living to make," he says archly. Shortly after the policeman walks off, a car pulls up across the road. In the Vauxhall, Jeff complains that they'll probably be on watch until dawn, to which Marty replies that, "There's no point in us both hanging about!" and promptly disappears. Jeff is less than impressed. Meanwhile, the passenger window of the car across the road is wound down and a pistol fitted with a silencer appears from behind it. It appears Jeff, who has decided to settle down for a brief nap, may well be the target, but then a man exits from the club. Two shots are fired and the man staggers towards the Vauxhall. Jeff awakens from his snooze to see a man's face against the driver's door window. The man slowly slides to the floor. Jeff gets out of the car and goes to investigate as the assassin's car is driven off. Having heard the commotion, the policeman has returned. "Divorce case, you say?" he asks of Jeff. Jeff pleads his innocence and tells the officer about the car that drove off. He has to admit that he had not seen the registration number.  The constable insists that he must give a statement at the station.


  • Production Brief... The Trouble with Women, the ninth episode to be filmed, was the second script for the series by Tony Williamson.  Meanwhile, director Cyril Frankel (also the series Creative Consultant) took charge of his third episode and filming commenced in late September 1968.

  • Tony Williamson's script borrowed an idea - the 'waiting list' of ghosts at The Society of Spiritualists seance - from Dennis Spooner's original series outline (see our Origins section for further detail about this document). The scene as depicted in The Trouble with Women omits the upturned wine glass routine - that turns up in Williamson's first script for Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Who Killed Cock Robin. The relevant section of Spooner's outline is reproduced below.

We feature a gloomy, dark house set in its own grounds. A creaking board pronounces, 'The British Spiritualist Society'. Inside, a seance is in progress. The window bursts open with a great rush of air, and Hopkirk enters. Hopkirk - he can naturally talk to his fellow ghosts - asks the residing spirit to 'lend' him his seance. Problems arise as there appears to be a waiting list for this sort of thing, but eventually Hopkirk gets his way and spells out, with an upturned wine glass on the shiny table, his 'message'.

Does Randall get the message in time - or even believe it? Well, that is part of the story and unnecessary for this example.

  • Furthermore, the 'queue of ghosts' sequence called for the Costume Department to come up with some clever shortcuts owing to the number of ghosts to be seen on camera together. To begin with, all of Kenneth Cope's spare outfits were utilised, after which the remainder of the ghosts were dressed in white or cream costumes from stock. This led to actor Howard Goorney being called on to wear a woollen polar neck jumper and white trousers, a female extra donning the white fur hat and costume of the deceased Mrs Pleasance from For the Girl Who Has Everything, and a chef being hastily included in the scene!

  • The episode was one of those rare ITC animals - one with night-time scenes that were actually shot at night, rather than using day-for-night filters on the cameras. The opening pre-credit teaser was shot on Standish Road in Hammersmith, London W6 and, in another one of those rare occurances, actor Mike Pratt was actually present at the location (they must have given Harry 'Aitch' Fielder the night off!).

  • The success or failure of this episode depended upon actress Denise Buckley's ability to convince the audience that she was playing two very different characters. Courtesy of a strawberry blonde wig, a beauty spot, subtly reshaped nose and heavy make-up, the illusion was complete. Director Cyril Frankel was obviously sure of Buckley's abilities, and those of the make-up department, as otherwise he wouldn't have left his camera lingering in big close-up quite so much.

  • The Scottish actor Robert Russell, who plays Harry, one of Lang's bouncers at The Pelican Club, is dubbed throughout, and not terribly convincingly! The overdubbing of actors by voice artistes was a common practice in the British film industry at the time.

  • Exact filming dates for this episode are unknown, but in his DVD liner notes, Andrew Pixley states the filming commenced in late September 1968.

  • Post production work on this episode was completed in mid-January 1969. It would, however, not receive its first UK broadcast until it aired in the HTV region on Sunday 28th December 1969, some eleven months later.


  • Appearing This Week... Canadian born Paul Maxwell (12th November 1921–19th December 1991), who played Alan Corder in this episode, was an actor much in demand in the 1960s and beyond, most often playing American roles. He was a familiar ITC face, appearing in series such as Danger Man, Ghost Squad, The Baron and The Saint among others. He also made a significant contribution to the childhoods of many when he voiced the character of Steve Zodiac in the popular Gerry Anderson Supermarionation series, Fireball XL5 in 1962. Six years later, Anderson engaged his services a second time to voice Captain Grey in Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons. He had started as an actor in the USA, appearing in series such as Dragnet and Alfred Hitchcock Presents before he emigrated to Great Britain in 1960. Maxwell continued working in British television, film and theatre until his death.


  • On Location... The Trouble with Women is an episode without a standout showpiece location, although Stanmore Hall could certainly be described in that way, but it features merely as an establishing shot - it would later be used to much greater effect in All Work and No Pay. There's some excellent night shooting in Hammersmith and a few more nice surprises. More details in Locations - The Trouble with Women.


  • Trivia... The scene at The Society of Spiritualists is something of an eye-opener on the costume front. As the scene called for an assembly of ghosts, costumes were hastily cobbled together for the shoot, some white, some cream, and this reveals that Marty's white suit is cream, or at least off-white, and not white at all! The colour choice with Kenneth Cope's outfit will undoubtedly have been to do with white often burning out on camera.

  • In the earlier episode, For the Girl Who Has Everything, Jeff tells Marty he can't afford an electric razor. Here, we see he has one, so obviously somewhere along the line he has turned a small profit for long enough to buy one!

  • After Mrs Lang pays Jeff a £100 advance, Jeff confides to Jeannie that he might even be able to pay her wages this week. Clearly, Jeannie is working at the office more out of charity than anything else!

  • Harking back to Jeff's previous gambling record, Marty obviously has very little faith in his friend's talents at the poker table: "Two aces and your face lights up!" he complains.

  • The title The Trouble with Women is taken from a line of dialogue in the episode, delivered by Marty Hopkirk: "The trouble with women is they always take you for a sucker – and the trouble with that is they're always right."


  • Only You, Jeff? In this episode, Marty is able to communicate with the medium, Mrs Holloway, at a seance she is holding at the North London Division of The Society of Spiritualists. She can hear him clearly and helpfully passes his message on to the police.

  • While Susan Lang cannot see or hear Marty, she feels a chill when Marty is near her at The Pelican Club.


  • Ghosts and Ghoulies... A whole horde of ghosts in this one, in the seance scene, where a number of departed souls are seen queuing up to communicate with Mrs Holloway. Amusingly, their queuing system is so long that those nearing the front of the queue claim to have been waiting three months for their chance to talk to the medium!


  • The Vehicles... Appearing in this episode were the following wonders of transport...

1968 Vauxhall Victor FD 2000
Registration RXD 996F
Driven by Jeff Randall
Also appeared in:
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) - used extensively throughout the series
Department S - 'The Last Train to Redbridge'
1960 Vanden Plas Princess 4-litre Limousine
Registration YUS 36
Driven by Alan Corder and Lang's Chauffeur
Also appeared in:
Department S -
'The Ghost of Mary Burnham'
Film - Crossplot (1969)
1968 Ford Zephyr Deluxe MkIV
Registration PXD 976F
Driven by Police Officer
Also appeared in:
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) - 'My Late Lamented Friend and Partner', 'A Sentimental Journey', 'You Can Always Find A Fall Guy', 'Who Killed Cock Robin?', 'Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying?', 'Never Trust A Ghost', 'A Disturbing Case', 'Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave' 
Department S
- '
The Bones of Byrom Blain' and other episodes

 


  • Seen It All Before? The hallway set was utilised once more and was heavily redressed (along with sections of the study set) to form the gaming room set of The Pelican Club.


  • Cock Ups... The Trouble with Women is barely underway when we get our first blooper. It's not a blooper in the real sense, more a production shortcoming that raises a wry laugh. At just 35 seconds into the episode, when PC Russell turns into Sycamore Street, we see the street sign and it's clearly cardboard with two holes punched in it, through which it's been tied to a metal railing with cotton!

  • The best known blooper from this episode concerns Jeannie's trip to the restaurant across the road to get coffees for her and Jeff. As she crosses the street (at 8 minutes and 10 seconds, on location at Springfield Road, Harrow), she is clearly seen carrying two white cardboard cups with red bands at their tops. When she appears in the office and hands them to Jeff (at 8 minutes and 46 seconds, in the studio), they have miraculously changed to pink. Some sort of chameleon effect, perhaps?

  • Finally, when Jeff is taken to the lime quarry to be killed, we see Mike Pratt's double (Harry 'Aitch' Fielder) walking off with his back to the car. Aside from the fact that the reverse shots of Mike Pratt walking are against black drapes and we don't see the car in the background, there is also a rather bizarre attempt at matching the location quarry floor (which looks dusty and dry) with a sludgy, wet floor on the backlot. To make matters worse, in some shots, such as this at 46 minutes and 49 seconds, you can see the boundary of the effects pit (see top right hand corner of the picture below).


  • And Finally... Considering Jeff Randall's normal hand-to-mouth existence, he does quite well out of this escapade. He receives a £100 advance from Susan Lang, from which he gives Jeannie £10 to buy a coffee percolator. The rest is lost at the gambling table, and more besides. When he returns to the Pelican Club to win back the money he owes, he does exceptionally well thanks to Marty's spectral assistance. He now has enough money to repay his debts and still comes away from the club with £208 profit! Despite his relative flushness, this doesn't stop him sleeping two nights at the office where he even keeps a shaving mirror, which causes Jeannie to wonder why he bothers to rent an apartment!

Plotline: Scoton Productions / ITC • UK Transmissions by Simon Coward and Alan Hayes
Review by Alan Hayes • Declassified by Alan Hayes
with thanks to Alys Hayes, Vince Cox, John Holburn and Andrew Pixley

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