Written by Tony Williamson Directed by Ray Austin

ORIGINAL ITC SYNOPSIS

The partnership of a mortal and a ghost can be successful only when the existence of the ghost is not known. The Randall and Hopkirk partnership is threatened when a clairvoyant tries to exorcise the ghostly Hopkirk!

Some of the more inexplicable achievements in the recent career of Jeff Randall have not gone unobserved in the world of crime, and it is a highly perceptive crook named Hellingworth who suspects something supernatural and brings in a clairvoyant, Cecil Purley, to confirm his suspicions. Purley is able to assure him that Randall's late partner Marty Hopkirk is, in fact, still on earth in ghostly form.

Hellingworth and his girl confederate Carol Latimer put into action an astute plan to use Randall and his invisible partner as fall guys in carrying out a series of large-scale robberies. By tricking Randall into believing that he is being employed by an insurance company, represented by Hellingworth, they guess that he will persuade Marty Hopkirk to keep a close eye on the house Hellingworth says is suspected of being the meeting place of a gang which has been causing the insurance company so much trouble.

The ruse works. Marty overhears plans for the next robbery and reports to Jeff who in turn warns Inspector Large of Scotland Yard. Watch is kept, but nothing happens - until the police have gone, leaving the field completely clear.

It is the first of several similar robberies, but the plan bodes ill for the Randall and Hopkirk partnership, for eventually the crooks' safety will depend on the removal of Marty Hopkirk so that he will never be able to reveal what has been happening when he inevitably discovers the truth. And this means that he will have to be exorcised...

The treatment is a slow process and the unfortunate Marty suffers all the pangs of human illness. His widow Jean is drawn into it all when Carol Latimer approaches her and says her late husband needs her help because he is earth-bound. Some of his personal possessions are required to help Cecil Purley carry out the exorcism at Marty's grave.

Marty struggles hard to save himself. His last link with mortality is becoming very slender indeed when Jeff Randall arrives on the scene - and Jeff has somehow to save Marty if he is going to save himself from a lot of trouble with the irate Inspector Large, who is already accusing him of being involved in the robberies.

But how do you save a ghost from being exorcised?

PRODUCTION & ARCHIVE
Production Code: RH/DCW/4010
Filming Dates:
October 1968-June 1969
Production Completed:
Summer 1969
Recording Format: 35mm Colour Film
Archive Holding: 35mm Colour Film

UK REGIONAL PREMIERES

Anglia: Sun 11 Oct 1970, 3.00pm
ATV: Fri 24 Oct 1969, 7.30pm (B/W)
Border: Fri 13 Feb 1970, 7.30pm (B/W)
Channel: Fri 5 Dec 1969, 7.05pm (B/W)
Grampian: Thur 26 Mar 1970, 7.00pm (B/W)
Granada: Fri 24 Oct 1969, 7.30pm (B/W)
HTV: Sun 2 Nov 1969, 3.45pm (B/W)
LWT: Sun 9 Nov 1969, 7.25pm (B/W)
Scottish:
Sat 25 Mar 1972, 9.00pm
Southern: Sun 23 Nov 1969, 7.25pm (B/W)
Tyne Tees: Sun 16 Aug 1970, 9.05pm
Ulster: Fri 24 Oct 1969, 7.30pm (B/W)
Westward: Fri 5 Dec 1969, 7.05pm (B/W)
Yorkshire: Fri 24 Oct 1969, 7.30pm (B/W)
(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
David Hellingworth
Carol Latimer
Inspector Large
Cecil Purley
The Doctor
The Butler
Lord Manning
Reg
Pete
Larry
Police Sergeant
Constable Jenkins
Constable Johnson
Barman
Dancer
Girl Sitting at Bar
Mike Pratt
Kenneth Cope
Annette Andre
John Fraser
Alexandra Bastedo
Ivor Dean
Charles Lloyd Pack
Richard Caldicot
Peter Hughes
John Richmond
Romo Gorrara
Terry Plummer
Paddy Ryan
Mike Stevens
Robin John
Philip Weston
Vic Chapman
Sean Barry-Weske
Demi Caldren
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 Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying? 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
Ray Austin

Ronald Liles (Production Supervisor)
Gerald Moss (Director of Photography)
Charles Bishop (Art Director)
Philip Aizlewood (Post Production)
Jack T. Knight (Editor)
Jack Morrison (Production Manager)
Jack Lowin (2nd Unit Director)
Brian Elvin (2nd Unit Cameraman)
Denis Porter & Dennis Whitlock (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)
Eamonn Duffy (Assistant Director)
Sally Ball (Continuity)
Peter Dunlop (Production Buyer)
Elizabeth Romanoff (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)
Chambers + Partners (Titles)
and Fantasia (Furs)

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

WHOEVER HEARD OF A GHOST DYING? REVIEW

If Tony Williamson's second stab at a Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) script was a little pedestrian, his third is inventive and one of the best that the series was blessed with. The central conceit is an imaginative one that uses the unique premise of the series to its full extent, by having a gang of criminals turning the existence of the ghost of Marty Hopkirk to their advantage. The flipside of the coin is that into the bargain they also discredit Jeff Randall, and his fall from grace is eagerly accepted by Inspector Large in the first of his semi-regular appearances in the series. The episode sports one of the best guest casts assembled for the series, headed by Charles Lloyd Pack as the charming but cold clairvoyant Cecil Purley, ably supported by Alexandra Bastedo, fresh from ITC's The Champions, Richard Caldicot, John Fraser and the superb Ivor Dean, best known for a similar role in The Saint. Direction by Ray Austin is confident and slick. This is one of those Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episodes where all the elements gel together perfectly to produce one of the highpoints of the series.

WHOEVER HEARD OF A GHOST DYING? DECLASSIFIED

  • Teaser... The scene opens on a covert view, shot from the cover of some bushes, of Jeff Randall sitting on a park bench. He is in the middle of what appears to be a two-way conversation, but only his side of it can be heard. There is no-one near him apart from the occasional passer-by, none of whom pay him any attention. He is bemoaning about the unhealthy financial state of the business and complains that they could have wrapped up their last case quickly and collected their "fattest fee in years" if his invisible, unheard companion hadn't been so temperamental. The scene changes and we see that what we are watching is a film projected on a screen that is being studied by two men, a crook named Hellingworth and an equally crooked clairvoyant by the name of Cecil Purley, and an attractive young woman in her early twenties, Carol Latimer. Purley is very impressed with Randall, who he describes as "a veritable saint" when Carol suggests that the man is clearly crazy. Hellingworth says that he's had Randall followed for weeks and that it's clear that what he is seen doing in the film is not an isolated incident - "he does it all the time". Purley explains that it is "a perfect example of ethereal intervention". Carol is unconvinced, suggesting that mental aberration is more likely. Hellingworth enquires of Purley whether it is possible that Randall's deceased colleague is still very much around. The clairvoyant confirms that this is undoubtedly the case and that when they come into contact he will be able not only to sense Hopkirk's vibrations but actually see and talk to him. Hellingworth is delighted, and when Carol asks what use it will be to their operation, he replies that, "From now on, the late Mr Hopkirk is going to be working for us!"


  • Production Brief... Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying?, the tenth episode to be filmed, was the third script for the series by Tony Williamson. Meanwhile, director Ray Austin, fresh from filming the Department S episode Black Out, returned to Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) having previously directed the fifth episode, You Can Always Find a Fall Guy. Filming for Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying? commenced in October 1968 and continued well into the following year, with establishing shots of the Harley Street location not being committed to film until as late as June 1969.

  • In terms of the series development, this is a significant episode in that it introduces the popular semi-regular character Inspector Large, played wonderfully by Ivor Dean. The character has undeniable parallels with that of Chief Inspector Teal that Dean had played so successfully in The Saint between 1963 and 1968. Large was a tenacious detective who disapproved of unofficial freelance crime solvers like Jeff Randall, much in the same way as Teal viewed Simon Templar. His belief was that detection should be left to the professionals, and even though on occasion Randall's dogged hard work and oft-unexplainable methods got results, he would just as likely pin a crime on Randall as on the real perpetrators. Where Inspector Large was concerned, Randall's inability to adequately explain how he came by information would often lead to suspicion of collusion with criminals.

  • Exact filming dates for this episode are unknown, but in his DVD liner notes, Andrew Pixley states the filming commenced in October 1968. A production slate can be seen on surviving film trims, revealing the date of the Harley Street location filming as 17th June 1969, some three months after the episode was reportedly completed in March 1969. Due to this anomaly, we can only assume that the episode was not in fact completed until some time after the Harley Street shoot. In the absence of more specific information, we have noted the completion date as 'Summer 1969'. It would receive its first UK broadcast on Friday 24th October 1969 at 7.30pm when it aired in the ATV, Granada, Ulster and Yorkshire regions.


  • Appearing This Week... British born actor Ivor Dean (21st December 1917 - 10th August 1974) rapidly became a familiar face on television in the years after his debut in The Mulberry Accelerator (1955). He will be forever associated with the role of Chief Inspector Claude Eustace Teal in The Saint, a role which he played for six years, but few people remember that he was in fact the third actor to portray the role in the series after Campbell Singer and Wensley Pithey had previously played the part. Dean's role in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) was essentially a thinly disguised return for Teal, proving that it is difficult to keep a popular character down, even when his series had ceased production. Ivor Dean had also seen success in other series, notably as Long John Silver in a West German adaptation of Treasure Island, entitled Die Schatzinsel (1966), and made further ITC appearances in The Persuaders! and Jason King (as another chief inspector!), in addition to three separate roles in The Avengers spanning its videotape and film eras. Ivor Dean died in Truro, Cornwall, in 1974 aged just 56.

  • Alexandra Bastedo, best known for her role as super-powered espionage agent Sharron MacCready in ITC's The Champions (1968), enjoyed a long and varied career which took in acting, linguistics, television presentation and animal welfare projects. She was born on 9th March 1946 in Hove, a town on England's Sussex coast, to a mother of French, German and Italian descent, and a father of Spanish, Scottish, Dutch and native Indian extraction. It is no great surprise that by the time she was 20, Alexandra was a skilled linguist, fluent in four foreign languages - Spanish, French, Italian and German - in addition to English. However, her initial career aspirations lay in the veterinary field, and she would return to this, her first love, later in life. She was drawn into showbusiness at the tender age of 16, when she came to the attention of Columbia Pictures, and was jetted out to Hollywood to make a fun, but forgettable, horror film, 13 Frightened Girls (aka The Candy Web) (1963). It was however a first step that led to greater things. The Champions can certainly be viewed as the pinnacle of her time in the entertainment business, with the series becoming a success at home and abroad. The series' popularity in Europe and beyond brought her international fame, especially in Spain and South America, where she was affectionately dubbed "La Bastedo". The Champions remains popular today, like Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), decades after it was filmed. Her career after The Champions saw her employ her linguistic skills in several fields, including the co-presentation with Peter Marshall of the Miss World contests of the 1980s, and as a translator, a role which took her to the very top of the profession and through the door of number 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the British Prime Minister. In later life, Alexandra continued her acting career, appearing in many productions, most notably in the feature film Batman Begins (2005), as well as Absolutely Fabulous and the BBC soap opera EastEnders on television, and Beyond Reasonable Doubt (2006) and A Sussex Christmas (2008) on stage. She was also reunited in 2006 with her co-stars from The Champions, actors Stuart Damon and William Gaunt, in the DVD feature We Were the Champions. The greater part of her work from the 1990s to the end of her career was on the stage, often at the Chichester Festival Theatre, where her husband Patrick Garland was resident artistic director. She was a committed vegetarian and passionate supporter of animal welfare, to the extent that she ran an animal sanctuary for many years, based at her home in Almodington, West Sussex, where she cared for donkeys, pigs, goats and horses. When Alexandra and her husband moved house to West Chiltington, the ABC Animal Sanctuary moved with them. Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) star Annette Andre and Alexandra were long-time friends, having met on the ITC series, and Annette was a sponsor of Alexandra's sanctuary. Sadly, Alexandra was widowed in April 2013, when Patrick died at 78 after a long illness. At that time, Alexandra was also ill with cancer and despite an improvement in her health which saw a brief period of remission in the autumn, Alexandra Bastedo finally succumbed to the disease on Sunday 12th January 2014 at 67.

  • Charles Lloyd Pack, even then a veteran of more than thirty years in the business, was a familiar face to watchers of ITC adventure series, having featured in The Adventures of Robin Hood (5 episodes, 1955-1960), The Count of Monte Cristo (2 episodes, 1956), William Tell (1959), Danger Man (3 episodes, 1960-1965), Sir Francis Drake (1961), Man of the World (1962), The Sentimental Agent (1963), Espionage (1964), Gideon's Way (1965), The Prisoner (1967) and Man in a Suitcase (2 episodes, 1967). At the time he was filming Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying? he was also involved in the production of the Arena/ITC series Strange Report, in which he appeared in the semi-regular role of Professor Marks. He had also made regular appearances in Hammer horror films, and notably put in an appearance in their landmark adaptation of Dracula (1958) as Dr Seward. Lloyd Pack was born in London on 10th October 1902 and passed away aged 81 on 22nd December 1983. He was survived by his wife Ulrike (d. 2000), sons Roger Lloyd Pack (famous for his role as Trigger in the BBC comedy Only Fools and Horses) and Christopher Lloyd Pack, a stage manager, and granddaughter Emily Lloyd, an actress who has enjoyed some considerable success but whose career in recent years has not been what it might have been due to illness.


  • On Location... Locations for this episodes were modest, the main one being New Southgate Cemetery, which provided the new location of Marty's grave. A part of the ABC Elstree Studios backlot, near the water tank, was used to film the opening sequence featuring Jeff on a park bench talking to an invisible Marty. Other locations featured in second unit filming with visits to Totteridge, Harley Street in the London Borough of Westminster, Brookside South in Barnet and The Institute for Grocery Distribution in Letchmore Heath which featured as Hartford Hall. More details in Locations: Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying?.


  • Trivia... Jeff becomes involved in this case, despite it being against his best judgement, because he realises that the potential reward for success (50,000) is impossible to turn down when the business is doing so badly. He should have listened to his own advice as he comes out of it with no financial recompense, but on the upside he manages to save the business' greatest asset - his spectral partner Marty Hopkirk - from being exorcised!

  • At the police station's firing range, both Inspector Large and Jeff Randall show themselves to be expert marksmen, despite Jeff's first shot richocheting all around the room when he fires at the table to avoid shooting the materialising Marty. Even though the bullet will travel straight through Jeff's ghostly partner, Marty reacts as if it will kill him - even for a ghost, this is a perfectly understandable reaction, as is Jeff's desire not to fire at his friend.

  • Jeff does remarkably well in a fight for once, taking on three of Hellingworth's hoods and flooring the lot of them. Unfortunately, despite the satisfied look he allows himself as he dusts himself down, he has not noticed Hellingworth himself, who has crept up behind him. Predictably, he is knocked out.

  • Despite Jeannie's inability to see Marty, and her ignorance of his presence, the closing tag scene suggests that there is perhaps some subconscious link between her and her late husband when she repeats something that he has said - "You can say that again!" - when she cannot have heard it.

  • The night filming at New Southgate Cemetry was so cold and uncomfortable that when work on the episode was over, actress Alexandra Bastedo presented Annette Andre with her sheepskin gloves as a parting gift. She hoped that they would make subsequent location shoots more comfortable for her friend. Today, the actresses remain good friends and Annette is a supporter of Alexandra's animal sanctuary.


  • Only You, Jeff? In this episode, Marty can be seen, heard, and have his 'vibrations' sensed by Cecil Purley, an unscrupulous clairvoyant. Purley remarks that Marty's vibrations are so impressive that were they any stronger, they could knock the house down. We also learn that Marty can be exorcised, and that he can be made to feel ill by an outside influence.


  • Ghosts and Ghoulies... Marty is the only ghost we see in this episode, and he very nearly becomes an ex-ghost at the hands of Cecil Purley.


  • 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'
1965 Austin A60 Countryman
Registration BKR 166C
Driven by Cecil Purley
 
1968 Ford Zephyr Deluxe MkIV
Registration PXD 976F
Driven by Police Constable
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?', 'The Trouble with Women', '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 redressed to become Hartford Hall, the home of Lord Manning, while parts of the casino set seen in The Trouble with Women, were re-employed and altered slightly to represent the dance club where we find Jeff almost getting off with a pretty young thing before Marty arrives to party poop.

  • A very familiar part of the backlot of ABC Elstree Studios was used to represent the exterior of the Penguin Company, the fur traders' that Hellingworth's gang broke into. This had featured extensively in just about every contemporary era ITC series ever made! This building was one of those demolished after land belonging to Elstree Studios was sold off to Tesco plc. The building's footprint now accounts for part of the supermarket service road and car park.

  • Also reappearing from use in other series was the lift in the Hackley, Mathers and Jones diamond merchants, which was from stock and had previously seen action in several episodes of The Champions and Department S.


  • Cock Ups... The first cock-up of note happens straight away, when we see the covertly filmed footage of Jeff talking to 'himself' on a park bench. At just 29 seconds into the episode, the scene changes and we realise that the footage is being shown using a cine projector to three characters. The film on screen is of a square format, whereas the footage we had seen initially was rectangular. This could be explained by the projection overlapping the screen, but there is no evidence of this (due of course to the film footage being inserted via a matte). It's worth mentioning that there were no 1:1 square colour film formats available at the time.

  • Not so much a cock-up as a production decision, but Marty's grave is relocated in this episode (and later, in Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave). It no longer seen lying on the Elstree Studios backlot (as depicted in My Late Lamented Friend and Partner and The Smile Behind the Veil), but in a more densely populated cemetery (in reality at New Southgate Cemetery, Brunswick Park Road),the appearance of which is quite markedly different from the original location.

  • A more avoidable cock-up can be seen in the scene where Jeff explains to Marty about the house where "Slinky" is known to plot his robberies. In the two-shot, Jeff holds the photograph firmly with the left hand and lightly with the thumb and index finger of his right. However, the second unit close-up pick up shot (most likely with Harry 'Aitch' Fielder doubling for Jeff), shows all four fingers of the left hand holding the photo.

  • Later in the corner of Lord Manning's library, where Jeff has retreated to to converse unobserved with Marty, Inspector Large goes up to him and spins him around to face him. The camera cuts to a new shot and Jeff and the Inspector have jumped some three feet to the left of frame.

  • At 39 minutes and 16 seconds, Marty is dumped in the roadside from Purley's car as it speeds off into the night. The only problem is that the shots inside the car (filmed in studio) depict a very black night, while the location shots are filtered rather unconvincingly as day-for-night.

  • And Finally... This story, or at least the lead-in to it, would require some serious re-thinking in the modern era. Hellingworth becomes suspicious of Jeff Randall having a supernatural liaison when he spots the detective talking to himself. He follows Jeff and films a one-sided conversation that he has sitting on a park bench. When he shows the film to Cecil Purley, the clairvoyant proclaims that Hellingworth's suspicions are correct. In the 21st century, Hellingworth would simply assume that Jeff was carrying out a conversation using a Bluetooth mobile telephone!  

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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