Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)-The Complete Series (1969)
Audio Commentary-A Disturbing Case, Who Killed Cock Robin?
Credits-Alternate Opening Title Sequence, Textless Title Sequence
Trailer-Danger Man, The Prisoner, Jason King, The Protectors
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Production Footage (No Audio) - 2
DVD-ROM Extras-ITC Pressbook / Story Information, Original Script
Booklet-Original ITC Publicity Booklet
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Man In A Suitcase, Strange Report, The Saint, The Baron
Introduction-Jane Merrow (Actor) - Who Killed Cock Robin?
Audio Commentary-Could You Recognise The Man Again?, Vendetta For A Dead Man
Credits-My Partner The Ghost (U.S. Title Sequence)
Trailer-Fireball XL5, UFO, Supercar, The Secret Service
Interviews-Cast-Kenneth Cope, Annette Andre
Bonus Episode-The Baron - Roundabout, With Intro By Annette Andre
Production Notes-Sleeve Notes
|Year Of Production||1969|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (7)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||
Roy Ward Baker
Edwin T. Astley
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Tough, down-at-heel Jeff Randall (Mike Pratt) and his fast-talkin’, boyishly charming partner Marty Hopkirk (Kenneth Cope) are private investigators who earn a living specialising in divorce cases.
But one day, while working on a particularly nasty case, Marty is run down by a car and killed. Grieving for his lost partner, Jeff goes to the cemetery to pay his last respects only to be confronted by Marty dressed in a white silk suit and insisting that Jeff help him track down those responsible for his early demise.
To complicate matters, Marty ends up staying on earth too long and violates the rules of the afterlife: “Cursed be the ghost who dares to stay and face the awful light of day.” The result – Marty is doomed to wander the earth for 100 years, and Jeff has to endure a love-hate relationship with his spectral partner.
First airing on television in the United Kingdom on September 21, 1969, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) found its roots in previous U.K. good-vs-evil action dramas like Danger Man (1964), The Prisoner (1967), Man in a Suitcase (1967), Strange Report (1968), The Saint (1962) and The Baron (1966), by relying heavily on inventive plots, a dire sense of urgency, snappy dialogue and enough twists and turns to keep the viewer intrigued.
Along with its interesting premise, and an abundance of sexy women clad in tight mini-skirts and thigh-high boots, the series works best when the insecure Marty uses his ghostly powers to warn Jeff of impending disaster – walking through walls to alert Jeff to what awaits on the other side – or when he’s scaring criminals by moving objects around a room.
Looking beyond the low production values, it's also the incessant banter between Jeff and Marty and sly humour running through the series that adds to its appeal. As Jeff is usually the only person who can see Marty, he's often beaten up, thrown down stairs and in one episode hospitalised for "talking with himself."
A remake starring Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer was aired in the United Kingdom in 2000.
This deluxe boxed set contains the entire 26 episodes from the series, which run for a little over 48-minutes each. A brief synopsis for each is as follows:
My Late Lamented Friend And Partner
While working on a case, Marty learns too much and is run down and killed by a car. He returns later as a ghost to harass his partner Jeff into tracking down the killer.
A Disturbing Case
When Jeff is hospitalised for speaking to a ghost, he becomes aware of a sinister plot to use patients for remote-control robberies.
All Work And No Pay
Attempting to contact his wife Jean, Marty inadvertently creates some strange psychic events.
Never Trust A Ghost
Although lacking any tangible evidence, Marty gets Jeff in trouble with the police when he insists a murder has taken place.
That’s How The Murder Snow Balls
When an entertainer is shot and killed in front of a live audience, Jeff and Marty are confronted with a mysterious group of suspects.
Just For The Record
Jeff and Jean are caught up in a case of international espionage when they are given the task of escorting Miss Moscow and Miss London during a beauty contest.
Murder Ain’t What It Used To Be!
A ghost of a former gangster materialises to avenge his death through Jeff.
Whoever Heard Of A Ghost Dying
Marty’s earthbound existence is under threat when a criminal engages the services of a clairvoyant to exorcise him.
The House On Haunted Hill
Jeff has his hands full when he gets caught up in two cases at once – one involving a haunted house and the other a diamond heist.
When Did You Start Stop Seeing Things?
Something foul is afoot when Jeff stops seeing Marty and acts like he doesn’t care.
The Ghost Who Saved The Bank At Monte Carlo
Marty’s Aunt Clara is under threat of death when greedy thugs learn of the fool-proof gambling system that she has formulated.
For The Girl Who Has Everything
Jeff is called in to solve a case involving a castle owned by a millionairess who is being menaced by an elusive ghost.
But What A Sweet Little Room
When a wealthy widow is found dead in her quiet country cottage, Jeff is hired by the woman’s niece to investigate.
Who Killed Cock Robin?
Jeff is offered an unusual assignment to keep watch over a bird aviary, which was left as part of the estate of an eccentric old woman.
The Man From Nowhere
Marty is devastated to learn that a man claiming to be his reincarnated self is trying to move in on his wife.
When The Spirit Moves You
After double-crossing a big-time thug, conman Calvin Bream convinces Jeff to become his body guard.
Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave
When Marty spots a strange looking man digging up his grave he frantically contacts Jeff to find out what’s going on.
Could You Recognise The Man Again?
A distraught Marty tries to find his kidnapped wife, Jean, after she witnesses a murder.
A Sentimental Journey
Jeff becomes attracted to a stunning blonde woman when he takes on a case that involves escorting 10 000 pounds worth of goods from Glasgow to London.
Money To Burn
Jeff is accused of stealing money that was intended to be destroyed.
The Ghost Talks
When Jeff is laid up in hospital after a fall from a balcony, Marty takes the opportunity to boast about a case he solved on his own.
It’s Supposed To Be Thicker Than Water
A family reunion turns into a deathly affair when Jeff and Marty are caught in the middle of a ghastly feud.
The Trouble With Women
When a gorgeous blond woman hires Jeff to follow her supposed cheating husband, he ends up being framed for murder.
Vendetta For A Dead Man
A case from the past comes back to haunt Marty when a vengeful ex-con decides to kill Jean after learning that Marty is dead.
You Can Always Find A Fall Guy
Jeff is need of Marty’s help when he’s accused of theft after becoming involved with a double-crossing nun.
The Smile Behind The Veil
Jeff is thrown into a river and left for dead when he tries to expose an inheritance rort.
The episodes are presented full screen in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1 and not 16x9 enhanced. Although the series would have been broadcast in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the slight cropping does not appear to affect overall composition.
Generally, the source materials used for these transfers are in pretty good shape, with solid black levels and shadow detail quite sharp and penetrating. However, the main problem is low level noise, which is evident to varying degrees throughout each episode.
Edge enhancement is particularly noticeable around the collars and heads of characters, especially when they’re wearing dark clothes against a light coloured background.
Colours have a slightly muted quality, but the bright 60s fashion (copious amounts of red, orange and day-glo green) are vibrant enough, but do occasionally suffer from colour bleed.
The cheaply shot 2nd Unit photography of the London landscape is obvious as the image quality becomes grainy and shaky when changing from interior to exterior scenes. On widescreen monitors, green screen backgrounds are also glaringly apparent – characters look haloed in front of artificial backgrounds when seen from inside moving cars and boats, and when standing in front of windows. Although these issues are more to do with lack of budget and production technology, the reasonably good quality of the print and large viewing monitors tend to highlight these shortcomings.
Rather than being a painful aural experience, the discordant and at times tinny sounding English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) mono mix perversely suits the quaintly dated and urgent tone of the series.
The sharp, primitive strains of the harpsichord theme tune by Edwin T. Astley and Albert Elms marvelously sets the sombre tone for each episode. The harpsichord is often put to effective use (along with a few chords from a clarinet and blaring trumpet) to add a curious dramatic or comedic effect when required.
The audio is directed through the centre speakers and there is no discrete left-to-right channel separation.
Audio hiss and some distortion can be heard during dialogue delivery throughout quite a few episodes, but rather than being off-putting again reminds the viewer that the series was indeed produced over 30 years ago.
Being a two-channel mono mix, surrounds as well as the subwoofer are silent.
|Surround Channel Use|
The main theme tune over a static menu screen
Discs 1 & 2
At the beginning of each disc 71-year-old Kenneth Cope (Marty Hopkirk) appears for a brief introduction. Although welcome, the same introduction is repeated over and over again and becomes a bit tedious.
Recorded in 2004 exclusively for this Region 4 release and moderated by cult English TV aficionado Jaz Wiseman, the still very beautiful 65-year-old, Australian born Annette Andre (a recent photo pops up when you select the commentary option) fondly reminisces about how she got the role and the her thoughts on the cult appeal of the series. The passage of time has faded her memory about filming locations and plot details, but she shines when discussing the relationships she developed with the cast and crew.
Thought lost, this alternate opening title sequence was used primarily during the shows original run and early repeats. It was also the one shown in the U.S. version (under the title of My Partner the Ghost). An intertitle explains that this sequence was possible made to “explain the premise of the series more clearly.”
Lasting for just over a minute each and without sound, the following scenes are raw 2nd Unit production footage from episodes:
• My Late Lamented Friend And Partner - Kenneth Cope’s double arrives at the Sorrenson home.
• A Disturbing Case - stand-ins for Jean and sister Jennifer arrive at their flat.
• All Work And No Pay – three establishing shots of Laura Watson’s apartment.
• Never Trust A Ghost – three sequences involving: Marty pacing in Jeff’s flat; Jeff arriving by car outside the flat; and an establishment shot of the British Museum.
• Just For The Record – establishing shots of London which the episode title and writing/directing credits would eventually be superimposed.
• Murder Ain’t What It Used To Be – this studio take shows Jean in her flat moments before Bugsy appears behind her.
A series of 228 full-frame, high-quality behind-the-scenes production and publicity stills from the first eight episodes.
All the trailers included over the seven discs are presented full-frame and not 16x9 enhanced.
Danger Man (1964) (0:28) Every Government has its secret service branch…
The Prisoner (1967) (1:24) In an attempt to escape from a world of secret agents…
Jason King (1971) (0:51) Peter Wyngarde is Jason King…expert investigator of a most unusual sort…
The Protectors (1972) (0:49) Robert Vaughan and Nyree Dawn Porter are the members of the Protectors, an international organisation of detectives…
Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) ITC Video Trailer (1969) (1:08) The pair of private eyes with a difference…
Discs 3 & 4
Recorded on June 9, 2004 Hammer horror Director Roy Ward Baker (Scars of Dracula, Vampire Lovers) dryly reminisces about his experiences filming this fan favourite.
Moderator Jaz Wiseman does an excellent job of extracting a remarkable amount of fascinating information from Baker, who has no problem about acknowledging the similarities in this episode and Hitchcock’s The Birds.
A very stylish and attractive 63-year-old Merrow, who played Sandra Joyce, gives a brief (although scripted) introduction to the episode.
The entire opening and closing title sequences without the text credits super-imposed on the screen.
More 2nd Unit production footage (again without sound) from the following episodes:
• House on Haunted Hill – establishing shots of the Randall and Hopkirk office in Springfield Street, Harrow.
• When Did You Stop Seeing Things – shows “Jeff” and Jean in the Randall and Hopkirk office, plus establishing shots of Fleet Street, London.
• When the Spirit Moves You – sequences showing the original title “All You Have to do is Ask” on each shot’s clapper board and footage of Bream arriving at the Randall and Hopkirk office.
• Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave – a collection of establishing shots and a sequence showing raw episode credits which would later be super-imposed on the screen.
• Money to Burn – after a few establishing shots, an interesting sequence appears that shows at how the “freeze” technique was used to create the illusion of Marty disappearing.
An interesting set of 10 well written biographies about the key cast and crew. For the fetishists there’s also some ‘biographical’ information about the white Vauxhall Victor FD and the red Austin Mini cars.
A collection of 197 full-frame, high quality behind-the-scenes and publicity stills from episodes 9-16. Also included are four images of actress Judy Huxtable in the role of Laura Slade, who was later replaced by Carol Cleveland in the final version of For the Girl Who Has Everything.
Man in a Suitcase (1967) (0:53) He was once an agent for the CIA…
Strange Report (1968) (0:53) Every strange report is out of the ordinary…
The Saint (1962) (1:21) Black and White version
The Saint (1962) (0:58) Colour version
Discs 5 & 6
Recorded on June 15, 2004, Jaz Wiseman gives a brief biography of both participants then gets straight into the questions.
The two of them talk about the gadgets they had to attach to the camera to achieve the rather crude special effects, the very tight production schedule for each episode, and the friendly rivalry between the producers of The Avengers with whom they had to share studio time.
Recorded on 2 June, 2004, Jaz Wiseman once again capably maintains the pace and keeps the conversations flowing smoothly.
Both participants talk about their previous and subsequent careers and their experiences on the set. Frankel even tells how he discovered Kenneth Cole and recommended him for the part of Marty Hopkirk.
Although George Sewell often takes the backseat to allow Frankel to chatter on, he does get a chance to offer an anecdote about his stand-in spraining their ankle during an establishing scene.
A collection of 192 full-frame, high quality behind-the-scenes and publicity stills from episodes 17-24.
A selection of 24 magazine and U.K. video covers, ad mats, and publicity material.
The Baron (1966) (0:39) Television and film star Steve Forrest is The Baron…
Danger Man (1960) (0:45) Danger Man, the series that inspired The Prisoner…
Fireball XL 5 (1962) (0:20) Starring Steve Zodiac…
UFO (1970) (1:06) SHADO – Supreme Headquarters…Alien Defence Organisation…secret location…beneath film studio…
Written by Daleks (Dr Who) creator Terry Nation, this episode from the 1966 series sees the Baron (Steve Forrest) quash a drug smuggling ring.
In a recently recorded interview, an articulate and chatty Cope talks about what led to him getting the part of Marty Hopkirk, how his wig was put on back-to-front for the first few episodes and the fact that his white silk suit didn’t have any pockets because ghosts didn’t need them – among a thousand-and-one other bits of trivia and on-set shenanigans.
He also reminisces about the good times he had with his co-stars Mike Pratt (Jeff Randall), who tragically died in 1976 from lung cancer, and his wife in the series, Annette Andre (Jeannie Hopkirk).
A well-spoken, stylish and attractive 65-year-old Andre talks affectionately about her career, her co-stars and her experiences filming the series.
On introducing the episode, Andre shares that she was flat mates with co-star Sue Lloyd and that her most memorable moment was painfully removing splinters from her bottom after climbing out a window while wearing a pink trouser suit.
A huge collection of 239 full-frame, high quality behind-the-scenes, cast portrait, location,press party and publicity stills.
Supercar (1961) (0:18) We are ready to blow in 60-seconds from now…
The Secret Service (1969) (0:59) Criminals are motivated by greed…
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Only the first 13 episodes (spread over four discs) have been released in Region 1.
Vision (full-frame and not 16x9 enhanced) and sound (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono mix) for these episodes are identical to our Region 4 set.
The Region 1 contains an odd bonus feature not available on the Region 4 edition, namely a History Channel episode of Haunted History: London.
However, Region 1 fans miss out on:
• The other 13 episodes
• Nearly all the bonus features available in our Region 4 boxed set apart from a photo gallery and cast and crew filmographies.
The complete series was also released as a 7-disc boxed set in the U.K. in October 2002, but is now out of print. It’s currently selling for as high as 160 pounds through Amazon.co.uk sellers, even though it has a dearth of bonus features.
Our Region 4 release is the clear winner.
With satisfactory picture and sound quality and an illuminating array of bonus features, this complete series of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) is a must-have for fans who like their detective television dramas fast-paced, brimming with sexy gals and tasty storylines, and seasoned with a distinct 60s British flavour.
|DVD||Yamaha DVR-S200 (it came free with the plasma), using S-Video output|
|Display||Yamaha 106cm Plasma. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||get a marshall stack, and crank it up.|
|Speakers||2 x Bose Speakers and 4 NX-S200 Yamaha mini-speakers.|