Starring: Mike Pratt (Jeff Randall), Kenneth Cope (Marty Hopkirk) and Annette Andre (Jean Hopkirk).
Guest-Starring: Lois Maxwell (Kim Wentworth), Marjorie Rhodes (Mrs. Pleasance), Freddie Jones (James McAllister), Michael Coles (Larry Wentworth), Paul Bertoya (Jean-Claude), Carol Cleveland (Laura Slade), Eric Dodson (Vicar), Carol Dilworth (Girl), George Lee (Police Sergeant) and Basil Clarke (Coroner).
Technical Personnel: Ronald Liles (Production Supervisor), Eric Coop (Director of Photography), Charles Bishop (Supervising Art Director), Cyril Frankel (Creative Consultant), Edwin Astley (Musical Director), Philip Aizlewood (Post Production), Bob Cartwright (Art Director), John Ireland (Editor), Ernest Morris (Production Manager), Jack Lowin (2nd Unit Director), Stephen Dade (2nd Unit Cameraman), Denis Porter/Len Abbott (Sound Recordists), Guy Ambler (Sound Editor), Alan Willis (Music Editor), John Owen (Casting), Sue Long (Set Dresser), Bill Greene (Construction Manager), Harry Gillam (Camera Operator), Ken Baker (Assistant Director), Sally Ball (Continuity), Peter Dunlop (Production Buyer), Gerry Fletcher (Make Up Supervisor), Laura Nightingale (Wardrobe Supervisor), A. J. Van Montagu (Scenic Artist), Frank Maher (Stunt Co-Ordinator), Cinesound (Sound Effects Suppliers), Chambers + Partners (Titles), Dennis Spooner (Creator/Executive Story Consultant) and Monty Berman (Producer). An ITC Production.
Jeff: We discover that Jeff's morning routine involves setting his alarm clock to 10am and having a cigarette and toast.
Jeff Scraps: A better than average outing for Jeff here as he gets the better of a chain-wielding French midget... but then immediately gets KO'd by Mrs. Wentworth smashing a vase over the back of his head.
Marty: Marty finds he can materialise in solid walls with no ill effects... he also has the ability to open curtains (see Trivia).
Story: Jeff is contacted by ghost hunter James McAllister who seeks his help on a case. Taking a cheque for £750 Jeff accompanies McAllister to Craig Castle, owned by seven-times married Kim Wentworth. Believing her home to be haunted and with her husband spending evenings away in his art studio, Mrs. Wentworth is terrified of being alone. Jeff's first night on the case sees McAllister dead in an arm chair, while the second sees Mrs. Wentworth shoot her husband by accident, believing him to be a ghost. Attempting to appease Jeff by giving him a cheque for £250 - which he refuses - Mrs. Wentworth begins to alert his suspicions. Investigating further, Jeff finds that Kim Wentworth intended to murder her latest husband in revenge for him having an affair, and was using the ghost story to get away with it. Unfortunately for Jeff he is knocked unconscious while confronting Mrs. Wentworth and her lover Jean-Claude and locked into an escape-proof priest hole. Fortunately Marty has made friends with a psychic cafe owner and brings her to the house to release Jeff in time for him to give evidence at Mrs. Wentworth's court case.
Production Order: This was the third episode to be filmed.
Commentary: The 2008 Network DVD release of the programme features a commentary from Director Cyril Frankel, Assistant Director Ken Baker and Malcolm Christopher. Christopher was the Production Manager on later episodes, but appears on this episode's commentary as he found the locations for it. Altogether five episodes had commentaries on the release (My Late, Lamented Friend and Partner, A Disturbing Case, Thatís How Murder Snowballs and The Ghost Talks in addition to this one) and it's certainly nice that they made the effort. However, this one is completely inessential as all three seem unclear what their purpose is, and just spend large chunks of time just watching the episode without speaking. Their affection for the programme is infectious, and there are some occasional pieces of trivia - such as the entire series being filmed without a break, ten days per episode - but generally there's little difference between listening to it, or watching the regular episode with it off.
Trivia: Jeff claims that the £750 he receives for the case is more than he and Marty get for their usual top cases. This perhaps isn't so surprising - taking the year of transmission as an indicator, then that £750 would be worth around £11358 in today's (2014) money. On a similar note then the £250 cheque that Mrs. Wentworth tries to appease Jeff with would be worth around £3786 in 2014.
Look out for a major continuity error 19m in as Marty pulls back a pair of drapes in the cafe.
Another continuity error sees the room number of Jeff's apartment put on back-to-front: for this episode he lives in No.14, instead of No.41.
"In my job I stumble across quite a lot of irrelevant information, I ... learn to be discrete."
The original Jeff Randall is such a great character, and in these days of sanitised heroes he stands out even more. Here he wakes up unshaven at ten o'clock, recovering from the effects of a hangover. The first thing he has for breakfast is a cup of coffee and a cigarette - and he still retains his likeability throughout.
Watching these episodes again, I've been under the impression that Jeff clearly IS the series, Marty just gimmicky support. As a result Kenneth Cope seems to fill his role less well than the superb Mike Pratt, but this is one of Cope's better outings. For some reason his "Well done, Mrs. P, you're doing a great job!" inexplicably made me laugh, and his interaction with a psychic adds a layer. Of note is that the jump cuts for his appearances are more jarring than normal, and not accompanied with the usual harpsichord.
Direction is rarely of note with Randall and Hopkirk. It's never bad, but mostly just standard stuff. Here, however, Cyril Frankel brings thoughtful and unusual angles to the series. It's no masterwork, but well above the norm. Also of note are the elements of the episode that were later homaged in A Man Of Substance, one of the better update episodes. (The fact that it took as inspiration the almost superfluous padding of this episode perhaps says a lot about Charlie Higson's take on the show)
Overall, this is one of the stronger episodes of the original series. The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you sufficiently entertained, and without once making Jeff look stupid as a by-product. In fact, he's nearly always one step just behind the evermore-desperate plans of the two villains. Not only that, but it's also topped off by one of the most macabre endings in a very perverse show. Good stuff.