Episode Twenty-Two: It's Supposed To Be Thicker Than Water

Original Air-Date:
Duration: 50'50m
Screenplay by: Donald James
Directed By: Leslie Norman
Availability: Try store

Starring: Mike Pratt (Jeff Randall), Kenneth Cope (Marty Hopkirk) and Annette Andre (Jean Hopkirk).

Guest-Starring: Felix Aylmer (Joshua Crackan), Liz Fraser (Fay Crackan), Neil McCallum (Rev. Henry Crackan), Dick Bentley (Mesmero) Meredith Edwards (Hodder), John Hallam (Johnny Crackan), Michael Ripper (Punter), Earl Green (Ramon), Graham Armitage (Young Stage Director) and John A. Tinn (Sung Lee Crackan)

Technical Personnel: Ronald Liles (Production Supervisor), Gerald Moss (Director of Photography), Charles Bishop (Art Director), Cyril Frankel (Creative Consultant), Edwin Astley (Musical 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/Bill Rowe (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), Sally Ball (Continuity), Peter Dunlop (Production Buyer), Gerry Fletcher (Make-Up Supervisor), Jeannette Freeman (Hairdresser), Laura Nightingale (Warbrode Supervisor), A. J. Van Montagu (Scenic Artist), Frank Maher (Stunr Co-Ordinator), Cinesound (Sound Effects Suppliers), Chambers + Partners (Titles), Dennis Spooner (Creator/Executive Story Consultant) and Monty Berman (Producer). An ITC Production.

Jeff Scraps: Jeff is harmlessly wrestled to the ground by Johnny Crackan, then later gets into a tussle with Hodder. Although this goes quite well, a boot up the backside from Joshua Crackan kills Jeff's momentum, making it another 0-2 loss on Jeff's record.

Marty: Marty is able to play a guitar via telekinesis.

Story: Jeff does his accounting and finds that his books show "the worst month since we went into business." Out on a walk to clear his head, he is approached by two men in a horse-drawn carraige. The owner, one Joshua Crackan, offers Randall 50 (about 570 in 2009 terms) to deliver a letter to his prison escapee nephew Johnny Crackan. Jeff's problem is not only battling with his conscience over the job but also tracking down the convict in the first place.
After spending the day asking for leads Jeff receives an anonymous tip off that a man who knows Johnny will be at the docklands. When Jeff gets there he finds it's Johnny himself, and hands over the envelope. Joshua Crackan is so pleased with Jeff he offers him more work the following day. With the success of the job bolstering Jeff's confidence he tells Marty that he wants to end their partnership. Wanting a normal life and not wishing to be haunted any more, he regretfully terminates their partnership and Marty, hurt, leaves.
The next morning Jeff is employed as a doorman to a party at Crackan's mansion where he discovers that Johnny was given an invitation in the envelope. That evening a guest is killed, and Johnny dies the next morning in a car accident. Despite Marty being tempted back by these events Jeff remains adamant that their partnership stays terminated and Marty leaves once more.
Meanwhile Joshua Crackan tells his three remaining guests that he must choose which of them is to inherit his estate when he dies... minutes later one of them dies of poisoning. Frightened by the situation, one of the two remaining relatives, Fay Crackan, gets Jeff to take her to a private hotel. When Jeff leaves she is approached by the other possible inheritor, a Reverend Henry Crackan. His manner alarms her, but he is interrupted by Jeff returning with Fay's case... when Jeff is urged by Fay to speak to him alone, Jeff finds the Reverend dead in his room. Mistakenly believing Jeff to be behind it all, Liz flees underground back to her showbusiness background. Realising that this is what she would have done, Jeff tries to find her but is beaten to it by Marty who tracks her down to the New Hampstead Theatre. Marty invisibly blows open Jeff's newspapers to alert him to this fact.
Jeff sees Fay in her dressing room where she explains her distrust and fear, and he returns without her to the Crackan mansion. There he realises that Fay did not need to return to the mansion to claim her inheritance and would have received it as soon as the 80-year-old Joshua died anyway. With the truth dawning on Jeff he is held up at gunpoint by Joshua's servant Hodder. Not wishing any of his relatives to get his hands on his estate, Joshua Crackan was killing them off one by one so that Hodder could take over the property for him. Hodder takes Jeff and locks him in a room before going to Randall's office to ask Jeannie where Fay is. Believing his query to be innocent, Jeannie tells him.
Back in his makeshift cell, Jeff takes it all back about Marty and admits that he needs his help. Marty agrees to help out and appears at the theatre where Fay is under hypnosis as part of a stage act. Fay is able to hear Marty while under hypnosis, and so the ghost convinces her that she cannot be harmed by Hodder. Unable to kill her, Hodder leaves, leaving Fay to get up and perform Marty's hypnotic suggestion... before she wakes up she must phone the police and tell them everything.
Jeff is due to be shot when the police arrive on time. He wrestles Hodder's gun from him but is kicked over by the wheelchair-bound Joshua Crackan. Fortunately the police burst into the house to perform the arrests and Jeff expresses his regrets to Marty, asking him to resume their partnership.

Production Order: This was the eighth episode to be filmed.

Trivia: At 36'07m in Liz Fraser briefly appears to look into the camera, as pictured below.

"I don't want a ghost haunting me all the time. I want to lead a normal life."

An involving episode that, while not outstandingly memorable, sees all concerned take their roles seriously, and there's a nice change to the Jeff/Marty dynamic. Okay, it's obvious they'll be back together by the end, but even Kenneth Cope plays it straight in this one, an uncharacteristically dry but enjoyable excursion.

Bad stuff? Well, there's some recycling present, with Marty's cabaret act a clear steal from That's How Murder Snowballs, and the hypnotism routine does feel like the sort of thing we've seen in the series many times before. Actually, with the hypnotism sequence this becomes a case in point as to how any episode can go wildly off the mark during the last five minutes. Up until this point it had been an average instalment that netted four stars just because of the personal enjoyment I got from it. But then Marty telling Fay (under a trance) that she won't be able to feel the effects of a stabbing knife or suffocating pillow is just too silly for words, particularly with the OTT incidental music playing. And why Potter didn't use the gun that he was brandishing is beyond me. Still, that all said, there is a nice touch of social satire with Mr. McCraken not wanting his house to fall into the hands of "foreigners", and an intriguing subtext that he and Hodder might be lovers so I'll let it pass... just.