Episode Twenty-Five: You Can Always Find a Fall Guy

Original Air-Date:
Duration: 50'44m
Screenplay by: Donald James
Directed By: Ray Austin
Availability: Try store

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

Guest-Starring: Juliet Harmer (Miss Holliday), Patrick Barr (Yateman), Garfield Morgan (Edwards), Jeremy Young (Douglas Kershaw), Clifford Earl (1st Detective), Tony Steedman (Surgeon), John Walker (Mechanic), Ingrid Sylvester (Receptionist), Maggie London (Nurse), Edward Caddick (Patient) and Michael Graham (Anaesthetist)

Technical Personnel: Ronald Liles (Production Supervisor), Brian Elvin (Director of Photography), Charles Bishop (Superising Art Director), Cyril Frankel (Creative Consultant), Edwin Astley (Musical Director), Philip Aizlewood (Post Production), Bob Cartwright (Art Director), Stephen Cross (Editor), Ernest Morris (Production Manager), Gerald Moss (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), David Harcourt (Camera Operator), Jack Morrison (Assistant Director), Janice Byles (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 (Stunt Co-Ordinator), Cinesound (Sound Effects Suppliers), Chambers + Partners (Titles), Dennis Spooner (Creator/Executive Story Consultant) and Monty Berman (Producer). An ITC Production.

Jeff: Jeff claims his car is stuck in a garage and they won't let him have it back unless he pays them the 26 he owes in repair fees. However, Jeff later phones to offer the garage 12 as "half the money" and goes there to give them 15. With such a loose grasp of mathematics, it's no wonder he hires Jeannie to do his paperwork.
Jeff Scraps: Jeff throws two men around a room, decks a security guard and later roughs up a camp information dealer. However, a rematch with one of the men he threw around sees Jeff gets beaten senseless by a man in his sixties.

Story: Jeff gets back to his flat at 8am hungover from a long night out. When he arrives he finds a nun in his apartment asking for his help to trace her accountant. The accountant, Douglas Kershaw, has diverted 6000 in two months and the nun wants Jeff to recover it for her. She gives Jeff the accountant's card with his address on and asks Jeff to meet her later that day to pick up paperwork. However, when the nun leaves Randall's flat she takes off the nun's uniform and drives off in a sportscar.
Later, when Randall visits her at the convent he is stopped halfway up the drive. She hands him an envelope and he drives away, not seeing her take off the fake convent sign to reveal that the "convent" is really the Winchester Electronics Research Corporation. On his way out Jeff is stopped by the security there, though manages to escape with Marty's help. Once free, he checks out the paperwork he was given by the "nun"... only to find that it's worthless newspaper cuttings.
The following day the head of security tracks Jeff down and asks for the paperwork, only for Jeff to turn him down. Jeff then visits Douglas Kershaw, who tells him he's not an accountant at all, but a seller of information. As Jeff leaves he's informed by Marty that the police have a warrant for his arrest, so Jeff goes back to the Corporation to ask them to drop the warrant. While there he realises that someone in the Corporation must have known who he was all along, as they claim he was traced from his car registration, but he was using Jeannie's car that evening. He also vaguely recognises a worker there, Miss Holliday, who was the woman who dressed as the nun.
Realising he's being set up to make it look as if he's been stealing secrets from the Corporation - with his story about initially believing it to be a convent appearing absurd - Jeff goes with Jeannie to plead with Kershaw to tell the police of his innocence. When Kershaw is uncooperative, Jeff asks Jeannie to wait outside while he roughs up Kershaw to persuade him. Unfortunately for Jeff the army-trained head of the Corporation walks in with Miss Holliday and works Jeff over, before leading him off at gunpoint. With the head and Miss Holliday about to steal half a million worth of industrial secrets to sell to Kershaw, they want to keep Jeff alive as a scapegoat. They lock Jeff in a cellar, before telling him he'll be shot in 24 hours. Fortunately for Jeff Marty searches London for someone he can contact for help... he finds a patient temporarily dying on an operating table. Convincing the patient to call the police and tell them everything as soon as the anesthetic wears off, Marty returns to reassure Jeff. The police arrest the real criminals and let Jeff go free... Jeff then visits the hospital in question to hand some fruit to the patient to show his appreciation.

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

Trivia: 30'31m sees another prominent boom mike shadow for the series, but 32'54m is the worst example of blue screen in the programme. Shots of Jeff and other characters in his car were always done in front of a backdrop, but here the blue hue of his car reacts against the blue screen, causing the edge of Jeff's car to disappear.

"Marty, she was just a very good-looking nun. There's nothing more sinister than that."

A pretty good episode with one of those complex, twisting plots that R & H specialised in, along with some great lines like "you're devoted to melodrama." There's Jeff at his most dishevelled and grumpy, Marty complaining about his driving and Jeannie... well, Jeannie's just Jeannie, and that's always more than good enough.

In transmission order this is just two weeks after another "Jeff gets fooled by a woman in disguise" storyline and there is a faint whiff of familiarity about the story at times. Having another "Jeff gets locked in a room and Marty resolves it by contacting someone who's dead/psychic and getting them to call the police" resolution is mildly repetitious, but that's the fault of the series as a whole, not this episode in particular.

There's an expression in TV about television shows "having legs". As enjoyable as Randall and Hopkirk can be, I don't think it ever did. While the premise is rewarding, there are only so many plots you can do about a detective and his ghost partner. Had they done a second series of 26 episodes I think we'd have seen all the oxygen of the show exhausted and ran into the ground. As it stands, what we got was something fairly special.