My Late Lamented Friend and Partner
"My Late Lamented Friend and Partner" is the pilot episode of the popular 1969 British television series Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) starring Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre. The episode was first broadcast on 21 September 1969 on ITV and directed by Cyril Frankel.
|"My Late Lamented Friend and Partner"|
|Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Cyril Frankel|
|Written by||Ralph Smart|
|Original air date||21 September 1969|
Jeff Randall (Mike Pratt) is on a divorce case for a Fay Sorrensen (Anne Sharp), and presents her with many photographs of her husband in intimate situations with other women. Mrs. Sorrensen, who is apparently suffering from heart problems, plans to divorce her husband Mr. Sorensen (Frank Windsor), knowing that he won't be able to keep hold of his business assets in the steel company where he works, as her father founded the company and she is a major shareholder.
Knowing this, Mr. Sorrensen contacts a firm specialising on contract killings on the number 0676750. With Jeff away on business, Marty (Kenneth Cope) travels to the Sorrensen's the next day, with the intention of speaking to Mrs. Sorrensen's solicitor with her present. However, before he can get to do so, Fay is electrocuted in her bath upstairs, by a cable threaded through a hole in the wall from a van outside masquerading as an electricity van, operated by Dave Carter.
Later, Marty speaks to four children on the street, who tell him about the cable leading up into the house - an activity seen from above by Mr. Sorrensen. Attempting to blame her death on her weak heart, Sorrensen then tries to cover his tracks by arranging to have Marty killed.
A beatnik known as Mr. Hendy hitches a ride with a local club singer known as Happy Lee, then, when she grows tired of his conversation and drops him off half-way, he tries to hitch another lift with Marty outside his house. As Marty turns down any offer of giving the beatnik a lift, Hendy becomes witness to Marty's murder as he is driven down by a black saloon car. The beatnik leaps into the vehicle and wrestles a gun out of the killer's hand, extorting £500 from him in order to keep quiet to the police.
After attending Marty's funeral, Jeff tries to get some sleep, only to be woken at midnight by Marty calling him repeatedly on the telephone. After alternately believing it to be a hoax and his imagination, Jeff manages to sleep until he awakes in a trance at 4am under Marty's influence, and drives down to the cemetery to meet him. There Marty tells Jeff he was murdered, and urges him to continue investigating. Jeff does so, speaking to Sorrensen, Happy Lee and the Beatnik. Finally he tracks down the fake electrician and driver portrayed by actor Dave Carter and he is found murdered by carbon monoxide gas poisoning in his home at 2B Tower House, Fulham Road.
Jeff and Marty decide that the only thing to do is to force Sorrensen to play his hand, so Jeff pays him a visit and Jeff pretends that Marty left him a note informing him of his suspicions of Sorenson before he was killed, and demands £25,000 otherwise he'll go to the police with non-existent statement from Marty. Sorrensen goes straight to his accomplices to arrange Jeff's murder, whereby Marty blows a newspaper on their car windscreen, crashing the car, and leaving them surrounded by pre-arranged policemen. Unfortunately for Marty, he's stayed on the case for so long that daylight has broken, forcing him to walk the Earth for a hundred years, with only Jeff able to see or hear him.
- Mike Pratt as Jeff Randall
- Kenneth Cope as Marty Hopkirk
- Annette Andre as Jeannie Hopkirk
- Anne Sharp .... Fay Sorrenson
- Frank Windsor .... John Sorrenson
- Dave Carter .... Electrician
- Makki Marseilles .... Manservant
- Tom Chatto .... Doctor
- Ronald Lacey .... Beatnik
- Harry Locke .... Night Porter at Jeff's apartment block
- Dolores Mantez .... Happy Lee
- James Donnelly .... Detective
- Anthony Sagar .... Hotel Proprietor
- Harold Innocent .... Hit Man
The exteriors of Jeff's flat were shot at Hanover House near the corner of St. John's High Street, North West London and Marty's flat exteriors were shot at a flat in Lauderdale Road in Maida Vale, West London. Their office exterior was represented by a doorway of Adams Furniture and Fabric store on the corner of Kymberly Road and Springfield Road in Harrow and the graveyard exteriors were filmed on the backlot at the ABC Elstree studios in Borehamwood, next to a row of poplar trees. Eaton Place in Belgravia, South West London (Sorrenson's home). Eaton Mews, North Belgravia (Happy Lee's home), and Queens Gate Terrace in Fulham Road. The final part of the episode features extensive footage shot in Central London including Cannon Street passing St Paul's Cathedral, Wood Street, St. Alphage Gardens, Roman House, St. Alphage High Walk and the junction of Moor Lane.
The stunt arranger for the series was Frank Maher, who worked on Department S at the same time, he had previously performed the same job on Danger Man (1964–66) and The Prisoner (1966/67). Harry Fielder was the stand in/stunt double for Mike Pratt and Douglas Lockyer did the same for Kenneth Cope. Other stunt men used on the series included Rocky Taylor, Les Crawford, Alf Joint, Bill Sawyer and Mike Reid.
A finished print of the episode was completed in early October 1968. According to the ITC synopsis book to accompany the series, where it is listed as episode one, "This Episode Must Be Transmitted First."
Silent behind-the-scenes footage of this episode was included as an extra on the fourth region 2 DVD. Shot by a 2nd unit crew using stand-ins for the leads, the sequence ran to 53 seconds.
Video and DVD release
Up until the mid-1970s Randall and Hopkirk had a different title sequence to the one used on repeats and VHS/DVD releases. Created by Chambers and Partners, they featured Marty, Jeff and Jeannie around his grave with these lines of dialogue: "Jeff. It's alright, Jeannie can't see or hear me. Nobody can. Only you Jeff. Only you." Rediscovered in the late 90s they were placed as an extra on the second region 2 DVD, with the US titles (exactly the same, but the name of the programme altered to "My Partner The Ghost") on the third disc.