When Marty Hopkirk, of the Randall and Hopkirk private detective agency, dies in a hit-and-run, everyone including his partner, Jeff Randall, assumes it was a tragic accident. That is, until someone insists that it wasn't, it was murder, and Jeff must investigate.
Why does Jeff believe them? Well... because the person who insists is Marty, in ghostly form (denoted by his white suit), has every reason to believe he was murdered and you can't get a better witness than that! Actually, you can, because only Jeff (and the odd psychic) can see and hear Marty so he can't exactly give a testimony. So together Jeff and Marty try to solve the murder and Marty can rest in peace...
Or he could, if he hadn't stayed out of his grave too long, so now he's stuck on Earth. It's not too bad, though, as having a ghost for a partner who has a few useful powers—walking through walls, teleportation, the ability to shatter glass and call up gusts of wind, telekinesis (though this is just to make up for Marty's intangibility, anyway)—is quite handy on cases.
On the other hand, it is very trying to be in a Love Triangle where the girl you like can't even see your rival and he gets stroppy with you for pursuing her anyway...to be fair, though, she is his widow. That and people think you're crazy because of all the (real) Dead Person Conversations you keep having.
It ran 26 episodes from 1969 to 1970 on ITV, starring Mike Pratt and Kenneth Cope. It had a Remake in 2000 (by the BBC, curiously) for a moderately successful 13-episode run over two seasons as Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) (note the ampersand), a much sillier series (though the original was silly, too...just not nearly as silly) featuring Comedy Duo Vic Reeves (as Marty) and Bob Mortimer (as Jeff). The revival series also added extra powers and Wyvern, a ghostly tutor for Marty, played by Tom Baker.
The original series provides examples of:
- Backup from Otherworld: Marty Hopkirk has a limited ability to manipulate objects.
- Buddy Cop Show: With private detectives instead of policemen.
- Dead Person Conversation: Whenever someone sees Jeff talking to Marty.
- Detective Drama
- Instrumental Theme Tune: All harpsichord-y and eerie, evoking both cop shows and genre shows of the era.
- Love Triangle: (a No. 7 but with b. being dead) Jeff and Marty over Marty's now widow, Jeannie Hopkirk.
- Market-Based Title: The original series aired in America as My Partner, the Ghost because network execs once again assumed that Viewers are Morons and that Americans wouldn't know what deceased means, or were unaware that it isn't (or wasn't at the time) rare to put (Deceased) after a dead partner's name in many sorts of companies.
- Multitasked Conversation: Jeff and Marty have a lot of these.
- Name and Name
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Marty has a tendency to spawn new powers from nowhere.
- Our Ghosts Are Different
- Spirit Advisor: Only Jeff (and the rare one-off character) can see and hear Marty.
- Who Dunnit To Me
- You Can See Me?: When Marty runs into someone besides Jeff who can see him for whatever reason, he may use this sentence.
In addition to many of the above, the remake provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Jeannie is much more savvy and sensible than in the original series — the first time we see her in the remake, she knocks a man out by karate chopping him in the face.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Wyvern only looks like Tom Baker for Marty's sake. What he does he really look like? You don't want to know.
- Biggus Dickus: Jeff, according to Marty's reaction when he accidentally materialises next to him in the shower.
- British Brevity: Two seasons of six and seven episodes respectively. (The original series doesn't count because it got a full US-style season, having been made with sale to the US in mind.)
- Chained to a Bed: A sexy Russian assassin does this to Jeff, but it pays off later when (with Marty's help) he is able to come crashing through the wall and save Jeannie.
- Cool Old Guy: Wyvern.
- Creator Cameo: Or rather, producer/writer; Charlie Higson appears in virtually every episode, sometimes in small walk-on parts but occasionally in bigger roles.
- Darker and Edgier: It is this because due to being raunchy than the original series, that in the UK, it has a 12 rating.
- Deadpan Snarker: Marty.
- Dead All Along: Freya Cargill turns out to have been fatally electrocuted long before her appearance in the episode "Revenge of the Bog People," and so resorts to appearing in places such as a hospital and a fitness club so that her ghostly white attire won't be conspicuous to Jeff.
- Everybody Knew Already: One episode sees Jeff hired to protect a former civil servant who is in danger from various political groups (and a jilted former lover) due to a speech he's about to give which will potentially blow the lid on a number of political scandals. When he actually gives the speech, it turns out that the "scandals" are such common knowledge — like the existence of the Mafia, and the fact that a few government ministers are homosexual — that everyone involved is left feeling like an idiot for ever being worried.
- Forgot About His Powers: Marty has several powers (particularly his memory wipe) that could have been useful several times throughout the series, but never get mentioned again. Justified in the case of his "Sleepwalking" powers, as it tends to screw up his other powers, and makes Marty feel whatever Jeff happens to be feeling at the time (which is quite problematic, given Jeff's habit of drinking himself to sleep).
- Fright Deathtrap
- Godzilla Threshold: When Marty goes into A God Am I mode, Wyvern breaks his vow of non-interference and visits Jeannie.
- Haunted Technology: One of Marty's first post-death appearances to Jeff was in a First-Person Shooter video game.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: More "sultry sixtiesish" and James Bond-y than the original series' theme.
- Knight Templar: Berry Pomeroy, the Laird of Strait Isle, is developing a chemical that causes men to become homosexual, thereby preventing them from breeding. This is done with the intention of reducing "the relentless flow of humanity" without actually harming anyone. However, not only is he secretly forcing this on people, but his actions result in two young men ending up dead.
- Love Triangle: Shows up in the original, but pushed more in the remake: In the new series, Jeannie is Marty's fiancée and her surname is Hurst.
- Mind Screw: Marty's "sleepwalking" ability has the side-effect of giving Jeff some seriously surreal nightmares based on what Marty and his ghostly buddy Nesbitt are doing.
- Mind Rape gets subverted however — Marty is the one whose head (temporarily) gets messed up as a result of the sleepwalking, while Jeff just thinks he had a really strange dream, which he blames on the booze he was drinking the night before.
- Mistaken for Gay: Jeff books one double room whilst staying at Hadell Wroxted, not realising that the landlord can see Marty and assumes they will be sharing.
- Inverted in "O Happy Isle", where the Tiriseas 28-infected beer is making the men no longer interested in women. When the local police chief makes a pass at Jeff, it is assumed that this is a result of the chemical. Until the end, where said police chief admits that he doesn't drink.
- Mood Whiplash: The last episode. While the series in general was darker and more serious than most of what Vic and Bob have done, the final episode still stood out.
- Punny Name: The comedy duo D. Klein and Fall. When Klein died he was replaced by Ronnie Rise.
- Remake Cameo of sorts. Mike Pratt died in real life between the two versions of of the show, but was seen, via stock footage, in one heaven scene of the remake. It was left to the viewer to decide if he was there as himself or as the original Randall, now also deceased. Kenneth Cope, the original Marty, declined the opportunity to make a cameo.
- Shout-Out: The finale episode has what at first glance appears to be a reference to Psycho, with a mysterious figure in a chair watching Jeff and Jeannie's progress through the store, only for it to turn out that the figure is actually a mostly-decomposed skeleton. In actual fact it's a reference to the Doctor Who story "Death to the Daleks", which has a near-identical scene (the finale episode was co-written by Mark Gatiss, a famous Doctor Who fan who would subsequently become a writer on that show's revival in 2005).
- Shout-Out Theme Naming: In several episodes characters share surnames with particular figures, such as the ghost story "Whatever Possessed You" featuring Roger Whale (James Whale), Mr. Browning (Tod Browning - Dracula (1931)), Sonia Cronenberg (David Cronenberg), Virginia Carpenter (John Carpenter), Captain James Romero (George A. Romero) and Mr. Lewton (Val Lewton), all horror/supernatural film directors.
- Skewed Priorities: Snellgrove seems more upset at bring dressed in white than being dead.
- Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: The couplets describing the rules of the spirit world tend to end in a word that doesn't quite rhyme.
- Sympathy for the Devil: It's difficult not to feel sorry for Sonia Cronenberg in "Whatever Possessed You?" She has been supporting the man she loved for fifty years, stranded in 1951, until she is eventually tricked out of the building and finally passes over sobbing, realising her lover is gone for good.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In "Whatever Possessed You?", there are several references to a ghost known as "The Ice Maiden", along with the Faceless Lady and Burning Man we meet later. We never see this character or hear anymore about her, the only possibility suggested being that this is landlady Virginia Carpenter's true identity.
- Who Dunnit To Me: What Marty returns to find out.
- Widowed at the Wedding: Poor Jeannie finds out at the altar about her fiancé's demise.