Thursday, September 02, 2004

I love Renta-ghost

Originally uploaded by das spunken.
If you are under the age of 25 Renta-ghost will mean nothing to you, but arguably Renta-ghost was the finest TV programme of it's era.

The Premise: Recently-deceased ghost Fred Mumford is determined that his parents mustn???t find out that he???s dead and so attempts to set himself up in business, along with a couple of other useless spooks, under the management of dodgy entrepreneur Harold Meaker. ???Rentaghost??? aims to give a second chance to those who didn???t do too well in life, as well as helping people with their everyday problems using the ???psychic energy??? of its employees. Things do not, however, often go to plan???

Background: Written by Bob Block and produced by Jeremy Swan, Rentaghost concentrated on Fred Mumford to begin with. The series later established Mr Claypole and Harold Meaker as the stars, with the original concept soon forgotten amid the slapstick home life of the Meakers.

First Run: January 1976 to November 1984.

Number of Episodes: Fifty-eight.

The Spooks: Fred Mumford (Anthony Jackson), Victorian gentleman Hubert Davenport (Michael Darbyshire) and jester Timothy Claypole (Michael Staniforth). Fred and Hubert were replaced by Hazel the McWitch (Molly Weir), Tamara Novak (Lynda Marchal) and later Nadia Popov (Sue Nicholls). Also visiting from time to time were Mr Whatsisname-Smith (Kenneth Connor), Queen Matilda (Paddie O???Neill), Catastrophe Kate (Jana Sheldon) and Suzie Starlight (Aimi MacDonald). And not forgetting Dobbin the pantomime horse (William Perrie and David Asquith), Jeremy the robot, and Bernie St John (Vincent White), the dragon who lived in the cellar???

The Mortals: Early on: Mr and Mrs Mumford (John Dawson and Betty Alberge) and Harold Meaker (Edward Brayshaw). Harold was eventually joined by his wife Ethel (Ann Emery), department store manager Adam Painting (Christopher Biggins), and the long-suffering Rose Perkins (Hal Dyer) and her husband Arthur (Jeffery Segal) who lived next door to ???those crazy Meakers???.

And Isn???t That... : Author Lynda LaPlante (under her stage name Lynda Marchal) appeared for a series as nanny-ghost Miss Novak, but was then replaced by Nadia Popov (Sue Nicholls ??? later Audrey in Coronation Street).

Overdone Clich?┬ęs: The Perkins??? magic talisman taking every wish literally (???I wish we could join the Meakers in a cup of tea??????), the spooks running out of psychic energy, and every episode of the last series ending in the same way, with those immortal words ???Don???t go into the cellar???!???

Fashion Statements: Most memorably a yellow and orange jester???s outfit for Mr Claypole.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Claypole rocks

3 September 2004 at 13:55  
Blogger Ambrose said...

Renta-ghost was _horrible_. I don't think I enjoyed a single episode of it. In fact, it was one of those things that actually pained me to watch as a child, but I would watch it anyway, just because I was glued to the telly (the social workers took the last part seriously)

8 September 2004 at 21:33  

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