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13th December 2004
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UK, BBC, Children's sitcom, Colour, 1976
Starring: Michael Staniforth, Edward Brayshaw, Anthony Jackson
The Rentaghost team

A ghostly fantasy comedy that proved irresistible to - and durable with - younger viewers.

Writer Bob Block's original concept featured ghosts who have come back from the spiritual world to make amends for failing in their previous existence, but although the spectres had magical powers they still tended to be hidebound by the same ineptness that had dogged them during their earthly lives. In the opening episode, Fred Mumford returns from the spirit world and opens the agency Rentaghost, which offers ghosts and poltergeists for hire on a daily or weekly rental. He is helped (and hindered) in these plans by a fussy Victorian ghost, Davenport, and mischievous medieval poltergeist Claypole. Initially, Mumford enlists the additional support of his still-living parents, but things really take off when he links up with wheeler-dealer Mr Meaker, who becomes their agent.

The four had many comically spooky adventures before Davenport and Mumford moved on, leaving Meaker and Claypole to run the show. Following their departure (from series five) the format changed, becoming more domestic, and other characters were brought in and began to share centre stage, notably Hazel the McWitch and, in later episodes, Nadia Popov. Like many other children's series, Rentaghost was able to attract more than decent actors to its ranks.

Researched and written by Mark Lewisohn.

Gallery Images - Click for a bigger image
Michael Staniforth - Timothy Claypole
Edward Brayshaw - Harold Meaker
Anthony Jackson - Fred Mumford (series 1-4)
Michael Darbyshire - Hubert Davenport (series 1-4)
Ann Emery - Ethel Meaker
Betty Alberge - Mrs Mumford
John Dawson - Mr Mumford
Jana Shelden - Catastrophe Kate
Molly Weir - Hazel the McWitch
Sue Nicholls - Nadia Popov
Hal Dyer - Rose Perkins
Jeffrey Segal - Arthur Perkins
Aimi Macdonald - Susie Starlight
Christopher Biggins - Adam Painting
Paddie O'Neil - Queen Matilda

Bob Block - Writer
David Crichton - Director
Paul Ciani - Producer (series 1)
Jeremy Swan - Producer (series 2-9)
Transmission Details
Number of episodes: 58 Length: 38 x 25 mins · 19 x 30 mins · 1 x 40 mins
Series One (5 x 25 mins) 6 Jan-3 Feb 1976 · BBC1 Tue 5.15pm
Series Two (6 x 25 mins) 18 May-22 June 1976 · BBC1 Tue 5.15pm
Series Three (6 x 25 mins) 22 Feb-29 Mar 1977 · BBC1 (1 episode on BBC2) Tue 4.40pm
Series Four (6 x 25 mins) 14 Sep-19 Oct 1978 · BBC1 Thu 4.35pm
Special (40 mins) Rentasanta 21 Dec 1978 · BBC1 Thu 4.30pm
Series Five (5 x 25 mins) 7 Mar-21 Mar 1980 · BBC1 Fri then Tue around 5.10pm
Series Six (6 x 30 mins) 24 Apr-29 May 1981 · BBC1 Fri 5.05pm
Series Seven (13 x 30 mins) 5 Oct-29 Dec 1982 · BBC1 Tue 5.10pm
Series Eight (5 x 25 mins) 18 Oct-15 Nov 1983 · BBC1 Tue 4.40pm
Series Nine (5 x 25 mins) 9 Oct-6 Nov 1984 · BBC1 Tue 4.35pm

The information in the Guide to Comedy is complied from 'The Radio Times Guide to Television Comedy' by Mark Lewisohn, published by BBC Books. More information about the book is available from the BBC Shop.
(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external links.)

Reviews supplied by Radio Times © 2003 BBC Worldwide - used under licence from BBC Worldwide.

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