UK, BBC, Children's sitcom, Colour, 1976
Starring: Michael Staniforth, Edward Brayshaw, Anthony Jackson
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.
Number of episodes: 58
Length: 38 x 25 mins · 19 x 30 mins · 1 x 40 mins