Illustration for article titled Jane Espenson tells io9 about bringing Britains greatest ghost detective to America

A classic British show about a ghost detective may be getting a reimagined version on Syfy. Producer Jane Espenson told us what to expect from the Americanized version of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).


Now that Syfy's U.S. version of the British show Being Human has had a successful launch, Syfy is moving forward with another remake of a British classic. The show, which first aired in 1969-1970, is about a detective whose dead partner comes back as a ghost — and they keep solving crimes together. It was the brainchild of Dennis Spooner, who also wrote some of the best Doctor Who stories of the 1960s. This is the second Randall and Hopkirk remake — a new British version aired in 2000, featuring Tom Baker with scripts by Who writers Mark Gatiss and Gareth Roberts.

And now Espenson (a mainstay of Buffy, Firefly, BSG, Caprica, etc.) is writing the pilot for the Syfy version, with Drew Z. Greenberg, a writer for Buffy, Dexter and Warehouse 13. (Greenberg is the guy who gave Alison Scagliotti the line, "Serendipity is my stripper name.")


So how will Espenson and Greenberg update the terribly British ghost show for U.S. audiences? We asked Espenson, and she said:

The version we're proposing is quite different in tone and content from the original. We also have a new title in mind which we love, but SyFy hasn't officially signed off on that part yet, so we'll leave that as a Spoiler Of The Future. We took the basic premise of a Ghost Detective and his still-living partner and invented our own take on it. We're really building from the ground up, including a quite new version of a ghost that's different than what you've seen before. We trying to keep the whole premise very grounded and also about something. In the way that aliens and robots (or Cylons) have been made to feel very real in recent days — we're trying to do that with ghosts. It is still early days, and the road from pilot to show is a long one, but we love what we're coming up with! I think it's the best thing ever!

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