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Sykes and a... (1960-65)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Sykes and a Haunting, originally transmitted on BBC, 13 March 1962
Directed by Sidney Lotterby, written by Eric Sykes

Eric and Hat are going through an old trunk, and among the finds are some items, including a playbill and a top hat, which had once belonged to their Uncle Edward, who, under the name Eduardo, had worked in variety as an escapologist.

Thinking back to his childhood, Eric tells Hat of the time that Uncle Edward, in a café, had his top hat filled with rice pudding and shoved on to his head by a lorry driver. Just as he finishes telling the story, a painting of Edward on the wall falls to the floor. Eric then relates how Edward had promised that he would 'get' Eric if he ever told of what had happened. A worried Hat starts to believe that, with Eric having told the story, Edward will come back to haunt them.

While rummaging in the trunk, Eric finds that a pair of handcuffs has accidentally become attached to one of his wrists. Discovering that Uncle Edward's name is scratched on to the handcuffs, he and Hat become increasingly convinced that he has returned to fulfil his promise.

As an excuse to get out of the house, Hat puts on her coat so as to go to the Ladies Guild. But Eric, not wanting to be left alone and obviously unable to accompany Hat, attaches the other end of the handcuffs to one of her wrists to prevent her leaving. Earlier, Eric had found the key to the handcuffs, but now discovers that Hat has thrown it, along with some rubbish, into the boiler.

Hat phones the police but is ignored. Eric phones them and pretends he is being attacked to provoke them to come round to investigate. While waiting, they try to have a meal, with little success, and decide to go the police station themselves. They get on a bus but are thrown off when the conductor falls over their outstretched arms.

Returning home, Eric goes to bed while Hat lies on the floor beside him. Eric gets up for a drink of water, but the pair stumble while going down the stairs in the dark. Eric goes into the kitchen for the water, comes back out and only then realises that they are free. Turning on the lights they find the handcuffs on the stairs and realise that they must have had a secret release catch.