The Undertakers

Stories featuring the characters of Josiah Oakshott and Archibald Thurble



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A Dubious Undertaking

An awkward conversation between and undertaker and his hapless assistant

Last Rights - Part 1

The undertakers are back and Archibald has an encounter with the constabulary

Last Rights - Part 2

The undertakers again - in which Archibald explains his predicament

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 16

In which a number of parties set out for a road trip, with varying degrees of success.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 17

In which Josiah and Archibald finally meet their client. Possibly.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 18

In which Lawrence falters, Chantelle tries to judge between the quick and the dead, and Josiah learns something to his disadvantage.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 19

In which something doesn't quite fit and a solution presents itself.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 20

In which people are lost, and found, and questions are raised.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 21

In which suspicions are raised and observations made.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 22

In which some people leave, and have a story to tell, whilst others arrive with their story untold

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 23

In which misunderstanding reigns supreme and frustrations are keenly felt.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 24

In which remains are not allowed to remain and suspicions are followed.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 25

In which the tired are rejuvenated and seeing is not hearing

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 26

In which Lawrence is hopeful, and Amber is surprised.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 27

In which Lawrence is amused, and Amber is not.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 28 (revised)

In which our weary travellers gain some respite, discuss ducks and steel and feel queasy about jam.

For Those In Peril On The Sea

Some of the following story was told to me as a true account over the weekend. As soon as I heard it, I thought that this was a natural story for my two hapless undertakers. Hope you enjoy it!

I See A Friday And I Want To Paint It Black!

There's a certain strain of advertising that I seem to see quite a lot of, at the moment, and it irritates me immensely. I thought that Josiah and Archibald might have some views on it, too!

It's All In The Game - Part 1

Josiah is preparing for the Company Christmas Party whilst Archibald has a musical question...

It's All In The Game - Part 2

In which Josiah seeks modernisation and Archibald bursts into rhyme!

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 29 (revised)

It's not exactly a snappy title, is it? I've been stuck on this story for months and months but I think I've finally seen a route through! Apologies to anyone who has been following the series as you've probably forgotten the plot by now (and I wouldn't blame you). Any road (as Archibald would say) normal service will now be resumed... So this is Part 29, with some revisions, in which there are comings and goings, zombies and villains and, possibly, puddings!

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 30

In which Lawrence gets an unexpected prod and D.I. Wood finds himself incommunicado.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 31

In which Chantelle shocks Josiah and Josiah mourns lost love.

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 32

In which Frankie wrestles with a philosophical conundrum and Lawrence, Amber and Frankie have their journey unexpectedly truncated, in more ways than one!

Bring Out Your Dead - Part 33

In which Archibald wakes from his rest, and Frankie doesn't!

"Will ye no come back again...?"

This story was conceived the other day, when I drove through my old home town of Burton upon Trent and noticed that this had actually happened at a well-known funeral director's. I couldn't believe my eyes and I wondered what Archibald and Josiah might have to say about it...

An Ill Wind

Given everything that is going on at the moment, it was sort of inevitable that my undertakers would become involved at some point!

From a distance...

I know this is a tricky subject about which to be even vaguely humorous but I felt that my Undertakers couldn't fail to comment during the current unpleasantness. Hope you'll bear with me. Keep safe, everyone!

Lest we forget...what was it?

I suppose even undertakers celebrated V.E. Day, so I thought we might check in on Josiah and Archibald.

Bursting the Bubble

It's a busy time at Oakshott and Underwood, for all of the wrong reasons (although, to be honest, there are very few right ones!) and Josiah Oakshott is 'burning the midnight oil'...

The Song Has Gone, But The Memory Lingers On!

Archibald is researching and reminiscing, Josiah is not too sure he wants him to do either!

We Shall Not Pass This Way Again

Josiah and Archibald are having to share a car, along with some insights!

Take Off That Gloomy Mask of Tragedy!

In which Archibald finds adhering to the government's strictures dangerous, and exhausting

Some Are Born Great...

Josiah and Archibald consider leadership qualities.

Grave Expectations - Part 1

In which Josiah has an unpleasant task to perform and Archibald finds himself in trouble!

Grave Expectations - Part 2

In which Archibald faces ruin and Josiah has an epiphany

Never Say Die!

Josiah and Archibald discuss a burning desire


Josiah and Archibald reflect on the law of unintended consequences.

Through A Glass, Darkly

Archibald discovers it's difficult to find his way in life and Josiah considers their future.

Measure for Measure?

In which Archibald discovers that size does matter and Josiah tries to explain the facts of life.

All's Well That Ends, Well...?

In which Josiah's plans come to fruition and Archibald's come crashing down!

Lamenting the lock-up

Josiah and Archibald consider the possibility of further Covid restrictions, with mixed results.

Testing Times

In which Josiah prepares for the worst and Archibald tests his patience.

Tiers for Souvenirs

In which Archibald is concerned and Josiah, confused.

The Ghost of Christmas Present(s)

I couldn't let Christmas pass without a Josiah and Archibald story. In this one,they both give and receive

The Auntie Vera Factor

In which Josiah tests his wits and Archibald tests his patience.

A Big Stick and a Little Prick

In which size is important to Archibald and Josiah wrestles with reality.

A Sign of the Times

In which Josiah sees a sign, and Archibald wishes he hadn't! This story was inspired by an allegedly real photograph of precisely this sign being displayed in a Funeral Director's window, which gives me hope that Josiah and Archibald really are out there, somewhere :-)

The Thin Black Line

In which Josiah might be liable and Archibald might have to bounce

The Ice-Cream Man Cometh

Archibald tries his hand at marketing, again, and Josiah takes a stand!

A Candle and the Wind

In which Josiah and Archibald debate the merits (or otherwise) of complementary therapies.

Banging the Bongos at Blackpool!

In which Archibald frets and Josiah bangs a drum! Photo by Tom Waites, 2013

Smoke on the Water!

In which Josiah fumes and Archibald rocks!


In which Josiah comes bearing gifts and Archibald turns to drink.

"You've got to fight, for the right, to..."

Archibald nurses his injuries, whilst Josiah considers the state of the party

For Fear of Little Men

I've struggled to write anything remotely humorous, with everything that's been going on recently, but I felt I needed to break out of my self-imposed purdah and who better to do it with than Josiah and Archibald?

"Is There Anybody There...?"

Archibald sends a message and Josiah despairs

A Matter of Opinion

In which Archibald makes a suggestion and Josiah surveys all before him

A Question, Of Sorts

Archibald drives home a point and Josiah misses his turn

I Want My Mummy!

Josiah gives up but Archibald fancies having a go!
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No, Ho, Ho!

In which Archibald asks for a favour and Josiah feels no goodwill to the season.
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Making Plans...for Archibald (Part 1)

In which Archibald answers the call and Josiah does not make plans

Making Plans...for Archibald (Part 2)

In which Josiah schemes and Archibald crashes.

The Frog and Crumpet

In which Archibald feels the cold and Josiah takes a grave view.

Drumming Up The Christmas Trade!

In which Archibald drums up trade whilst Josiah wrestles with a quandary!
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A Subsequent Engagement?

In which Josiah poses a question, Archibald answers it and Samantha is puzzled.

The Trouble with Horace Dimchurch

The third in the festive season trilogy of Undertakers stories, in which Archibald takes charge and Josiah discovers the downside of delegation.

The Fall and Rise of...Archibald Thurble?

The fourth part of the trilogy (yes, yes, I know...just go with it!) in which Horace makes an exit and Archibald watches developments.

Educating Archie?

Well, it had to be, didn't it? In this episode, Archibald tries to wriggle out but Samantha pins him down!

Death and Taxis! (The Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 3)

In which Archibald returns to consciousness and Josiah says something he shouldn't!

Stiffed! (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 5)

In which Josiah feels frustrated and Archibald gets the cold shoulder.
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Story of the week

Churros, chickens and choices (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 6)

In which Amber sulks, Josiah declines an offer and D.S. Stone has his day ruined.

"Oh!" (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 8)

In which both Amber and Archibald have a surprise, for very different reasons.

"Not lost, but..." (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 9)

In which both the Undertakers and the Detectives lose something, Lawrence thinks he's found something, and Amber makes a shocking discovery!

Threats and Promises? (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 10)

In which Josiah and Archibald are at cross purposes and D.S. Stone is just cross!

Morning Has Broken (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 12)

A new day brings new problems for the officers of law enforcement and our erstwhile holidaymakers.

On The Road, Again! (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 14)

In which the Detectives and Mr. & Mrs. Hamble head off down the coast, but not together!

Lying in State? (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 15)

In which Josiah, Archibald and Chantelle pay their respects and get a surprise, for very different reasons.

Keeping A Lid On It (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 16)

In which Lawrence quivers, and so does Chantelle, with remarkably different results!
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The Ferry Godmother? (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 17)

In which Josiah confronts a dilemma, Chantelle offers a solution and the Detectives make a dramatic entrance.
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Ocean Drive (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 19)

In which Archibald and Chantelle take to the road, D.I. Wood does likewise, but somewhat removed, and Lawrence doesn't take to it at all!

Pack Up! (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 20)

In which Chantelle, D.I. Wood and D.S. Stone all search for something, with similar results!

Summer Holiday? (Bring Out Your Dead series - Part 21)

In which Josiah and Chantelle find a mutually beneficial arrangement and the Detectives get all their eggs in one basket!