William Shatner’s A Twist in the Tale – Plot Synopsis: Bertie

William Shatner’s A Twist in the Tale – Plot Synopsis: Bertie



In 1928, Bertie Milton won the Godolphin Cup on a horse trained by his grandfather, Sir Jasper – the only amateur jockey ever to win the race. The victory was celebrated at the famous annual Milton House Fancy Dress Ball: but the consequences of this particular party could not have been foreseen by anyone …

A tragic accident leaves Bertie a reluctant ghost – a ghost who can’t bring himself to scare the living, and one who has yet to master the simplest skills of the afterlife – dematerialisation, for instance, or how to walk through walls. Unfortunately for Bertie, his haunting is being overseen and critiqued by a very tough taskmaster: Mr. Pym, the ultimate spectral bureaucrat. And Bertie has been assigned a most specific task: no one who is not part of the Milton family must be allowed to stay in the rambling old Milton Hall – which, since the Milton line has entirely died out, is kind of a tall order …

… And does not bode well, in 1998, for the Rhodes family – David, Paula, and their two children, Kate and John. David is a writer; he and his agent, the excitable Hugh, are in the final stages of negotiation of the sale of the screenrights to his latest novel. Perhaps rather precipitately, David has bought the Milton mansion against the vast profits he and Hugh confidently expect to flow in when the deal goes through … But will it?


Paula has some doubts, but Kate and John don’t care. They fall in love with Milton Hall on sight; and the resident ghost becomes equally rapidly fond of them. It turns out that David has a connection to the place even Paula was unaware of: when a young woman his grandmother worked as a servant there, and told David so many exciting and colourful stories of the house that as a child he used to dream about it. For David, coming to Milton Hall for the first time has an eerie sense of coming home. He hangs a portrait of his grandmother in the main hall and settles down to prepare for his final meeting with the film company.

Al Wicks, the fast-talking and very overbearing American producer interested in the project, comes to dinner: but due largely to Bertie’s playful antics leaves in a fury, telling David he has just blown the best deal he’ll ever see. David is himself so angry at the changes Al was intending to make to his precious story he hardly cares: but how will the Rhodes family stay in Milton Hall without the sale of the book?

Several money-making schemes are cooked up between Bertie and the children, but all are foiled by Mr. Pym and an unexpected ally. Driven to distraction by his charge’s hapless good humour, Mr. Pym has summoned the man who brought Bertie up: if anyone can bring the undisciplined spook into line, it is his authoritarian grandfather, Sir Jasper.


But alas for Mr. Pym – Sir Jasper has secrets of his own. He is startled to find hanging in his old home the portrait of David’s grandmother – a young woman he was once very much in love with. In the second chance of the century, Sir Jasper and David’s grandmother meet again – and the best marriages are made in heaven …

So the Rhodes family becomes part of the Miltons, and are permitted to stay. Sir Jasper now throws his redoubtable energies into securing their fortune: he and his ghostly bride choose to take their honeymoon in the Malibu mansion of Al Wicks, and prove very persuasive. Al relents; David’s deal is made; and the family settles into what, in a strange twist of fate, has become their ancestral home.