Category Archives: TV and Film

Juliet Bravo

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Compared to today’s gritty, hard-hitting crime dramas Juliet Bravo seems rather tame but from 1980 to 1985 it was a frontrunner amongst police series on TV. Devised by the man behind The Sweeney, Ian Kennedy Martin, Juliet Bravo went through six series and two leading actresses, outlasting and outshining its rival, The Gentle Touch.

Set in the fictional town of Hartley in Lancashire (most of the filming was carried out in and around Bacup), the episodes usually dealt with minor crimes and incidents such as runaway teenagers, juvenile vandalism, domestic disputes and petty theft with a big tasty case thrown in every now and again to add a little spice.

Series 1 to 3 starred Stephanie Turner as Jean Darblay, the female inspector in charge of a small police station. She was replaced by Anna Carteret as Inspector Kate Longton for series 4 to 6. By the way, Juliet Bravo was the inspector’s call sign. The series centered on the inspector, highlighting her ups and downs in a male-dominated job and frequently taking a peek into her home life.

A fairly regular cast made up the police team working alongside the inspector, including David Ellison (Sergeant Joseph Beck), Noel Collins (Sergeant George Parish), Mark Botham (PC Danny Sparks) and CJ Allen (PC Brian Kelleher). These supporting characters were slowly developed as the series progressed and became very familiar to viewers in the early eighties.

Sergeant Beck was the no-nonsense, old school bobby who was always likely to give a young tearaway a thick ear. He had a flat cap, a dirty raincoat and a laid back attitude – and he kept pigeons! Sergeant Parish was a pie and pint deep thinker, a sounding board for the inspector. And the young constables were often the fall guys and the butt of jokes.

Each fifty minute episode told a different story but with continuity throughout the six series – minor characters would often crop up in different epiodes throughout. Juliet Bravo was also notable for early roles for young actors who went on to make a name for themselves such as Kevin Whately, Neil Morrissey and Joanne Whalley. There was also a liberal smattering of guest stars including Jean Boht, Bill Dean and Diana Coupland.

The jaunty theme music, arranged by Derek Goom, is quite catchy and would be great as your mobile phone ringtone. Try it!

Review submitted by Chris Green

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Inch High Private Eye

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Inch High, Private Eye was a 1970s animated cartoon series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions which was resurrected in the 1980s to delight and entertain a brand new audience.

Inch High was the self-styled “world’s biggest little detective” who worked for the Finkerton Detective Agency and he was really quite tiny – about one inch high in fact!

Dressed in a green Sam Spade-type trench coat and trilby and aided by his niece Lori, her friend Gator and a massive St Bernard dog called Braveheart, Inch somehow managed to solve a host of crimes in his own inimitable clumsy fashion.

Being so small, Inch could conceal himself in the strangest of places to get close to the villains and make an arrest. On one occasion Inch dressed as an angel and was glued to the canvas of a highly valuable religious painting which was subsequently stolen from an art gallery. Of course his size also worked against him and he got into many a scrape due to his near invisibility.

The dozy but beefy Gator was a master of disguise and managed to fool both the good guys and the bad guys with his ingenious instant changes of costume but which were more of a hindrance than a help and were frowned upon by Inch High.

To get around, Inch and his friends travelled in the Hushmobile, which was a sort of elongated dodgem car which made hardly a sound – perfect for trailing criminals.

Inch’s boss, Mr Finkerton, was an angry individual who wasn’t on the best of terms with his miniature employee and was ever reluctant to send Inch out on a case. The resentful Mr Finkerton himself regularly got involved in Inch’s cases without Inch’s knowledge, concealing himself at the scene of the investigation, and somehow always ending up bumped and bruised and tied up as Inch and his pals mistook him for a crook. “Inch, you knucklehead!” was often the cry from Mr Finkerton as his identity was discovered by the surprised detective and his pals.

But in the end, and always accidentally, Inch High would solve the crime and apprehend the criminals…although never to the satisfaction of Mr Finkerton.

Incidentally, the voice artist who played Inch High – Lennie Weinrib – was also the original voice of Scrappy Doo.

Huge thanks to Chris Green for the review

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