BBC4 tonight – The Cult of Star Cops

The BBC4 SF season continues this evening with a documentary on Star Cops, the short-lived detective s in space drama series conceived by Chris “Robots of Death” Boucher.   In the Guardian Gareth McLean describes the series as “rubbish”, although it is a show I remember with fondness and now own on DVD.  Starring David Calder and Trevor Griffiths, the show was well cast and – like all of Boucher’s non-novels was grounded in a well thought out place.  Boucher was unhappy with various aspectsof the end product (and there may be more of this in the documentary) but aside from is involvement Doctor Who fans should note that the middle block of stories was directed by Graeme “Androzani” Harper and there was an interesting contribution from Philip Martin.    Sadly the Beeb aren’t repeating an episode of the series but the  DVD set of the complete series is worth looking out.

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About loveandgarbage

I watch the telly and read when not doing law stuff and plugging my decade and a half old unwatched Edinburgh fringe show.
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6 Responses to BBC4 tonight – The Cult of Star Cops

  1. nmg says:

    Rather an unfair review, I thought.
    My main recollection of Star Cops comes from my student days, when it was established that the theme music to Star Cops was the same length as that for Miss Marple. Oddly enough, they could also be interchanged without them seeming too out of place.

    • I was in my early teens and loved it. I remembered Griffiths from his performance in Revelation of the Daleks and Calder from a police show (obviously Bergerac – whcih was the only one of his previous credits I remember watching). The scripts were great and Harper’s direction in episodes 4 – 6 is, as Griffiths indicated in the programme, outstanding. Toning down the light gives these episodes atmosphere. The direction in the otehr episodes reminds me of that in Warriors of the Deep – where an effective script and plot is hampered by the glare of the studio lights that made all too clear that it was studio bound; showed up the effects (the Kirby wires in Star Cops, the Myrka in Warriors); and is just too clean for credibility.
      The comparison with Miss Marple theme tune is now firmly embedded in my consciousness. As we have the Hickson series and Star Cops I may attempt to transpose the theme tunes to see if there is any discernible difference in effect.

  2. I kind of liked Star Cops, without being particularly hooked on it. Calder was a far better actor than anyone else on the show, which was a problem, but it was at least a series that wasn’t afraid to be intelligent and didn’t talk down to the audience.
    Would’ve been nice if Nathan Spring’s team wasn’t entirely made up of national stereotypes though.

    • Calder is often far better than anyone else he appears with. The only show where he had a comparable cast around him in my recollection is Holding On although he had a run for his money in the episode of Hustle where he had a number of scenes with Adrian Lester.
      The national stereotypes in Star Cops aren’t helped by the introduction of the inscrutable Japanese character (not created by Boucher), whose acting range is of Joseph rather than Ralph Fiennes levels of aptitude. Trevor Griffiths isn’t bad and Linda Newton was okay. It is notable that Calder and Griffiths are particularly impressive in the Harper directed episodes (Calder particularly in the episode written by Philip Martin – where one suspects Harper simply trusts the actor and lets him get on with it).

  3. tanngrisnir says:

    I remember being thoroughly put off Star Cops by the first episode, which was very much the weakest. Oh, and the theme. (Just because I like late 60s Moody Blues doesn’t mean I like everything Justin Hayward does.) Some years later, though, I gave it another chance and found I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    The DVD is on my get this list.

    • My understanding is that the first episode is a conflated script from a longer pilot episode.
      I had some trouble getting the DVD and had to rely on Amazon ultimately. There are some nice extras – including commentaries from Boucher and Martin and interviews with both (and Griffiths).

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