Thursday, April 30, 2009


The Detectives (1993-1997) is a British comedy television series, starring Jasper Carrott, Robert Powell, and George Sewell. It was a spoof of police dramas, which were numerous in the 1990s, and it was aired on BBC One. It was written by Mike Whitehill and Steve Knight.

The Detectives originated from a 5-minute sketch which first appeared on Jasper Carrott's sketch/stand-up show Canned Carrott. Because of its success, it was turned into a television series. There were a few differences from the sketch to the TV series, such as Dave Briggs being married in the sketch (to Brenda), yet both he and Louis are single and hopeless at romance in the series, and according to one plotline both virgins.

Jasper Carrott and Robert Powell play the bumbling detective constables Bob Louis and David Briggs. They were hopeless at their job, to the despair of their "super" Frank Cottam (played by Sewell). However, they usually ended up solving their cases and retaining their jobs, though they came close to being fired on occasion. Louis was more downbeat, whereas Briggs tried to emulate the gung-ho cops shown on TV and in film.

The series has been compared to the series Special Branch (1969-74), but it bears more similarity to The Sweeney (1976-78). Cottam, the superintendent, is a spin on The Sweeney's Chief Inspector Haskins (played by Garfield Morgan), and moreover the original sketches were introduced by a blue-tinted sequence and musical score that parodied The Sweeney's opening titles.

Each episode showcased different guest stars, and some of them played the same characters they played in other television series. An example is Leslie Grantham's appearance as Danny Kane from The Paradise Club - in another episode, John Nettles and Terence Alexander reprised their roles from Bergerac.