TV Cream

Films: R is for...

Rockford Files, The

James Garner tackles his first case as the eponymous Jim Rockford in this TV movie also starring Lindsay Wagner and Bill ‘Will’ Mumy. Of course, The Rockford Files is great for so very many reasons. Apart from providing classic pub quiz questions (Q: What did Jim Rockford call his Dad?) there’s the theme music of course, the fantastic opening titles with those still photographs of him driving around and fishing and the show-opening answer machine gag, although we’re not sure that was in place here. That also provided no end of consternation when one of your diligent TVC teams’ Dads spent hours trying to record that bit from off the telly onto his new and unfeasibly unwieldy answer phone. Was this every Dad’s favourite programme?



  1. Matt Patton

    July 28, 2010 at 8:33 am

    It was certainly MY dad’s favorite show.

  2. Richard Davies

    August 7, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    The music was my Mike “Hill Street Blues” Post.

    I really got into this when it was shown on Wednesday lunchtimes on BBC1 in 1994-5.

    I only have college in the mornings I would watch it when I got home.

  3. Lee James Turnock

    September 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Bernard Manning used to exit the stage to the Rockford Files theme during the 1990s.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    September 17, 2022 at 1:05 pm

    It used to be shown opposite Coronation St on BBC One and actually gained quite healthy viewing figures, same as Blakes Seven and the early series of Angels managed to attract 10 million viewers opposite the Street( never Corrie in those days, that nickname came a lot later). I suppose kids, a lot of men and Southern viewers formed a big anti market the BBC could appeal to with imports and drama. It was only in the early nineties, when the Street was all conquering, that the BBC seemed to stop trying.

  5. Richardpd

    September 17, 2022 at 10:14 pm

    Dr Who was often shown opposite Coronation Street in it’s later years. It seemed to be deliberate as the BBC were beginning to lose faith in the series. Same with Top Of The Pops in the late 1990s.

    Supposedly James Garner performed most if not all his driving stunts in this. His Pontiac Firebird was deliberately low spec to make it look a bit more believable a car for someone short of money, as often customers didn’t get to pay his $200 plus expenses very often.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    September 18, 2022 at 12:39 pm

    @ Richardpd, it was a way of killing Doctor Who as the BBC knew it couldn’t compete with Coronation St, which was on a roll again by 1988/89. Also Russ Abbott, whose career was in decline, had his last series shown opposite Coronation St in 1991, and it was flattened in the ratings.
    As for The Rockford Files, didn’t Jim Rockford live with his father to save money and quite often he was called to help women in distress, where he waived his fee?

  7. Droogie

    September 19, 2022 at 12:10 am

    This was definitely one of my dad’s favourite shows ( and Harry O starring David Janssen from around the same time too.) Back then a big Hollywood star like Garner going back to do a TV show because the lead movie roles had dried up was viewed as a step down. Now of course all the best dramatic roles for actors are on TV series rather than in film, which doesn’t offer much beyond superhero movies these days.

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