TV Cream

TV: B is for...


THROUGH THE CLOUDS, a shape appears. Is it a face? It is a lump of rock? Is it the evado-tax utopia of Jersey? Yes, yes and yes! To the strains of the best twangy guitar this side of the Needles came JOHN NETTLES with a gammy leg and a drink problem, intent on clearing up the curiously high number of non-tax fraud crimes besetting that fair isle. Employed by the Bureau des Estrangers. Drove a 1947 Triumph sports car on roads made up of the noisest gravel in the world. Father-in-law, TERENCE ALEXANDER, supplied chucklesome “brushes” with criminality, while Leela off of DR WHO became his bit on the side before she got bumped off. Other squeezes included amusingly-named lawyer Marianne Bellshade (CELIA “I’VE CHANGED CLIFFORD, I HAVE TRIPLETS NOW” IMRIE), tourist officer Francine (CECILE PAOLI) and professional jewel nicker Philippa Vale (LIZA “SOUNDS LIKE…”GODDARD). Other regulars who’d show up whenever someone was needed to ask “What are you up to, Jim?” included Diamond, er, Diamante Lil; quack Dr Lejeune; and “long-suffering” boss man Chief Inspector Crozier. Last series saw sulky John limp off to Provence only to find – heavens! – all his cases seemed to involve going back to Jersey.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    May 18, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    The only episode of this you really HAVE to see features (among others) Toyah Wilcox as a punk rocker called Toola (I bet that was a stretch!), Christopher Biggins as a villain and Lynda ‘Oxo’ Bellingham as a beauty queen.

  2. Alan B

    May 21, 2012 at 8:55 am

    The one with a load of devil worshippers led by Blofeld out of James Bond was hilarious too. And of course John Nettles, squinting and red-faced as if he’d eaten 6 rounds of egg sandwiches on Mother’s Pride and was trying to shift the intestinal consequences.

  3. Richard16378

    May 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    At leasr once a series the production team seemed to let their hair down & go a bit silly with a story.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    September 10, 2022 at 5:06 pm

    Broke the mould for the BBC of the time as Bergerac was filmed completely on location and made it look more glamorous and exciting than being half on film, half on CT like most BBC dramas of the early eighties. Always watchable and Bergerac managed to last ten years before John Nettles decided to move from Jersey to the Cotswolds and even bigger fame.

  5. Sidney Balmoral James

    September 10, 2022 at 11:40 pm

    I wasn’t an avid watcher of this as a child, but remembered a terrifying episode – which may be the one mentioned above – in which a man was scared to death (in a hospital ward?)

  6. Glenn Aylett

    September 11, 2022 at 7:24 pm

    There was one episode where a group of terrorists hijack a yacht, which due to BBC budget restraints featured the sound of a machine gun firing and stills of Jim Bergerac running towards the terrorists. Also there was another that involved a story about the German occupation.
    On the whole, Bergerac was good, the stories involving Liza Goddard were more light hearted than crime drama, and except for the terrorist story, there was no BBC cost cutting, where in other dramas, scenes would switch abruptly to being on film on location to a studio on VT.

  7. Richardpd

    September 11, 2022 at 10:50 pm

    Shoestring was all film from what I remember.

    Bergerac mostly came about because Trevor Eve was worried about being typecast as Eddie, & the production team had to come up with a new show.

  8. George White

    September 11, 2022 at 11:18 pm

    We were having a chat about this online on Twitter with Eddie Robson.
    The first all-film series on BBC were indy productions made for the BBC in the 50s/60s, the Third Man with Michael Rennie and Jonathan Harris (partly made in LA, partly at Pinewood, hence the astonishing guest cast from Lorne Greene to Roger Moore), Zero One with Nigel Patrick as an airport detective and US import/future exploitation superstar William Smith as the US sidekick (made with MGM-British), the CBC copro RCMP and Fabian of the Yard and its spinoff the Big Man.

    The fact these series were seen as too commercial killed them off until Target in 1977.

    A few other all-film series were done for different reasons. THe Search for the Nile and Voyage of Darwin were made on film as they were by the Natural History documentary department despite being entirely dramatised and having the likes of Michael Gough and Kenneth Haigh.
    Clochemerle, a German copro was made by the comedy department.
    Days of Hope and Law and Order got through by being series of separate (but linked via characters) ‘plays’/tv films.
    Jonathan Powell said he thought that he was commissioning the first all-film serial with Tinker Tailor.
    Numerous kids series were shot on film entirely on location for logistical reasons involving child actors.
    Also a few copros made elsewhere with BBC money filtered through the acquisitions dept – eg Ben Hall, Golden Soak, A Town Like Alice, The Martian Chronicles…

  9. Adrian

    September 12, 2022 at 3:29 pm

    Weren’t the opening credits to Bergerac very similiar to those of ‘Monkey’ at one point?

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