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Chinese Detective, The

GROUNDBREAKY ETHNOSLEUTH twatter with DAVID YIP as Ho, sorting out the Triads from the Tripods in London’s much-vaunted melting pot. Little Kung Fu (as you might have expected for that stereotyped age), but plenty of meat-and-spuds violence nevertheless.



  1. Lee James Turnock

    April 8, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    That long ago? Blimey. The one episode I remember watching had that none-more-eighties shot on grimy 16mm film with Marmite smeared across the lens and every scene apparently lit with a torch look about it. Like the filmed sequences in imperial-era Grange Hill, only much more grim.

  2. George White

    October 17, 2021 at 7:41 am

    Apparently Yip refused to do any martial arts because he didn’t want to be a stereotype.
    YIp also appeared aside from his roles as doomed sidekick to the white superhero in Temple of Doom and A View to A Kill, in a lovely little film noir that Film4 did called Ping Pong that I finally watched yesterday. Directed by Po-Chih Leong (a Northampton-born veteran of the Hong Kong scene), it’s a genuinely brilliant little film with shades of Peter Chelsom about a traditionalist Chinatown restaurateur who is found dead, and his Anglicised family’s refusal to adhere to his will. Also has a great lead performance from Lucy Sheen, whose career has mostly been playing stereotypes in soaps and sitcoms, and Robert Lee – the Japanese bloke from Mind Your Language shows that he could provide genuine gravitas when called for. Surprisingly, no Burt Kwouk. ALso has Bruce Boa as basically his character in Fawlty Towers.

    • Andrew Barton

      October 17, 2021 at 11:43 am

      Remember the death of David Yip’s character in A View to A Kill – at the hands of Grace Jones no less.

      She bumps off Patrick Macnee earlier in the film. In his death scene, a pre-Indiana Jones Alison Doody appears to provide a little distraction- she was 19 when she starred in A View to A Kill. In fact, apart from Lois Maxwell (who was 58) and Grace Jones (who was 37), the other main female actors in that film were under 30.

      • Andrew Barton

        October 17, 2021 at 11:45 am

        I remember Roger Moore questioning the age difference too, which contributed to his decision to quit the Bond role. Apparently during filming of AVTAK he realised he was older than Tanya Roberts’s mother.

  3. Glenn Aylett

    October 17, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    I quite enjoyed The Chinese Detective as Yip avoided all the East Asian stereotypes, no kung fu, corny Chinese accent and eating at his dad’s takeaway, and played it like an average Londoner. Never shown for a long time, but one episode I do recall from 1982 was a kid getting some needle for liking Abba, when the Abba revival was ten years away and liking Abba was about as fashionable as wearing flares in 1982.

    • Richardpd

      October 17, 2021 at 1:59 pm

      Shame it never seemed to get the nostalgia of many other cop shows, but at least it’s all available on DVD. I’m hoping that Forces TV or Talking Pictures get the rights to show it.

      1982 seemed to be the year that many 1970s holdovers were shown the door.

  4. Glenn Aylett

    October 17, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    @ Richardpd, Blondie split up in 1982 due to their new album being poorly received and Abba’s last singles didn’t even trouble the Top 20, even though Head Over Heels and The Day Before You Came were some of their finest work. To a 14 year old in 1982 like me, the seventies were ancient history and we’d moved on a few times( in my case from being a 10 year old Abba fan, to Grease, to the mod revival and then on to synth pop).

  5. Richardpd

    October 17, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    The Jam, Squeeze & Japan were other bands who broke up in 1982.

    The TOTP repeats have been an interesting chronicle of how popular music changed over the years.

  6. Glenn Aylett

    October 18, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    @ Richardpd, It was an era of rapid change and late seventies bands and fashions were buried by the end of 1982. Being in the sticks, we still had a handful of punks hanging about and the mod revival lingered on until 1985, but most people were either into synth pop, the second generation of metal bands, or jazz funk by 1982.

  7. Tom Ronson

    March 25, 2022 at 3:08 pm

    Holy crap, I actually remember the episode with the kid getting some stick for liking Abba, which might explain why we’re supposed to find Adrian Mole’s abiding love of the super Swedes hilarious – despite, y’know, Abba being really good, as their subsequent critical and public reappraisal has proven beyond any shadow of a doubt.

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