Dalziel and Pascoe on TV

By Rhian Davies of It’s a crime! (Or a mystery…)

If you are going to become a crime fiction lover, I believe it starts early and not just through reading.  As a child of the sixties I can confirm this also includes TV viewing, and family viewing from the formative years.  When you’re too old for Watch with Mother or Blue Peter another staple of TV viewing can kick in during teenage years: a wonderful cop show with a challenging puzzle to solve.  Competition in my family home was rife: who could take pride in being the first to guess whodunit?  (Extra kudos was earned for getting motivation and method right when such point scoring was available due to the presentation of plot.)

Warren Clarke as Dalziel in An Advancement of Learning.

From Dixon of Dock Green and Z Cars to Juliet Bravo and Kojak, to Inspector Morse, Prime Suspect and so on, we have been spoiled with many series of TV cop.  A clear and enduring favourite over the years has to be Inspector Morse which started in 1987.  Then, nearly a decade later in 1996 along came Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe.  For TV, this was obviously initially modelled on Morse – BBC’s competition to ITV’s Morse perhaps? – with a brooding score from the same composer, Barrington Pheloung, and an echo of older cynic cop with younger and greenish sidekick, both male.

Now, before anyone hits the comment button, I am aware of the first attempt at adaptation here.  I am happy to say that it passed me by at the time, as most people consider the episode completely dire with the inappropriate casting of comedians Hale and Pace in the lead roles.  I have been reliably informed that Hill referred to them as ‘Hake and Plaice’ as a result. But then came 1996… Continue reading