Friday, 26 August 2011

Classic Telly: The Detectives

Detective Constables David Briggs (Robert Powell) and Bob Louis (Jasper Carrott) are hapless (and hopeless) at their job. Under the scrutiny of their boss, Chief Superintendant Cottom (George Sewell), they bumble their way through the cases they are given, ranging from a murder at a converted stately home belonging to the Earl of Lisson (What The Butler Saw), to a murder at a medieval reenactment, whilst trying to find out the last 19 names of Football Teams, but not including non-league (Fur Coat, No Knickers), to being consultants for a cop drama (Acting Constables). In each episode, they manage to enrage their boss, fumble through evidence, and eventually come up smelling of roses by catching the criminals by accident.

The series first started off as 5-minute segments in Jasper Carott's BBC comedy show 'Canned Carrott', along with Wiggy (think of Mr. Bean with Jasper and a wig) and Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt. The segments proved so popular, the series was given the go ahead, and I'm glad it did. Powell and Carrott bounce off of each other well, with many funny lines, like when Briggs is brandishing a bra and says to Louis "These don't look like jelly moulds to you any more!", and Louis says back "I was 17 by the time I had my hands inside my first bra. Even then, it was hanging on a washing line!".

The show also had a special guest star in every episode (Jerry Hall in What the Butler Saw, Don Henderson in Silent Witness and Leslie Grantham in Strangers in Paradise), as either a villain, a victim or a witness, and every one as funny as the last. Steve Knight and Mike Whitehill can certainly write some funny stuff, and in my eyes, could give todays comedy writers a run for their money. But it's the two leads that add chemistry and laughs to the show, and it's one of the funniest I've ever seen. Comedy gold.

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