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Shoestring was a unique series, a ratings winner for the BBC it was
the most popular thing around at the time and spurned a fashion for loud
pyjama style shirts! At the core of the show was Trevor Eve, a superb
who played Eddie Shoestring with power and frightening intensity. Always
edge, you never knew how Eddie, the former mental patient turned Private
would react, and you kind of guessed another breakdown was always on the
cards (none more so than in Mocking Bird). There wasnt a bad episode in
show, and Eve quit after two series leaving us with a show whose legacy
untarnished, giving a good lesson to other series that carry on long past
their time. The show gave us some superb cameos too. Toyah Wilcox turns up
as a wannabe pop star long before she was one and Christopher Biggins,
Dean, Michael Elphick, Eric Richard, Sean Arnold not forgetting Bert Kwouk
(better knowk as Peter Seller's sidekick Cato) all turn up in this series. The last episode The Dangerous Game is like a roll call of the future stars of The Bill, Boon, Dear John and I am sure many others besides. Eddie went out on a high and there are rumours that the eagle may fly again, Trevor Eve's wife dropping a less than subtle hint in a recent interview. I must mention Michael Medwin & Liz Crowther as the radio station stalwarts and of course Erica Bayliss, Eddie's long suffering girlfriend without whom this series would have missed something. Despite this, the glory of this show beloged to one man, Trevor Eve.
Why isn't this available on video? So many other series are lauded and
repeated over and over (Only Fools and Horses, etc.) and go on forever,
turning up at Christmas with so called 'specials'. We could certainly do
with some more Eddie as the rumours indicate. But I fear, as the times have
now changed, and we have become jaded by the amount of detective dramas that
the TV channels pump out as a safe bet to win ratings, some new Shoestring
wouldn't look as innovative as it quite clearly was. The Beeb for once has
repeated something watchable, as a while back, I was able to see some
classic episodes again. Especially good was the one where Eddie loses it
with a villain at the end.
Get your arse in gear BBC...Put this thing out on DVD!! Now!!
Shoestring, starring: Trevor Eve, Doran Godwin, Michael Medwin and Liz
Crowther, is a fun series. Fans, being the resourceful people that we
share things we enjoy. I would have never gotten to see some of the
British TV series, if I had not met someone on the internet who had
introduced me to something that intrigued them. Shoestring is one of
It is the story of a frumpy, private investigator called Eddie Shoestring(Trevor Eve). He had a nervous breakdown while working as a computer analyst and smashed his computer with a hammer. He was instituionalized. After a short period of counseling his psychologist taught him to use art as a stress releaser, so when he begins to get nervous he draws caractures of the object of his stress. Eddie lives in the upper room of a terraced house in Bristol, England. His landlady is the Solicitor Erica Bayliss(Doran Godwin) who works with the police. Eddie is often out of work and owes Erica back rent, but she has a soft spot for him, if not an available g-spot. The fact that these two have a sexual relationship is obvious from the beginning.
Following a widespread British pattern, the local radio station, Radio West, occaisionally invites local people on for interview. The station manager, Don Satchley(Michael Medwin) invites Erica for an interview to help locals with dealing with the police. Radio West is in the process of it's own scandal. It's star Presenter, David Cairn(William Russell), is having a relationship with a young, local prostitute. In the process of visiting one of her clients, she cracks up, steals Cairns Rolls Royce and dies of hypothermia on the beach due to a drug and alcohol overdose. Satchley is at a loss of what to do and asks Erica for help. She introduces Satchley to Shoestring and Eddie solves the mystery. Satchley is impressed with Eddie's abilities and after a suggestion by their receptionist, Sonia(Liz Crowther) hires Eddie to be the station's "Private Ear". Eddie now provides a free service to the public. They write to him and if the need is interesting, he investigates it and the relates the stories on the aire, leaving out the real names, of course to protect the privacy of the listener.
The chemistry between all the actors makes this a fun series. It is lite entertainment that I wish would be available to the general public. There is a large fan base for it and even an unofficial website for fans.
Mr. Eve left the series because of a fear that he would be stereotyped. He had a valid concern. This series would have run for several years. It was that good. But now Mr. Eve has a wider fan base, both in the US and Great Britain, because of his excellant work in film and stage. I hope, now that he has the rights to the show, he might consider releasing it on vhs or dvd.
I've always loved detective stories and this is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I don't remember much of it, because I was only about 6 years old when I saw this serial. I still remember the title music, which, later on I found out was the "Songbird" tune... The private-eye (Trevor eve) was perfect for the "not-normal" character, looked and acted the part well. Quite a thrilling thriller, quite and edge of the seat at the same time! I wish they would re-telecast this series once again so that I could refresh my memory... I'd give it a 9/10.
'Shoestring' is, in my view, the finest detective series the B.B.C. has
ever made. The same production team were responsible for the later (
and vastly inferior ) 'Bergerac', but it had something the Jersey-based
show lacked - Trevor Eve. In his pyjama jacket, Beatles-styled mop (
Eve had once played Paul McCartney on stage ) and sporting a
fashionable moustache, the character could easily have crossed the line
into parody ( he also had a habit of sketching the people he met in the
course of cases ), but Eve made Eddie warm and believable.
Shoestring was originally a computer programmer who'd lost his job as the result of a nervous breakdown. His landlady, Erica Bayliss, worked in the police archives, and was a big help to him as she had access to confidential files. After a case involving a dead prostitute, Eddie was offered his own show by Radio West. Nowhere was Eve's acting ability more impressive than the scene in the second episode where Eddie suffers a fit of nerves whilst on air for the first time. Admittedly, his cases were small beer by comparison with U.S. detectives such as 'Philip Marlowe' - religious cults, fake antiques dealers, punk rockers and dangerous Christmas toys - but the scripts were good and the cast performed them excellently. Special mention must go to George Fenton for his wonderful music, and Sid Sutton for his titles.
'Shoestring' was a big hit ( Cary Grant was reputedly a fan ), even though its second season clashed with 'The Professionals' on I.T.V., and should have run for five years at least. But it was not to be. Fearing typecasting, Trevor Eve quit after two. Due to complicated music rights issues, we are unlikely to see 'Shoestring' on D.V.D. for the foreseeable future. A great shame.
Lasting only for 2 seasons in 1979-80, Shoestring follows the adventures of former computer programmer turned private eye, Eddie shoestring. Following a period in a mental institution after he had a breakdown and smashed up computer equipment, he gets recruited to "radio west" a fictional (at the time) local radio station to be a "private ear". People who need detective services call him up and he attempts to solve the case for them, using the story in his radio show. The show is in my opinion much greater than the sum of its parts- and its all due to the wonderful characterisation of Trevor Eve. He really developed Eddie Shoestring as a likable and flawed character, he deliberately isn't a "super cool" type of P.I. He wears pyjama tops instead of shirts, drives an ageing (even then) orange cortina estate (which he managed to get on his expenses from radio west after his own Hillman hunter was smashed up on a case early on in the series) and as a method of stress relief, makes very accurate caricatures of his adversaries in a little doodle pad he carries with him. when this isn't enough he takes time off to potter around on his boat which is permanently moored on dry land. he has an on-off sexual relationship with his landlady, who as a barrister, provides plenty of legal assistance with her many contacts. He is spontaneous, witty, intelligent and has a ready sense of humour. all this makes the show far superior to its successor, Bergerac- No offence to Mr Nettles, but you just didn't give two hoots about the character of Jim Bergerac, a man totally lacking in any charisma whatsoever. The programme is of its time, but this serves as a superb snapshot of late '70s west country locations, which if you are local, you will enjoy spotting. (weston super mare sea front, Aust ferry terminal at Beachley, the old severn bridge, severn beach, etc etc) Older viewers may recognise Michael Medwin from the 1950's show "the army game" who plays the Radio station boss who always seems to have a problem with Eddie, be it expense claims or legal issues, whilst the delectable Liz Crowther is the friendly,efficient and helpful receptionist who seems to be an invaluable character in the running of the station. This deserves to be released on DVD- its far more popular than people might think, so come on and release it!
One of the great shows that lives on in the memories.
Based in Radio West, Trevor Eve plays Eddie Shoestring, a former cop who, in a plot line with which those familiar with the US series Midnight Caller will identify, proceeds to investigate the crimes off-the-air.
Whereas Midnight Caller worked better when the main character was confined to the studio, Shoestring works best when Shoestring is out and about.
Unfortunately, the absence any reruns or repeats, and the unavailability of a DVD version (apparently due to copyright and licensing problems) means that it will be virtually impossible to ever see this again, while we are subjected to endless repeats of much lesser shows.
A classic - would absolutely love if the BBC would rerun it.
This series was absolutely great fun, intelligent, and much enjoyed by
me when I was living in the Bristol/Bath area.
I remember a critic saying that it made "Somerset look like California", but despite its so-called Bristol setting it was ravaged by London accents. It was disappointing that they could not find local actors or actors who could produce a feasible Bristol accent (just add an "l" to any word end in a vowel?) Still, great fun.
Sorry, I also wish that Eddie hadn't been eating and simultaneously drinking quite so heavily in the opening sequences, but then I'm very picky.
on UKTVDrama on a daily basis.
Watching now it appears a repetitive.
In each episode....
You they (Eddie & Erica) are jumping each others bones.... but its never really revealed.
He always ends up in a car chase in TV's dullest motor. An orange, Mk3 Cortina estate.
He's guaranteed a good kicking at some point.
He gets a bollocking off his boss.
His fellow DJ's will have a pop at him.
DESPITE all that I am still actually quite enjoying the repeat of the series. He's quite a relaxed, yet you sense "not quite right" character. He seems to be bluffing his way through.
About a year ago I got one of the VHS tapes of Shoestring featuring
Toyah Wilcox.I used to enjoy Trevor Eve as the chilled out gumshoe who
solved murders & mysteries on the West Coast of England when I was a
Shoestring is now very dated, it seems to be from an era further back than the late 70's but I don't hold that against it.It is charming and witty and Trevor Eve is excellent.
As far as I know only 2 VHS compilations were ever made and the other one is rare & expensive to buy.Why can't ITV or whoever release this great series on DVD? It really is very good and has that great quirky 'English' style that still holds up today.
Check a famous online auction site for the tape.
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