The series that brought the BBC into the modern era.
Before (and in some cases after) Bergerac BBC dramas were pathetically low budget and often set in over-lit and wobbly studio-sets that were a throwback to a theatre tradition that television needed to take a step, a cinematic step indeed, away from.
Bergerac was instrumental in changing that. What makes it take this leap is that every scene is outside broadcast. If the scene is in an office in a police station, then it is filmed in an office. It may seem a small thing, but compare it to other BBC dramas of the time, like Juliet Bravo, and you will see how Bergerac stands the test of time and they fail.
John Nettles is superb in the lead role, but as ever, for a series like this to work, it is the supporting actors that make the difference and these are in two categories. Firstly, the regulars who are good and fun, especially Charlie Hungerford, a more subtle and plausible Arthur Daley character, and Barney Crozier, one of the world's most grumpy men, but one who you still are able to have a little time for. Secondly, the guest actors, and these read like a checklist of British dramatic talent, either classic stars making guest appearances (Beryl Reid, Sir Norman Wisdom, Richard Griffiths) or a host of younger actors who were on the cusp of being household names (Ray Winston, Resse Dinsdale, Louise Jameson, Lisa Goddard).
A decade is a long time, but the quality of Bergerac never failed throughout its ten years (which almost mirrored Mrs Thatcher's term as PM; it makes the series interesting social history for that golden decade as well as drama). Outstanding.
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