Nowadays most younger television viewers would think of DCI Barnaby solving murders in the fictional yet dangerous Midsommer whenever the name John Nettles is mentioned. However his rise to fame came in the 1980's series Bergerac. Nettles played Detective Seargeant Jim Bergerac, a detective with Jersey's Bureau Des Etrangers. The background to this character was that he was a recovering alcoholic who had returned to his native Jersey following a serious accident whilst on duty and the breakdown of his marriage.
The background to Jim Bergerac was complex but was skillfully played by Nettles. His appearance was as a charismatic generally amiable character. His hardness usually came out when dealing with criminals or attempting to get information. His approach to solving crime is often unorthodox and usually against the wishes and orders of his superiors.
The most notable supporting character of the series is the cigar toting Charlie Hungerford played by Terence Alexander. The initial sniping between the two characters and the later friendship that develops between them is a nice diversion. Alexander also provided a slight comedic element to the show due to his money making schemes and other slightly shady dealings.
Bergerac was a good series for the 1980's and is still of a high quality today. It portrayed a seedy world under the glamour of tax exiles living in Jersey. It was filmed in a 50 minute format popular until 2000 which allowed it to be easily sold to commercial channels and as such it lacks a bit of substance compared to modern dramas. This does make it easy to watch as the crimes are easy to solve for the armchair detective. One thing that is grating though is the lack of conclusion to each episode or recrimination afterwards.
In general the series is still well worth watching even after nearly 30 years of debuting on television.
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