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If you were a young child living in England during any period of the
then this show is for you. If you miss the sixties, the live sounds of
Beatles, Donovan, Dusty Springfield together with many cult bands in those
times of magic when we felt like as if life took you beyond your dreams,
then this television series will help you reminisce and relate to such
more than any other television show ( to my knowledge) that is set in that
era which contains the British atmosphere. The plot and theme enriches
of the simple life of a Beautiful English country town somewhere in Yorke,
initially focusing around the interaction of a local Bobby - Nick Rowan (
played by Nick Berry) with the characters that make up the village
community. Nearly all of the characters play a unique and important role,
creating a new and interesting episode which leads the viewer enticed to
want more. The episodes are beautifully supported by background music
popular by artists of that era and sometimes earlier (as the title tune
`Heartbeat' was made famous by Buddy Holly in the late fifties) all
depending on the scenes, bringing the sixties as alive as
Every episode can be identified by it's title as most series are and each has it's own merit. It would be next to impossible to comment on all of them here, but two particular episodes which have strongly impacted me were; firstly, when Dr Ferrenby (played by Frank Middlemass) departs the series during a fishing trip and gets swamped into the river by the waves of water. It is a very moving scene superbly supported by the background music`Windmills of your mind' (soundtrack to the original 1968 `Thomas Crown Affair') resulting in an exceptionally directed scene. The news is then conveyed to Dr, Kate Rowan (played by Niamh Cusack) who is a colleague of Dr Ferrenby where she is naturally devastated by the news. Dr. Kate Rowan (who later departs the series when she dies from Leukemia) is a beautiful and empathetic character full of charm which the community get to love, underpinning the village morale. The other impressive episode titled `Baby Blues' is again well directed and filmed with a lovely scenery of the beautiful greenery of the Yorke country landscape which is well blended with the background music `Catch the wind' made famous by Donovan back in 1965. The echoes in this background music is well blended giving me goosebumps, hence giving a perfect sixties feel. This episode is one that demonstrates the teething problems that were associated with the typical stereotypes (highly contrasted to today) in the prejudices of judging a book by it's cover, where a group of hippies are accused by snobby upper middle class people for the disappearance of a baby. Cutting a long story short, it is the Hippies that eventually lead to successfully locating the missing baby. The snobby lady then swallows her pride with gratitude and wishes to offer them a reward, which they refuse to take, hinting to her that she had misjudged them. It is a powerful statement of the times which in turn is still valid by todays standards on a different platform
Other characters include the the village Sargent, Oscar Blaketon ( brilliantly performed by Derek Fowlds) who is overly obsessed with catching in the act another semi-comedy scruffy couch potato character Claude Greengrass (brilliantly performed by Bill Maynard) who is one of the village petty rogues who has never being caught for any of his scams. Greengrass is always accompanied by his shaggy dog - Alfred. It also has moments of comedy where one episode has Greengrass with his dog in the local pub and someone complains about fleas. Greengrass is immediately on the defence to claim that his dog is clean, but is soon corrected that it isn't the dog they were complaining about, but of him instead.
The only unrealistic component of this series is that almost every episode that I am aware of has a crime occurring, making this Yorkeshire village one of the most unsafest villages in the world which would obviously not be the case. However, this is probably purposely plotted to avoid the series from tarnishing to boredom which is a nightmare faced by anyone responsible for maintaining successful ratings of any television series.
This series have been running for some 10 years and naturally has changed so much in it's story lines with different characters coming and leaving the series, but the atmosphere and setting has remained unchanged. I have never seen anything like it as it is uniquely focused on a time and life that makes the show what it is and it is superbly cast and filmed.
"Heartbeat" is a brilliant nostalgic feel-good drama set in the 1960's. It mixes gentle story lines, beautiful scenery and hit music from the period to create a madly watchable program. Sure it is not ground breaking and certainly would not win any awards for creativity but it provides the perfect form of entertainment for a Sunday night. The light and easy to digest stories are just what anyone would want the night before an early morning start for work. What makes "Heartbeat" so good is the likeable characters and combination of humour and action. It doesn't take itself too seriously and never fails to have at least one scene were you couldn't fail to laugh or raise a smile. Even though it is on 24 times a year it hasn't deteriorated into just another soap like "The Bill" or "Where the heart is" with episodes made up of mainly stand-alone parts. It is deservedly the #1 drama on UK TV with 10 million viewers and even had a spin-off made in 2003 called "The Royle".
This TV series manages to combine all the elements that make for a pleasant and at times absorbing hour in front of the TV - good varied characters, a range of occupations, although of course the policemen dominate, creative and simultaneously plausible story lines - usually one serious criminal occurrence and one lighthearted theme per episode - and all of it set in rural English village landscape (Yorkshire) which looks very nice and a contrast from urban Britain which I find mostly quite dreary and depressing. The 1960s seem a long time ago now, before Britain joined the EEC, when it still used non-decimal currency and imperial measurements, when it was still largely "monocultural", and when there were still steam trains. There are also those dinky British 60s cars, motorbikes and trucks that everyone gets around in, miniskirts and pop hits of the time on the soundtrack. What more could you ask for? Another commentator says it screens in the UK on Sunday nights - here it has always screened early on Saturday afternoons which isn't exactly prime time, a pity.
Heartbeat began with former EastEnders star (and wooden as my front door)
Nick Berry as a London police constable who relocated to the North Yorkshire
Moors in the 1960s. Based on Nicholas Rhea's real experiences of police
life during that era, it was a worthy and authentic series that set out to
address some of the pertinent issues of the time. Nick Berry's severe
limitations when it came to expressing anything were compensated by the
fantastic character performances of Derek Fowlds as tyrannical Sergeant
Blaketon, William Simons as lazy, ageing Constable Ventress and Bill Maynard
as local rogue Greengrass.
Unfortunately, the show progressively suffered from a series of departures. The excellent Niamh Cusack, who played Berry's wife, left to be succeeded by a less capable actress as his love interest. After about five years in the series, Nick Berry left. Berry's replacement, Jason Durr, was a better actor, but the writing was deteriorating and the series appeared to have run out of ideas. Two of the best characters were also replaced with very over the top and irritating substitutes; Bill Maynard left, to be replaced by Geoffrey Hughes and Derek Fowlds was replaced as Sergeant by Philip Franks. Four long years later, Franks was gone. Somehow, Ventress remained a serving officer, when he clearly looked too old by this time. Jason Durr left in 2003, to be replaced by young actor James Carlton, who has only lasted in the show for a year. These frequent changes in the cast have not helped the series. And Ventress is still there! How old does he have to get before they pension him off?
Heartbeat was once a fine and relevant drama, but it is now just decorative fluff. I am told it still gets good viewing figures, but I can only assume that is due to the attractive countryside, smart police uniforms and classic cars. It can't be the scripts.
I can't believe I just heard about this show (right after it got
cancelled!). It's the perfect show to just put on and relax - it's
entertaining, light (with some exceptions, such as the episode in
season 16 or 17 which includes a few moments of domestic violence),
funny, and has a cast full of great characters.
The show began with a focus on the star role, a police officer. As time went by, the show evolved to become less a story about him than a number of stories about the various people in the town (and how they interact with one another). All of the characters are played well by the actors and are all believable - including the characters who are included as pure comedy relief. Even when a police officer leaves town (and, therefore, the show itself), a new one comes in and is instantly likable.
The stories are generally simple, such as the search for a missing watch (this was the episode which included the family violence). The story is rarely predictable, though, and even when it is, it's fun to watch the characters develop the storyline.
It's so easy to watch, I'll go through three or four a night sometimes - it's just like eating candy. I highly recommend this show to others. It's easily the most "watchable" show that I've ever seen on TV; just put it on, sit back and enjoy.
I have enjoyed Heartbeat since it was first screened 13 years ago, and it is still set in the 60's !! Most of the outdoor scenes are filmed in the small village of Goatland which is renamed Aidensfield. I Have been in the pub, the shops, the garage and on the train on a day trip!! The main police station is set in the nearest small town, the name of which slips my mind at the moment. Some scenes are set in the real seaside town of Whitby. Almost all of the cast have changed. I used to like Greengrass but is successors have been a bit too pushy for my liking. One strange thing is that when Alf Ventress was in uniform , he had no medals on his jackets even though one episode was all about his war service in the marines.
"Heartbeat" is often criticized for its highly formulaic presentation
and the fact that the makers no longer work to the realistic 1960s
time-line. I can understand those concerns with the show, rolling my
eyes at the fact that the show was first set in 1964 and has now been
going about 14 years.
However, I think the type of program "Heartbeat" is should be taken into account before giving this show the thumbs down and negative reviews. Basically, it is meant to be that warm, enjoyable, pleasant, family-friendly, predictable and lovable show that it has become over the last 13 years. With a mixed bag of some reality, some comedy, some drama and nothing is taken too seriously.
I personally am glad they carry on making the show and did not stop after 6 years. And I look forward to when 15 and 16 are shown in Australia! :-) Ohhh and I must say - I'm not much into cars, but I quite like seeing the '60s cars on screen, hearing the '60s music and the scenery that have all been significant aspects of the show's success.
I've been watching Heartbeat for the past 7 years and have to say that it's a very gentle show. The show did suffer after losing the character of Greengrass but I like the way that things have picked up after a brief boring period. The character of Peggy is a bit tiresome but you can cope with her if you ignore the fact that she's supposed to be their latest replacement for Greengrass. I don't know how long this show can still continue to be set in the 60s for though when you consider the fact that soon the cast will begin to look much older than they were ten years ago. Overall it combines some great sounds of the sixties with some entertaining stories about crime.
If you like Brit drama/comedy(or even if you don't, particularly) then
you'll go for this ongoing prime-time soap opera set in an English country
village - unlike the "Street" the accents render the dialogue
comprehensible, so I cannot tell you the location.
The characters are diverse, interesting, and believable. "Heartbeat"'s hero, an ordinary British bobby is neither Sherlock Holmes nor Dirty Harry...he simply gets the job, done, dealing with from poaching to blue murder through daylight robbery, as does the series,itself. The episodes are distinguished by low key writing resulting in high-key entertainment.
I never discuss the acting in any given review, and sometimes wonder why other reviewers bother to. I assume that the cast in any production is performing splendidly. After all, if you're in the 4 % of the thousands of aspiring actors who actually make a living at their craft, you gotta be good!
So Heartbeat is to leave us after so many years of memorable moments.
Some will say it should have gone years ago but for millions it is as
much of the furniture as the Sunday roast.
Sure the story lines are a little far-fetched and the cast is barely recognisable from those group of people who we first welcomed into our homes in 1992 but the spirit of the show remains the same and the mix between drama and comedy is as alive as it was when Nick Berry first donned the motorbike and uniform.
We need these type of shows on TV but sadly for the network bosses it's all about ratings and keeping things fresh for the young people and Heartbeat it seems does not meet this criteria.
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