A robot detective investigates numerous bizarre crimes in a futuristic city. Stop-motion animated TV series produced by Gerry Anderson (Director of Thunderbirds).
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2014   1987  
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 Dick Spanner 4 episodes, 1987
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A robot detective investigates numerous bizarre crimes in a futuristic city. Stop-motion animated TV series produced by Gerry Anderson (Director of Thunderbirds).

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Animation | Sci-Fi

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3 May 1987 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Dick Spanner  »

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(22 episodes)

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Featured in Lavender Castle: The Twilight Tower (1999) See more »

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Very, very good.
19 September 2005 | by See all my reviews

This was one of those television programmes which in the UK was put on at such obscure and wildly varying times that it was very difficult to be a fan. If, however you were in front of the TV at some time between 5pm and 9pm on a Friday evening in the mid to late 80's and not watching BBC 1 or ITV you may have caught a glimpse of this fantastic, very funny and intentionally surreal, show.

It was essentially an animatronic programme based around a metal-headed private detective with an Inspector Gadget-esquire tendency to pull the least useful thing out of his pockets at the worst possible time (an anvil rather than his Zippo miniature parachute springs to mind). The plots were (intentionally and comically) thin, the narration a fantastic pastiche of all film noir and the episodes too short (about 5 mins each). The thing which made this show come alive was watching it on video, when you got to see it as a whole repeatedly it came into its own.

Most of the characters were not custom-made models but toys available from most high street shops at the time so it was not uncommon to see Hannibal of A-Team fame having a drink with that wind-up robot who seemed to move via the use of a metal skipping rope which most kids in '85 seemed to have. Of course, these were simply 'extras' and had no major part in the story but it was the sheer volume of these cameos that requires frequent viewing. Each time you see one of the items from your toy box performing a bizarre role in a pseudo-futuristic New Yorkish it raises a smile.

I agree with the previous comment that trying to get these on video these days is nigh on impossible and a reissue is well overdue. More people need to see this show to allow it the large cult status it deserves.

As a side note, it also inspired an equally-forgotten advertising campaign for Tennants Pilsner with a detective called "Lou Tennant".


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