Robert Banks Stewart obituary

Creator of Shoestring, Bergerac, Lovejoy and other popular television series

Robert Banks Stewart, who has died at the age of 84, was a writer and producer whose knack for casting and determination to break the mould made two of television’s most enduring detective series, Shoestring and Bergerac, big ratings winners for the BBC.

Knowing that the corporation was, in 1979, looking for a new crime show, Stewart decided to jettison the idea of traditional cops-and-robbers drama, instead conceiving – with the playwright Richard Harris – a series about a private eye, Eddie Shoestring, who works for a local radio station. With its Bristol setting (chosen by Stewart to be a welcome change from the London suburbs hitherto ubiquitous to such dramas), distinctive score by George Fenton, and breakout performance from the then little-known Trevor Eve, Shoestring became a ratings hit. It ran for two series and was nominated for a Bafta.

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