Dempsey and Makepeace

I have just moved flat, an event that has many benefits. Firstly, I’ve escaped the sound of the people downstairs’ borderline child abuse and the dilemma of whether to phone the NSPCC again on any given morning, a burden that the next tenants will be overjoyed to inherit, I’m sure. Secondly, I can now pick up Freeview and therefore have a use for the Digibox I bought from Argos and tried to return when it wouldn’t work in my old flat, only to be refused by a woman with no sense of humour and dead eyes, telling me that I was at fault because I didn’t read the small print on that tiny pale piece of paper that prints out and you take to the counter, and insisting that I’d probably bought it only to watch a premium pay-to-view sporting event and return it the day after. Because that’s what you can do with a FREEVIEW box isn’t it, pick up stuff you have to pay for.

Anyway, I now have Freeview and can delight in the pleasure of repeats of reality TV shows of yesteryear I have known and loved (Coach Trip anyone?) and the chance to see music videos for the first time since the Chart Show ended. But also, to my delight, ITV3 are rerunning episodes of the classic 80s cop show, Dempsey and Makepeace. Very much The Wire of it’s day, D+P combines gritty storylines, razor sharp dialogue and radical editing to create what was, for its time, a step into a whole new dimension of programme making, heralding the coming of age of TV drama as an art-form. Ok, it doesn’t do that. In fact, it’s not even the right side of competent , with a set-up I can’t even get my head around. He’s an American cop strangely working in London. She’s a British policewoman who’s also his chauffeur. Why would he need a chauffeur? He’s only a policeman. He lives here now. Couldn’t they have just given him a London A-Z and told him to get on with it? But for all that it’s a joy to watch. In last night’s episode, Dempsey was stalked by Suzi Quatro in a safari suit and sporting Limahl’s haircut. If you went to the head commissioner of ITV now and said, ‘I want to make a TV programme about an American cop who’s in London for no reason who works with a British policewoman who’s also his chauffeur and he gets stalked by Suzi Quatro in a safari suit and a Limahl haircut,’ they’d probably tell you no. And that’s a pity.

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4 Responses to “Dempsey and Makepeace”

  1. I was in my early teens when D&M came out. Glynis Barber certainly did her bit to help me through puberty and I will thank her for that should we ever meet.

    But on another topic, what the fuck is going on with these posts? I think I’ve read them all and then some appear from nowhere with a date from earlier in the month.

    Are you playing tricks on us Blandford?

  2. Ummm… they’re in the order I posted them on my screen, Scott. No trickery involved. If you’re using an RSS feed or something, maybe it’s to do with that. Don’t know really. Probably a fiddly internet problem I don’t have the knowhow or willpower to fix.

  3. Well, you are forgiven but it had me confused.

  4. Dempsey and Makepeace was a great show, one of the great ones of the 80’s. As a big fan of the show, just showing the 1986 Annual to my young children the other day, and to open on a page which shows Dempsey pointing a huge gun to someones head, I got the feeling Annuals and TV are not what they used to be!….’Sigh’

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