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Thread: Wycliffe

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
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    Default Wycliffe

    Did anyone watch that Sunday evening ITV detective series from the mid 1990s Wycliffe? The one which was made in the west country (small W and small C), and which starred Jack Shepherd (not to be confused with Jack P Shepherd of Coronation Street fame). The credits at the end were in order of appearance, and so the actor playing the title role could be eight or nine lines down the page at the end. I think that it wanted to do a Hamish Macbeth or Brush Strokes and wanted to be part of the Sunday night furniture. Shepherd directed a couple himself, but after a fellow actor was dismissed as a result of costing too much money, he decided to pull the plug in 1998. The fact that HTV made it meant that others who worked on Bristol-based series such as Casualty also worked in Wycliffe - the late Geraint Morris, the first producer of Casualty had worked on it as well.

    Although it was set in Cornwall, it was made by HTV, presumably because Westcountry was too small an ITV company to do a primetime network programme, even though one could see a Westcountry News bulletin on TV screens in one episode. It has since been repeated on ITV3, and there were some episodes on YouTube although they might have since disappeared. But thinking about it, HTV also made Robin of Sherwood - a programme when one thinks about it, has more connections with the East Midlands, in the same vein as Auf Weidesehen Pet could have been made by Tyne Tees.

    The main episode that I remember was the 1995 episode "Happy Families", where a schoolgirl had been murdered during a school disco and was found in a science laboratory cupboard - she was one of two twin sisters who were both played by the same actress who would have been the same age as myself at the time. Future Emmerdale scriptwriter Lesley Clare O'Neill (who seemed to the play stereotypical single parents at the time, mostly in The Bill), had played the girls' mother. As a 16 year old myself back in 1995, the actress who played the surviving teenage girl really made an impression on myself - an IMDB look shows that she only did that and one other thing a few years later.

    Very much a "whodunit", and of course the token mid 1990s teenage actors who appeared in the series at the time, reminiscent of those I went to school with - uncaring, assertive and bold. When one searches for something, we search high and low, and at the end of the day, what we are looking for can be right under our nose. Just like in this episode - the person who killed the schoolgirl was her own identical twin sister - something that didn't ring any bells throughout the episode. Similar episodes deal with murder cases, and it's one of the few pre-watershed dramas to do that - it went out at around 8.00 pm I seem to remember.

    It could have run and run and run into the early 2000s but I think that Shepherd called time on it at the right time. HTV didn't get too many primetime slots, and so this was a big effort here.
    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Stockport
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    5,331

    Default Re: Wycliffe

    I remember my Mum watching occasionally.
    The Trickster On The Roof

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