Operation Good Guys
A not altogether successful fusion of sitcom and docu-soap, Operation Good Guys was the brainchild of (former Three Up, Two Down star) Ray Burdis, Hugo Blick and Dominic Anciano.
It follows the fortunes of a squad of officers, fronted by DI Jim Beach, who have been assembled to bring down a major crime lord.
They are: Beach's right-hand man DS Raymond Ash; armed-response expert Sgt Dominic de Sade; undercover officer Gary Barwick; drugs-squad veteran 'Bones'; would-be rock musician 'Strings' and wet-behind-the-ears new boy Mark Kemp. The latter coincidentally happens to be the Commissioner's nephew...
In realisation - if not plot - the emphasis was firmly on naturalism. Camera work would appear to be on the fly, while the cast improvised their dialogue.
However, the conceit was rather undermined by the Good Guys' habit of involving celebrities in their investigations. Over the course of three series, David Seaman, razor mogul Victor Kiam, Jude Law, Sean Pertwee, Jonny Lee Miller, Martin Kemp, Denise van Outen and Donna Air all appeared as themselves, while BBC bosses Paul Jackson and Will Wyatt even contributed a couple of cameos.
Meanwhile the cops themselves proved a hapless bunch, messing up every task assigned to them.
Deemed successful enough to merit a second run, fans were disappointed when the show returned in 1999 with a laughter track - something that undermined the mock-documentary approach.
And then, third time out in 2000, the last remnants of reality were tossed aside, as the capers grew even more far-fetched. One episode revolved around Beach being tasked to make a BBC Christmas special.
This series proved to be the last hurrah for the gang, writer Anciano reportedly losing interest in producing any future episodes.
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