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24th January 2019
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My Science Fiction Life

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Star Cops


TV: Star Cops

Creator: Chris Boucher


It wasn't easy.arrow icon

I was 19 in 1987, "Doctor Who" was disintegrating, ST:TNG hadn't started yet, and this promised a rare foray into "hard" SF. It floundered, but didn't ...
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It wasn't easy.arrow icon

When I was 11. Unfortunately those were the days when most households only had one telly in the family lounge. The 'realistic' language made it diffic ...
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More recollections...

In Depth

Star Cops

A hyper-realistic series that imagined police work, even in space in 2027, as mostly about hard graft and shoe-leather.

Created by ex-Blake's 7 and Doctor Who writer Chris Boucher, Star Cops ran for nine episodes of extra-orbital whodunnits. A tenth episode was planned, but was aborted due to industrial action at the BBC.

Essentially a police proceedural, albeit set in space, Star Cops centred on the efforts of grizzled old lawman Nathan Spring to knock the corrupt and useless International Space Police Force into shape. Over the course of nine episodes, he set about transforming his crew - the mockingly nicknamed "star cops" - into true professionals. Amongst the crimes the ISPF dealt with during the series were cases of embryo theft, computer hacking, and industrial espionage.

The novel environments the space setting provided allowed new crime plots to be tackled, and old ones to be reworked, to the series' benefit. Also notable were the strongly-drawn characters, and the attention to detail of the sets - advice was sought from NASA on how to make the show look as realistic as possible.

Although well-received critically, Star Cops didn't grab the audience's imagination in sufficient numbers. Perhaps this was due to its commitment to realism, or perhaps to somewhat erratic scheduling, but in any event, it wasn't re-commissioned for a second series.

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