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Saturday 23 Aug 2014

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Inspector George Gently back for two new single dramas on BBC One

Lee Ingleby and Martin Shaw in Inspector George Gently (archive image)

Martin Shaw returns as the classic unsung hero detective in Inspector George Gently, with two feature length films written by Peter Flannery (The Devil's Whore, Our Friends In The North) and Jimmy Gardner (The Cops, This Life) for BBC One.

With his sidekick, the un-pc and undisciplined Detective Sergeant John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby – Place Of Execution), they make the perfect police partnership, full of warmth and humour..

The year is 1966, and the football World Cup has come to England, Blow Up and Born Free are playing in the cinemas, the Labour Party under Harold Wilson wins the General Election and The Beatles begin recording sessions for their landmark Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album – all of which act as the perfect nostalgic and colourful backdrop for Inspector George Gently.

For the first time, Inspector George Gently is to be made on location in the North East of England, in and around the beautiful city of Durham: setting the series firmly where Peter Flannery has written it.

Peter Flannery says: "A writer gets a particular thrill from writing about the time and place which formed him. In my case the North East of England in the 1960s.

"It's now 15 years since the BBC filmed Our Friends In The North in and around Newcastle, so it's especially rewarding for me to be back on my home patch. Fun though it was to film the earlier series in Dublin, I've long wanted the stories to unfold in the landscape in which they are truly set.

"I'm coming home again – and I'm bringing Inspector George Gently with me."

In the first film, tensions are running high as the USSR are due to play at Roker Park, and the fear of the "Reds Under the Bed" is exemplified by the upcoming Polaris submarine landing at the nearby Jarrow docks.

CND protestors, lead by radical students from Durham University, are the last thing the police need when the world media is on their doorstep awaiting the upcoming football match.

But the murder of a well-known Lefty academic Damien Barratt (Emun Elliott Paradox), found dead in the docks after a CND rally, takes Gently and Bacchus onto the Durham University campus – an ancient temple of learning struggling to come to terms with the novel influx of students from the working class and brash, radical, academics.

Sexual and social rebellion is everywhere in the air and, to the young and optimistic, these forces seem inevitable and unstoppable.

Bacchus is horrified yet fascinated by the promiscuity and "free love" on display.

Gently, a war veteran, more shrewdly recognises that liberation is not always an unmixed blessing...

The second film is set in an idyllic coastal village in Northumberland.

When the body of a "loose" young woman is found murdered Gently and Bacchus find themselves investigating a family with unimaginable secrets.

Initially it appears that the woman's estranged husband, and father of their young daughter Agnes (introducing Natalie Garner), is responsible for the killing.

But as they further investigate this disturbed family they discover a far more alarming truth.

Melanie Pullen Clark (EastEnders) returns as Bacchus' long-suffering wife, Lisa, who could well be looking for a divorce, not to mention spending too much time with Gently...

Guest stars in the two films include: Sarah Lancashire (All The Small Things, Rose & Maloney, Clocking Off), Warren Clarke (The Invisibles, Red Riding, Dalziel & Pascoe), Shaun Dooley (Married Single Other, Mark Of Cain), Daniel Casey (Midsomer Murders, Our Friends In The North), Paul Kaye (It's All Gone Pete Tong, Two Thousand Acres Of Sky), Neve McIntosh (Gormenghast, Bodies), Myanna Buring (films The Descent, The Descent 2) and Emun Elliott (Paradox).

The BBC's executive producer Kate Evans says: "Inspector George Gently continues to attract an audience who relish its unique blend of strong story-telling, a period setting and a contemporary resonance.

"At the heart of the show, as ever, is the complex and enjoyable relationship between Gently and Bacchus which will continue to delight in these two new films."

Inspector George Gently is made by Company Pictures, executive produced by Peter Flannery, George Faber, Charlie Pattinson and Johann Knobel for Company Pictures, and Kate Evans for BBC One.

It is produced by Suzan Harrison (Elizabeth I, Mansfield Park) and Daniel O'Hara (Skins, Paddywhackery) is directing once again on the series.

Inspector George Gently was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, and Jay Hunt, Controller, BBC One.

The drama is filming in the North East for the first time, thanks to the regional screen agency Northern Film & Media. With a £150,000 injection from Northern Film & Media and One North East's Content Fund, the series is filming in and around historic Durham, instead of Ireland, where it was previously shot.

Northern Film & Media chief executive Tom Harvey said: "We are absolutely thrilled to be supporting this project and that Inspector George Gently will now be shot in its rightful home of the North East, where the drama is set."

Inspector George Gently is currently filming on location in Durham and the North East of England, and is due for transmission later this year.

DG

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