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Inspector George Gently: Returning home to Durham

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Simon Hubbard Simon Hubbard | 11:37 UK time, Friday, 24 September 2010

I think everyone is, and always will be, in love with Inspector George Gently and the 1960s. Martin Shaw's natural charisma breathes life into this character - he is warm, conscientious, engaging. Couple that with Peter Flannery's great skill as a writer and the magic that is Inspector George Gently ignites.

As you may know I was in one of the opening scenes of the first series with Martin and Lee Ingleby (Detective Sergeant John Bacchus). It was on the beach saying "Over there sir." A very proud moment.

Inspector George Gently, played by Martin Shaw, and Detective Sergeant John Bacchus, played by Lee Ingleby, speak with Darren Paige, played by Shaun Dooley in the first episode of the new series.

Since that distant day way back in Dublin, where we shot the first two series, the three of us have become very close.

It was a pivotal moment for this new series with the new addition of my moustache. Of course, Lee and I are the jokers on set, so it was inevitable when my character Taylor grew a moustache, Lee would tease me. I think he was only jealous because he couldn't grow one and, well, I liked it and more importantly, so did my girlfriend.

Martin would also comment on Taylor's 'tache. I think it was hard for them to look at it without laughing in order to get the take right. So yes, as you may have guessed already, there will be bloopers ahead from this series.

I have to say, it was totally amazing being back in the north east of England after all these years, especially Durham, which is such a beautiful city. I grew up in a village next to Durham called Penshaw and being back home with the Gently cast was just magic.

We had filmed the first three series in Ireland, where I live now, and it was always strange to walk on to the set in Dublin and see maps, pictures and documents from my home town, especially 1960s ones.

I loved the time in Ireland and the crew were great but it seemed very natural to bring Gently back to the north east of England. The backdrop of the city, support and welcome we got from the local people really helped to relax us, and there was a great buzz on set.

This is a very special series - Gently has come home. The texture, tone and feel of the city is breathtaking in every scene, it really adds to the atmosphere of the show.

Inspector George Gently, played by Martin Shaw, sits on the beach with Lisa Bacchus, played by Marie Clare Pullen

The guest stars this series are well-loved institutions, much like the show itself. Warren Clarke, who plays Charles Hoxton in episode two: Peace and Love is a consummate professional - like many of us, we have all been fans of his for many years. The beautiful Sarah Lancashire, who plays Mallory Brown in the same episode, was so warm and graceful. The two brought great 'Sixties spirit'.

The new scripts are amazing. I can't say too much, but in true BBC style they have captured the zeitgeist of the 1960s and Inspector George Gently has some tough crimes to solve. The best thing for me was watching Martin playing Gently with the backdrop of Durham Cathedral. I was proud to be a Geordie.

I hope you enjoy the show.

Simon Hubbard plays PC Taylor in Inspector George Gently.

Inspector George Gently is on Sunday, 26 September at 8.30pm on BBC One and BBC HD.

For all future programme times please visit the upcoming episodes page.

You can see extra behind-the-scenes pictures of the filming of Inspector George Gently on the BBC Wear website.


  • Comment number 1.

    Looking forward to the new series. The last one did capture the spirit of the sixties with interesting plots.

  • Comment number 2.

    I thought last nights episode was extremely moving and I would like to pass on my congratulations to Natalie Garner - an inspiring and haunting performance.

  • Comment number 3.

    I enjoy the plots of this programme, but I have a problem concentrating because of the terrible accent of Martin Shaw. It changes all the time and is so forced that it just doesn't sound right!

  • Comment number 4.

    Did anyone notice that there were two lines lifted from the script to the Michael Mann film 'Heat', delivered in the first 10 minutes?

    1. The inspector is at dinner with his sargeants wife, when he explained to her that 'I am alone, I am not lonely'. A line delivered by deNiro in Heat.
    2. The inspector asks his subordinate to check the hospital records and then remarks 'You're gonna get the phone book. Do it anyway.'. A line delivered by Pacino in Heat.

  • Comment number 5.

    What on earth has happened to what was an intelligent police series?
    George Gently alleged Geordie with a remarkable south-east England accent/dialect!!
    Watching his sergeant not only handling interviewees but attempting to 'give em a good hiding' with the Inspector watching!
    Ok this was the 1960's very much pre P.A.C.E Act but come off it, is the writer getting confused with the Gestapo on a 'lets be pals' outing. Wexford it ain't and Inspector Taggart would have kicked his sergeant out for much less, so let’s remember coppers only had short truncheons and strict rules in the 1960's - beating up suspects was not on. CID used 'nice man - nasty man' interviewing tactics yes and shouted at suspects yes - but getting poor retarded 'informants' against walls whilst the Inspector says " Right I'll leave it with you sergeant - half an hour be ok ?" puts out a marvellous message to those watching, of our police and its 'Duty of Care'. No BBC, this if it's a re-writing of the basics of George Gently, is worthy of the scrap bin - nothing more.

  • Comment number 6.

    Re Inspector Gently, today3/10/10; how long has the front at sEATON cAREW BEEN wHITLEY bAY, SURELEY YOU SHOULD HAVE USED THE sPANISH cITY AY wHITLEY bAY.

  • Comment number 7.

    As an exiled Geordie I spent much of the first series frustratedly trying to recognise northeast landmarks until I found it was shot in Ireland, so this time I looked forward to enjoying a bit of nostalgia. Sadly, the programs were spoilt by the odd choices of location. I mean since when was Swan Hunter's in Durham City. Weird.

  • Comment number 8.

    Good to see my home town, Durham City used in a TV series. However artistic licence seems to have taken over. It was wonderful to walk out of a room in Durham Castle straight into the Durham Cathedral Cloisters - Shades of Harry Potter! And a bus service from the Palace Green outside the Castle direct to Liverpool is something else! The Police Station looked remarkably like the main entrance to my old school - Whinney Hill Secondary Modern School in Durham. One can only wonder where the police cells were done - probably in the studio. Super series whether filmed in Dublin or the North-East. Long may it continue.

  • Comment number 9.

    I am enjoying my first sight of this programme. However on a point of accuracy and to make it more realistic, it would be nice if the caution on being charged was corrected by removing the incorrect ''...used in evidence against you.'' These words have often been used in fiction but have not been used in real life for around a hundred years. The actual wording of the caution at the time of charging in the era of Gently was "Do you wish to say anything in answer to the charge? You are not obliged to say anything unless you wish to do so but anything you say will be taken down in writing and may be given in evidence."

  • Comment number 10.

    Tache or no tache, it would have been nice to see a lot more of PC Taylor in the latest two eps ;-)

  • Comment number 11.

    The script is not very accurate concerning police procedures in the 1960s. Prisoners would not ask for a solicitor or be allowed to make a phone call home. It would not have been considered unless some kindly CID officer agreed to do it. Even a prisoner being interview for murder, as shown in recent episode, would not have had a solicitor present. This was introduced by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act of 1984.

  • Comment number 12.

    As a child of the 60s I thoroughly enjoyed this drama the last time around. As a Durham graduate I am thrilled that it is now being shot in the North-East - so good to see all of my old stamping grounds.

  • Comment number 13.

    @ Roy Lambeth

    I think the the building used for the Police Station is in what is now part of the prison. I used to walk across there when going back to Parson's Field. In one shot you can clearly see Old Elvet; in another the Court Inn (if it's still called that these days).

  • Comment number 14.

    Really enjoying this series. The scripts give the tried and tested formula an extra sparkle and depth.

  • Comment number 15.

    Regarding Gently's accent... it confused me too but I DON'T think he's a Geordie. He fought with a Southern English regt in the war (Shropshires spring to mind, but don't quote me on that) and transfered to the North East from the Met.

    A lot of the criticism of jumping from Durham to Wallsend is quite valid but Newcastle University barely existed in 1966 (it was part of Durham until '63) and the modern buildings being in the heart of the city would be impossible to film and maintain the illusion of the 60's.

    I irritate my wife trying to spot anachronisms and apart from a load of burglar alarms on house walls in the first episode of series 3 the makers do a great job. No double glazing or Sky dishes in sight!

  • Comment number 16.

    Really looking forward to the next series


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