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28 October 2014

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The Detectives

Jasper Carrott and Robert Powell as The Detectives

Straight from the Inspector Clouseau School of Crime Fighting come police partners DC Bob Louis and DC David Briggs.

They are a pair of bungling detectives who always manage to solve crimes and keep their jobs despite their reliable displays of extraordinary ineptness.

Bob Louis and Dave Briggs

The Detectives began life as a running five-minute item within Jasper Carrott's BBC sketch show Canned Carrott, before sprouting wings in 1993 and taking off as a standalone half-hour sitcom on prime-time BBC1.

Now the 'dumb and dumber' partnership could be given added colour, with Briggs as the unashamed ladies' man looking for glamour through police work and Louis his more introverted foil, trying to be conscientious but always managing to do the wrong thing.

Dave Briggs and Bob Louis

Carrott (DC Bob Louis) and Robert Powell (DC David Briggs) seemed unlikely candidates for a starring sitcom partnership, with the one primarily known for stand-up and the other famed for a range of serious dramatic roles.

Yet Powell especially showed effortless comic timing and their winning chemistry formed the basis for a mainstream ratings hit, spanning five series and a 1997 extended special.

Dave Briggs, Superintendent Cottam and Bob Louis

They were ably supported by George Sewell as their long-suffering Superintendent Cottam, clearly enjoying the chance to hark back to his old police role in ITV series Special Branch (1969-74).

Writers Steve Knight and Mike Whitehill cut their teeth writing stand-up material for Carrott but showed an ability to consistently generate new and funny storylines, most weeks involving at least one guest-starring celebrity, several of whom reprised roles from other well-known series, like John Nettles appearing as Jim Bergerac and Leslie Grantham as Danny Kane from BBC1 drama The Paradise Club.

Dave Briggs and Bob Louis

The Detectives proved a fine training ground for Knight in the art of narrative screenwriting, as his first feature screenplay Dirty Pretty Things went on to be Oscar-nominated.

Cast

Jasper Carrott
Bob Louis
Robert Powell
Dave Briggs
George Sewell
Superintendent Cottam

Crew

Steve Knight
writer
Mike Whitehill
writer
Ed Bye
director
Graeme Harper
director
Steve Knight
director
Ed Bye
producer
Nic Phillips
producer

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