Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Theme Time : Derek Groom - Juliet Bravo

Ah I love Juliet Bravo, it's as Northern and as comforting as a pie with a brown ale. It was a programme of my childhood - half watching it at my parent's feet, my teenage years - watching it on UK Gold with my dad, and a programme I still love now - working my way through the DVD boxsets.

The show ran for six series from 1980 to 1985, when it was eventually replaced in the Saturday night schedules by Casualty. Created by Ian Kennedy Martin (the man behind The Sweeney) it concerned the trials and tribulations of a female police inspector taking control of a police station in the fictional Lancashire town of Hartley, back when the police force was still seen as very much a man's role.

The real life Bacup police station on Bank Street stood in for Hartley's copshop, and it was still a working nick until just last year. It's now to be converted into homes.



The rest of the town and its environs was made up of location shoots in Burnley, Colne, Accrington, Todmorden, Nelson, Hebden Bridge and the Ribble valley. One of the reasons I love the show so much is that it's a snapshot of the North West I grew up in; vast industrial landscapes jostling for space alongside bleakly beautiful moors and woodland, cobbled streets and newly closed rapidly derelict mills and factories. So much of the areas captured for posterity on film here are now massively redeveloped, and not always for the better.

The popular misconception regarding the show is that Juliet Bravo was the name of the central character; it's not. It's her call sign. In fact there were two central characters; Insp Jean Darblay, played by Stephanie Turner, for the first three series, and Insp Kate Longton, played by Anna Carteret, for the final three series.

Each week crimes were solved by a canny Northern intellect and a cuppa. But this was no Heartbeat, Juliet Bravo carried on the strong traditions of community police force dramas like Z Cars (created by Kennedy Martin's brother Troy) and serious incidents of rape, child abuse, GBH and murder would and could equally play out alongside delinquent teens, shoplifting, warring families, small scale corruption and fraud. And best of all, the show gave us the solid, reliable and dry witted Sergeant Joe Beck, a bit of a hero of mine, and his oppo the equally no nonsense Sergeant George Parrish

And now onto the music - after all that's what this post is supposed to be about right? Arranged by composer Derek Groom, this fast moving piece used motifs and key changes from Bach's The Well Tempered Clavier, Prelude Number 2 in C Minor BWV847. The piece was accompanied distinctively by graphic designer Bob Cosford's revolving police badge titles.

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