Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Theme Time : Quincy Jones - Ironside

Ironside was a detective series that ran on NBC in America from 1967 to 1975. Starring Raymond Burr (who was also TV's Perry Mason) in the title role, it told the tale of San Francisco police chief Robert T Ironside, who was forced to retire in the pilot when a sniper's bullet left him paralysed from the waist down and confined to a wheelchair. With some guile and strength of character however, Ironside makes himself indispensable and secures a position with the police department as a consultant, thereby continuing the fight against crime.

Equally popular here in the UK on BBC1 (even being broadcast on afternoons as recently as the last ten years), the show was originally retitled to A Man Called Ironside, perhaps to differentiate that this was the character's name and not as many believed a nickname based on his wheelchair status!

The theme tune, a distinctly rocking, jazzy affair from the legendary Quincy Jones takes its place in TV's hall of fame as being the first synthesiser based theme song.

It was also later used as a brief excerpt in Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 1 

Proving much of American entertainment is now creatively bankrupt comes the news this week that Ironside is to be remade for NBC staring former LA Law star Blair Underwood as the wheelchair bound lawman, updated and this time relocated to New York (but filmed in LA).

 "All new characters, a new city, new texture, new storytelling, new audience" the excited star told the LA TV Critics Association. 

Which begs the question, why couldn't they have come up with a new show?!

I can't help but think of that old Lenny Henry gag (yup back when he was remotely funny...well, tolerable at least) about how US TV in the 1960s was revolutionary enough to employ a black man...but only to push Ironside's wheelchair around. Well, now we've got the black man in the wheelchair, that's progress I guess, but it still feels lame to me.

This will probably flop like Ving Rhames ill advised remake of Kojak from a few years ago.

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