African Patrol

African Patrol is a 39-episode syndicated adventure television series created, directed and produced by George Breakston in conjunction with Jack J. Gross and Philip N. Krasne. It was filmed on location in Kenya for a period of 15 months[1] beginning in January 1957.[2]

African Patrol
Police procedural
Created byGeorge Breakston
Directed byGeorge Breakston
StarringJohn Bentley
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes39
ProducersGeorge Breakston
Jack J. Gross
Philip N. Krasne
Running time25 minutes (approx)
Original networkSyndication
Picture formatBlack-and-white
Audio formatMonaural
Original release5 April 1958 (1958-04-05) –

22 March 1959 (1959-03-22)


The series relates the adventures of the African Patrol, a unit of police officers based in Nairobi. Paul Derek is an inspector in the unit whose members are specially trained to investigate crime. Their telephone number is 1356.[3]


  • John Bentley as Inspector Paul Derek
  • Tony Blane as Parker
  • Glynn Davies as Lt. Greer


Many independent American television production companies shot their series outside the United States in the 1950s. Not only did this give audiences a chance to see new locations not shot in a studio but costs were much cheaper, especially as these runaway productions did not have to pay residuals or pay American film union wages.[4]

In the 1950s a genre of American television series set in Africa were so popular and prolific they were nicknamed the "Straw Hut Circuit".[5] Unlike most series that were filmed in the United States and used stock footage of African fauna taken on safari, African Patrol was filmed on location in Kenya.

Producer and director George Breakston moved to Kenya in the early 1950s filming several safari adventure feature films such as The Scarlet Spear, Golden Ivory, Escape in the Sun and The Woman and the Hunter. Many of these featured John Bentley. Breakston also filmed another series in Kenya The Adventures of a Jungle Boy (1957) also in collaboration with American television producers Jack J. Gross and Philip N. Krasne.



  1. ^ Aaker, Everett (2006). Encyclopedia of Early Television Crime Fighters: All Regular Cast Members in American Crime and Mystery Series, 1948-1959. McFarland. p. 45.
  2. ^ "African Series Set for Shooting". Billboard: 7. 19 January 1957.
  3. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2009). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2007 (Volume 1 A-E). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-3305-6.
  4. ^ "Many Filmers Exit Costly Hollywood". Billboard. 69 (35): 33. 26 August 1957.
  5. ^ Grossman, Gary H. (1988). Saturday Morning TV. Arlington House.

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