Bergerac is a British crime drama television series. Set in Jersey, it ran from 18 October 1981 to 26 December 1991. Produced by the BBC in association with the Australian Seven Network, and first screened on BBC1, it stars John Nettles as the title character Jim Bergerac, who is initially a detective sergeant in Le Bureau des Étrangers ("The Foreigners' Office", a fictional department dealing with non-Jersey residents), within the States of Jersey Police, but later leaves the force and becomes a private investigator.
|Created by||Robert Banks Stewart|
|Theme music composer||George Fenton|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||9|
|No. of episodes||87 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||50 min (81 episodes), 90 min (6 Christmas Specials)|
|Original release||18 October 1981 –|
26 December 1991
The series ran from 1981 to 1991. It was created by producer Robert Banks Stewart after an earlier detective series, Shoestring, starring Trevor Eve, came to an abrupt end. Like Shoestring, the series begins with a man returning to work after a particularly bad period in his life: Eddie Shoestring from a nervous breakdown; Jim Bergerac from alcoholism and from a crushed and badly-broken leg.
Bergerac sometimes deals with controversial topics; for example, when an old man is unmasked as a Nazi war criminal, his age raised various moral dilemmas. Supernatural elements occasionally appear in the series, and some episodes end with unpleasant twists, as in "Offshore Trades" and "A Hole In The Bucket".
The final episode filmed was the 1991 Christmas Special titled "All for Love", set partly in Bath. The final scene provides a strong hint about Bergerac's future, after Charlie Hungerford recommends Bergerac for a new position heading an expanded Bureau des Étrangers covering the whole of the Channel Islands following its success in Jersey.
The show is repeated on channels such as Alibi and Drama. On 24 February 2014, the BBC started a rerun of the series on daytime afternoons on BBC Two. The repeats concluded with series 3 to avoid showing the Haut de la Garenne location.
|Series||Episodes||First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||18 October 1981||20 December 1981|
|2||9||9 January 1983||6 March 1983|
|3||10||3 December 1983||4 February 1984|
|4||9||11 October 1985||20 December 1985|
|Christmas special||26 December 1986|
|5||8||3 January 1987||21 February 1987|
|Christmas special||26 December 1987|
|6||7||2 January 1988||13 February 1988|
|Christmas special||27 December 1988|
|7||8||28 January 1989||18 March 1989|
|Christmas special||23 December 1989|
|8||10||14 January 1990||18 March 1990|
|Christmas special||26 December 1990|
|9||10||5 January 1991||9 March 1991|
|Christmas special||26 December 1991|
Lead character and castingEdit
A Jersey native, he returns to the island at the start of the series after recuperating in England from ill health, dipsomania and major surgery on his leg following an accident caused by his drinking heavily prior to an attempted arrest. The accident is shown in episode two as a flashback: Bergerac was swigging brandy during a surveillance when he noticed his suspect and gave chase. He attempted to prevent the man's escape by leaping onto his boat. Under the influence of his drinking, he slipped back and his left leg was crushed against the harbour wall by the boat.
As a result of this accident, Bergerac begins episode one deemed unfit to serve, but he seeks to remain on the police force. While his status is being considered, he is key to solving a case with old colleagues in the recently formed "Bureau des Étrangers"; he is then posted to that unit and does well. By the end of the series, Bergerac has become a private detective.
According to a 2001 interview with Robert Banks Stewart, John Nettles was cast on his insistence. He said, "A programme like that would never get made today without having a household name, but back then I fought to have John Nettles play Bergerac because he was right for it."
Bergerac's relationships with women are a frequent theme, often as a subplot to the main crime investigation. Bergerac's girlfriends include Francine Leland (Cécile Paoli) (who had been the fiancée of a dead colleague), Marianne Bellshade (Celia Imrie), Susan Young (Louise Jameson) and Danielle Aubry (Thérèse Liotard). He has several encounters with ex-wife Deborah (Deborah Grant), who has custody of their daughter Kim (Lindsay Heath).
The main supporting character was Jim Bergerac's former father-in-law Charlie Hungerford (played by Terence Alexander). Charlie was a lovable rogue and would-be tycoon often involved in shady dealings, but paradoxically something of an innocent. Bergerac usually had a good relationship with him, although in the first episode, "Picking It Up", they were not on the best of terms. Charlie was involved in all but two of the 87 episodes.
Other regular characters in the series included Bergerac's ex-wife, Deborah (Deborah Grant), and his boss, Superintendent Barney Crozier (Sean Arnold), initially an inspector (promoted from sergeant immediately before the first episode) and later chief inspector. Bergerac had several sidekicks who were generally detective constables.
Bergerac had an ongoing flirtatious relationship with glamorous jewel thief Philippa Vale (Liza Goddard), who went by the nickname of the Ice Maiden (Series 3: "Ice Maiden", Series 5: "Return of the Ice Maiden" and "SPARTA" , Series 7: "Old Acquaintance").
Many well-known actors had guest roles in Bergerac, either before or after rising to fame. These include Philip Glenister, Julian Glover, Connie Booth, Ray Winstone, Prunella Scales, Louise Lombard, Ronald Pickup, Norman Wisdom, Charles Gray, John Forgeham, Bernard Hepton, Bill Nighy, and Steve McFadden.
The series played heavily on its Jersey location. The early storylines were usually in and around Jersey with short scenes shot in England and France. In later episodes the action strayed further away from Jersey and was increasingly based in France.
As Jersey is a small island, most of the filming locations there can be tracked down with ease. Jim Bergerac and Susan Young's flat was located just above St Aubin, a few doors along from the Somerville Hotel; part of the interior was shot within another flat at Gorey, six miles away. Jim's original home in the first few series was submerged when the States of Jersey flooded the valley to create the Queen's Valley reservoir in 1991. Plans for this reservoir were referred to at the start of series four, when Bergerac was forced to seek new accommodation because of them, in the process meeting an estate agent who became his lover.
One of the main locations of the series achieved later notoriety. The Bureau des Étrangers from the third season onwards was located at Haut de la Garenne, a former children's home which in February 2008 became the focus of the Jersey child abuse investigation 2008. The building, on Mont de la Garenne overlooking Mont Orgueil and the Royal Bay of Grouville, ceased being a children's home in 1983 (before the series started filming there) and was re-opened as Jersey's first and only youth hostel.
The original Bureau in the TV series was located in St Helier's Royal Square, but filming there became difficult after the first series as the pretence of filming a documentary series was spoilt by public recognition of Bergerac's Triumph.
Windward House, Le Mont Sohier, St Brelade (built in 1924, since demolished c.2010) with lush grounds overlooking Ouaisné and St Brelade's Bay, was a stunning location used internally and externally throughout all nine series and the Christmas specials. This pink-and-grey building with white pillared entrance first appeared in series 1, episode 6, "Portrait of Yesterday", as the home and wedding venue of the incidental characters. Windward House then reappeared from series 2, episode 1, as Charlie Hungerford's main residence, where he hosted a large garden fête, and then in almost every episode of the show—used either as part of the central plot or as a backdrop for family gatherings, drinks parties, business meetings, barbecues, marquee events, etc. The entire house was used over time, particularly the living room with French windows, dining room, conservatory and long gallery hallways. External filming regularly included the gardens, paddock, driveways, fruit gardens, greenhouse, cider press and rockery.
Noirmont Manor, Noirmont, was Charlie Hungerford's home throughout series one.
As the series ran for a decade, directors found it increasingly difficult to find locations which had not been overused. While promoting his film White Noise in an interview with Xpose magazine, director Geoffrey Sax described how he made an effort to find new locations, only to return for the actual shoot to find camera tripod marks in the ground, another director having shot there in the meantime. They became tourist attractions, with signs advertising "Visit Bergerac's Location" or "See Bergerac's Car".
Plot lines occasionally took the action onto the British mainland, particularly London, and Richmond Riverside figured prominently.
Bergerac was made available on DVD by 2 Entertain / Cinema Club. The first series was released on 8 May 2006, including audio commentaries on three episodes.
Mistakes occurred in the supply of the source material for the DVD releases, which meant the episodes of Series 1 and 6 were edited versions broadcast originally on UK daytime television. This was amended for Bergerac: The Complete Collection, a 27-DVD box set released in 2009 which includes all episodes in their full length.
The Bergerac theme music, composed by George Fenton, featured a reggae and accordion refrain. In 1982, he won a BAFTA 'Best Original Television Music' award for the music. In 2018 a DJ known as Youngr re-recorded the track, entitled Bergerac Remastered, with a video shot in locations around Jersey.
- The Detectives, a BBC comedy series, one episode of which features John Nettles's last performance to date as Jim Bergerac.
- Will Smith Presents the Tao of Bergerac, a radio comedy series based on an obsessive fan of Bergerac
- The Cult of Bergerac, a 30 minute 2008 BBC4 documentary, featuring many cast members and writer Robert Banks Stewart
- "Classic crime show Bergerac set to return". BBC News. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
- "Bergerac set for a come back 20 years on?". The Independent. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- "BBC News – Bergerac return 'a boost'". BBC News. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- "Robert Banks Stewart on creating Charles Endell, Esquire". STV Entertainment. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- "The 30 best TV detectives and sleuths – Telegraph". Telegraph.co.uk. 1 November 2014. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- "BBC News – Bergerac rerun postponed owing to abuse inquiry". BBC News. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- Jane Mathews (3 March 2014). "John Nettles blasts BBC for pulling Bergerac re-runs featuring Haut de la Garenne home – UK – News – Daily Express". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- "Bergerac's car up for sale". Telegraph.co.uk. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- Hodgkinson, Will (27 October 2001). "The feelgood factory". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
- "Philip Glenister: a career timeline". The Daily Telegraph. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
- "Flickr: Windward House Jersey's Photostream". Flickr. 29 March 2007. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- "Bergerac's fair cop; John Nettles' daughter joins Jersey police". Sunday Mirror. 21 February 1999. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
- "BritBox - S3".
- "Amazon search result page". Amazon. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
- "1982 Television Original Television Music | BAFTA Awards". awards.bafta.org. Retrieved 5 June 2018.
- Express, Bailiwick. "LISTEN: Bergerac gets an electro twist in new music mix". Bailiwick Express. Retrieved 5 June 2018.