I know I’m in the minority, but it’s great news (to me at least) that Peter Flannery’s Inspector George Gently is starting to film its eighth series. I like the dourness of it, I like the dynamic between Gently and Bacchus (Lee Ingleby) and I like the way it incorporates the changing social and cultural landscape of the 1960s into its storylines. For some this meshing together of social change and bleak, battered industrial vistas of northeast England is just too much drudgery, but I find the period and the way Britain was changing at the time a fascinating backdrop to what is a decent procedural. Here are all the details…
The new four-part series will be set in 1969. Here’s the official blurb:
This season Peter Flannery writes the first two episodes – with stories that tap into the period with all its vivid and colourful changes in perfect detail. The first landing on the moon (seen in glorious black and white on their TV screens), fluffy car dice, Pan’s People, North Sea oil and the first police in-car radios, sees the world changing at speed.
Full of warmth, humour and attack Gently and Bacchus continue their winning police partnership. Still on their team is the feisty WPC Rachel Coles (Lisa McGrillis) – who appreciates Gently’s forward thinking and gives as good as she gets from Bacchus, crushing his stereotypical male attitude towards a female PC (not without a fight or two along the way!). Both are keen to further their careers and be promoted – which for Bacchus is long overdue.
Peter Flannery says: “As the 60s draw to a close the issues facing policing seem more relevant than ever. We’re looking at the way rape complaints are met by the police – and nothing much seems to have really changed there, except perhaps the terminology. And we’re looking for the first time in IGG at corporate crime, which seems to be always with us. In Films 1 and 2 Gently makes it a personal task to challenge both vested interests and the traditional ways of doing things – to his cost. As I’m sure Neil Armstrong MEANT to say: one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind’.”
Gently enjoys his boxing bouts in the ring when off duty, whilst Bacchus has moved on with a new relationship with the delightful Gemma (Annabel Scholey), but nothing is ever straight forward. Gently and Bacchus are both keeping personal secrets from each other, but there is such a bond between them that they, of course, become involved in each other’s shocking secrets.
The first film, Do Not Go Gently, finds Gently investigating a rape of a prostitute. Unravelling how rape is handled within the force and how many recent cases had actually resulted in charges being laid, the team have to deal with animosity from their colleagues. The cast includes Emily Woof, Derek Riddell, Jeremy Swift and Denise Welch as the brothel madam.
In the second film, Breathe The Air, an investigation into a GP’s suspected suicide, see Rachel Coles (McGrillis) returning to the small village community that she grew up in, which stirs up tragic memories – and the “white snow” they used to play in as children….. The cast include Downton Abbey’s Lesley Nicol and Nicholas Woodeson.
Episode three has the Wildcat riots as its backdrop, where rubbish is piling on the streets and a man is found dead. The victim was in a lot of debt – but who killed him and why? Episode four finds Gently furious that guns are so easily accessible – and following an armed robbery he seeks to find the armed gang and bring them to justice, before more innocent t people are shot.