A few years ago, my husband and I watched a P. D. James’ Inspector Dalgliesh television mystery that starred Martin Shaw. We enjoyed it so much that I put Martin Shaw on our list of actors to keep an eye on. (I periodically search to see when particular actors add a new television show or movie to their projects.) I looked up Martin Shaw, and voilà, I found that he had another mystery show for us to try out.
Martin Shaw is the star of George Gently, a British police procedural television show. In season 1 we find out why Commander Gently has left Scotland Yard and is now working in a somewhat out-of-the-way British town. He’s quite accomplished, and some wonder why he is stationed in this town.
One of the fun things about this series is that most of the shows are set during the 1960s, and they seem to enjoy showing the “free love”, psychedelic hippie/Twiggie era. Yes, that means we are treated to the shortest miniskirts, brightest blue eyeshadow (worn on the eyelid all the way up to the eyebrow), ratted hair styles, and flower-power hippies. A time when calling police officers “Pig” was not at all out of the norm. A time of young people having a considerable anti-establishment sentiment. Gently and his subordinates have to solve mysteries during this time frame, before DNA and the internet.
Commander Gently is aided by his sergeant John Bacchus, played by Lee Ingleby. Bacchus has the fortune (or perhaps not!) of being newly married to Gently’s boss’s daughter. As such, he drives a flashy sports car, and thinks himself quite “the man.”
Perhaps the reason these George Gently episodes have such a “1960s feel” is because they are based on the mystery series written by Alan Hunter (George Gently Omnibus), who started writing his Gently series in 1955. The shows had a feeling of authenticity, with sets that look like one would expect from the 1960s, and the mysteries are interesting. The characters are well-developed, with their own back-drop stories. It’s a little strange to see just about every character smoking cigarettes (non stop!), but that’s probably something that would have happened back then.
When we first saw these shows, they were being aired on our PBS station. This was a show that we looked forward to watching every week that it was on. We have since then discovered that it is available on Netflix in disc format, Netflix stream, and Acorn.
P.S. While my husband and I enjoyed George Gently, we stopped watching it during the fifth season. Perhaps we only needed to take a breather from it, but more likely, it had become a bit convoluted at the point when George became targeted by a mobster.
For more movie and television show recommendations, visit this page on my site: TV and Movies.