Classic TV Revisited: Dempsey And Makepeace

This ’80s ITV favourite Dempsey and Makepeace was a mid-Atlantic cop show with trigger-happy New York Lt James Dempsey and his glamorous (reluctant) side-kick Lady Harriet Makepeace. It starred Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber.

Why was it so good?
The gorgeous Glynis Barber as DS Makepeace was a good enough reason to watch this show. An upper-class English blonde, the tension between the pair was electric – and they ended up getting wed off-screen.

So who was who?
Michael Brandon played Lt James Dempsey, a cop sent to England for his own protection. He teamed up with DS Harriet Makepeace (Glynis Barber) – a fast-rising police officer.

Why did Dempsey come to the UK?
Brash and impetuous, he got himself into trouble by killing his partner during a corruption investigation in New York.

While waiting for things to cool down, he was sent to work undercover at Scotland Yard’s elite S110 unit.

Did Dempsey and Makepeace get on?
Dempsey was the exact opposite of his glamorous side-kick, which led to a somewhat uneasy pairing.

In what way?
While “Lootenant” Dempsey never left home without his .357, Makepeace preferred to use the expertise of friends in high places.

What happened?
The immediate antagonism between the odd couple was countered by a strong physical attraction and they made a good, effective team.

Did Dempsey and Makepeace get it together?
The will-they-won’t-they suspense between the two cops had the viewers hooked.

So did they?
Fortunately for the producers, the show gained considerable spice from the much-publicised off- screen romance between the stars.

Glynis Barber and Michael Brandon in Dempsey and Makepeace

What happened next?
No-one could have predicted how it would all turn out – they married after five years and are still together.

How did Dempsey and Makepeace’s real-life romance develop?
“When I first met Michael (Brandon – Dempsey), I thought he was an annoying, loud American,” says Glynis Barber (Makepeace).

So what happened?
“We got to know each other better. We had to spend all hours filming and discovered that we liked the same things.”

Were you like your characters?
“People wanted to believe we were, but it was by no means a fiery relationship.”

Who else was in the show?
Overseeing the pair’s antics was loudmouth Scouser Gordon Spikings (the brilliant Ray Smith), while DS Chas Jarvis (Tony Osoba from Porridge) also lent his skills on occasion.

Was Makepeace posh?
She had a Cambridge degree, her father was a peer and she had distant claims to the throne.

So how did she end up a policewoman?
The reasons were never explained in the show, but her connections in high places often proved handy.

Significant others?
Michael was married to Bionic Woman-star Lindsay Wagner. Glynis was involved with actor Steven Pacey.

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