Crime drama series detailing the cases of Detective Chief Inspector Wexford in the Hampshire town of Kingsmarkham. The gruff Inspector, who policed the fictional area of Kingsmarkham, tended to take an intellectual approach to his investigations, delving into the psyche of the criminal, rather than focusing on forensics.
He’s assisted by Inspector Mike Burden, who Wexford left to concentrate on the facts while he thought his way through a case. A very cerebral copper, Wexford loved his food, a pint, his family and a good, gruesome mystery.
Ruth Rendell claimed that the market town of Kingsmarkham, was in the mid-Sussex area, thought to be inspired by Midhurst. But for the series, the location was moved to Hampshire with Romsey as the setting for the fictional town.
George Baker won the title role when the director heard him in an adjoining edit suite, where a Miss Marple mystery was being cut. He heard the actor’s voice, called his agent and offered him the job.
TVS decided to start with ‘Wolf to the Slaughter’ the second of Ruth Rendell’s Chief Inspector Wexford mysteries to be published. This first four-part film was shot on tape, so doesn’t really resemble the rest of the Wexford shows, which were filmed. This pilot was well received and eventually 22 more Inspector Wexford investigations were made.
The stories normally went out under the Ruth Rendell Mysteries banner often leading to confusion as many single unrelated single dramas from the pen of Rendell also went out under this banner.
Initially the shows were usually 4×60 minute episodes in length but later episodes tended towards the feature length.
UK / ITV – TVS / 1987-98
Creator: John Davies / Characters: Ruth Rendell / Music: Brian Bennett/ Executive Producer: Graham Benson / Associate Producer: George Baker
GEORGE BAKER as Detective Chief Inspector Reg Wexford
CHRISTOPHER RAVENSCROFT as Detective Inspector Mike Burden
LOUIE RAMSEY as Dora Wexford
DIANE KEEN as Jenny Ireland/Burden
KEN KITSON as Det Sgt Martin