In this smart crime drama series private detective Eddie Shoestring takes on a case for Radio West and ends up working for them full time as their ‘Private Ear’ of the airwaves tackling cases on behalf of their listeners. Eddie was a former computer expert who had had a nervous breakdown and ended up for a time in a mental institution. He is still quite delicate mentally as the series begins and often seeks comfort in the confines of his run down houseboat. Eddie has been taken under the wing of barrister Erica Bayliss which works out well for Shoestring as he lodges with her and is also able to call on her for help with legal matters.
After tackling a difficult case for the boss of Radio West, Don Satchley, Shoestring is quite happy to become a radio regular, drawn into cases for his listeners. Driving around in his beat up Ford Cortina estate much is made of the Bristol setting, a part of Britain that certainly hadn’t been seen on screen before.
Very popular (average ratings of 20 million plus per episodes – a huge amount) and deservedly so with a star making turn by Trevor Eve, lots of strong scripts and guest appearances from some very well known faces. Eve decided to call it quits after just two series and in the process paved the way for series co-creator to come upwith an even bigger hit in the shape of Bergerac which has almost exactly the same vibe and feel as Shoestring.
Incidentally Radio West would later become the real name of a Bristol based independant Radio station. On 9 March 2008 the BBC aired an episode of their Cult Of… series devoted to the show.
UK / BBC-1 / 21×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 30 September 1979 – 21 December 1980
Creators: Robert Banks Stewart, Richard Harris / Theme Music: George Fenton / Producer: Robert Banks Stewart
TREVOR EVE as Eddie Shoestring
MICHAEL MEDWIN as Don Satchley
DORAN GODWIN as Erica Bayliss
LIZ CROWTHER as Sonia
SEASON ONE (11 EPISODES)
1. PRIVATE EAR (30 September 1979)
2. KNOCK FOR KNOCK (7 October 1979)
3. HIGHER GROUND (14 October 1979)
4. AN UNCERTAIN CIRCLE (21 October 1979)
5. LISTEN TO ME (28 October 1979)
6. NINE TENTHS OF THE LAW (4 November 1979)
7. THE LINK-UP (11 November 1979)
8. STAMP DUTY (18 November 1979)
9. FIND THE LADY (2 December 1979)
10. THE PARTNERSHIP (9 December 1979)
11. I’M A BELIEVER (16 December 1979)
SEASON TWO (10 EPISODES)
1. ROOM WITH A VIEW (5 October 1980)
2. THE TEDDY BEAR’S NIGHTMARE (12 October 1980)
3. MOCKING BIRD (19 October 1980)
4. THE MAY FLY DANCE (26 October 1980)
5. THE FARMER HAD A WIFE (2 November 1980)
6. THE UTMOST GOOD FAITH (9 November 1980)
7. LOOKING FOR MR WRIGHT (16 November 1980)
8. ANOTHER MAN’S CASTLE (7 December 1980)
9. WHERE WAS I (14 December 1980)
10. THE DANGEROUS GAME (21 December 1980)