Crime drama series A Touch of Frost details the cases of loner, middle aged Detective Inspector William ‘Jack’ Frost in the town of Denton. Jack is always under pressure to meet targets and keep bosses in the division off his back.
Frost is a widower who, despite his grumpy personality and addiction to work, is still attractive to the opposite sex. His shyness is a recurrent theme and it usually takes him an entire episode to summon the courage to ask a lady out for a date. Each episode contains at least two plots which revolve around a murder, although co-executive producer and star David Jason insisted there was little graphic violence.
On screen, Frost’s constant run-ins with his officious boss Superintendent Norman Mullett (Bruce Alexander) who he nicknamed Horn-rimmed Harry, provide some comic moments. Mullett’s character is formal, obsessed with doing things by the book and reaching targets set by the Chief Constable. Frost is a street detective who prefers rolling up his sleeves and solving crimes through his copper’s instinct rather than by following a rigid set of procedures. He also often gets emotionally involved in cases – much to the chagrin of his boss.
Although Frost breaks the rules – for example he obtains copies of keys to search suspects’ homes without a warrant – there is little Mullett can do. The pint-sized policeman obtained the George Cross for bravery when he intervened in a shooting incident, winning the Chief Constable’s respect. Another emotional moment came when his young sidekick was shot dead. Frost has never revelled in being awarded the George Cross because at the time he was drunk and depressed and feels he wasn’t brave. In the scene, he puts the medal in the dead officer’s coffin and says he deserved it more. It was Jason at his very best as he managed to convey the hang-ups of his character in an immensely moving and sad scene.
UK / ITV – Yorkshire TV – Excelsior / 42 episodes of between 75 and 100 minutes duration / Broadcast 6 December 1992 – 5 April 2010
Creator: R.D. Wingfield / Theme Music: Barbara Thompson, Jan Hiseman / Co-Executive Producer: David Jason
DAVID JASON as Detective Inspector Jack Frost
BRUCE ALEXANDER as Superintendent Mullett
NEIL PHILLIPS as Detective Chief Inspector Allen
LINDY WHITEFORD as Shirley Fisher