In Duty Roster Willis and Bulman think they deserve a commendation for their work at the Paradise Club but Detective Inspector Rainbow has other ideas, he wants to keep them for a bit but puts them on the Duty Roster (taking whatever cases come in). There first case doesn’t look too promising – a postman’s stolen mailbag but Bulman thinks the real reason for the theft may be down to a registered letter. Truth be told there isn’t actually much of a case for the guys to solve here but the humour quotient is quite high.
Despite there being a no cooking in the room rule in their new digs Bulman’s suitcase contains more food (including sausages and bacon) than clothes and Shirley Stelfox, the real life Mrs Bulman, has a guest role as does Stan Richards better known as Seth Armstrong from Emmerdale Farm. A couple of Coronation Street alumni also pop up including Bill “Percy Sugden” Waddington and Christopher Coll who occasionally popped up as Victor Pendlebury in the 1980’s and 1990s. Coll would go on to make a second appearance in Strangers in the season five episode A Free Weekend in the country, this time playing a detective inspector.
A few more of Bulman’s shall we say eccentricities are well on display here too what with his ever present gloves and money purse.
UK / ITV – Granada / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Monday 12 June 1978 at 9.00pm
Writer: Ivor Marshall / Production Design: Chris Wilkinson / Director: Oliver Horsbrugh
Series: Strangers Season 1 Episode 2
Don Henderson as George Bulman
Dennis Blanch as Willis
David Hargreaves as Detective Inspector Rainbow
John Ronane as Det Sgt Singer
Frances Tomelty as Doran
Olga Grahame as May Robinson
Jackie Shinn as Bill Robinson
William Maxwell as Crookes
Shirley Stelfox as Beryl
Alan Hulse as Band conductor
Stan Richards as Club secretary
Brian Protheroe as Ward
Bill Waddington as Post Office manager
Craig Ralph as Youth
Christopher Coll as Headmaster