As The Paradise Set opens Det Sgt Bulman, Det Sgt Derek Willis and Detective Constable Linda Doran are part of a new unit called C23, travelling to different locales in the north to tackle undercover cases that local coppers would be too well known to tackle. Willis is deep undercover with a hard gang of diamond thieves led by Johnny Spencer whilst Bulman and Doran are working on a case involving nightclub hostesses who are being badly beaten. It quickly becomes obvious that both cases are linked.
In the opening sequence Bulman actually arrests Willis and another of the crooks and is somewhat surprised that he is also working for C23, he’s even more surprised to learn that Willis is also now a Detective Sergeant (apparently only for this this job though). Willis and Doran also don’t know each other at this point and Doran thinks Willis is Bulman’s snout.
The actual robbery that Willis is involved with turns into something of a slapstick comedy – the place the crooks were planning to rob is closed and they are forced to leave empty handed. The final show-down when Spencer discovers Willis is a cop is also a bit pantomimish – the fight scene in the back yard of the Paradise Clun not quite hitting the heights of realism the production team might have hoped for. Surprising really as director Carol Wilks had proved herself adept with action as director of 1974 children’s chase drama Soldier and Me.
The Strangers theme tune is quite groovy but it does sound a bit like a daytime talk or quiz show.
“How did you know I was getting my toenail done?”
“socks in the pocket.”
UK / ITV – Granada / 1×50 minute episode / Broadcast Monday 5 June 1978 at 9.00pm
Writer: Murray Smith / Production Design: Mike Grimes / Director: Carol Wilks
Series: Strangers Season 1 Episode 1
Don Henderson as Det Sgt Bulman
John Ronane as Det Sgt Singer
Dennis Blanch as Det Con Willis
Andrew Robertson as Hugh McKay
Peter Dudley as Goodnight Darling
Malcolm Tierney as Johnny Spencer
Dickie Arnold as Eddie Ryan
Philip Jackson as Nose Treacy
Annie Hulley as Judy Wallace
Frances Tomelty as Det Con Doran
Anthony Coupe as Constable
Diana Davies as Sharon Wallace
Patrica Roe as Freda
Jack Platts as Leeman
Chester Harriott as Pianist