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Classic TV Revisited: Edge Of Darkness



When Emma Craven, a young environmentalist, is killed in fishy circumstances, her Detective Inspector father goes on a quest for the truth. Haunted by apparitions of his daughter, the grieving father digs deeper and uncovers a complex conspiracy. An absorbing thriller full of suspense, worthy of Hitchcock’s best.

The series stars the late Bob Peck as the grieving Detective Inspector, Joanne Whalley as the murdered Emma and Texan Joe Don Baker as the dry witty CIA agent. Watch out for appearances from the likes of Zoë Wanamaker and Sue Cook as herself. Together with a script from writer Troy Kennedy-Martin and directing from Martin Campbell the team who won six BAFTAs all went on to bigger and better things like directing Hollywood blockbusters and marrying Hollywood stars.

From Emmerdale to Hollywood
Joanne Whalley, born in Manchester, got her first taste of stardom in 1982 when she played a groupie to rock star Bob Geldof in Pink Floyd’s legendary The Wall. It was a glamorous step forward from bit parts in Coronation Street and Emmerdale. By 1988 she was best known for her part as red-haired Sorsha in fantasy flick Willow. Having married her co-star, the notorious Val Kilmer, she went to Hollywood and hit the big time with Shattered in 1991. Just five years later, her marriage shattered too.

Edge of Darkness - Joe Don Baker as Jedburgh

Joe Don Baker as Jedburgh

Music matters
The music for the series was born from collaboration between two of the industry’s biggest names: Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen. It was such a success they went on to work together on other projects such as the Lethal Weapon films and James Bond: Licence to Kill. Kamen is well known for scores of other movie scores such as Die Hard with a Vengeance, 101 Dalmatians and X-Men. He also wrote Bryan Adams’s Everything I Do, I Do it for You. Eric Clapton, known to some as the world’s best guitar player has been revered since the 1960s and is known worldwide for his many hits including Layla and Wonderful Tonight.

Spy vs spy
Kamen and Clapton weren’t the only Edge of Darkness team members to get involved with James Bond. Director Martin Campbell went on to direct Goldeneye while Joe Don Baker brought his experience playing a spy to Living Daylights as Brad Whitaker and Goldeneye as Jack Wade.

CIA funny man
Joe Don Baker is hilarious as dry and witty CIA agent Darius. One of his best lines comes when Craven asks him how his round of golf was, to which he answers, “Well, bodies kept turning up in the bunkers, and you need air support to play out of the rough. Kind of puts you off your game.” His comic timing and delivery are immaculate when he later says: “‘Khe San’ died. Peacefully, in bed. Of gunshot wounds.”

A 2010 Hollywood remake starring Mel Gibson did well to capture some of the flavour of the original serial.

Edge Of Darkness aired on BBC-2 in 1985.