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Murder Bag (ITV Crime Drama, Raymond Francis)

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ITV crime drama series Murder Bag detailed cases for Detective Superintendent Tom Lockhart (Raymond Francis). The bag of the title was the bag Lockhart carried his forensic equipment (over 40 different pieces of kit) in and the series was initially known as The Murder Bag.

One of Lockhart’s quirks was using snuff, which was something that star Francis was fond of too. The snuff box he used was a gift from Kenneth More. The show was produced live in the studio and Francis developed a habit of leaving little cue cards in various key spots which led to a few spots of mischief when the crew deliberately sabotaged him.

Looking back on the series in the TV Times of 3 Jan 1981 (Francis was about to appear in the second season of daytime soap Together which was also broadcast live.) Francis spoke about the show’s debut saying “ the first words were to be spoken by an actor playing a uniformed policeman. The actor opened his mouth and nothing came out. He had dried up completely for a few seconds. When that happens, panic sets in, your mind becomes a total blank and even a few seconds can seem like an eternity. It was not a very encouraging start to a new venture.” Lockhart though became a big success, got himself a promotion to Detective Chief Superintendent and carried on until 1967 – first in Crime Sheet and then in the extremely popular No Hiding Place.

Cast: RAYMOND FRANCIS as Det Supt Tom Lockhart

Creator: Glyn Davies / Producer: Barry Baker

UK / ITV – Associated-Rediffusion / 68×25 minute episodes / 16 September 1957 – 1 April 1959