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Ruth Rendell Mysteries: Inspector Wexford (ITV 1987-2000, George Baker, Christopher Ravenscroft)

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Inspector Wexford

Crime drama series detailing the cases of Detective Chief Inspector Wexford in the Hampshire town of Kingsmarkham. The gruff Inspector, who policed the fictional area of Kingsmarkham, tended to take an intellectual approach to his investigations, delving into the psyche of the criminal, rather than focusing on forensics.

He’s assisted by Inspector Mike Burden, who Wexford left to concentrate on the facts while he thought his way through a case. A very cerebral copper, Wexford loved his food, a pint, his family and a good, gruesome mystery.

Ruth Rendell claimed that the market town of Kingsmarkham, was in the mid-Sussex area, thought to be inspired by Midhurst. But for the series, the location was moved to Hampshire with Romsey as the setting for the fictional town.

George Baker won the title role when the director heard him in an adjoining edit suite, where a Miss Marple mystery was being cut. He heard the actor’s voice, called his agent and offered him the job.

TVS decided to start with ‘Wolf to the Slaughter’ the second of Ruth Rendell’s Chief Inspector Wexford mysteries to be published. This first four-part film was shot on tape, so doesn’t really resemble the rest of the Wexford shows, which were filmed. This pilot was well received and eventually 22 more Inspector Wexford investigations were made.

The stories normally went out under the Ruth Rendell Mysteries banner often leading to confusion as many single unrelated single dramas from the pen of Rendell also went out under this banner.

Initially the shows were usually 4×60 minute episodes in length but later episodes tended towards the feature length. Wexford also appeared in the ITV Telethon in 1992 alongside other famous ITV detectives in a drama called The Four Oaks Mystery.

production details
UK / ITV – TVS / 1987-2000

Creator: John Davies / Characters: Ruth Rendell / Music: Brian Bennett/ Executive Producer: Graham Benson / Associate Producer: George Baker

cast
GEORGE BAKER as Detective Chief Inspector Reg Wexford
CHRISTOPHER RAVENSCROFT as Detective Inspector Mike Burden
LOUIE RAMSEY as Dora Wexford
DIANE KEEN as Jenny Ireland/Burden
KEN KITSON as Det Sgt Martin

THE WEXFORD STORIES WERE
WOLF TO THE SLAUGHTER
A GUILTY THING SURPRISED
SHAKE HANDS FOREVER
NO CRYING HE MAKES
NO MORE DYING THEN
A SLEEPING LIFE
THE VEILED ONE
SOME LIE AND SOME DIE
THE BEST MAN TO DIE
A KINDNESS OF RAVENS
PUT ON BY CUNNING
A NEW LEASE OF DEATH
MURDER BEING ONCE DONE
FROM DOON WITH DEATH
MEANS OF EVIL
ACHILLES HEEL
THE SPEAKER OF MANDARIN
THE MOUSE IN THE CORNER
AN UNWANTED WOMAN
KISSING THE GUNNER’S DAUGHTER
SIMISOLA
ROAD RAGE
HARM DONE