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Spender (BBC Crime, Jimmy Nail, Sammy Johnson)

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Spender BBC Crime, Jimmy Nail

Crime drama series about tough Geordie cop Spender (Jimmy Nail) who is sent back to Newcastle (after working in London) to work undercover and get on the inside of the criminal underworld. Spender was seperated from his wife Frances (Denise Welch) who had also returned to Newcastle years before with their two children (both girls).

Spender was something of a loner but did have some friends especially habitual small time crook Stick (Sammy Johnson), whose contacts and general shadiness actually worked out quite well for Spender. There was also MS suffering musician Keith (Tony McAnaney) who had been big back in the 70’s and 80’s but now ran a music shop. Spender’s police contact was the genial Detective Sergeant Dan Boyd (Berwick Kaler) who had a soft spot for Spender and helped keep their boss Superintendent Yelland (Paul Greenwood) (and then Detective Chief Superintendent Gillespie (Peter Guinness)) from getting too involved in the cases Spender was working on.

Something of a pet project for Jimmy Nail this, he created the series (with help from Ian La Frenais), wrote most of the episodes and had many of his friends working on the series. This was also a very different Nail from the one who had shot to fame in Auf Wiedersehen Pet, the yobbish overweight Oz replaced by the stick thin and decidedly cool undercover cop.

Alan Plater co-wrote a season two episode (The Golden Striker) with Nail and the pair were credited on-screen as Kenneth Ladd. La Frenais wrote a couple of episodes as did Auf Wiedersehen Pet scribe Stan Hey. Val McLane (in real life Jimmy Nail’s sister also contributed the season three script Kid (she also made a guest appearance in The Golden Striker). The series finished off in strong style with feature length special The French Collection.

Cast: Jimmy Nail as Spender; Paul Greenwood as Superintendent Yelland – Season 1; Peter Guinness as Detective Chief Superintendent Gillespie from Season 2); Berwick Kaler as Detective Sergeant Dan Boyd; Sammy Johnson as Stick; Tony McAnaney as Keith; Denise Welch as Frances; Dawn Winlow as Laura; Lynn Harrison as Kate; Mickey Hutton as Spud; Brendan P. Healy as Eric

Creators: Jimmy Nail, Ian La Frenais / Music: Tony MacAnaney / Producers: Martin McKeand, Paul Raphael

UK / BBC One – Big Boy / 20×50 minute episodes 1×90 minute episodes / Broadcast 8 January 1991 – 29 December 1993

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE 8 January – 6 February 1991
1. THE HOMECOMING
2. HALF A TON OF HEARTACHES
3. DOUBLE JEOPARDY
4. THE CANDIDATE
5. ICED
6. DANCE GIRL DANCE
7. TOUGH
8. WELL WELL WELL

SEASON TWO 7 January – 11 February 1992
1. HERE WE GO AGAIN
2. FLY BY NIGHT
3. FEE
4. FAMILY BUSINESS
5. THE GOLDEN STRIKER
6. AT THE END OF THE DAY

SEASON THREE 5 January – 9 February 1993
1. THE MORE THINGS CHANGE
2. KID
3. PUCK
4. BAD COMPANY
5. BET FRIENDS
6. RETREAT

SPECIAL 29 December 1993
1. THE FRENCH COLLECTION