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The XYY Man (ITV Crime, Stephen Yardley, Don Henderson)



Crime/spy drama series The XYY Man offered up an interesting take on the usual crime fare of the day. Stephen Yardley is William “Spider” Scott, a cat burglar with an extra Y chromosome in his genetic makeup which meant he was inherantly unable to go straight – British Intelligence decides he will be useful to them and recruit him into their ranks.

Spider is none too happy about the situation as he has plans to go straight and is never overly friendly in his relations with Fairfax, his secret service contact. Meanwhile the police, led by Detective Sergeant George Bulman (Don Henderson) are in the dark about his role and are always on his tail.

The character of Bulman managed to spin off into two other series first Strangers and then Bulman and it is worth noting that here he is a radically different person being much more mean spirited. Kenneth Royce is billed as series creator and it was his couple of novels from the early seventies that inspired the show, Murray Smith (who would go on to create strangers) was very much a driving force behind the series though. Although often billed as running for two seasons, the first three episodes were more a straight forward drama serial with the actual series running for ten episodes the following year.

Back in the sixties and seventies there was a lot of talk in the media about the fact that an extra Y chromosome could make you more disposed to aggression and possibly even crime but there is not much credence given to the theory these days.

Cast: STEPHEN YARDLEY as Spider Scott; DON HENDERSON as Det Sgt George Bulman; DENNIS BLANCH as DC Derek Willis; VIVIENNE McKEE as Maggie Parsons; MARK DIGNAM as Fairfax; WILLIAM SQUIRE as Laidlaw; PAUL FREEMAN as Ray Lynch (original serial); ROY BOYD as Brian (original serial); DON WARRINGTON as Jomo Ibbon (original serial)

Creator: Kenneth Royce and based on his novels of the early 1970’s / Producer: Richard Everitt

UK / ITV Network – Granada / 13×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 3 July 1976 – 29 August 1977