Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The Dangerous Game

One of the very best British detective shows on tv (at least, in my opinion) was Shoestring, which ran for about a year, and 21 episodes, starting in 1979. The show introduced me to Trevor Eve, one of the most watchable actors, making a name for himself as Eddie Shoestring, who takes up a career as a gumshoe working for a Bristol-based commercial radio station after suffering a nervous breakdown.

I’ve just watched The Dangerous Game, which proved to be the very last Shoestring case. It’s set at Christmas, and it’s worn surprisingly well, with the characteristic blend of a neat story idea and Eve’s idiosyncratic and memorably intense work as the oddball hero. In this one, he discovers that a number of dangerous electrical games have been sold as Christmas presents. In the run-up to Christmas Day, he has to track all the games down in a race against the clock before a child is seriously injured or killed.

As with many episodes, the cast was impressive – it included those splendid performers Celia Imrie and Burt Kwouk. Doran Goodwin made her usual all too brief appearance as Eddie’s not-quite love interest; she is an appealing actor and it’s a pity she’s been, at least as far as I know, long absent from major roles on the screen.

I’m not sure if viewers outside the UK ever saw Shoestring, but it acquired a devoted following here. Eve gave up the part because he didn’t want to be typecast, and the writers used a similar premise in a more glamorous setting to create Jersey’s finest cop, Bergerac. John Nettles did a great job as Jim Bergerac, but I still prefer Shoestring.

5 comments:

Dorte H said...

We have not had a chance to see Shoestring, I believe. I liked Bergerac, but prefer John Nettles in the role of Barnaby (nothing can be cosier than that one :))

NB: waiting for the postman. My husband is a bit busy so he asked me if I´d mind ´ordering those books you wanted for your birthday´ myself. Not at all; now I know two of yours are on their way to Denmark.

BookPlease said...

I much preferred Shoestring too.

Mike Tooney said...

Martin:

Burt Kwouk is one of my favorite character actors. Poor fellow: battered by Inspector Clouseau, gunned down by Auric Goldfinger, and so on. If ever an actor qualified as "atmosphere," he does:

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0477297/

I didn't know he was a regular on 'Last of the Summer Wine.' We here in the States have yet to see the latest series post-2000.

I also remember him from 'Doctor Who' ("Four to Doomsday").

Mike

Jane said...

I loved Shoestring - it is right up there with Bodie and Doyle!

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks for all these comments.
Dorte, I'm confident you would like Shoestring. Hope the books land safely!
Mike, I certainly didn't know Burt Kwouk was in 'Doctor Who'! I associate him above all with Clouseau.