The latest episode of Inspector George Gently was set in Durham at the time of the 1964 general election. Gently Through the Mill opens with the death by hanging of a former owner of a flour mill, who has recently sold the business to the Labour Party election candidate. It appears to be a case of suicide, but Gently and his infuriating sidekick Bacchus find that lately there has been a great deal of trouble at the mill. And before long there is a second death.
I haven’t read the Alan Hunter book on which the show was based, but I’d like to bet that most, if not all, of the political stuff wasn’t in the original. The same may or may not have been true of the scenes involving freemasonry. It seems that the novels have just been used as a starting point for the scriptwriters, but although the stories have one or two jarring anachronisms, nevertheless I thought this episode, like the others that I’ve seen, had something that lifted them out of the ordinary and made them worth watching.
The more I’ve seen Martin Shaw as Gently, the more I’ve been impressed by the quiet authority of his performance, and the less his previous incarnations as Adam Dalgleish and Judge John Deed have got in the way of my appreciation of the humanity he brings to Gently. But I still wish that, having transplanted the stories to the North East, the programme makers had filmed them there, rather than in Ireland.