1 9 7 8 – 1 9 8 2 (UK)
32 x 60 minute episodes
Detective Sergeant George Bulman (Don Henderson) and Detective Constable Derek Willis (Dennis Blanch) were CID officers from the Metropolitan Police who were drafted on attachment to the police force in Manchester to form a new undercover team called ‘Unit C23’ in this series from Granada Television. Their brief was to infiltrate areas of crime where local detectives might be recognised.
DS Bulman and DC Willis had first appeared in the series The XYY Man, where they had pursued Spider Scott ruthlessly.
In early episodes, the pair were teamed up with Northern Irish Detective Constable Linda Doran (Frances Tomelty), a combat expert. She was replaced in the second series by WDC Vanessa Bennett (Fiona Mollison).
Detective Sergeant David Singer (John Ronane) serves as the liaison between Manchester CID and the three ‘strangers’.
‘Marriages, Deaths and Births’, the last episode of series two, concluded Bulman, Willis and Vanessa’s time in Manchester in a dramatic fashion. During an arrest, Bulman was shot through the shoulder by the psychopath Nick Carnos (Ben Cross) and held hostage.
In series three the group were assigned to the ‘Inter-City Squad’ (D23) at Scotland Yard and DC Willis was promoted to Detective Sergeant. Their assignments now were nationwide, and George Bulman eventually also earned a promotion to Detective Chief Inspector.
Later episodes found Bulman and his team taking orders from Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Lambie, played by future Taggart star Mark McManus. Series three also saw the arrival of British film veteran Thorley Walters as Bill “Clarence” Dugdale, D23’s regular contact with “the Department” – a branch of the security services that haunted Bulman’s career.
In an unexpected twist at the end of series five, Bulman resigns from the force to re-establish a relationship with Lambie’s estranged wife.
The further adventures of George Bulman formed the basis for a further follow-up series, simply titled Bulman (1985 – 1987).
DS/DCI George Bulman
DC/DS Derek Willis
WDC Linda Doran
WDC Vanessa Bennett
DCS Jack Lambie
Bill “Clarence” Dugdale