1 9 7 6 – 1 9 7 7 (UK)
13 x 60 minute episodes
William “Spider” Scott (Stephen Yardley) had a spare chromosome in his cell structure – an extra “Y” chromosome which made him unusually tall and instilled in him the urge to steal.
Scott had become an accomplished cat burglar but had retired – until the mysterious Fairfax of the British Secret Service (Mark Dignam) enticed him to commit a break-in at a foreign embassy.
After the embassy affair and its drawn-out consequences, Spider found it difficult to go straight again, especially when his MI5 liaison Fairfax reappeared asking him to spring a criminal from jail.
On his trail at all times were the glove-wearing, nasal-inhaler-using, plastic bag-carrying Detective Sergeant George Kitchener “Bulldog” Bulman (Don Henderson) and the sex and crossword-obsessed Detective Constable Willis (Dennis Blanch) of Scotland Yard – and later of Strangers and Bulman.
The early incarnation of Bulman was quite unlike the quirky later model. Here he was far from sympathetic and was rough and unstinting in his pursuit of the ever-elusive Spider.
One of Bulman’s trademarks – his scarf – hid the burns from throat cancer treatment which actor Don Henderson was undergoing. The fact that Bulman sometimes talked only in a whisper, put down in the script to a cold, was also due to the disease. Henderson eventually died of the disease in 1997.
Charming, athletic, amoral and selfish, Spider was in a stormy on-off relationship with his cockney antique dealer girlfriend Maggie Parsons (Vivienne McKee).
The Granada TV series was based on a series of novels by Scottish author Kenneth Royce and began with a three-part mini-drama in 1976.
William ‘Spider’ Scott
DS George “Bulldog” Bulman
DC Derek Willis