1 9 8 7 – 1 9 9 0 (USA)
This CBS drama was certainly one of television’s most improbable series.
A fantasy/romance, it was set in New York City and involved a young lawyer – Assistant District Attorney Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton) – who was beaten, disfigured and left to die by a gang of thugs in Central Park.
Vincent, a powerful but gentle half man/half beast who lives with other rejects and misfits deep beneath the city in a maze of tunnels, sewers and caverns and comes up only at night, rescues Catherine and takes her to his underground home to recover.
By the time she has recuperated, Catherine and Vincent have fallen in love, but Catherine returns to the city above ground, resumes her career and begins searching for her attackers.
A strong psychic bond has developed between the two, however, and Vincent returns to the city numerous times to come to Catherine’s aid whenever she is in trouble, sometimes riding on the top of subway cars to get around the city and to avoid being seen by the public.
The inhabitants of Vincent’s underground home include “Father” (Roy Dotrice) whose real name is Jacob Wells, and who is the leader of the underworld community. Kipper (Cory Danziger) and Mouse (David Greenlee) are Father’s helpers.
The role of the Lennie the Lion lookalike in Beauty and the Beast went to towering, gravel-voiced Ron Perlman, who submitted to hours of preparation to emerge in a ginger Tina Turner wig and a furry face.
Vincent read meaningful passages from Dickens or Kipling and commented on the evils of the modern world when not killing baddies to save Linda Hamilton’s caring lawyer who was the Beauty to his Beast.
Also appearing were Ren Woods, Jay Acavone, Jason Allen, Ellen Geer, Zachary Rosencrantz, Ritch Brinkley, Jo Anderson, Stephen McHattie, Edward Albert and Lewis Smith.
During the final season, Catherine was kidnapped and murdered by Gabriel (Stephen McHattie), head of a criminal organisation, but not before she had given birth to Vincent’s son.
Diana Bennett (Jo Anderson) was brought in by Catherine’s boss to investigate the case, and she became Vincent’s new friend.
Assisted by businessman Elliott Burch (Edward Albert), they tracked down and killed Gabriel, leaving Vincent and his son to retreat again to the safety of their underground home (‘Tunnel World’).
Never a top-rated show, Beauty and The Beast acquired a cult following while it was on the air, even though it was only the 55th-rated show in its second season.
Assistant DA Catherine Chandler
Father (Jacob Wells)
Deputy DA Joe Maxwell