1 9 8 1 – 1 9 9 1 (UK)
87 x 50 minute episodes
Considering the island of Jersey is only four miles across there was plenty of crime to keep old Detective Sergeant Jim Bergerac busy. . .
John Nettles played the title role as a divorced, recovering alcoholic, gammy-legged (he had been injured in-the-line-of-duty) no-nonsense policeman, who helped maintain law and order working for the (fictional) Bureau des Étrangers which dealt with crimes involving non-island folk on the millionaire’s playground.
From uncertain beginnings as a hastily commissioned filler for a slot in the Sunday evening schedules, viewers warmed slowly to Bergerac as Jim buzzed around the coastal roads in his 1947 Triumph sports car, supported by veteran character actor Terence Alexander, as his former father-in-law Charlie Hungerford (a gruff but amiable, self-made Yorkshire millionaire constantly on the fringe of dodgy deals) and former Howard’s Way star Deborah Grant as his ex-wife, Deborah.
Bergerac was never far from the temptation of the bottle, especially when there was trouble in his personal life, as the girls came and went.
First, there was tourist officer Francine Leland (Cecile Paoli), and then lawyer Marianne Bellshade (Celia Imrie), before estate agent Susan Young (Louise Jameson) provided some stability for a while. Their relationship ended with her murder. There was even more spark in his occasional encounters with beautiful jewel thief Philippa Vale (Liza Goddard).
It was Bergerac’s obsession with a woman which eventually brought the series to an end. Jim’s relationship with French girl Danielle Aubry (Therese Liotard) resulted in him retiring from the police force and moving to Provence to become a private detective.
Bergerac gave the island’s tourist trade an enormous lift. John Nettles also made Jersey his home in real life.
Nettles merrily spoofed his Bergerac persona in the Jasper Carrott sitcom The Detectives (1993-97).
DS Jim Bergerac
Chief Insp. Barney Crozier
DC Terry Wilson
DC Barry Goddard