1 9 8 6 – 1 9 9 2 (UK)
93 x 60 minute episodes
Ken Boon (Michael Elphick) was a fireman who was invalided out of the brigade when he damaged his lungs in a heroic rescue. After a succession of failed money-making schemes – including a disastrous market gardening venture – he placed an advert in the local press which read, “Ex-fireman seeks interesting work – anything legal considered”.
In response, he was offered a variety of strange jobs, from child-minding to private detective work, not all of them (as he had hoped) legal. But the stocky, lugubrious Boon, with his heart of gold, was a soft touch, committed to his work and unhappy about letting down employers.
His early associates were Doreen Evans (Rachel Davies) and Ethel Allard (Joan Scott).
Boon thought of himself as an urban cowboy, cruising the streets of the Midlands on his 650cc BSA Norton motorbike, which he called ‘White Lightning’.
He soon turned his hobby into a business by opening a courier agency – the Texas Rangers motorbike messengers – and employing a dopey biker by the name of Rocky Cassidy (Neil Morrissey) as his sidekick, and teenager Debbie Yates (Lesley-Anne Sharpe) as his secretary.
Ken’s best friend was fireman-turned-hotelier Harry Crawford (David Daker), a businessman of little brain who moved from premises to premises, trading up, until he finally went bust as the owner of a country house hotel.
Ken, who was by then working as a private eye with Rocky and new secretary Laura Marsh (Elizabeth Carling), agreed to join Harry in a new venture, Crawford Boon Security. Laura was later replaced by resourceful Alex Wilton (Saskia Wickham).
Elphick’s drink problems almost sank the Central Television series in 1988 – ironically while he appeared in television commercials advertising alcohol-free lager.
The series ended in 1992, although one episode remained untransmitted until 1995. The show’s theme song, Hi Ho Silver by Jim Diamond, was a UK Top 5 hit in 1986.