1 9 8 5 – 1 9 8 7 (UK)
20 x 60 minute episodes
This sequel to the 1978-1982 series Strangers – which itself was a follow-up to The XYY Man (1976-1977) – saw former DCI George Kitchener Bulman (Don Henderson) retired from the force and now repairing clocks for a living in an antique shop in the Shanghai Road, south-west London.
But his knowledge of the criminal world and his powers of detection were too great to lay to waste and he found himself dragged back into action.
Egging him on was Lucy McGinty (Siobhan Redmond), the daughter of a former colleague. A Medieval Studies student, she had thrown it all in to work with George and learn his criminology skills.
An academic secret service chap named William Dugdale (Thorley Walters) – a throwback to Strangers days – was also seen.
Away from the force, Bulman was now free from the restrictions of police ethics and practice and could go where policemen could not. But he was unprotected by ‘The Job’ and did not have the back-up of a large organisation.
The softly-spoken Bulman’s trademarks included his tatty string gloves, his 2CV car, a knowledge of the classics and the use of a Vicks nasal inhaler. He always carried a plastic carrier bag, too, which Don Henderson actually used to carry his personal belongings – including scripts – and it became easier to write this into the role than to persuade Don to leave the bag outside camera shot on location.
Several of these gimmicks were introduced by accident. For instance, Don Henderson first used an inhaler because he really did have a cold, and the gloves were employed to cover up a stubborn wedding ring which couldn’t be removed (Bulman was divorced).
A scarf covered Henderson’s throat cancer surgery scars, and the fact that he sometimes talked in a whisper was also connected to this ailment.
DS Derek Willis