1 9 8 3 – 1 9 8 4 (UK)
12 x 30 minute episodes
This children’s series from the BBC was part drama and part quiz game, featuring mysteries that would be solved by the “cadets” – the child audience in the studio – of the Space Office of Law Verification and Enquiry (SOLVE).
The “cadets” were treated to a fetching orange robe and enough Brylcreem to slick back their hair for all of eternity!
Each investigation commenced with Captain Zep (Paul Greenwood initially, and then Richard Morant) – the ultimate sleuth of the cosmos – providing a brief introduction to the crime video and reminding the cadets to take notes.
Zep, Principal Jason Brown (Ben Ellison) and scientific advisor Professor Spiro (Harriet Keevil) – replaced in the second series by Professor Vana (Tracey Childs) – would then interact with drawings of alien characters on drawn backgrounds in the video (thanks to the magic of bluescreen technology) as they analysed various clues.
Crimes under the spotlight included the murder of a silo guard on the planet Delos, the re-emergence of an ancient plague on the planet Santos, and 117 mysterious deaths at Sirap’s intergalactic space suit contest.
Zep would then discuss the clues before solving the crime in a final video.
There was also a weekly competition for the viewers at home where Captain Zep posed two questions about that week’s episode which, if answered correctly, would win the entrants a SOLVE badge.
The initial six episodes – which began in January 1983 – aired in the 5.10 pm slot on Wednesdays while the second series – starting in March 1984 – was on Friday afternoons.
Paul Greenwood (1)
Richard Morant (2)