WPC 56

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WPC 56
Alt=Series title over a line up of policemen and one policewoman in silhouette
Genre Drama
Created by Dominique Moloney
Starring
Composer(s) Debbie Wiseman
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 10 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Will Trotter
Producer(s) Mike Hobson
Location(s) Birmingham, West Midlands, England
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) BBC Birmingham
Broadcast
Original channel BBC One
Picture format 16:9 1080i
Original run 18 March 2013 (2013-03-18) – present
External links
Website

WPC 56 is a British drama television series. It was written by Dominique Moloney and is broadcast on BBC One. The series revolves around the first Woman Police Constable to join Brinford Constabulary, a fictional police force in the West Midlands, in 1956. The show focuses on WPC Gina Dawson's struggle to gain acceptance in the male-dominated police station whilst having to deal with the sexist attitudes that were commonplace at the time.

The first and second series were first broadcast in March 2013 and February 2014 respectively. A third series will be airing in the late autumn of 2014.[1]

Plot[edit]

Series 1[edit]

Set in 1956, the series follows WPC 56 Gina Dawson through the trials of being the first female officer to serve in her Midlands home town of Brinford. Chief Inspector Roger Nelson gives her a small office, previously a store, and tasks her with making tea, paperwork, dealing with children and women, and told not to distract the men, who might seek to protect her in dangerous situations, so they could deal with the important police work. She finds she has to work hard to be taken seriously by her male colleagues and is shocked by some of the methods employed by Sergeant Sidney Fenton and the blind eye turned by the rest of the officers to keep the Chief Inspector in the dark.

Dawson lives at home with her parents Joe and Brenda Dawson and has a boyfriend Frank Marshall.

The first series revolves round two missing boys and a serial attacker and the relationships of the officers families.

Series 2[edit]

Detective Inspector Jack Burns leaves the police to look after his sick wife and his daughters. He is replaced by, Londoner, Detective Inspector Max Harper. Inspector Nelson and Desk Sergeant Pratt are replaced by Briggs and Swift. Police Constable Eddie Coulson is on honeymoon with Cathy Sinclair. His father is now Assistant Chief Constable Coulson and he has sexual designs on WPC Dawson. Sergeant Fenton has a daughter and is on friendly terms with the local brothel madam, Rosie Turner, and crooked boxing promotor and villain, Lenny Powell. Cathy Sinclair is replaced by Susie Nightingale as the new secretary.

The second series revolves round a councilor's dead body and his missing girlfriend.

Production[edit]

It is a BBC Birmingham production.

Filming[edit]

Filmed in and around Birmingham with its source of period locations including the Jewellery Quarter and the Black Country Living Museum.[2]

Brinford police station exterior is Birmingham and Midland Institute on Margaret Street and the interiors in a disused building on Vittoria Street.[3]

Locations[edit]

Cast[edit]

Foreground:Gerard Horan, Jennie Jacques, Kieran Bew, Charlie De'Ath, John Light. Background:Justine Michelle, Chris Overton.
  • Jennie Jacques as Woman Police Constable Gina Dawson
  • Kieran Bew as Detective Inspector Jack Burns
  • John Light as Chief Inspector Roger Nelson (series 1)
  • Gerard Horan as Desk Sergeant Peter Pratt (series 1)
  • Charlie De'Ath as Sergeant Sidney Fenton
  • Chris Overton as Police Constable Eddie Coulson (series 1)
  • Justine Michelle Cain as Cathy Sinclair (series 1)
  • Marianne Oldham as Deborah Burns (series 1)
  • John Bowler as Chief Superintendent Coulson
  • Martha Howe-Douglas as Abigail Fenton
  • Tim Plester as Linus Brody
  • Tom McLarney as Sam Pratt (series 1)
  • Jonty Stephens as Joe Dawson (series 1)
  • Kathryn Hunt as Brenda Dawson (series 1)
  • Ben Turner as Detective Inspector Max Harper (series 2)
  • Mark Healy as Chief Inspector Briggs (series 2)
  • James Barriscale as Desk Sergeant Swift (series 2)
  • Liam Jeavons as Police Constable Tommy Perkins (series 2)
  • Jessica Duncan as Rebecca Jones (series 2)
  • Rachel Leskovac as Susie Nightingale (series 2)

Episodes[edit]

Series 1 (2013)[edit]

No. in
series
Title Directed by Written by Original air date UK viewers
(million)[4]
1 "Sink or Swim" Ian Barber Dominique Moloney 18 March 2013 (2013-03-18)
A man and his dog find a child’s skeleton in an abandoned mine, and a woman, Sylvia Stewart, is attacked in Victoria Park on her way home from work. A Jamaican man, Donald Palmer, is arrested who denies the assault but he knows the victim well. Under questioning in front of her parents she denies knowing a black man and Dawson believes the prejudice of the time prevents her telling the truth. DI Burns sends Dawson to the library to look at newspaper back issues for news items about a missing six year old boy.
2 "Memories are Made of This" Ian Barber Ray Brooking 19 March 2013 (2013-03-19)
Dawson discovers a newspaper item about two missing boys thirty years previously and DI Burns and Dawson break the news to one of the boys mother who identifies effects found with the skeleton as her son William. Chief Superintendent Coulson (revealed as Constable Coulson's father after a station inspection), who was a Sergeant at the time of the boys going missing, arrested a man for their murders and with little evidence and no bodies had the man committed to an asylum where he subsequently killed himself. DI Burns is still searching for a second skeleton. A second woman is attacked in the park but Sergeant Fenton dismisses the victim as she is a known prostitute. Dawson sees this as evidence that the locked up Palmer is innocent and risks her career by going to a West Indian club for information, only for Fenton to find her there.
3 "Great Pretenders" Ian Barber Dominique Moloney 20 March 2013 (2013-03-20)
DI Burns continues his investigation of the missing boys, as William is laid to rest, interviewing another suspect from the time. Fenton is a laughing stock when an informant misleads him about a planned bank robbery location, but he turns it to his advantage when he leads the capture of the gang at their hideout. A third woman is attacked in the park and Dawson goes to Palmer's trial to convince Sylvia Stewart to tell the truth. Fenton is furious with Dawson as the trial verdict is challenged. Burns' marriage is falling apart due to his wife's mental problems. Constable Coulson is stabbed breaking up a fight at a coffee bar where Dawson is present, along with her boyfriend and Desk Sergeant Pratt's son.
4 "Nature of the Beast" Niall Fraser Ray Brooking 21 March 2013 (2013-03-21)
All the resources of the station are turned to finding Coulson's attacker, and Fenton and Dawson work together and identify the attacker, Johnny Harris, a friend of Sgt. Pratt's son, who is in hiding. Burns has committed his wife to an asylum and his children are taken by his mother-in-law. Dawson consoles Burns over a drink in a pub overseen by Fenton who spreads malicious gossip throughout the station. The investigation into the missing boys continues and Burns' search uncovers a recently dead woman, who had a child aged six who died thirty years ago, who was living with her son of 37 who does not have a birth certificate. Fenton captures Coulson's attacker with help from Pratt's son. A fourth victim is found in the park - this one is dead.
5 "Little Boy Lost" Niall Fraser Dominique Moloney 22 March 2013 (2013-03-22)
The dead body in the park is another victim of the assailant, the first to be murdered. The Chief Superintendent - dissatisfied with Burns progress - seconds Sergeant Fenton to the C.I.D. and take charge of the investigation. Under pressure from Chief Inspector Nelson, Fenton decides to use Dawson as a decoy to flush out the assailant which she readily agrees to despite Burns objections. The plan works and Fenton arrests a suspect and in the confusion Dawson is left behind at the mercy of the real assailant and goes missing. Burns detective work and Fenton's doggedness lead a two pronged search for Dawson that takes the case in a full circle.

Series 2 (2014)[edit]

No. in
series
Episode Director Writer Original air date UK viewers
(million)[5]
1 "Cry, Cry, Cry" Niall Fraser Dominique Moloney 10 February 2014 (2014-02-10)
A funfair in Brinsford is the centre of the search for a missing 15-year-old girl who is besotted with the son of the owner. The girl's brother, leader of a gang of teddy boys, become involved in a fight with the fairground workers with tragic consequences. Debt owing councilor Daniel Pembroke's dead body, found in a flat, is the first case for the new Detective Inspector and WPC Dawson remembers him and his missing girlfriend, Rebecca Jones, at the funfair.
2 "Dead Man Dancing" Niall Fraser Ray Brooking 11 February 2014 (2014-02-11)
Counterfeit ten shilling notes are circulating in Brinsford and Harper is ordered to make it a priority over the dead body. Petty thief, Linus Brody (Fenton's informant), steals a purse and it leads Harper and Fenton to the arrest of the woman passing the notes. Information from the woman leads to the capture of the counterfeiters. WPC Dawson is sent undercover into The Sapphire Club, a seedy members club, where Rebecca Jones worked and meets gangster Lenny Powell, a crooked businessman, fight promoter and brothel owner. Boxer Mike Maddox refuses to take a dive and pays the consequences.
3 "Eye of the Storm" Niall Fraser Dominique Moloney 12 February 2014 (2014-02-12)
A police raid on a Gay pub brings trouble to Inspector Briggs who finds himself blackmailed. WPC Dawson's report of Coulson's propositioning of her to Briggs falls on deaf ears. Dawson continues undercover at The Sapphire Club falling for the club manager Chris Hutton. Harper finds Rebecca Jones at the railway station trying to escape from the brothel where she was being forced to work to pay her boyfriend's debts. Rosie Turner, brothel madam and love of Fenton, who aided her escape is visited by Powell and Fenton's wife receives an unexpected gift to his horror.
4 "That Old Devil Called Love" James Larkin Ray Brooking 13 February 2014 (2014-02-13)
Fenton's world is falling apart with the murder of Rosie Turner and witness Rebecca Jones in protective custody. Coulson goes to far in his sexual advances to Dawson, Unable to do anything she seeks comfort from Hutton at his nightclub. Susie Nightingale goes to a dating agency and falls foul of a confidence trickster. Harper links Powell to Turner's murder. Powell is charged and sees Dawson in the police station. In transit to prison Powell is sprung and heads for the nightclub and Hutton's part in the murders is revealed while Dawson sleeps in the next room.
5 "The Harder They Fall" James Larkin Dominique Moloney 14 February 2014 (2014-02-14)
Fenton, suspended, conducts his own search for Powell using petty thief Brody to locate a passport forger and then to Powell and the truth about the murders, Rosie, and his secret son Chris Hutton. Dawson's complaint against Coulson is backed up by constable Perkins but not to the outcome she expects. A final confrontation takes place at the safe house where Rebecca Jones is hiding when Dawson is followed by Hutton.

Series 3 (2014)[edit]

A third series of ten episodes was announced on 14 August 2014.[6] It will air on BBC One in the late autumn of 2014.

References[edit]

External links[edit]