Backup (TV series)

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Created by Nigel McCrery
Written by Nigel McCrery
Roy Mitchell
Directed by Jan Sargent
Bob Blagden
Starring Martin Troakes
Christopher John Hall
Nick Miles
Katrina Levon
Calum MacPherson
William Tapley
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 14 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Caroline Oulton
Chris Parr
Producer(s) Hilary Salmon
Running time 50 minutes
Original network BBC1
Original release 7 September 1995 – 2 July 1997

Backup is a BBC crime drama series, focusing on the work of a police Operational Support Unit, similar to the Territorial Support Group. Created by Nigel McCrery and Roy Mitchell, who famous co-created Silent Witness and New Tricks, the series ran for a total of fourteen episodes across two series, between 1995 and 1997. Martin Troakes, Christopher John Hall and Nick Miles star as the main protagonists of the series, Bill Parkin, Eric Warren and John Barrett.[1] A third series of the show was not commissioned due to declining viewing figures.


Initial press releases for the series stated, "When things get too much for the officers on the front line, they call for Backup, the Operational Support Unit (OSU)."[2] Devised by Nigel McCrery, who was a former police officer himself, the series based on the operations of the nine officers of Charlie Van, an OSU squad of the West Midlands Police, and with a strong focus on the personal lives of the officers. Critical acclaim for the series was mixed, with many viewers stating that despite the high quality of the opening episodes, the standard and pace of the overall story arc began to decline, and that the last episode of the second series does not tie up all of the loose ends previously suggested during series one.[3]


Episode list[edit]

Series 1 (1995)[edit]

Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate
1 "Not All There" Roy Mitchell Jan Sargeant TBA 7 September 1995 (1995-09-07) (90-minute episode)
The members of Charlie Van are assigned to a team investigating serial murders.
2 "Tender Loving Care" Steve Trafford Jan Sargeant TBA 14 September 1995 (1995-09-14)
An ex-soldier back from Bosnia has plans to prevent his sister getting married - plans which result in the team being called in.
3 "Toleration Zone" Steve Trafford Jan Sargeant TBA 21 September 1995 (1995-09-21)
The team are called in when a community takes vigilante action to rid the area of prostitutes.
4 "Mouth and Trousers" Avril E. Russell Douglas Mackinnon TBA 28 September 1995 (1995-09-28)
Charlie Van is called into action when the leader of a hooligan gang is stabbed before a football match, but need back-up themselves when a riot between rival gangs looks inevitable.
5 "Badlands" Simon Stirling Douglas Mackinnon TBA 5 October 1995 (1995-10-05)
The team are assigned to a tough inner-city housing estate when events threaten to spiral out of control.
6 "Happy That Way" Roy Mitchell Douglas Mackinnon TBA 12 October 1995 (1995-10-12)
The team have to go undercover as prostitutes, drug dealers and rent boys, in order to stamp out crime on a local common. They catch a copper from another nick with an under age girl in his car.
7 "Clubbing" Roy Mitchell Bob Blagden TBA 19 October 1995 (1995-10-19)
The team have to join forces with the Drugs Squad to take part in a raid on a club.
8 "Cut and Dried" Roy Mitchell Bob Blagden TBA 26 October 1995 (1995-10-26)
A routine surveillance job for Charlie Van turns into a tragedy. Staking out a drug dealer's home, the team see two police colleagues go inside.

Series 2 (1997)[edit]

Episode Title Written by Directed by Viewers
Original airdate
1 "A Night Out with the Lads" Roy Mitchell Bob Blagden TBA 28 May 1997 (1997-05-28)
The team investigate illegal boxing matches and find the body of a teenage boy.
2 "Partners" Susan Wilkins Bob Blagden TBA 4 June 1997 (1997-06-04)
Three convicts have escaped from prison. One is recaptured, and the team is called on to locate the others.
3 "Touched" Avril E. Russell Jan Sargeant TBA 11 June 1997 (1997-06-11)
The team attends the scene of a train derailment that could cost several lives.
4 "Presence" Robin Mukherjee Jan Sargeant TBA 18 June 1997 (1997-06-18)
The team provide assistance on a housing estate being ruled by a protection racket.
5 "Not Cricket" Robin Mukherjee Jan Sargeant TBA 25 June 1997 (1997-06-25)
A worker at a local factory is sacked, leading to unrest in the local community. The team is called to attend the picket lines.
6 "Something for the Weekend, Sir?" Roy Mitchell Bob Blagden TBA 2 July 1997 (1997-07-02)
D.I. Overton is suspected of involvement in a paedophile ring.

External links[edit]