Merseybeat (TV series)
|Genre||police procedural drama|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||4|
|No. of episodes||38|
|Running time||60 Minutes|
|Original network||BBC One|
|Original release||16 July 2001 – 19 January 2004|
|Merseybeat at the BBC|
Merseybeat is a British police procedural television series shown on BBC One, with a total of four series broadcast between 2001 and 2004. The series follows the personal and professional lives of one shift of police officers from the fictional Newton Park police station on Merseyside, England.
In 2001, prior the launch of the series, Merseybeat attracted controversy due to alleged similarities between its pilot episode and the murder of James Bulger, though the BBC defended the series, saying "there are no associations with the tragic case of James Bulger".
In July and August 2002, Merseybeat faced heavy criticism upon its return for a second series. The broadcasting standards commission criticised the quality of the series and ratings fell sharply. In June 2002, ratings fell below 5 million viewers for the first time in the series' history and, in August of the same year, The Guardian reported that the number of viewers had dropped by one million compared to the first episode of the second series.
In late 2003, when Merseybeat commenced its fourth series, it underwent a major revamp, including the scrapping of the title sequence and theme tune, which was replaced with a record from Liverpudlian band Cast. A more "gritty" approach to the drama was also part of the revamp, with the introduction of the station's CID and Mark Womack, formerly of Liverpool 1 as DI Hammond.
- Leslie Ash as Insp Charlie Eden
- Michelle Holmes as Sergeant Connie Harper
- Haydn Gwynne as Superintendent Susan Blake
- John McArdle as Supt. Jim Oulton
- Jonathan Kerrigan as Police Constable Steve Traynor
- Chris Walker as PC Larry "Tiger" Barton
- David Hargreaves as Sgt. Bill Gentle
- Eileen O'Brien as Maddie Wright
- Stephen Moore as Chief Constable Mike Bishop (later replaced by Sean Arnold).
For the first 3 series filming took place mainly in Widnes, Lancashire and also the neighbouring town of Runcorn in Cheshire, making heavy use of local landmarks such as the Silver Jubilee Bridge and Fiddlers Ferry power station. The police station itself was a disused Golden Wonder factory also located in Widnes.
For the 4th and final series filming was moved to Liverpool.
- "Merseybeat". London: BBC. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- "BBC defends police drama". BBC News (London: BBC). 16 July 2001. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- Flett, Kathryn (30 June 2002). "The second series of Merseybeat is more plod than drama, but there's nothing quite as funny as the filthy humour of A Life of Grime". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- Gibson, Owen (9 July 2002). "Merseybeat fails to arrest viewers". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- Cozens, Claire (20 August 2002). "Merseybeat takes a beating". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- McLean, Gareth (18 November 2003). "Let's talk about sex". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- "Michelle Holmes". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- "David Hargreaves". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 13 December 2009.
- "Eileen O'Brien". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 13 December 2009.