Road Wars (TV series)
Series 6 titlecard
|Created by||Bill Rudgard|
|Narrated by||Lee Boardman (2003–09)|
Claire Goose (2009–2010)
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||7|
|No. of episodes||88|
|Producer(s)||Raw Cut TV|
|Running time||50-60 minutes (inc. adverts)|
|Production company(s)||Raw Cut Productions|
|Picture format||PAL (576i)|
|Original release||26 July 2003 –|
24 January 2010
|Related shows||Street Wars|
Road Wars is a police reality television programme created by Raw Cut TV for British Sky Broadcasting and broadcast on Sky1 from 2003 to 2010. From Series 1 the show was narrated by Lee Boardman who played villain Jez Quigley in ITV soap Coronation Street. The 2nd half of series 7 was narrated by Claire Goose who played Inspector Rachel Weston in ITV police drama The Bill.
On 5 December 2017, PC James 'Dixie' Dixon who appeared in Series 4–6 was killed in a road traffic collision with a car while riding his unmarked police motorcycle. PC Dixon who was on a training exercise at the time did not have flashing lights or sirens on. A 91-year-old female passenger of the car involved in the collision also died.
Road Wars is unlike other previous police programmes on Sky in that it followed the work of officers rather than simply playing police video clips. The programme has documented the changing tactics of criminals and the response of the UK police forces. For six seasons the show followed officers in the Thames Valley, but moved to Devon and Cornwall for the last series in 2009. The programme also features some police videos both in the UK and mainly America. At one point it was claimed to be the number one factual crime show in the UK.
Mancunian Lee Boardman narrated the show until the second half of series 7. Road Wars was known for its light-hearted and pun-intended approach, particularly with the tone of the narrator. At the opening narration Boardman says In Road Wars, the unexpected is always just around the corner.
The title music was composed by Nainita Desai and Malcolm Laws. Other music was made by the series' co-creator Bill Rudgard. In series 1 the title card consisted of 'ROAD WARS' in red dot-matrix form. A new title card was made for series 3, which was slightly edited with yellow accents for series 6. The first two seasons had six episodes, series 3 and 4 had eight episodes each, and series 5 and 6 had 20 episodes each.
For series 7 as the show moved to another police force, a new title card and all new music was created. Boardman eventually left his position as narrator and the last 8 episodes were narrated by Claire Goose.
Thames Valley Police
For series 1-6, the programme followed the fourteen members of the Thames Valley Police's roads policing proactive unit (Road Crime Unit) - known as "Tango Victor". They are also said to be known to fellow officers as "Tango Vulture", taken from their callsign prefix TV (Tango Victor) and the joke that they swoop to steal arrests from other officers while they carried out their duties.
The footage from this team is combined with video footage from police forces around the world (though largely UK and United States forces).
Officers involved in Road Wars are listed below. As a specialist unit, officers tended to appear in a couple of series, or just for one series, as either the camera just didn't happen to follow them during the time they were filming for the series, or that the officer's tenure had come up (which is after 3 years of being in the team, as it is a specialised unit) and they had left the team.
The Thames Valley Police unit operates high-specification, unmarked 3.2L V6 Vauxhall Omegas (B2 model), replaced in later series by unmarked 2.8L Turbo V6 Police Special Vauxhall Vectras. The unit is tasked with taking a proactive role in fighting crime especially targeted towards street robbers and burglars, but also undertaking general traffic policing (the officers are drawn from normal Roads Policing teams).
Devon & Cornwall Police
In October 2008 the Thames Valley Police pulled out from the show after concerns on how its officers are depicted. From Series 7, the show moved on to follow the Road Crime Unit and the front line Dog Squad of Devon and Cornwall Police. The Road Crime Unit operates marked BMW 3 Series along with unmarked 2.5L Ford Focus STs.
There have been eight series of Road Wars. Four special episodes have been shown including two American episodes (known as Road Wars USA), which aired in 2005, where British police from the series travel to the U.S. to see the difference in police and criminal behaviour and two Christmas specials shown in 2003 and 2004. Three compilation editions entitled "Ultimate Road Wars", featuring action from the first six series, first aired on Sky1 on 11 November, 13 November and 1 December 2008.
|1||6||26 July 2003|
|2||6||21 June 2004|
|3||8||3 March 2005|
|5||20||8 May 2007|
|6||20||29 July 2008|
|7||20||17 February 2009|
In a special two part series called Road Wars USA, Andy Samuels and Chris Piggott spent a couple of months attached to a Gang Unit in Cicero, Illinois, near Chicago, to note how law enforcement is practised in the United States.
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|New Zealand||TV3 and CI|
|Australia||Seven Network and CI|
|United States||Fox Reality|
|Sweden||TV4 Fakta and TV4 Sport|
|Finland||MTV3 Fakta in Finland|
- ^1 Broadcast under the name 'De Politie Op Je Hielen
- Street Wars (also known as Street Law)
- Police Interceptors a show following police in Essex and South Yorkshire, and made by the same producers as Road Wars.
- Traffic Cops, (sometimes listed as Motorway Cops and Car Wars) a similar programme now shown on Channel 5.
- Brit Cops, similar police documentary on Sky Livingit.
- Police Stop!, a show from the 1990s showing footage from police car dashboard cameras, with occasional presenter links.
- Police Camera Action!, a similar programme on ITV.
- Street Crime UK, a similar programme shown on Bravo.