Shoestring (TV series)
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|Created by||Robert Banks Stewart
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||21|
|Running time||52 mins|
|Original channel||BBC One|
|Original run||30 September 1979 – 21 December 1980|
The programme ran between 30 September 1979 and 21 December 1980, in two series with 21 one hour-long episodes. Star Trevor Eve decided not to return to the role after two series, as he wanted to diversify into theatre roles, so the same production team changed the format to be based in Jersey and created Bergerac, also about a detective returning to work after a bad period in his life.
Eddie Shoestring is a computer expert who suffers a nervous breakdown. In those days computers were large bulky machines with open reel tape drives creating considerable noise. In one episode Shoestring visits such a computer room and finds it hard to maintain a steady grip.
After a period of convalescence, Shoestring decides to try his hand at detective work. His landlady, barrister Erica Bayliss, arranges for him to investigate a potential scandal involving an entertainer who works for the local Radio West.
After sorting the matter out, Shoestring visits Radio West to brief his client who has just chaired an unsuccessful planning meeting to come up with new programme ideas. Inspired by a sketch of herself made by Shoestring, Radio West's receptionist Sonia proposes that he is hired as the station's "private ear" to present a weekly broadcast entitled 'The Private Ear of Eddie Shoestring': members of the public are offered his services in order to investigate cases affecting them, such as disappearances or the unsolved deaths of loved ones.
The final episode was a Christmas special.
Afternoon repeats on BBC One in January 2002 were highly edited, cut down to between 42 and 44 minutes duration.
The real Radio West
Almost a year after the show finished, 27 October 1981 Bristol's first independent radio station was started under the name of Radio West. The franchise battle had been hard fought and two groups, Radio Avonside and Bristol Channel, came together to form the winning consortium.
- Trevor Eve – Eddie Shoestring, a computer expert who suffers a nervous breakdown and turns to detective work instead. He is hired as "Private Ear" for Radio West and investigates cases for the public free of charge. He is sometimes called "bootlace".
At first he drives an old Hillman Hunter, when this is destroyed it is replaced with a bright orange Ford Cortina estate.
- Michael Medwin – Don Satchley, the owner of Radio West. He sometimes finds that Shoestring's cases conflict with his commercial interests.
- Doran Godwin – Erica Bayliss, Shoestring's landlady who got him the job at Radio West where, as a barrister, she sometimes provides legal advice. There are some hints of a romance between them.
- Liz Crowther – Sonia, receptionist at Radio West.
The episode "Find The Lady" featured singer Toyah Willcox and allowed her to perform some of her own material in character.
BBC Books published two novels based on the series written by Paul Ableman, 'Shoestring' (1979) and 'Shoestring's Finest Hour' (1980)
Shoestring was scheduled to be released on DVD (Region 2, UK) by DD Home Entertainment in 2005 but was abandoned due to the high cost of music rights licensing (the series being set at a radio station).
However, 2|entertain have confirmed a UK (Region 2) DVD release of Series One for 17 October 2011. Episodes will be uncut apart from one small music replacement, the first time the series has been seen uncut since UK Gold screenings in the early 1990s.
In June 2012, the first series was released as a box set.