Steel River Blues

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Steel River Blues
Created byPatrick Harbinson
Directed byTim Dowd
Graeme Harper
StarringDaniel Ainsleigh
Satnam Bhogal
John Bowler
Clare Buckfield
Mark Cameron
Daniel Casey
Charles Dale
Joanne Farrell
Opening theme"Steel River Blues" by Chris Rea
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes7 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Keith Richardson
Producer(s)Ken Horn
CinematographyGeoff Healey
Editor(s)Terry Warwick
Running time60—90 minutes
Production company(s)Yorkshire Television
DistributorITV Studios
Original networkITV/STV/UTV
Picture format16:9
Audio formatStereo
Original release1 September (2004-09-01) –
13 October 2004 (2004-10-13)

Steel River Blues is a British television drama series, created by Patrick Harbinson, that was first broadcast in September 2004 on ITV.[1] Produced by Ken Horn, the series follows the working and private lives of a group of firefighters, known as Blue Watch, who are based in Middlesbrough. Critics were quick to dub the series "Middlesbrough's Burning" or "Teesside's Burning", after the popular fire-fighting drama that preceded it, London's Burning, yet there were very few similarities between the two, apart from them being about the business of firefighting.[2]

Like its predecessor, Steel River Blues was an ensemble drama without any single starring part, though perhaps the best-known actor was Daniel Casey, who was previously a co-star in Midsomer Murders. Other stars included Joanne Farrell, Stuart Graham, Daniel Ainsleigh and Satnam Bhogal.[3] The series title music was an original composition performed by Middlesbrough-born singer-songwriter Chris Rea. It was announced in January 2005 that the series would not be recommissioned due to low viewing figures.[4] Subsequently, the series has never been released on DVD.



No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUK viewers
(millions) [5]
1"Steel River"Tim DowdPatrick Harbinson1 September 2004 (2004-09-01)6.78
Extended episode. New station officer Bill McGlinchy arrives in Teesside and starts to make his mark on Middlesbrough Fire Station's Blue Watch. Control room operator Julie Priestley passes her firefighter training in the hope she can follow in her father's footsteps, but someone is standing in the way of her fulfilling her dream job.
2"Bloody Fridays"Tim DowdCharlie Fletcher8 September 2004 (2004-09-08)4.81
It's Friday night and it's a busy one for Blue Watch. Their first call is to some nuns trapped in a lift, but all is not as it seems. Julie gets more than she bargained for when she goes on the search for a stripper's missing python.
3"Family Fortunes"Graeme HarperAlan Whiting15 September 2004 (2004-09-15)4.74
Jeremy brings his troubles to work after finding out his girlfriend has been having an affair. Blue Watch attend an industrial accident and have to think quickly in order to rescue a trapped worker. Unsettling discoveries cause personal and professional problems on the moors.
4"What Goes Around"Graeme HarperPatrick Harbinson22 September 2004 (2004-09-22)5.29
The crew are targeted by an act of vandalism, and tragedy strikes when George Barnes has a dramatic experience on his way to an emergency scene. Bill receives visitors from his past.
5"Blind Man's Buff"Graeme HarperAlan Whiting29 September 2004 (2004-09-29)N/A
New firefighter Nicky Higgins arrives to replace injured George, and makes quite an impression on her new colleagues. Tony tries to find out who is responsible for his brother's injury. Andy and Dave have personal crises that they must each deal with in their own unique ways.
6"Flashpoint"Tim DowdPatrick Melanaphy6 October 2004 (2004-10-06)4.77
As George struggles to come to terms with his injury, Blue Watch are called to a fire on a packed boat. Joanne faces hostility from Tony and decides to confront him. A harrowing experience at a steel works forces Sunill to face personal demons. But will it cost him his life?
7"The Long Drop"Tim DowdCharlie Fletcher13 October 2004 (2004-10-13)4.88
Bill & Tony call an uneasy truce. George receives bad news and takes drastic action. Will Tony and the rest of Blue Watch save the depressed George? Or will they be too late?


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  5. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Retrieved 12 January 2014. (No permanent link available. Search for relevant dates.)

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