Series: A Touch of Frost

Frost: Get on the radio to the station son and tell Sergeant Wells we found a body in the churchyard. And when he stops laughing, tell him I think it is young Paula Barkner

A Touch of Frost (1992-2010) was a detective television series produced by Yorkshire Television for ITV. It was based on a series of books by R D Wingfield.

It starred Sir David Jason as Detective Inspector William Edward Frost, G.C., known as Jack to everyone but his late wife. He is a down-to-earth, straightforward copper who is more interested in banging up crooks than figures and statistics. His immediate superior, Superintendent Norman "Horn-rimmed Harry" Mullett, is a by-the-book, procedural man who seems to see Jack as a personal insult.

Let's be fair. Jack is, by whatever measure, a bent copper. He has planted evidence, bribed, bullied and tricked, but he does it to get the criminals behind bars. Old, grumpy and misogynistic, Frost has a near endless supply of dirty jokes and considers teaching someone how to fiddle his expenses claim to be a cornerstone of police training. He is not as great a detective as some other TV detectives are shown, but he is good at his job. The TV adaptation actually toned DOWN the scale of Frost's unscrupulous antics compared to the original crime novels.

He also has the George Cross, a fact that has saved his career more than once, after he tried and failed to commit suicide by armed criminal.

The show concluded in a two-part final in April 2010, with Georgie being killed after the bitter ex-husband of the woman Jack was about to marry drove his car into theirs.
This show provides examples of:
  • Anti-Hero: Jack, Pragmatic Anti-Hero.
  • Bookends: Jack being widowed in the first episode and remarrying in the last. And relatedly, being called William rather than Jack.
  • Bowdlerisation: The series is very, very, heavily toned down from the novels, in which Jack is much more unsympathetically bigoted, violent, irresponsible and semi-corrupt, and there is a lot more general depravity among the characters. It could be argued that the TV Frost is the sympathetic version of the Old-Fashioned Copper, and the prose Frost is the realistic one.
  • British Brevity: Seasons tended to be very short - seasons 7, 8, 9 and 15 were each a single two-part story, and seasons 12 and 13 were just one episode each, which tends to lead to them being lumped together as season 12, and season 13 being treated as an Un Installment.
  • Commuting on a Bus: Hazel Wallace was Put on a Bus when she was promoted from uniform to CID, but returned several times.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: One is featured in the very first episode.
  • Da Chief: "Horn-rimmed Harry" Mullet. In early seasons Denton CID was headed by DCI Jim Allen but he was Put on a Bus and Jack more or less became Da Chief in all but rank.
  • Death Seeker: In the aforementioned suicide attempt.
  • December-December Romance: Jack himself in the last series, with RSPCA investigator Christine Moorhead (Phyllis Logan).
  • Deus ex Machina: Frost's magic keys. It is never explained how he got them, where he got them and why they can open seemingly every door in Denton. It is theorized by some however that they are meant to be the mythical Police Skeleton Keys.
  • Downer Ending: Frequently, even when the killer is caught.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Frost's real first name is the normal sounding William, but prefers to go by the obvious nickname Jack.
  • Epunymous Title: "Night Frost", "Christmas Frost", "Hard Frost"...
  • Killed Off for Real: Of the recurring characters, Barnard and Toolan.
  • Let Me Get This Straight: An epic case occurs in the episode "Appendix Man" where a truly bewildered Jack is informed by police archivist Ernie Trigg that fingerprints found at a crime scene match those of the titular "Appendix Man" who died a year previously and Jack naturally employs this trope in response.
    • Frost: Are you trying to tell me that a bloke who died a year ago, hops out of his coffin; hitches a lift to Riverside Apartments commits a murder then nips back to the graveyard probably stopping off at the Red Lion for a pint?

  • Medal of Dishonor: Winning the George Cross is a matter of some embarrassment to Frost, even more so after Barnard dies in more heroic circumstances.
  • Nepotism: Subverted by DS Barnard. In-universe, he is initially seen as a beneficiary of nepotism, but with Jack's support he is able to prove himself as a capable detective.
  • Never Live It Down: In an unusual in universe example, Frost tends to get depressed whenever people refer to him winning the George Cross, feeling that he doesn't really deserve it.
  • No One Is Indispensable: Subverted once when, after saying it, Mullet is forced to admit that yes, for the moment at least, Jack is indispensable.
    • On the other hand when Frost starts catching flak for letting go a child abuser who's later blamed for a murder, a friendly journalist points out that if the publicity is bad enough anyone is expendable, even decorated heroes, so Frost had better get off his backside and find the real killer (he does).
  • Nice Hat: Jack's trademark trilby.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: "Jack" Frost.
  • Old-Fashioned Copper: And it eternally pisses off Mullet that Jack is naturally this although it is highlighted often that Jack's methods are reckless regardless of his results.
  • Overtook the Series
  • Police Procedural
  • Scars Are Forever: Jack has a facial scar which is explained by his back-story.
  • Useless Security Camera: In one episode, Frost asks Toolan if he managed to get the evidence from the camera for a murder that had happened in an alley, only to be told that it was facing the wrong way.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The location of Denton is never revealed. Fans believe it to be somewhere in or between Wiltshire and Oxfordshire given the repeated references to Swindon, Reading and Oxford within the show. Like the Trope Namer, Denton is a fairly common place name, though none of the real-life Dentons are big enough to resemble the fictional one.
  • You Called Me X, It Must Be Serious: Jack is only called by his real first name, William, by two people: his late wife in the first episode and Christine Moorhead in the last.
  • You Do Not Have to Say Anything

Alternative Title(s):

A Touch Of Frost