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Series / Bergerac

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Bergerac is a BBC detective series that ran from 1981 to 1991. It starred John Nettles as Jim Bergerac, a detective in the police force of the island of Jersey.


This series contains examples of:

  • Animal Wrongs Group: Three activists release a bunch of plague-carrying monkeys. Less extreme than some examples; the only people infected are themselves, the death of one (who was dating Bergerac's daughter) is played sympathetically, and another has enough sense to turn himself in and get treatment. The group's leader is slightly more extreme but still non-violent, and surrenders because the police threaten to shoot a dog if she doesn't.
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  • Foe Romance Subtext: Jim has heavy erotic subtext with the recurring Classy Cat-Burglar Philippa Vale.
  • Hero's Classic Car: Jim Bergerac's 'maverick' personality was expressed by driving a Burgundy 1947 Triumph Roadster. The producers thought it looked cool but, as many a critic and viewer noted, it was a car supremely unsuited to Jersey's narrow, winding roads and 40mph speed limits. Nevertheless, it inspired a tradition throughout the 1980s and 1990s where any "quirky" police investigator or private detective in a British show would drive some kind of collectible car.
  • Mr. Smith: Bergerac finds a man has checked into a hotel using the name 'James Smythe', which Begerac remarks is nothing more than an upper-class version of 'John Smith'.
  • Retool: The last season had Bergerac relocate to the French mainland and become a private investigator.
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  • Senseless Violins: The tactic of hiding a gun inside a violin case is taken a step further when a character conceals a Skorpion sub machine gun inside a violin.
  • Spiritual Successor: The series was originally created as a replacement for Shoestring, using many of the same elements. Both shows are about an eccentric Defective Detective who has recently recovered from a breakdown, and both shows are set in different parts of the British Islands (the west of England for Shoestring, Jersey for Bergerac).
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: "The Dig" is a very disturbing horror episode in which gruesome events start occurring on an archaeological investigation of Norse graves, and it is implied right up to the end that they were due not to a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax but to real evil supernatural forces.
  • The show featured many episodes that were very dark or disturbing throughout such as 110% Proof, Holiday Snaps, Poison, Root and Branch, Crissie, The Assassin, Man of Sorrows and A True Detective. Other episodes would end on a dark or unpleasant note such as A Hole in the Bucket or Offshore Trades. Regular viewers would expect at least a couple of episodes a series would be darker than the rest.
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