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Classic Crime: #13 – Spender – S02 E05 – Jimmy Nail – The Golden Striker

02/10/2022

Spender is a BBC television drama set in Newcastle upon Tyne, written by Ian La Frenais and Jimmy Nail, who also starred. The series was produced by Martin McKeand (1-14). The series was broadcast on BBC between 1991 and 1993. In all, 20 episodes were produced across three series, and one feature length special, set in and filmed in France.

It focused on the life and exploits of Detective Sergeant Freddie Spender (Nail) who was often chosen to carry out more daring police cases. With his criminal sidekick Stick (Sammy Johnson), Spender was one of the more remarkable TV detectives of the 1990s. The series featured a large amount of back story for the main characters with many episodes dealing with Spender’s domestic life, his family and circumstances. Some of the storylines were surprisingly dark; one episode featured the death of Spender’s wife at the hands of a ruthless gangster, another on the kidnap of one of his daughters.

No further series were produced after the special, despite the popularity of the show, and it being a smash hit for the BBC in terms of ratings.

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