Star Cops

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Private Frazer
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Star Cops

Post by Private Frazer »

I’m fascinated to learn that Linda Newton (who played the character Pal Kenzy) has, among many other things since then, helped to raise money for endangered species. from2012 from2015

I always look forward to watching an episode of Star Cops with its clever plots. There’s a lot revealed about the characters’ different lives too; all the cops themselves (Nathan, David, Colin, Kenzy and Anna) but also Alexander and others. It's TV Sci-Fi I'm interested in, even if this programme has got me wondering if there something in good crime drama!

Star Cops first episode, An Instinct for Murder, is as great a start to a TV Series as any with its extended opening title music setting the scene for their investigations. It’s split earth/space narrative with lots more on the side, such as how the men on the space-station, perhaps out of boredom but also as a way of sparring, throw each other film quotes. I like how Nathan gets himself involved with something like “you think you’re the only one to see a movie!”. The difficulty of the case on the space-station seems exacerbated by the relative simplicity of the one on earth. Nathan was quick at delegating it but notice how its him who gives the guy all the leads. So Nathan’s expression is timeless when his boss informs him that he’s promoted the man. He has indeed now got “nowhere else to go”! I’d love to hear any thoughts on this first episode - especially anything that may go unnoticed.
"Now listen you guys, I don't wish to alarm you but there's some pretty weird things going on out here..."

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Ross
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Re: Star Cops

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As a teen I thought it was a terrific series and still do now. Shame it only lasted one series, and even that was curtailed due to a strike.

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Post by GarethR »

I really ought to like it, because it's adult sci-fi written by Chris Boucher, but I've never been able to get into it. I've got the DVD somewhere, I'll give it another go eventually.

I remember trying to watch the first episode on its original TX, and being completely put off by the title song. In retrospect I can see why it was quite a clever idea to have a theme that *didn't* shout "sci-fi drama", but the song still gives me trouble. The title, too, was possibly a bit too clever for its own good - I wonder how many potential viewers took it at face value when they saw it in the listings, and avoided it in consequence?

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John Williams
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Re: Star Cops

Post by John Williams »

I really liked Star Cops when it was originally transmitted, and at a time when I was obsessed by poetry it also spurred me on to read an awful lot of William Blake. I've never got around to watching it properly again though, despite having it on DVD and I should rectify that.

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Re: Star Cops

Post by Bob Richardson »

I was the graphic assistant on "Star Cops" and did all of the live graphic displays in the studio. We weren't given any guidance and I was left to invent "data streams" for video displays. I recall using the internal BBC programme number, as shown on the script cover, for Earth-Moon "telephone numbers" and getting a gentle bollocking from Evgeny Gridneff (producer) for not being more inventive. Watch out for Earth-Moon dialling codes beginning "LDL" (internal BBC Code for drama series)...

One of the principal characters was suddenly written out as I think the actor developed hepatitis or something equally unpleasant and was rapidly hospitalised.
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Re: Star Cops

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Bob Richardson wrote: One of the principal characters was suddenly written out as I think the actor developed hepatitis or something equally unpleasant and was rapidly hospitalised.
Erick Ray Evans, but he was only written out of the final episode according to Wikipedia. He died in 1999.

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Re: Star Cops

Post by ctraynor »

Not seen a full episode since 1987, but I remember thinking the middle few episodes (In Warm Blood was one) were good.

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Re: Star Cops

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That film quote David completes with “If god didn’t want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep” is from the bandit leader in The Magnificent Seven who doesn’t care about robbing some villagers. I see now why David is taken aback at its use by a man who later turns out to be “a murderer”; he doesn’t care for politicians and seems to have more than a chip on his shoulder.

I thought this might be interesting. I didn’t notice before that something similar to the quote appears again slightly later when the following conversation is going on (at the same time as one between David and Kenzy) :
Man: “ I don’t think they should use cretins to fly those things”
Euro Channel 7: “If god didn’t want us to be cretins he wouldn’t have given us computers”.
I really enjoy discovering things like this, seemingly hidden away, in Star Cops.
"Now listen you guys, I don't wish to alarm you but there's some pretty weird things going on out here..."

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Re: Star Cops

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Ross wrote:As a teen I thought it was a terrific series and still do now. Shame it only lasted one series, and even that was curtailed due to a strike.
Yes, pity about the tenth episode, ‘Death on the Moon' and with Graeme Harper the intended director too.
GarethR wrote: … I remember trying to watch the first episode on its original TX … The title, too, was possibly a bit too clever for its own good - I wonder how many potential viewers took it at face value when they saw it in the listings, and avoided it in consequence?
The title does make it sound more gritty than the nod to ‘follow your hunches’ that it actually is. It could well still deter viewers but I hope not.
John Williams wrote:I really liked Star Cops when it was originally transmitted, and at a time when I was obsessed by poetry it also spurred me on to read an awful lot of William Blake....
Episode three has the Blake quotes. The screen showing the congested channel tunnel trains is all very exciting.
Bob Richardson wrote:I was the graphic assistant on "Star Cops" and did all of the live graphic displays in the studio...
Its good to hear from someone involved. There are a lot of cool displays used in the Star Cops stories.

I was sorry when I heard a while ago about Erick Ray Evans. They are all terrific actors.
ctraynor wrote:Not seen a full episode since 1987, but I remember thinking the middle few episodes (In Warm Blood was one) were good.
Of all the episodes I only find the second one, because of the death, less enjoyable.
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Re: Star Cops

Post by MDK »

It didn't really grab me on original viewing but perhaps I'l give it another go. Won't however be paying the extortionate prices being asked for the DVD online - the good quality episodes on Youtube look a cheaper bet.

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Re: Star Cops

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Private Frazer wrote:The title does make it sound more gritty than the nod to ‘follow your hunches’ that it actually is
I actually meant the opposite. "Star Cops" makes it sound like crap cheesy sci-fi, which could easily have been enough on its own to put people off. Only if you're interested enough investigate further do you discover that it's an in-universe disparaging term for the space police.

Not sure what you mean by "nod to 'follow your hunches'".

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Re: Star Cops

Post by BrentCleever21 »

GarethR wrote: I actually meant ..."Star Cops" makes it sound like crap cheesy sci-fi,.
I agree, it sounds like a working title that they never managed to top ( a bit like "Doctors"). I remember a review (possibly in The Listener) which said that David Calder's character came off like a social worker ( exchanges like "I'm sorry" - "Oh, you're SORRY")...maybe it was a mistake to start the first episode with so much of the story on Earth.
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Re: Star Cops

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GarethR wrote:
Private Frazer wrote:The title does make it sound more gritty than the nod to ‘follow your hunches’ that it actually is
I actually meant the opposite. "Star Cops" makes it sound like crap cheesy sci-fi, which could easily have been enough on its own to put people off. Only if you're interested enough investigate further do you discover that it's an in-universe disparaging term for the space police.

Not sure what you mean by "nod to 'follow your hunches'".
I thought you were referring to the title of the first episode.
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Re: Star Cops

Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

BrentCleever21 wrote:
GarethR wrote: I actually meant ..."Star Cops" makes it sound like crap cheesy sci-fi,.
I agree, it sounds like a working title that they never managed to top ( a bit like "Doctors"). I remember a review (possibly in The Listener) which said that David Calder's character came off like a social worker ( exchanges like "I'm sorry" - "Oh, you're SORRY")...maybe it was a mistake to start the first episode with so much of the story on Earth.
Much as I love the series, the first episode lets it down a bit. Considering how much stronger the second is, it might have been better to have shown the back-to-back or even combined.
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Re: Star Cops

Post by cdnbob »

I remember when it first aired via PBS here in Canada thinking it was a fantastic series with great acting and great stories. I really enjoyed it as did several of my friends who were also into SF-TV. I've got the DVDs but haven't got around to watching it again either. Think I should dig it out.

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It was good to see Justin Hayward just now, who of course composed and performed the title tune 'It Won't be Easy', on BBC4's tribute to Burt Bacharach (singing 'What the World Needs Now'). I enjoy the Star Cops title tune.

Episode Two, 'Conversations with the Dead', is when we first see the no-nonsense Colin Devis of course, who is initially an earth cop. I've a feeling that as much of episode two is set on earth as in episode one, so I don't feel that episode two would have made a better start myself (as was suggested). There are some visually startling incidents up in space in this one and so I do prefer that part of the story. The incidental sound is great throughout though.
"Now listen you guys, I don't wish to alarm you but there's some pretty weird things going on out here..."

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Re: Star Cops

Post by Ross »

The model work for the show is amazing. I think it's the BBC effects department's best effort on that score.

As a young teen I longed to have a device like Box. And now, I almost do. Just another couple of Siri upgrades and we'll be there.

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Re: Star Cops

Post by AndrewP »

Just made a start on the Miwk book "Above the Law: The Unofficial Guide to Star Cops" and *very* much enjoying what I've read so far. Some really lovely interview material with those involved in front of and behind the cameras. This is a series with a lot of potential which I have fond memories of and it's good to see that it's finally being celebrated with a volume of this nature.

All the best

Andrew

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Re: Star Cops

Post by rosalyn »

I remember watching...and enjoying...Star Cops, and had hoped there would be more of it. Alas it wasn't to be.

I don't think it was ever repeated either...was it?

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Re: Star Cops

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rosalyn wrote:
Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:20 pm
I remember watching...and enjoying...Star Cops, and had hoped there would be more of it. Alas it wasn't to be.

I don't think it was ever repeated either...was it?
I don't think it's been repeated but there are great Audios The return of Star Cops!
"Now listen you guys, I don't wish to alarm you but there's some pretty weird things going on out here..."

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Re: Star Cops

Post by Andy Marriott »

Can be seen on Britbox, but unfortunately they only stream at 25fps progressive, so it will look 'filmised'.

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Re: Star Cops

Post by AndrewP »

Finished reading "Above the Law" now (well, apart from the Big Finish section because my wife and I aren't quite up to date with the releases and we don't want to read about the later cases before we hear them) and it's really been a very enjoyable and informative experience. The new interview material that Paul Watts has acquired is a particular selling point and really puts across the atmosphere of working on the series from the comments of the cast and the crew, in addition to which there's some very interesting coverage of the special effects work.

Well worth getting if you're a fan of the show or have an interest in television production of this era.

All the best

Andrew

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Re: Star Cops

Post by rosalyn »

Andy Marriott wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:38 pm
Can be seen on Britbox, but unfortunately they only stream at 25fps progressive, so it will look 'filmised'.
Yes, I've had a look at a couple online and have noticed that. At least you can view it in the proper ratio though.

I've recently hopped on another thread elsewhere and someone has posted a photo of Thunderbirds they've taken pointing their camera at their 16:9 TV. The 4:3 image is squashed flat top and bottom, and stretched sideways so everything looks egg-shaped. I know this is probably going off topic here, but it really beggars belief that people choose to watch programmes this way.

Which brings me back to your comment. I don't suppose any of the viewing public who want to watch Star Cops on Britbox, will care about framerates.

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Re: Star Cops

Post by AndrewP »

rosalyn wrote:
Wed Nov 04, 2020 12:47 pm
Andy Marriott wrote:
Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:38 pm
Can be seen on Britbox, but unfortunately they only stream at 25fps progressive, so it will look 'filmised'.
Yes, I've had a look at a couple online and have noticed that. At least you can view it in the proper ratio though.

I've recently hopped on another thread elsewhere and someone has posted a photo of Thunderbirds they've taken pointing their camera at their 16:9 TV. The 4:3 image is squashed flat top and bottom, and stretched sideways so everything looks egg-shaped. I know this is probably going off topic here, but it really beggars belief that people choose to watch programmes this way.

Which brings me back to your comment. I don't suppose any of the viewing public who want to watch Star Cops on Britbox, will care about framerates.
Oddly enough, back in the 1980s if there was *one* show I'd always wished had been made on film rather than on tape it was "Star Cops".

All the best

Andrew

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Re: Star Cops

Post by rosalyn »

It's an interesting thought Andrew. It does make you wonder what 'Star Cops' would have looked, and more importantly, have felt like.

Some shows though I feel work better on tape. Brian Clemens 'Thriller' for example. This series has always worked for me, and one I think they got right from the word go in terms of atmosphere. I just don't think they would have been able to create the same kind of mood, much of it coming from Laurie Johnson's incidental music score, on film that they somehow managed to achieve on tape.

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Re: Star Cops

Post by Mark »

It would have been a very different series on film, I probably wouldn't have liked it for a start.

I agree with Rosalyn, shows like "Thriller" work best on VT, same with "Sapphire And Steel".

"Star Cops" had such good scripts, the dialogue held your attention, you can bet anything it would have been more action than chat on film.
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