The Detectives (BBC1, 1993-1997)
Jasper Carrott is someone who has made a lot of comedy shows over the years that featured a mixture of stand-up routines and various sketches (and he also hosted the great Carrott’s Commerical Breakdown that I reviewed a while ago). During his Canned Carrott series in the early-90s, there was a sketch featured every week called The Detectives, and this did well enough to be turned into a full series.
Carrott played Louis, alongside Robert Powell, who was Briggs. They were a totally incompetent pair of detectives, but they somehow managed to solve their cases, although this was only because they usually bumbled to a conclusion by accident, rather than through hard work. The only other regular character is Superintendent Cottam, who usually despaired at how useless they could be.
Cottam was played by George Sewell, who had previously appeared in the crime drama series Special Branch. This show was essentially a parody of those type of shows, another famous one being The Sweeney. Also making some guest appearances were people sending up their roles in similar crime shows, including John Nettles, who played a character that was just about the same as his one in Bergerac.
There were also a good amount of guest appearances from various familiar faces either as characters or as themselves who were happy to join in, including Barry Cryer, Noel Edmonds, Anthony Head, Jimmy Tarbuck, and many others. Another notable thing about The Detectives was that the episodes weren’t made in a studio, but on location. This meant that our bumbling pair had much more opportunity to travel around and cause chaos.
The Detectives was one of those sitcoms that never really caused a sensation with viewers, but it always ticked along with plenty of good moments, and it ended up doing well enough for there to be five series (longer than most 90s sitcoms ran for), and everything concluded in the final episode that was an extended Christmas special. Louis and Briggs then reunited for a bonus sketch in 2012. Some rather amusing outtakes also featured on Auntie’s Bloomers, where they had a good giggle.
All 30 episodes have been released on DVD. One more thing it’s worth saying about The Detectives is that the production company was Celador, which went on to produce Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the game show that ended up not doing too badly, and later Carrott had a go at hosting a game show himself with Golden Balls. The less said about Carrott’s other sitcom All About Me, the better though.