newtricksHaving been abandoned by the Ban Chéile while she took on a week long tour of conference engagements (or gigs as I like to call them) in Poland, I sat last week staring mindlessly at the Goggle Box. Up popped a very popular British cop drama called New Tricks- 7 million viewers an episode on terrestrial TV. The series is in its 10th season and despite some major cast changes it’s still going strong. The series is built around a group of three retired cops (James Bolam, Alun Armstrong and Dennis Waterman) who are taken on to run a cold case unit under the supervision of a very attractive Det. Superintendent (Amanda Redman). As you would expect with a cast like that the acting is excellent and despite the fact it’s somewhat sanitised by being a BBC production the storylines are at least well written and plausible. As you can tell I quite enjoy the odd episode (maybe one from each season on average, but I like it nonetheless).

Season 8 saw the character played by James Bolam killed off when the actor decided his part had run its course. Season 9 was Alun Armstrong’s turn to bow out after an apparent row with writers and he was ‘killed off’. And now at the end of season 10 Amanda Redman is calling it a day too. Only Dennis Waterman will remain of the original cast members and yet there are no plans apparently to axe the show. Adding two other veteran actors, Denis Lawson and Nicholas Lyndhurst, to replace Bolam and Armstrong, will no doubt secure the programmes place in the schedules and adding Tamsin Outhwaite as the new DS won’t hurt. If this was a US show I doubt if the series would have survived the second key cast member’s demise.

I can’t help thinking how brave the three departing actors were- Bolam (73), Armstrong (67) and Redman (56) – given how youth-oriented the showbiz industry is and always has been. They each made a decision to give up a steady gig to move on and at a time in life when most of us are clinging on to the security of ‘The Job’ for dear life – over 50 reads unemployable in most CVs. I’m looking forward to seeing them in their next ‘project’ and dropping in on the new old boys in New Tricks (if you know what I mean…).

* Ban-Cheile means Wife/Spouse/Life Partner in the Irish Language. A literal translation would be “woman I’m together with” or thereabouts. 

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