Jeffery Farnol
Appreciation Society

Television


JASPER SHRIG, BOW STREET RUNNER

Jasper Shrig, the pipe smoking 'Bow Street Runner' was the first historical detective to appear on BBC TV, in May 1964. The Bow Street Runners, named after the location of their London headquarters, were the first police force in England to be set up to fight crime in the middle of the lawless eighteenth century.

The 'Runners' had rarely been featured in crime fiction until the series of novels featuring Shrig written by Jeffrey Farnol began to appear in the 1920's.

Jasper Shrig, who was alledgedly based on on a real Bow Street Runner, made his debut in 'The Loring Mystery' (1925) and continued to display his own peculiar and original methods of detection in 'The Jade of Destiny' (1936) and 'Murder By Nail' (1942) as well as appearing in several short stories e.g. 'Footprints'.

Although not an obvious choice for television, Shrig made his debut in the series 'Detective' which was introduced by Rupert Davies, in his already famous guise as Maigret.

Jasper Shrig was portrayed on the screen by Patrick Troughton, the veteran character actor who is perhaps best remembered for his role as the jaunty second Doctor Who.

Despite a strong audience reaction, however, Troughton refused to repeat the role of Shrig in a second series made in 1968.

The part was taken over by Colin Blakely who presented Shrig as a rather more self-effacing though none the less doggedly persistent Bow Street Runner.

The colourful fifty-minute episodes were enthusiastically received by media critics although Jeffrey Farnol himself had sadly not lived long enough to enjoy this acclaim for a character for whom he always nursed a soft spot.

Karol Cebula

 

Transmission details:-

Detective

Radio Times Entries with cast listings:-

This site says that both episodes exist in the BBC archive.

 









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