1 October 2006 | ShadeGrenade
'Hazell' was the creation of Gordon Williams and Terry Venables ( yes, that Terry Venables! ). A sort of Cockney version of 'Philip Marlowe', James Hazell looked cool driving around '70's London in his Triumph Stag. His main adversary was Detective-Inspector 'Choc' Minty, a hard-faced Scotsman who acted as a kind of 'Teal' to Hazell's 'Saint'. With its brassy opening theme and Bond-style titles, 'Hazell' blasted onto I.T.V. with the force of a howitzer. The plots ran the gamut of '70's crime show clichés ( missing children, drug smuggling, bank raids ), with Hazell often on the receiving end of a good hiding from some underworld felon. What lifted it above the average were the witty scripts and Nicholas Ball's laconic performance in the title role. At the time, he was married to 'Not The Nine O'Clock News' star Pamela Stephenson. 'Hazell' made him a star, but alas the fame it brought him was fleeting. Allegedly the series ended after only two seasons because Ball issued an ultimatum - do it on film or else. The prospect of 'Hazell' becoming a Euston Films Production was certainly intriguing, but alas it wasn't to be. Williams and Venables later confessed that they thought him too young for the role anyway, their preferred choices were John Bindon and Michael Elphick. I.T.V. briefly considered reviving the series a few years ago, but decided against it on the grounds that it was 'dated and sexist'. Haven't times changed!