28 October 2018 | wilsonstuart-32346
Juliet Bravo's Descendants
For those of you who don't know, Juliet Bravo was a successful, hard-hitting drama series set in a fictitious Northern town in the early to mid 1980s. Juliet Bravo (and its own predecessors) pushed the envelope on many an occasion.
There was only one UK cop series worth spit in the latter half of the 1990s - a tumultuous period for the British police services, under heavy fire for racism and their handling of corruption - and that was The Cops, perhaps known overseas as Stanton Blues, the fictional northern English town where most of the action took place.
The Cops would not be the first series to use cinema vertee hand held cameras; nor would it be the first to dwell on topical issues, or on the personal lives of individual officers (although it took a much more stark approach rather than histronics). What The Cops did so well was portray the police in a realistic manner - as people in uniform, doing a difficult and thankless job in a dilapidated environment almost overwhelmed by crime, decay and social problems.
Gloss and glamour were in very short supply on the harsh streets of Stanton. Stories were low-key, disquieting rather than melodramatic; violence was sudden and unexpected (including a contraversial death in custody - with all its repercussions), racism (which could cut both ways), malicious complaints, the possibility perjuring oneself, even mental health issues (some officers were walking examples of toxic masculinity); leadership obsessed with stats and targets hid behind management speak rather than make a decision; constables and skippers got on with it as best they could; gallows humour abounded. When the police advisor s withdrew their support some viewers might remember a parallel with another hard hitting (in its day) police series set in a fictitious Northern town - although unlike Z Cars, I suspect that The Cops had little to do with table manners!
During my own short lived career, practically every police officer who watched The Cops praised its authenticity (The Bill was held in derision as nothing more than a soap opera in fancy dress); crucially The Cops never declined into mediocrity or absurdity, remaining true to itself until the end. This was Britain's answer to The Wire over ten years before the latter was even conceived - The Cops, the men and women of Stanton, the descendants of Juliet Bravo.