By Francis K. Beirne
‘Heartbeat’ is a period police drama series which was broadcast on ITV/Yorkshire TV from 1992 to 2010. It averaged over 14.5 million viewers in the first series, which regularly put it in the top five programmes across all channels.
Heartbeat was originally planned as a show for former EastEnder Nick Berry. He in fact recorded the show’s theme-song, the Buddy Holly song of the same name and reached No. 2 in the charts in June 1992.
The show has had many characters throughout its 18 seasons (372 episodes) including Dr. Kate Rowan, P.C. Nick Rowan, Sgt. Oscar Blaketon, P.C. Phil Bellamy, P.C. Alf Ventriss, Claude Jeremiah Greengrass, P.C. Mike Bradley and Bernie Scripps.
Only Derek Fowlds as Sgt. Blaketon and William Simons as P.C. Ventriss have been featured in all 18 seasons. The series is acquiring a new lease of life and many new fans on Virgin Media 3 each weekday at 8.00 p.m.
The programme’s title was chosen by writers to represent the series’ key characters who worked as police officers and medical staff – ‘heart’ for the medical themes featured regularly in the programme; and ‘beat’ based on the phrase ‘the bobby’s beat’.
Each episode’s set of storylines were inspired by those created for the Constable series of books, written by Nicholas Rhea (the pen-name of former policeman Peter Walker), which were focused on a police constable in the 1960s who came to Aidensfield, in order to serve the local community and solve crimes that took place on his new patch.
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