Francis Kaye profiles the writer of the popular TV series, Heartbeat, set in a 1960s Yorkshire village

One of the most popular TV series in the past 50 years is without doubt, ‘Heartbeat’, first produced by Yorkshire Television and subsequently by ITV, from 1992 to 2009.

Set in the village of Aidensfield, in the Yorkshire Dales, it centred on the everyday life of the village police constable, his wife, colleagues and various characters from the village and its surrounding area. We met characters such as PCs Nick Rowan, Phil Bellamy and Alf Ventress; Sergeant Oscar Blaketon and his nemesis Claude Jeremiah Greengrass; Bernie Scripps, the local undertaker and mechanic; George Ward who ran the Aidensfield Arms and his pretty daughter Gina.

The homely series brought viewers back to the 1960s with stories of humour, tragedy, crime and daily struggles complete with a soundtrack of hits from the ‘60s. ‘Heratbeat’ ran to over 350 hour-long episodes, of which the last was broadcast on Sunday 12th September 2010.

The series was based on the books of a real-life police constable named Nicholas Rhea (real name Peter Walker). For 40 years, he has been writing books, drawing on his experiences in the police force, his never-ending enthusiasm for Yorkshire and his continuing interest in crime fact and fiction. He remained involved with the series as a consultant until filming ended in 2009.

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