- Dempsey & Makepeace
Dempsey and Makepeace
Main title card.
Format Action/Adventure Created by Ranald Graham Starring Michael Brandon
Composer(s) Alan Parker (musician) Country of origin United Kingdom No. of episodes 30 (List of episodes) Production Running time 50 minutes Broadcast Original channel ITV Original run 1985 – 1986
Dempsey & Makepeace (1984–86) is a British television crime drama made by London Weekend Television for ITV, created and produced by Ranald Graham. The leading roles were played by Michael Brandon (Dempsey) and Glynis Barber (Makepeace), who later married each other on November 18, 1989.
The premise of Dempsey & Makepeace is the oddball pairing of two police detectives: an elegant English noblewoman, Sgt (Lady) Harriet Makepeace, and a streetwise working-class New Yorker, Lt James Dempsey, both working for an elite and armed unit of the London Metropolitan Police.
When his partner Joey dies in a botched drugs operation and he uncovers police corruption at the highest level, Dempsey is under threat of assassination. With the help of his colleagues, he hurriedly leaves New York for London, on the pretense of an undercover international police exchange programme.
Harriet "Harry" Makepeace is the daughter of Lord Winfield (Ralph Michael), who owns one of the Stately Homes of England. Reference is made to his having formerly been in the army or secret service. Harry's grandfather is mentioned as an eccentric Victorian collector of antiques and rare items. Harry's mother is mentioned only once, by Harry's maternal uncle, Duffy, and it would seem the mother had died some time ago. Harry has made her way up through the ranks of the police force despite sexism by her male counterparts and the physical demands of the job.
Although there is initial reluctance on both sides, Harry and Dempsey work as partners in a specialized task force, SI 10, and they make a good team. SI 10 is under the command of Gordon Spikings, played by Ray Smith. A fourth regular role is that of Chas, played by Tony Osoba. Chas provides useful research and communications in the SI 10 office and occasionally has a more active role.
There were two double length episodes produced. The first was the pilot, "Armed and Extremely Dangerous"; and the second was the leading episode of season three, "The Burning".
The series' three seasons attained great popularity in the United Kingdom, with ratings averaging between 14 to 20 million viewers. The programme was sold to many countries in Europe(even in ex-eastern bloc countries like Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary) and around the world, including the United States. Dempsey & Makepeace merchandise such as jigsaw puzzles, children's annuals and replica toy cars were produced. At the height of the series' popularity, and during season two particularly, the British tabloid press hounded the lead actors for off-screen stories regarding their then budding personal relationship.
Much of the show's draw came from the good natured "will they or won't they" interplay and a suspected slowly evolving romance between the main protagonists, made possible by the obvious chemistry between the two lead actors. The show ended with an episode directed by Michael Brandon himself where Dempsey and Makepeace are forced to confront at least some of their feelings for one another.
The show was syndicated to the U.S. airwaves in the fall of 1985, usually being shown on Saturday afternoons or early Saturday evenings. Only the first 20 hours of the show were run in the U.S. market (straight thru in 19 weeks), with the "third" series of 10 episodes never being aired in the U.S., and disappeared by mid January 1986. To hype interest, the show was marketed in the U.S. as sort of a re-make of The Avengers, but, while well advertised, it never grew a following.
As of July 2009, the series was being repeated on ITV3 in the UK.
- Ray Smith – Chief Superintendent Gordon Spikings
- Michael Brandon – Lieutenant James Dempsey NYPD
- Glynis Barber – Detective Sergeant Harriet Makepeace, Lady Makepeace
- Tony Osoba – Det Sgt Charles Jarvis
In the UK, all three series of Dempsey & Makepeace were released on DVD in 2006 from Network DVD. They include interviews and audio commentaries on selected episodes with Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber. All are edited, heavily in some instances.
Starting with December 2004, DVDs and VCDs with all the episodes of the series were gradually added in Poland to a tv-guide magazine TV Okey!. They soon re-appeared in another collection series and finally, on the December 8 2008 a box with Season 1 episodes was released. So far, it has not been continued in this form, though.
A US DVD release (of all 30 hours), was announced for summer 2008, but has yet to materialize.
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