Racial intolerance and class warfare are the social themes providing the backdrop to the latest series of Inspector George Gently which returns to BBC One later this month.
Inspired by Alan Hunter’s novels and created by Peter Flannery, the series stars Martin Shaw as former Met Detective Gently and Lee Ingleby as his mouthy sidekick Bacchus.
The latest series is set in 1968, the year Enoch Powell made his infamous ‘River of Blood’ speech.
The first episode (Gently Northern Soul) guest stars Eamonn Walker and Lenora Crichlow and sees the racial unrest that is sweeping the United States finally reach British shores.
In Newcastle racial harmony can be found at the ‘all-nighters’ where disillusioned young people, black and white, escape the boredom of factory life to dance the night away.
But the equality found at the Carlton Ballroom all-nighter is destroyed when a young black girl is murdered, leading Gently to uncover a racist undercurrent growing within the local community.
Gently With Class sees a darker side of 1968 as the social landscape of the Western World is being shaken to its core. In Paris, riots rage as the workers and students take to the streets.
In the United States, thousands rally against the Vietnam War and in England, antipathy for the upper classes’ outmoded social graces and their abuse of privilege is growing by the day.
Gently and Bacchus experience the inflated authority of their ‘social betters’ first hand, when a beautiful young girl called Ellen Mallam is found dead in the passenger seat of an upturned car registered to local aristocrats.
Christopher Fairbank, Roger Lloyd-Pack and Geraldine Somerville guest star.
In the third 90-minute film, The Lost Child, Gently and Bacchus are thrown into an emotionally wrought case when a middle class couple’s adopted child is kidnapped. It takes them to a Mother and Baby home where young single mothers are forced to give up their babies – where the shame of illegitimacy still burns the cheeks of single mothers.
Guest stars include Mark Gatiss, Alison Steadman and Helen Baxendale.
The series finale, Gently In The Cathedral, sees Gently’s enemies from his London Met days coming after him. Gently finds himself suspended from duty – powerless, unprotected and persecuted. Gently must confront his deepest fears and fight to the death.
Lewis star Kevin Whately guest stars as an old friend and colleague of Gently.