The Brits Spin-Off

A few years ago, there was a series in England called TAGGART about a detective named Taggart (and I remember not being able to understand a word he said). When the actor playing Taggart died, they continued the series without him…and didn’t bother changing the name of the show. They are getting a little more savvy about spin-offs now. The great INSPECTOR MORSE series starring John Thaw as the title character, and Kevin Whately as  his partner Lewis, ended with the death of Morse (followed, sadly, a year or so later by the real-life death of Thaw). Now they are continuing the series with Lewis but have wisely decided to abandon their original title, AFTER MORSE, in favor of, simply, LEWIS. I wonder if they toyed with calling it TAGGART first, just for the hell of it.

Speaking of British spin-offs, forty years (or is it fifty?) after the premiere of DR. WHO, one of the UK’s longest running (and most re-cast) series, comes news of a spin-off called TORCHWOOD, featuring some character named Captain Jack. I don’t watch the show, so I have no idea what the hell they are talking about. But I wonder why they waited to long to capitalize on the show’s success.

The DR. WHO news reminds me of GUNSMOKE…they waited 19 years after the show’s premiere, and well past it’s ratings heyday,  to finally attempt a spin-off, a lame comedy called DIRTY SALLY. It lasted less than a season, cancelled shortly before GUNSMOKE itself the following year.

5 thoughts on “The Brits Spin-Off”

  1. FYI, there’s a reason the “Doctor Who” spinoff is coming when it is: The “Captain Jack” character wasn’t introduced until this year (in a recently launched, revamped version of the original show).
    Not that anyone here cares, probably, since the new “Who” series hasn’t made it stateside yet. But I’m a huge “Who” nerd, so I couldn’t resist jumping in with an explanation.
    Never caught “Dirty Sally”…and it sounds like I should be grateful.

  2. I don’t think this example makes your point. Do you mean the detective show Taggart? That show has had several lead changes, although each actor has played a different character (not replacing the same character with a different actor). David Jason has played Frost in A Touch of Frost since the beginning (1992) and continues to do so as of last month.
    As for Morse and Lewis, more than three years have elapsed since the last Inspector Morse episode (The Remorseful Day), so it’s kind of hard to call it a continuation in the usual sense.

  3. Don’t feel bad about not understanding a word Taggart(played by the excellently gritty Mark McManus) said. Most people in England needed subtitles for the Sauchiehall Street accent too.
    I never watched another episode after the sad demise of our eponymous hero. I mean, any point in watching Monk if the actual character disappeared from the show?

  4. Actually, Dr. Who did attempt a spinoff back in the early 80’s. They gave K9 and one of the former companions a show called K9 and company. But only one episode was made.


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