Gone are the days when honest viewers could sit back in their armchairs, look at the antics of an amateur crook, and say: “Telly is one thing. Real life is another.”
No more will third-form schoolboys who have mastered the mysteries of nitro-glycerine and matches be able to chuckle at TV’s version of a safe-blowing job.
At least, as far as No Hiding Place is concerned. A new look is coming to TV’s top ‘get your man’ series.
It’s all due to criminal consultant Colin Holder. For £25 a week, 27-year-old Colin, an ex-criminal himself, will be combing the scripts to make sure the TV criminal sticks to the letter of criminal law.
Consultants aren’t new to No Hiding Place. George Kelly, an ex-Detective Inspector with the Flying Squad, has been advising on the police side of the picture for some time.
There’s definite art in the use of phrases like casing a joint, haggling with a fence, stashing the cash, and avoiding the fuzz (police).
Not, of course, that I would know. But being of sterling character. I appreciate how the No Hiding Place script writers can slip on the finer points.
Said script editor Louis Marks: “We are looking deeper into the criminal character of our plots. For example, the first of the new series deals with the problems of a released prisoner. Colin can give us invaluable help in analysing the other side of the law.”
He continued: “No Hiding Place has already achieved top popularity as it stands.
“But this realism business is a trend we intend to concentrate on. And that’s where our experts come in. We are under no pressure from the police about the programme’s contents.”
Louis is well aware that a lot of people like No Hiding Place exactly as it is now.
“People write in saying how much they like the programme. Then they add that something happened to a relation or friend the other week which might convert into a good story.
“But to be absolutely frank, they are mostly unsuitable. Often, they arrive more as fan mail than anything else.
“We genuinely appreciate this sort of interest. But believe it or not we don’t have any difficulty finding new story lines — even after seven years.”
Louis, who was previously in charge of scripts for the Deadline Midnight series, will bring a new aspect of realism to the programme.
But No Hiding Place fans needn’t worry. The old firm of Detective Sergeants Perryman and Russell (Michael McStay and Johnny Briggs) will still be there — still complaining about the “old man.” Nothing can stop Lockhart!