August 5, 2008

Dawkins Does Darwin on a Journey of Evolution

A Series about cantankerous former coppers dragged out of retirement to tackle unsolved crimes may not sound like a formula for ratings gold, but New Tricks has proved to be one of the BBC's most consistently popular dramas and it's now ambling back for a fifth series.

If you haven't seen it before, it follows veteran detectives Jack Halford, Brian Lane and Gerry Standing as they try to get to grips with new fangled policing with the help of their long suffering boss DS Sandra Pullman, while proving that old-fashioned legwork and hunches do still have their place.

Although it could be compared to Life on Mars in reverse - or Waking the Dead with a dash of Last of the Summer Wine - the series clearly has an appeal all of its own.

But what is it that has made it such a ratings hit?

Dennis Waterman (pictured), who plays the department's resident Jack-the-Lad Gerry, believes the camaraderie between the ageing sleuths plays a part.

He says: "I think people like seeing four professional actors up there of a certain age.

"I suppose we must all have big egos but we leave them at home.

"Also, what's attractive is our lack of political correctness. Our characters disagree with modern police methods but as we're civilians we can cheat."

However, he's keen to point out that just because the cast may be more mature, it doesn't mean the viewers are all of a pensionable age too.

Waterman says: "I've only had good reactions from people and the demographic of viewers is very wide.

"There's a couple of ex-coppers at my golf club and they love it - but friends of my kids love it as well."

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