10 Best British TV Cops

By Kieran Kinsella

PC George Dixon (Jack Warner) in Dixon of Dock Green. TV stations did not have the same level of competition in the black and white days as they do today but nevertheless 22 years is a long run by anyone’s standards and that is how long George Dixon was keeping the streets of London safe. Critics may say that London seemed unusually quiet on the show but I say that is because George was doing such a great job.

John Luther (Idris Elba) in Luther. A brilliant but flawed 21st century cop who could not be more different than old Dixon. For one thing Luther gets advice from a confessed killer and last year he was almost murdered himself by a colleague. The job of a cop is so much tougher these days.

Inspector Jean Darbly (Who ???) OK you may know her better as Juliet Bravo even though that was the name of the show and not her actual name. Darbly was played by Stephanie Turner and all these years later she still ranks as Britain’s best female TV cop.

Jack Regan (John Thaw – remember that name) in The Sweeney. In real life the flying squad were on the fiddle and there was nothing that Gene Hunt and Bolly could do about it but on TV they were heroes lead by Jack Regan.

Inspector Morse (John Thaw – yes him again) in Inspector Morse. Oxford always sounded like such a nice place until Morse came along and uncovered all kinds of horrid goings on. University life will never be the same again.

John Thaw in The Sweeney

John Thaw in The Sweeney

Bert Lynch (James Ellis) in Z-Cars. This show had to be good because it’s theme tune is played before every Everton game and their motto is Nil Satis Nisi Optimum. Brady worked his way up from PC to inspector over the course of 16 tough years on the streets of Liverpool.

Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) in Prime Suspect. This was just before Helen Mirren became really really famous as opposed to just really famous. She was a sly sleuth in the Miss Marple mold.

Inspector Wexford (George Baker) in The Ruth Rendell Mysteries. Named after the best county in Ireland, Wexford was always going to be a hit. George is one of the best loved Bulgarian actors on British TV. That isn’t a joke he really was born in Bulgaria.

Frank Burnside (Christopher Ellison) in The Bill. Burnside was the no nonsense D.I. who kept Hollis and company in line. I am am still a little perplexed as to why this show was eventually taken off the air.

Sam Tyler (John Simm) in Life on Mars. OK I know what you are thinking “what about Gene Hunt?” well personally I liked Tyler better because when it was on TV I could relate to his feelings about his work colleagues. If that is not a good enough reason to include him then you are free to come up with your list!

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