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Spender, spencer's gifts
Spender is a British television police procedural drama, created by Ian La Frenais and Jimmy Nail, that first broadcast on 8 January 1991 on BBC1 The series, which also starred Nail as the title character, ran for three series between 1991 and 1993, finishing with a feature-length special, The French Connection, broadcast on 29 December 1993 A total of twenty-one episodes were produced The first and second series were produced by Martin McKeand, while the third and final series was produced by Paul Raphael and Peter McAleese

The series, set in Newcastle upon Tyne, focuses on the life and exploits of Detective Sergeant Freddie Spender, who was often chosen to carry out more daring police cases With his criminal sidekick Stick Sammy Johnson, Spender was regarded as one of the more remarkable TV detectives of the 1990s The series featured an extensive back story for the main characters, with a number of episodes dealing with Spender's domestic life, his family and circumstances Some of the storylines were however seen as somewhat dark; one episode featured the death of Spender's wife at the hands of a ruthless gangster, another on the kidnap of one of his daughters

The series was notable for being actress Denise Welch's national television debut Mickey Hutton, who played recurring character 'Spud' Tate in the series, was formerly in a band with Nail Guest stars in the series included Amanda Redman, Rodney Bewes, Frances Tomelty, Julie Peasgood, Jan Graveson, Geoffrey Hughes, Bobby Pattinson, Tom Bell and Ian McElhinney The series was broadcast on Tuesday evenings in the peak time slot that followed the BBC's flagship Nine O'Clock News No further series were produced following the feature-length special, despite the popularity of the show, and it being a smash hit for the BBC in terms of ratings In 1992, a novelisation of the series, written by Nail, was published Notably, the series has never been released on DVD


  • 1 Development
  • 2 Cast
  • 3 Episodes
    • 31 Series 1 1991
    • 32 Series 2 1992
    • 33 Series 3 1993
  • 4 References
  • 5 External links


Jimmy Nail initially mentioned the idea of a cop show to writer Ian La Frenais, with whom he'd worked on Auf Wiedersehen, Pet, in 1987 The BBC subsequently commissioned a pilot script, written by the latter, which was enthusiastically received; however La Frenais was too busy to work on further episodes A producer suggested that Nail should try writing a script, which was also positively received by the BBC Subsequently, a series of eight episodes was commissioned by the network Not confident he could repeat the formula for remaining episodes in the series on his own, Nail moved to Los Angeles in 1989 to be closer to La Frenais as he worked on material for the series

The first series was reported to have cost the BBC £25m to produce The second and third series were produced by Initial Producer Paul Raphael, director of photography Ernest Day and a first assistant director left during the making of the third series A press article at the time said that three members of the production team had left, citing 'creative and artistic differences' Nail was said to have been demanding as both star and executive producer of the series

Ford provided a new Ford Sierra Sapphire RS Cosworth for each series, which served as Spender's car The first vehicle was stolen from the set, before later being found burnt out A security guard for the car was hired during the production of the third series Stick drove a Volkswagen Beetle A number of Ford, Vauxhall, BMW and Range Rover cars were also featured in the series


  • Jimmy Nail as DS Freddie Spender
  • Sammy Johnson as Kenneth Norman 'Stick' Oakley
  • Berwick Kaler as DS Dan Boyd
  • Denise Welch as Frances Spender
  • Tony McAnaney as Keith Moreland
  • Lynn Harrisson as Kate Spender
  • Dawn Winlow as Laura Spender
  • Paul Greenwood as Supt Yelland Series 1
  • Peter Guinness as DCS Gillespie Series 2—3
  • Brendan Healy as Eric Series 2—3
  • Mickey Hutton as 'Spud' Tate Series 2—3


Series 1 1991

Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "Homecoming" Ian La Frenais Mary McMurray 8 January 1991 1991-01-08
After an undercover operation goes wrong in London, Spender's partner is injured It is felt that Spender should lie low for a while He is reluctantly sent back to his native Newcastle for what he thinks is a one-off assignment to try and get evidence against a local businessman, Spender also catches up with his ex wife and kids and also his old mate an ex building society robber 'Stick' who will become his side-kick to help him in his investigations into the murky criminal world
2 "Half a Ton of Heartaches" Jimmy Nail Roger Bamford 15 January 1991 1991-01-15
Spender goes undercover on an oil rig as a fitters mate after a worker is murdered and his body washed up on the shore As Spender gets near the truth he finds the bad guys closing in on him, once he has discovered the death is to do with drug smuggling Spender also finds out that his youngest daughter has been seriously injured in his flat while he was away on the oil rig
3 "Double Jeopardy" Ian La Frenais Mary McMurray 22 January 1991 1991-01-22
A group of criminals from the south have come north to team up with some local well-known muscle to pull of an armed raid Meanwhile, Spender finds out that his best mate Keith is struggling to come to terms with his illness
4 "The Candidate" Jimmy Nail Richard Standeven 29 January 1991 1991-01-29
Spender is put in charge of the security of a female politician during an election because she has been receiving some death threats and poison pen letters Spender finds that his own life is on the line trying to keep the politician alive, as someone close to her is trying to kill her
5 "Iced" Ian La Frenais Roger Bamford 5 February 1991 1991-02-05
A young student is killed in a motorbike accident Spender is the godfather to the girlfriend of the dead young man Meanwhile a known drug courier is arrested coming back into the country Spender poses as an old friend from the army days of the courier, now turned informer With the help of Booney, a female detective, they set about trying to find where and how the drugs are shifted around the North East Spender finds out that the death of the young student is linked with a drug called 'ice', which is being distributed around the North East by their target
6 "Dance Girl Dance" John Harvey Richard Standeven 12 February 1991 1991-02-12
Young girls, recruited by a local nightclub for dancing work overseas, have been disappearing Spender poses as a potential owner and, with Stick's help, sets up a rival club Spender enlists the help of the sister of one of the missing girls to find out what happened to them
7 "Tough" Jimmy Nail Mary McMurray 19 February 1991 1991-02-19
Spender tries to find a way to help a reluctant fist-fighter escape from the clutches of his unscrupulous promoter
8 "Well, Well, Well" Jimmy Nail Mary McMurray 26 February 1991 1991-02-26
Spender tries to help when Stick gets involved in a dodgy deal involving stolen jewellery, and the man he was dealing with is murdered

Series 2 1992

Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "Here We Go Again" Jimmy Nail Alan Grint 7 January 1992 1992-01-07
Spender is involved in a close protection operation involving members of the government Meanwhile, Stick and former cellmate Spud get involved in a local vendetta, while Frances has a new man in her life
2 "Fly By Night" Ian La Frenais Alan Grint 14 January 1992 1992-01-14
Spender goes under cover at a glass factory to check out a suspect for a security van robbery Meanwhile, Keith's friend, Blakey, is involved in a war between illegal fly posting outfits
3 "Fee" Jimmy Nail Ian Knox 21 January 1992 1992-01-21
Spender sets out to help a couple who are in trouble with a local drug dealer, and uncovers corruption in the drugs squad
4 "Family Business" Ian La Frenais Ian Knox 28 January 1992 1992-01-28
Spender's aunt asks him to find her son, who has been missing for eight months, and has spent most of his life in trouble
5 "The Golden Striker" Kenneth Ladd Roger Bamford 4 February 1992 1992-02-04
Spender is assigned to track down a footballer who has gone missing shortly after arriving home from Italy
6 "At the End of the Day" Jimmy Nail Rager Bamford 11 February 1992 1992-02-11
Gillespie puts pressure on Spender to arrest his criminal friends Frances is on jury duty and is being pressured into giving a not guilty verdict Spender investigates a series of ram-raids

Series 3 1993

Episode Title Written by Directed by Original airdate
1 "The More Things Change" Jimmy Nail Ian Knox 5 January 1993 1993-01-05
Spender is assigned to investigate attacks on women in a local park, and investigates a small record bootlegging operation Stick gets involved with some hot jewellery Meanwhile, Spender, Stick and Keith all have new women in their lives, and Frances plans to remarry
2 "Kid" Val McLane Ian Knox 12 January 1993 1993-01-12
Spender investigates the attempted murder of a runaway teenage boy after his daughters see him fall from a clifftop
3 "Puck" Jimmy Nail Suri Krishnamma 19 January 1993 1993-01-19
Spender investigates a local villain and discovers he is blackmailing a local ice hockey star
4 "Bad Company" Stan Hey Suri Krishnamma 26 January 1993 1993-01-26
Spender is under investigation by CID as he continues his affair with the wife of a local villain Gillespie is kidnapped
5 "Best Friends" Niall Leonard Ian Knox 2 February 1993 1993-02-02
Spender and Boyd investigate a series of car thefts, but Boyd is caught by the gang Stick opens a jewellery shop, but it is robbed on its first day Spender discovers that Stick's girlfriend, Emily, is only fifteen
6 "Retreat" Stan Hey Ian Knox 9 February 1993 1993-02-09
Spender goes undercover as a prisoner to investigate the murder of a key witness Stick flees Newcastle when he falls behind with his rent
7 "The French Collection" Jimmy Nail Matt Forrest 29 December 1993 1993-12-29
Spender is sent to Marseilles to escort Tommy Thornton back to the UK


  1. ^ http://draperonfilmcom/2015/09/23/toon-on-television-spender/
  2. ^ http://epguidescom/Spender/guideshtml
  3. ^ a b Usher, Shaun 19 February 1991 "Nailing colours to the mast" Daily Mail 
  4. ^ Middlehurst, Lester 4 March 1995 "Mickey Hutton" Daily Mail 
  5. ^ https://wwwamazoncouk/Spender-Novel-Jimmy-Nail/dp/0553405020/ref=sr_1_3ie=UTF8&qid=1511973076&sr=8-3&keywords=spender+jimmy+nail
  6. ^ Ross, Deborah 8 January 1991 "Jimmy turns into a real big Spender" Daily Mail 
  7. ^ "Spender is Nailed" Daily Mail 22 January 1993 
  8. ^ "Spender film squad walk out on Nail" Daily Mail 14 October 1992 
  9. ^ Bamigboye, Baz 18 December 1992 "Why Spender is proving a bed of Nails" Daily Mail 
  10. ^ "Stop these secret adverts on our screens" Daily Mail 7 June 1991 
  11. ^ "Car minder for Spender" Daily Mail 26 November 1992 
  12. ^ Barnard, Peter 8 January 1992 "Unlikely but likeable" The Times 

External links

  • Spender on IMDb
  • Spender at TVcom
  • Spender at epguidescom

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