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  • In the October issue of Best of British…
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Best of British is the UK’s premier nostalgia magazine covering every aspect of life from the 1930s to today.

Each issue encourages you to:

  • Explore readers’ own recollections and memories in our Yesterday Remembered section
  • Discover more about days gone past with stories on everything from vintage transport to great Britons and from Christmas traditions to great days out
  • Enjoy regular reader favourites such as Treasures in the Attic, 1940s Post, Postcard from… and of course our Puzzle Page and Crossword

We hope you like reading our magazine as much as we love compiling it. In the meantime here is this month’s letter from our Editor, Simon Stabler

Ordinary Coppers
Evenin’ all. Crime dramas are among the most popular shows on television, with the likes of Broadchurch, Line of Duty and Happy Valley garlanded with countless awards and nominations. They seem a world away from the supposedly gentle Dixon of Dock Green, starring the avuncular Jack Warner; although, having watched the few episodes that remain in the archives, Dixon was certainly grittier than its critics often give it credit for.

With the exception of re-runs of The Bill and Heartbeat, the police procedural is largely absent from today’s television schedules. These series of self-contained stories, starring a regular cast, looked at all aspects of police work – from the mundane to the murderous, the hectic to the humorous – and were loved by many.

I was quite partial to Juliet Bravo, which, like Z Cars and The Bill, had a memorable theme tune, but it was the latter show that I made a point of watching week in, week out. In its early days, The Bill broke new ground, spending more time out on location than in the station/studio and not always taking itself too seriously.

Like Dame Judi Dench appearing in Z Cars and Paul Eddington turning up in Dock Green, The Bill gave early exposure to future stars such as Sean Bean, Kate Winslet, Paul O’Grady, Keira Knightley and David Tennant. In the words of Mark Wingett, aka the show’s DC Jim Carver, one of this issue’s two cover stars, “It was a great training ground, it was the best job you could do if you wanted to be a screen actor.”

I agree with Mark that the show lost its way towards the end. It got too soapy and suffered a revamp or two too many. They even dropped the theme tune (called Overkill since you’re asking) for the final series. Now, that is criminal.

  • Next month we’ll be celebrating the magazine’s 25th anniversary. The issue will include memories from those involved with Best of British in the early days, and I hope you’ll be able to add your voice to the celebrations. Your letters will be especially welcome.