Heartbeat (television)

From Academic Kids

Heartbeat is a British television series which began in 1992 on Yorkshire television. It is set in the 1960s and revolves around the work of a group of police officers in the fictional North Yorkshire town of Ashfordly, whose "patch" also includes the nearby village of Aidensfield, a fictionalised version of the real-life village of Goathland in the North York Moors, where the series is mostly filmed. Like its real-life counterpart, Aidensfield's most distinctive local landmark is the RAF Fylingdales Early Warning Station, which has featured in numerous episodes. When the action in the series moves further afield (usually due to a criminal attempting a getaway by sea), the town of Whitby is normally used. (Scarborough is occasionally featured instead for variety.)

The series is loosely based on the Constable books by Nicholas Rhea. The show was originally a starring vehicle for ex-EastEnders actor Nick Berry, but over time it has evolved into an ensemble drama. By the end of the 2003-2004 series, no fewer than eleven regular actors had their names and faces included in the opening credits (in alphabetical order), an all-time record for any British series.

Each episode is an hour long and features storylines which are usually resolved within the episode. The main storylines are generally to do with criminal activity and personal traumas, whilst in the earlier series most episodes featured sub-plots about the roguish activities of Claude Jeremiah Greengrass (Bill Maynard).

Although the show is often criticised for seeing the 1960s through rose tinted spectacles, in reality the series has tended to avoid the usual "swinging sixties" cliches. If there is a cultural revolution going on, then it's not going on in Aidensfield and Ashfordly, and the notion that people were friendlier and the world was safer in the 1960s is given short shrift. The local people are portrayed as insular and suspicious of strangers, and the area's high crime rate speaks for itself.

When the programme began, it was set in 1965, and the setting has moved on at the approximate rate of one year every two series. At the start of the 2004-5 series, it is set around the spring of 1969, however the show's chronology has been seen to be quite flexible. The inhabitants of Ashfordly and Aidensfield have certainly celebrated more than four christmases between 1965 and 1969, and the Torrey Canyon oil spill provided an off-screen plot point in a series ostensibly set in 1969, despite having actually occurred two years earlier.

Characters and cast



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