BBC 1977 - 1978
TX : 9th September 1977 Repeated 1st December 1978
Director :
David Wickes
Script : David Wickes and Philip Hinchcliffe

Synopsis : Target - a new police series starring Patrick Mower. Here Lesley Thornton, who writes our feature on page four, describes the work of the Regional Crime Squad: If a terrorist throws a bomb or hijackers grab a plane anywhere in Britain outside London the Regional Crime Squad goes into action. They're the CID elite of their area. Unlike the London-based specialists of the Flying Squad or the Bomb Squad, the non-London Regional Crime Squads take on all and any large-scale crime in their sphere of operations. In "Target", Detective Superintendent Hackett is officer in charge of operations in such a squad. He and his team tackle drug smugglers, murder hunts, bombers, fraud, the lot. A target is formally defined as "a person active in the commission of serious crime" - a top villain in fact. A major function of a squad like Hackett's is tracking down criminal suspects like these, maintaining intelligence systems on them and catching them in - or before - the act. In the first episode Hackett gets a tip-off linking a longstanding target criminal with a mysterious ship's cargo worth half a million. The subsequent murder of his informant sets Hackett on a personal vendetta.

Publicity : Target - Cover star Patrick Mower is Hackett in Target, BBC-1's new police series on Friday. Mower talks below to Lesley Thornton: Hackett, detective superintendent, says Patrick Mower, actor, is prepared to be disliked. He doesn't really care whether he is liked or not. Mower, on the other hand, can be charming. "I can be nice and smile, I am young and daft," he says. "If Hackett met me he would think:

`Who is this twit laughing and joking? Is he a conman?'". Mower is lithe, frivolous yet intense; Hackett is the very unfrivolous character he plays in a new series entitled Target. Hackett is superintendent in charge of operations of a regional crime squad based in a large southern port, unspecified. He is tough and single-minded, says Mower. He knows what he wants. And he is unscrupulous. On one occasion he does not hesitate to endanger the life of a non-policeman - albeit a minor villain - in order to nail a major criminal. "Yes, he is unscrupulous," Mower says, "but for the right reasons". Unlike the specialists of the Metropolitan Police, such as the Bomb Squad, a non-London regional crime squad deals with all large-scale crime in its area, drug rackets, robbery, terrorism, fraud, the lot. So there is a rich variety of villainy to provide plots for Target, which is realistic, fast-moving, hardgrained and a long way from Sergeant Dixon of Dock Green. Hackett, as Mower sees it, is against anybody who's taking a lot of money off people - illegally; condemnation of capitalist exploitation is not his style. "He is quite right of the left wing," says Mower. "However, he is not a political animal. He can't stand scroungers but his reactions are individual. He probably wouldn't notice the colour of someone's skin".

Many people who feel themselves powerless find the figure of a policeman appealing. As Philip Hinchcliffe, producer of Target, says, they see him as a man empowered to take action, able to do something, cut through problems. And Patrick Mower thinks Hackett is going to speak for a lot of people in this country. He is angry, he thinks too many things are going wrong. He is the sort of policeman who goes to the golf club in the afternoon and says to himself: "What do all these people do for a living, and if they do it, why aren't they doing it this afternoon?". The series, says Mower, is not realistic in the sense of being a literally portrayal. "But it is authentic, we are typical of policemen. Actually I know a lot of ordinary policemen; they are always asking me to open fetes". There are several anti-villains in Mower's acting past - Cross in Callum, Haggerty in Special Branch. The only resemblance he sees between them and Hackett is the profession. One thing Patrick Mower enjoys about television work is doing a character in length. "I love the theatre and do something like Man And Superman in rep when I can. But when you have weeks and weeks playing a party you can show all the facets of the character. With a one-and-a-half hour stage play it's the same performance every night. And you can only explore so much". Painstaking exploration of the character has clearly given Hackett an existence oof his own in his actor's mind. "It is rather like giving birth to a new son". (Radio Times, September 3, 1977 - Article by Lesley Thornton)

Cast :
Ania Marson (Ros), Jon Laurimore (Maynard), Peter Godfrey (Van der Linden), Keith James (Purser), Jack May (Chief Officer), Allan Mitchell (Security Chief), Del Baker (Panata), Verna Harvey (Judy Knight), Hal Jeayes (Ted Knight), Bernard Kay (Forensic Officer), Malcolm Hughes (Tim Harris), Eamonn Boyce (Neighbour), Neil Kennedy (First Detective Constable), Alan Haines (Second Detective Constable), Wendy Brierley (Shop Assistant), Hessel Saks (Crane Crab Driver), Mark Brackenbury (Ship's Captain), Peter Macarte (Waiter) and Katharine Page (Mrs Knight).

Notes :
Episodes were broadcast 9:25pm to 10:15pm.

Blow Out
TX : 16th September 1977
Director :
Douglas Camfield
Script : David Agnew
(a pseudonym for Roger Marshall)

Synopsis : A number of high-class jewelers are "knocked over" - the work of a top team. Hackett is getting nowhere - until a nasty accident occurs and a beautiful girl pays him a call.

Cast : Sandy Ratcliff, Maurice Roeves, Kenneth Colley, Christopher Benjamin, Ron Pember, Hilary Crane, Dorothy White, Michael McKevitt, John Lyons, Tom McCabe, Michael Walker, John Rapley, Sheila Dunn, Geoffrey Leesley, Barbara Grant, Nicholas McArdle and Harry Fielder.

Notes : This episode attracted 12.4 million viewers and was ranked the ninth most popular programme of the week.

Big Elephant
TX : 23rd September 1977 Repeated 8th December 1978
Director :
Douglas Camfield
Script :
Bob Baker and Dave Martin

Synopsis : Half a million pounds' worth of heroin goes missing - not even Mr Cetti can afford to lose that. Hackett knows who's got it - but he's waiting for the big fish to pounce.

Cast : Ken Hutchison, Katy Manning (Joanne), Walter Randall (Mr Cetti), Terry Cowling, Hugh Fraser, Alan Rebbeck, Stephen Hatton, Richard Domfe, Andrew Bradford, Derek Martin and Norman Hartley.

Hunting Parties
TX : 30th September 1977
Director :
Chris Menaul
Script :
Bob Baker and Dave Martin

Synopsis : When Hackett investigates a burglary at the house of a retired villain Dickie Tufnell he finds both robber and robbed are victims - each has been shot dead. But Dickie has a brother who is far from retired, and Roland Tufnell's ideas on crime and punishment are rougher than the law's.

Cast : Lee Montague, Janet Amsden, Roy Marsden, Ian MacKenzie, Tina Heath, Andrew McCulloch, David Harries, Chris Hallam, Mark Sheridan, Lala Lloyd, Alison King, Morgan Shepherd, Arthur Kelly, Michael Logan, Pat Gorman and Marcel Steiner.

TX : 14th October 1977
Director :
Douglas Camfield
Script :
Bernie Cooper and Francis Megahy

Synopsis : A series of violent truck robberies and Hackett and Bonney have orders to nail their target quickly. But before they can reach them, their suspects disappear - victims of an unusual take-over.

Cast : David Daker, Bernard Spear, Ania Marson, Philip Davis, Bill Hamon, Peter Birrel, Colin Edwynn, Ivor Roberts, Martin Read, Peter Holt, Kenneth Waller, Robert Farrant, Eddie Powell, Frank Henson and Nick Hobbs.

Lady Luck
TX : 21st October 1977 Repeated 24th November 1978
Director :
Terry Green
Script :
Ray Jenkins

Synopsis : The daughter of a top "target" criminal is kidnapped and Hackett is told to lay off.

Cast : TP McKenna, Alan Lake, Bridget Turner, Aimee Delamain, Martyn Jacobs, Sara Clee, James Marcus, Anne Zelda, Diana Berriman, Anthony Heaton, Joe Gladwin, Max Mason, Stephen Bent and Elizabeth Norman.

Set Up
TX : 28th October 1977
Director :
Jim Goddard
Script :
Ray Jenkins

Synopsis : Hackett is suspended for alleged corruption. "If you're innocent, stand and fight" pleads Ros. So why's Hackett on the run?

Cast : Norman Rossington, Ania Marson, Madhav Sharma, Rafiq Anwar, Jamila Massey, Robert Putt, Maurice Bush, Frank Jarvis, Leon Eagles, Stephen Grief, Stephen Whittaker, Anita Finch, Anthony Brown, David Belcher, Dev Sagoo, Roy Sampson and Gordon Reid.

TX : 4th November 1977
Director :
Mike Vardy
Script :
James Clare

Synopsis : A "hit-and-run" murder, a girl with bedroom eyes - and Hackett is in a compromising situation.

Cast : Ania Marson, Philip Stone, Luan Peters, Billy Murray, Michael Petrovitch, Glynn Edwards, Dennis Chinnery, Kenton Moore, Richard Hampton, Georgina Keen, Jay Neill, Paul Humpoletz and James Appleby.

Carve Up
TX : 11th November 1977 Repeated 17th November 1978
Director : Ben Bolt

Script : Bob Baker and Dave Martin

Synopsis : A Councillor's house is burgled - and nothing is taken. A puzzling, trivial affair - but Hackett discovers it's the tip of an iceberg.

Cast : Freddie Jones, Brian Cox, Pamela Stephenson, Anthony Ainley (Alexander Trist), Charles Kay, Ania Marson, Leslie French, Ben Aris, Norman Tipton, Ian Collier, Redvers Milner, Malcolm Ward, Tommy Wright and Cynthia Etherington.

Rogue's Gallery
TX : 15th September 1978 Repeated 7th may 1980
Director : Mike Vardy

Script : Bob Baker and Dave Martin

Synopsis : Hackett investigates the disappearance of a famous nude - with embarrassing consequences for his superiors and possibly the Government. Target returns to the television screen, and once again Patrick Mower stars as the "cool copper" Detective Superintendent Hackett. Lesley Thornton sets the scene for the new series: Detective Suoerintendent Hackett - alias Patrick Mower - is back. He's a very cool copper who leads a regional crime squad in the field. That can mean facing just about anything, from con-men to bombers. Outside London you don't call out specialists like the flying squad or the anti-terrorist branch. The CID elite of the regional crime squad tackle all major crime in their area - drugs, fraud, murder, terrorism, the lot. Increasingly these are the policemen who make headlines: "Operation Julie", for example, was the work of the Avon and Somerset regional squad. Hackett is officer in charge of operations in such a squad, based in a large port somewhere in the south of England. He attracts the grudging respect of his colleagues and the unstinting admiration of various ladies he encounters as suspects or victims. He has few hang-ups and certainly none about his job. He knows what he wants. And he does what he does because it's exciting. Keeping a beady eye on suspected villains, or targets, and catching them - ideally - just before the act is a major function of the squad. In this first episode Hackett is on the trail of an international art thief and has the pleasurable duty of getting to know a beautiful artist, played by Jan Francis, who has some link with his suspect.

Publicity : Urban Western - Patrick Mower returns as Detective Superintendent Hackett in the second series of "Target". And Brendan Price is back in a bigger role as his "side-kick" Frank Bonney. The new series features many guest stars, including Prunella Scales, Dave King, Ronald Lacey, Peter Dean, Alfred Marks, Max Wall, Lance Percival and Ted Moult. And, as Richard Smith reports, some other changes have been made: Despite concern over the violence of the fictional Hampshire-based 13 Regional Crime Squad, the controversial cop opera, Target, enjoyed a successful first series.

Patrick Mower established Detective Superintendent Hackett as a new kind of copper. Sun-tanned and sharply dressed, Hackett comes up with the goods. Like all successful shows, Target has had to develop. The new series promises more inter-relation and less brutality. There will be more teamwork and Steve Hackett will exchange banter with his side-kick Detective Sergeant Bonney; the solo act has become a double act. The boss, Detective Chief Superintendent Tate, and the brains, Detective Sergeant Louise Colbert, move more sharply into focus. Tate has no Christian name. In the first series, he spoke to Louise only twice. Now they get to know each other better. Philip Madoc started acting when working as an English-Russian translator in post-war Vienne, recently narrated ITV's Joe Stalin biography. He plays Tate, a bureaucrat, the boss who remains aloof despite the hassles Hackett creates.

"I hope the new series will develop the characters more," he explained. "There is a danger, with this kind of series, that the characters of the criminals are much better written. It's important to show the human side of the police". Hackett and Bonney have been promoted young but, as Brendan Prince, who plays Bonney, explained: "It's an elite force". He described Bonney: "He never sits when he can crawl. He dresses very casually: jeans, track shoes, motor-cycle jacket. In the first series, he had a tatty beard. He's very laid back; some might say scruffy. He's keen, but he lacks Hackett's experience". Off-screen, Brendan and Patrick are good friends. "We have a rapport and improvise together. The humour in the show is not about equals but about seniors and juniors. If Bonney's over-cheeky to Hackett, he'll slap him down". Brendan, an actor for eight years, has done the rounds of rep and television. Target is his first major starring role. Initially doubtful, he is now optimistic about the second series. "Bonney never had a relationship within the show. Hackett got all the girls. Anything I got out of the first series, I clawed out for myself. I enjoy the show now. It's escapist entertainment but it does have a basis in reality. A kind of reality which we call `Target reality'. In other words, it's true to itself. It is more subdued now. It could be potentially one of the most exciting shows on television. We make urban Westerns: you give an actor a gun and the chances are he'll start twirling it around his finger. It's when he strips it down and starts to clean it that you begin to worry". As its title implies, the show deals with "target criminals".

This philosophy of policing, constant observation of potential criminals and their associates, has yielded some spectacular results. Target intensifies the excitement by concentrating on action rather than analysis. "We miss out the boring bits," says Vivien Heilbron who plays Louise, organiser of the team's criminal records information. "It's a realistic series which tells interesting stories; a Boy's Own Paper escapist fantasy. It would be wrong to think it's how the police force is run. I've tried to get away from the token woman bit. Louise is very good at her job, a very specialized job. Her detachment is her strength: I wanted to make her as efficient and professional as possible". There is a difference between right and wrong; Target takes a moral stance. Power is there to be used. Hackett has made his own rules. Can Tate control Hackett? Can Hackett control his own righteous anger? Target reality is alienation as fun. Against docklands and other evocative locations, people will be watched by concealed tele-photo lenses. Four urban cowboys will move across South-West England in search of an identity. The television screen is probably the most policed area in the world. Cop shows are a fiercely competitive market. The formula for Target has to be right. Some shows use a dick in a dirty mac, a blind shamus, a bald crooner, or a family man. Target avoids gimmicks. (Radio Times, September 9, 1978 - Article by Richard Smith) .

Cast :
Jan Francis, Lewis Fiander, Michael J Shannon, Stephen Bent, Tony Osoba, Glyn Houston, Ian Thompson, Derek Smith, Paul Haley, Diana Weston and Anna Nygh.

A Good And Faithful Woman
TX : 22nd September 1978
Director : Mike Vardy

Script : Richard Harris

Synopsis : Raymond Blake, the brains behind a recent large-scale robbery, makes a daring return from South America to recover his share of the proceeds. Hackett receives a tip-off but Raymond has already disappeared - in mysterious circumstances.

Cast : Denise Layton (Charlotte Comer); Gerry (Ian Peck); Mrs Bancroft (Beverley Fox); Mrs Dixon (Felicity Finch); Dispatch Operator (Jane Dixon); Brave Cashier (Jane Ashby).

Queen's Pardon
TX : 29th September 1978 Repeated 4th June 1980
Director :
David Wickes
Script : David Wickes

Synopsis : An old man campaigns to clear his dead son's name. His obsession unravels an eighteen-year-old mystery - but with deadly consequences.

Cast : Max Wall (Geoffrey Wyatt), Ray Smith, Lance Percival, Brian Glover, Peter Childs, Toni Palmer, Ted Moult, Grahame Mallard, Simon Mower, John Franklyn-Robbins, Antony Carrick, David Horovitch, John Quayle, John York, Graham Padden, Jason Kemp, Alan Troy and Christopher Cregan.

Fringe Banking
TX : 13th October 1978 Repeated 28th May 1980
Director : Terry Green

Script : Ken Follett

Synopsis : A top Civil Servant spends a night with a call girl; a merchant banker strikes a bargain with a hoodlum. Something big is on - and Hackett has only a day to crack it.

Cast : John Judd, Leslie Sarony, Neville Barber, Yvonne Antrobus, John Malcolm, Gwen Cherrell, Sally Faulkner, Derek Martin, John Rhys-Davies, Peter Quince, Helena McCarthy, Phil Ryan, Fran O'Linn, David Mallinson, Reginald Jessup, Jonathan Scott, Simon Barry, Doris Hall, Roy Denton, Gee Kee, Les Crawford, Del Baker, Eddie Powell and Steve Emerson.

TX : 20th October 1978 Repeated 21st May 1980
Director : Gordon Flemyng

Script : Tony Hoare

Synopsis : A powerful Target criminal is successfully brought to trial: then one of Hackett's squad men is murdered and the key police witness disappears.

Cast : Donald Sumpter, Mark McManus, Katherine Fahy, Maurice O'Connell, Grahame Mallard, Peter Dean, Barrie Cookson, David Leland, George Irving, Julia Fox, Ann Curthoys, Michael Newton and Juanita Smith.

The Trouble With Charlie
TX : 27th October 1978
Director : Peter Smith

Script :
Dave Humphries

Synopsis : A sensuous blonde … two motiveless killings … Hackett hunts desperately for the link between them until he discovers it's … himself.

Cast : Cheryl Kennedy, John Nolan, David Dixon, Mark Jones, Ben Howard, Elin Jenkins, David Sibley, Hilary Ryan, Nigel Greaves, Nigel Williams, Peter Hall and Esmond Webb.

Figures Of Importance
TX : 3rd November 1978
Director :
Chris Menaul
Script :
Chris Menaul

Synopsis : A young boy seeks revenge for his mother's death and unwittingly interrupts the "perfect crime".

Cast : Alfred Marks, Patricia Hodge, David Beckett, Virginia Stride, John Hartley, Renee Goddard, Grahame Mallard, Nick Stringer, John F Parker, Keith Hazelmore, Michael Wolf, Rodney Lovick, Diana Payan, Ken Barker, Ian Cross, Emma Shaw and Ian Hoare.

The Run
TX : 10th November 1978 Repeated 10th November 1980
Director :
Terry Green
Script :
P J Hammond

Synopsis : Three hundred thousand pounds of pure gold is the prize - Billy's gold. Hackett knows there's going to be a "hit", so does George … and so does Billy. So why doesn't Billy call off the "run"?

Cast : Christopher Neame, Jonathan Elsom, David Lodge, Tony Caunter, Kirstie Pooley, David Freedman, Kenneth Gardiner, Stephen Wright, Jillianne Foot, Cindy O'Callaghan, Ronald MacLeod and David Telfer.

The slow demise of Dixon Of Dock Green and Z Cars left BBC Television with a substantial gap in its drama schedule, capitalized upon by ITV's launching of the extremely popular series The Sweeney. In an attempt to compete with the series, the BBC commissioned Sweeney creator Ian Kennedy Martin to create a programme which was harder, faster-paced and more realistic than anything which had previously graced television screens in Britain.

The resultant programme, Target, would not only divide the BBC viewership but would also further isolate the network from its rival in a strong and identifiable fashion. The series concerned the Regional Crime Squad and the cases it faced on a day-to-day basis (terrorism, hijackings and large-scale crimes being the order of the day). Headed by Detective Superintendent Steve Hackett (Patrick Mower), a brash, often-violent, quick-witted and hardened individual who would later become a rough approximation for Frank Burnside in Geoff McQueen's The Bill.

His team consisted of Detective Chief Superintendent Tate (Philip Madoc), Detective Sergeant Frank Bonney (Brendan Price), Detective Sergeant Louise Colbert (Vivien Heilbron), Detective Constable Dukes (Carl Rigg) and Detective Inspector Wilson (James Greene). The programme featured an unprecedented level of violence, bad language and a marked absence of humour (a device usually employed to counter-balance against such a black view of the world), and divided BBC audiences in such a stark manner that the Radio Times and popular press published numerous missives from its older audience, bemoaning the paucity of quality entertainment inherent in the programme, substituted by violence and gutter-language which they had never previously been exposed to.

Younger audiences lapped up the programme as a measure-for-measure match for the fast-paced and highly-entertaining Sweeney on ITV, and helped contribute to the ratings peaking very early on in the first season broaching twelve million viewers at its height. The series was notable for its documentary-style photography, inserting its audience right into the middle of the cut-and-thrust world of violent crime and not sparing any blushes in its depiction of graphic violence, bad language, nudity and almost every other salient feature of television which could etch the programme's name in notoriety.

The BBC's confidence in producing a worthy rival to The Sweeney was matched by the fact that the entire series was shot on film (as opposed to in-studio video sequences with film inserts), a costly exercise for the 1970s. Reliable scriptwriter Roger Marshall had originally presented the network with a proposal for the series, but as Philip Hinchcliffe (Producer) and Colin Tucker (Script Editor) tinkered and modified the concept of the programme to give it a harder edge, Marshall distanced himself from the series and insisted that his one and only script contribution, Blow Out, be credited under a pseudonym.

Such was the outcry resulting from the transmission of the first series in Autumn 1977, that when the programme returned twelve months later the production team had been instructed to tone down the violence, tear away the harder edges of Mower's character, remove the concept of "loner" officers and make characters interact more as a team. However, the press elected not to support the venture for its second outing, and as audience figures steadily fell, even the BBC had to acknowledge the fact that the series had come to a natural end.

With its cancellation came the commissioning of popular series such as Shoestring and Bergerac, which were a hasty retreat back into familiar territory for BBC audiences to savour. The series drifted into the backwaters of the BBC's archives, but in recent years the programme has enjoyed a renewed interest from archive television fanatics, but has yet to be released in a DVD format.

Radio Times Viewers' Letters (Radio Times, October 1, 1977)

Poor policemen! If that's how they are treated by their superiors, no wonder they resign. I watched Target on 9 September (BBC-1) to see what sort of programme it would be, and was disgusted. Patrick Mower was rude, bullying, bad-mannered, showing off, and blasphemous. The programme was very violent and I hate to think what effect it would have on children. The Sweeney was bad enough but I thought the BBC would be better. Why use such words as "sod" so much and other Anglo-Saxon words? I walk in the park near me and am saddened at the language I hear from children these days. I'm writing this feeling it's just a voice in the wilderness, but do think of the children. They are the grown-ups of tomorrow. - Mrs Sedgeley, Coventry.

With my family, I watched the first episode of Target with mounting disgust. Its competitors, Starsky And Hutch and The Sweeney, are often criticised for their violence; but at least they show concern for their colleagues, and it is possible to accept their violence as a response to the behaviour of the criminals. Hackett's violence, both physical and verbal, is indiscriminate and sickening … If there is even the possibility of a link between young people's behaviour and what they see on television, you must not make this man a hero. - N C Duncan.

I watched Target on 9 September and thought it was very well produced - except for the theme music and titles. The scenes of the girl being terrorized in the car were very frightening, and the elderly ladies in the pub showed in their faces some of the misery involved in the world of violent crime. But at the end of it all came the jolly tune that seemed to contain the idea that the whole thing was after all about fun and adventure. Violence gives me the creeps and I certainly don't want to dance around immediately before or after such a programme - I think you are giving the wrong impression, particularly to any teenagers watching. - Carol Tanner, Sideup, Kent.

I found it disturbing to see policemen portrayed in this way. I have never come across a Detective Superintendent like Hackett and I hope I never do. His kind would not last long in a real police set-up and his staff would not work with him for long. I presume you have an ex-police officer as your adviser for the programme, and I can only suggest that he or she has given bad advice. The whole programme was full of technical errors, and the scene in the restaurant was the final insult to all serving and ex-policemen. - J East, Bath.

Portrayed By
Detective Superintendent Steve Hackett
Patrick Mower
Detective Chief Superintendent Tate
Philip Madoc
Detective Sergeant Frank Bonney
Brendan Price
Detective Sergeant Louise Colbert
Vivien Heilbron
Detective Constable Dukes
Carl Rigg
Detective Inspector Wilson
James Greene

The series was produced by Philip Hinchcliffe and script edited by Colin Tucker. Music for the series was provided by Dudley Simpson.

Text © Matthew Lee, 2006.