- A Touch of Frost (TV series)
show_name = A Touch of Frost
caption = Series title card
4:3(1992 - 2000) 16:9(2001 - present)
runtime = 120 minutes
creator = "based on the characters created by"
R. D. Wingfield
David Jason Bruce Alexander
first_aired = 1992
last_aired = Present
num_series = 13
num_episodes = 37
Yorkshire Television/ ITV Productions
imdb_id = 0108967
A Touch of Frost is a detective
televisionseries produced by Yorkshire Televisionfor ITVin the United Kingdom.
It stars Sir David Jason as Detective Inspector William Edward Frost, G.C., known as Jack to everyone but his late wife (after the 1st episode). He is experienced and dedicated to his work, but he is always clashing with his superiors, mainly represented in the series by Superintendent Norman "Horn-rimmed Harry" Mullett, played by
Bruce Alexander. The two have highly incompatible personalities. Mullett is an ambitious buttoned-down by-the-book administrator, and Frost is a down-to-earth "street copper". Nonetheless, they appreciate each other's professional abilities.
Frost has a tough approach to the rules. He has a tendency to become emotionally involved in his cases. He has a good reputation among his colleagues because, when he is not overwrought about a distressing case, he is approachable and sympathetic, and it is clear that many of the younger detectives seen in the series look up to him as a role model. Unlike the general CID reputation, Frost seems to geuinelly care about his cases and the victims involved.
Many also regard him as a hero because he was once shot while on duty, for which he was awarded the
George Cross(G.C.), however Frost himself is modest about this, regarding himself as unworthy of the honour. The reality is that he was depressed (had planned to leave his wife but stayed because of her terminal illness) and drunk (6 beers) at the time and approached the armed man out of recklessness, not caring whether he lived or died. Nonetheless, the incident made him the Chief Constable's blue-eyed boy, and this protects him from being fired or retired by Superintendent Mullet. Frost's wife dies in the first episode, leaving him to cope with life on his own, which he finds difficult, throwing himself into his work instead, and living mainly on police canteen sandwiches and takeaways.
The series is set in the fictional town of Denton, which from geographical references in the series sometimes appears to be in or near
Oxfordshire, more precisely in the upper Thames Valley, or (infrequently) at a non-descript northern location. There are at least ten places in the UK named Denton, including one in Oxfordshire, though the town in the series is not directly identified with any of them.
Early episodes include references to nearby places such as Oxford and Reading, briefing-room meetings held in front of maps showing the recognizable shape of Swindon displaying the M4 and A417 and (in one case) the actual name "Swindon" clearly visible. This, together with locations that are in the general area, collectively point to the original (unstated) location of "Denton" being
Swindonin Wiltshire. However, in the Season 6 episode 'Keys to the Car', Crawley is mentioned as being 60 miles away. Swindon is 106 miles away from Crawley.
In later episodes the program makers may have changed tack or forgotten this; one recent episode clearly shows a map of Reading in the briefing room - another,
Maidenhead. In the Season Two episode 'Widows and Orphans', a constable makes reference to the Plymouth (In Devon) force sending DOWN the criminal record of a suspect, suggesting Denton is in fact in Cornwall, although that seems unlikely and is unsupported elsewhere in the series. There is however supporting evidence of this in Frost creator RD Wingfield's radio writing. In his 1982 (non-Frost) radio serial Outbreak of Fear, set in the village of Polford somewhere on the Devon/Cornwall coast, one of the characters is on a temporary transfer from nearby Denton. However, the narrator does state that names have been changed and geography altered to conceal the reality of certain points in his account of 'real' events.
The general impression remains one of the Thames Valley force. In one episode, a postcode with a DN prefix (which in real life would apply to the area around
Doncaster) was shown to exist within the Denton area, but this was subsequently acknowledged to be a production error. Various individual location scenes have been identified by sharp-eyed viewers as shot in North London, Oxford, Reading, Swindon, Devizes, Bracknell, Bristol and Birmingham.
Since the programme is produced by ITV in Leeds, most of the outdoor locations are shot in West Yorkshire. Several of the scenes are filmed in the small town of
Castleford, West Yorkshire. They are currently filming there for the new series for 2008. All of the outdoor locations are in Yorkshire One episode filmed in and around Leeds
Unlike most TV detectives, Frost does not have a single regular sidekick, and indeed some of his sidekicks are seen in only one or two episodes. There are, however, a number of regular supporting characters who are frequently seen and often promoted to a "sidekick" role:
*DS George Toolan (John Lyons), Jack's long-time friend and colleague, with whom he shares an office. George is about the same age as Jack, but a rank lower. He is more cautious. He appears (in some capacity) in most episodes.
*WPC Hazel Wallace (
Caroline Harker) is a young, happy-go-lucky uniformed officer. At the end of the third series she moved to CID, and though she ceased to be a regular she continued to make guest appearances in later series, and was promoted to detective sergeant.
*DC Clive Barnard (
Matt Bardock), nephew of the Chief Constable. Most people believe he has only got into CID through his family connections, but Frost sees beyond that and takes Barnard under his wing. Later promoted to DS, but killed off in a 1997 episode.
*DS Terry Reid (
Robert Glenister). A tough London detective, he has often been in trouble in the past for his extreme methods, though he has mellowed by the time we see him.
Other regular characters include a newspaper journalist named Sandy Longford (
Bill Stewart), who is always pestering Frost for information on his latest case, and sometimes has some useful information of his own, and police archivist Ernie Trigg (David Jason's real-life brother Arthur White). Frost's most frequent love interest is nurse Shirley Fisher, played by Lindy Whiteford, who appears in eight episodes.
The saxophone solo heard during the show's theme music is performed by Barbara Thompson. [ [http://www.temple-music.com/tm05on/html/barbara.html Biography page] of Barbara Thompson.]
The series is based on the novels of
R. D. Wingfield:
Frost at Christmas" (1984)
* "A Touch of Frost" (1987)
Night Frost" (1992)
Hard Frost" (1995)
Winter Frost" (1999)
* "A Killing Frost" (2008)
Three new episodes went into production late 2007, for broadcast in Autumn 2008. [ [http://www.broadcastnow.co.uk/news/2008/08/itv1_autumn_08_drama.html Broadcast page] ITV1 autumn '08 Drama.]
On the 15th of september 2008, David Jason announced that he will quit the role of DI Jack Frost at a press conference in London. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/2965548/Sir-David-Jasons-character-Inspector-Frost-will-retire-next-year.html Daily Telegraph] David Jason quits as Frost.] Jason's main reason for quitting the role was that he is now the oldest detective on television and he felt that it was 'natural' to retire as Frost. Sir David said: "You wouldn't want me to play Frost in a wheelchair, would you?"
"Frost is getting a little long in the tooth. I still enjoy doing it and it's a great part but I just think he's got to retire. It'll be a sad day."
*itv.com|id=frost|title="A Touch of Frost"
* [http://epguides.com/TouchofFrost/ "A Touch of Frost"] at epguides.com
*imdb title|id=0108967|title=A Touch of Frost
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