Inspector George Gently’s last ever episode will air at the end of this month.
The final film, Gently and the New Age, will air on BBC1 on Monday 30th October 2017 at 8:30pm, marking the last appearance together of Martin Shaw as the honourable DCI and Lee Ingleby as his slightly wayward sidekick Inspector Bacchus.
The final film was due to be broadcast earlier this year on Sunday 28th May as part of a double bill. However it is understood that it was pulled from the BBC1 schedule because of the political content in the film, which was deemed unsuitable to air in the buildup to the 2017 general election on 8th June.
Set in the 1970s, RadioTimes.com understands that it involves a charismatic, possibly promiscuous (and potentially worse than that) ficitional Labour MP and former Cabinet Minister in the Harold Wilson government, and contains numerous scenes where all the talk is about politicians and elections.
Under Ofcom rules, tighter impartiality restrictions apply at elections and this applies as much to dramas, comedies and panel shows as it does to news and current affairs programmes.
The BBC however insisted that it had never committed to airing episode two a week after the first film aired. It describes both films as “standalone stories” and said that it had “never scheduled” the second film for the following week.
Gently and the New Age begins with Gently giving evidence at The Old Bailey against corrupt police officers in the Met – his old enemies. It should be one of the final acts of his career, but he is asked to take on one last job by Lister, the head of a new Special Investigations Squad, which examines evidence against ‘bent’ coppers. Guest stars include Richard Harrington (Poldark, Hinterland), Adam Levy (Before I go to Sleep) and Steven Robertson (Trainspotting 2, Shetland).
The film will also see Gently facing up to the emotional impact caused by the death of his beloved wife Isabella, murdered by a notorious gangster just before the start of the series.
According to actor Martin Shaw, the detective will get an appropriate send-off.
“It’s been such a popular show and the characters are so well drawn… that you need a proper coda,” he said. “You need to end the symphony with a striking chord.”
Asked whether it was a companion piece to the first film which aired in the spring as well as a moving farewell, Shaw told RadioTimes.com: “It’s all of those things. It’s going to be moving because we go deeper into George Gently’s withheld grief and the tightness that he holds; partly through his relationship with [colleague] Rachel [Coles] he’s able to release some of that grief. The relationship with John Bacchus is a little uneasy still.”
The series – created by Peter Flannery and originally based on the Gently novels by Alan Hunter – is made by Company Pictures and also stars Lisa McGrillis as DS Rachel Coles.
In total it will have run for 23 episodes over 10 years.
Christopher Aird, BBC Executive Producer, said, “The writers and creative team at Company Pictures have produced a wonderful script of character and depth that provides a suitable crescendo for this well-loved BBC1 series.”
Peter Flannery added, “I’m sad to finally part with George Gently – the series and the character. Loosely based at first on the novels of Alan Hunter, the world of the stories became my own creation which audiences have enjoyed for nearly 10 years. It’s been a privilege along the way to work with talented and committed teams and I hope that many of them will look back on George Gently – as I will – with pride and pleasure.”
George Gently and The New Age will air on BBC1 on Monday 30th October at 8:30pm