Excerpt from “The Final Cut” DCI Miller #5

Miller 5 “The Final Cut”
#Kindle release date 27/11/2017

Somebody has started viciously attacking DWP staff in Manchester. It looks as though the brutal, “life-changing” assaults are connected to the sadistic, systematic “sanctions” and “work-assessments” which are ruthlessly taking away benefits from the most vulnerable people in society, leaving them with nothing.

The public are appalled by the crimes, although many believe that this kind of retaliation was inevitable.

DCI Andy Miller and his team are going to have to dig deep and come up with something extra special in order to put a stop to this madness, as the sheer scale of the DWP’s vindictive treatment of the poorest comes into the spotlight, and becomes the nation’s biggest talking point.

THE FINAL CUT, the 5th DCI Miller adventure. Release date Monday 27th November 2017

You can pre-order your copy here;

UK http://amzn.to/2xukFAY

US http://amzn.to/2xuj9i8

AU http://amzn.to/2kAzEYR

Miller 1 is “One Man Crusade”
Miller 2 is “Neighbours From Hell”
Miller 3 is “Road To Nowhere”
Miller 4 is “Gone Too Far”

final cut poster 3

EXCERPT FROM THE FINAL CUT:

Part of the trick that had been pulled in turning the nation against the poor was the demonization of council house tenants. Most of the UK’s council housing stock was built in the years following the second world war. Hundreds of thousands of smart new council homes were built, the mantra at the time was “homes for heroes” as the government looked for new ways to create jobs, create affordable, good quality housing, and of course, provide nice new homes for the British people, as the old Victorian slums were cleared.

Council homes were, and still are, extremely good earners. They have all paid for themselves dozens of times over, and they provide excellent, self-sustaining income to their local councils. There is not a Town Hall in the land that would say that the local council estate wasn’t a nice little earner. The vast majority of people who live in council housing are nice, decent, hard-working folk who go out to work and keep themselves to themselves, watch Strictly or X-Factor on Saturday night, and try and get away for a fortnight every summer, just like everybody else in the UK.

But as part of the war on the poor, the same TV shows that have incensed tax-payers about “their tax” going towards ciggies and tattoos, and boob jobs for the lazy bastards, also set their sights on council tenants, tarnishing them with the same brush. In historical terms, this is a very new thing, a brand new phenomenon, where the UK media has tried to shame council tenants about the fact that they live in a council property. It began in London, where TV crews would show workless families living in rented council accommodation, pointing out to their viewers that young professional families were paying two thousand pounds a month in rent, for a place that wasn’t as big or as nice. And it wasn’t fair.

In a relatively short time, between 1979 and today, the housing system has changed. At the end of the seventies, 42% of the population lived in a council house. Today, that figure is only 8%. Of those 8%, there are undeniable instances of “out-of-control” people who blight their local communities. But in the main, the media have succeeded in convincing the other 92% of people in Britain that council house tenants are up to no good. Using rare examples of individuals who trash their homes, create anti-social problems, and who live chaotic, troubled lives, the establishment has managed to tar all council tenants with the same brush. It was utterly ridiculous, in exactly the same way that suggesting all 1980’s TV personalities were child molesters, would be.

But, if you repeat a lie enough times, it becomes the truth. And as the UK struggles to find enough housing to contain its growing, ageing population, the fact is that millions more council homes will have to be built. Whether the UK’s media will demonise all of the future tenants as they do today’s tenants remains to be seen. But no other policy highlights and illuminates the government’s complete and utter contempt for the poor than the “bedroom tax.”

This policy was, in theory, a way of making better use of council housing stock. The stock was in short supply, as a result of the 1980’s policy of selling the council houses off at discounted prices to tenants, in the biggest pre-election voter bribe that the world has ever seen. It won Thatcher another term in office, but it also wiped out the nation’s council housing stock practically overnight as tenants bought their council property for a fraction of the market cost.

No more council houses were built, at least not in any serious numbers. The resulting demand on council housing waiting lists became overwhelming, and a new industry was born. Buy to let properties, where private landlords bought up streets and streets of run-down properties in the worst areas of town, in many cases from as little as £500 per house. The “Victorian slum clearance” had gone full circle. There were many that were sold for as little as £1, because of the amount of work that was needed to make the property fit for human inhabitation. These new landlords were delighted with the deal. They could offer sub-standard houses to the local councils to rehome people into, for astronomically inflated rates, and without the usual rules and regulations that went with a secure council tenancy. It was yet another win for the rich, and another blow for the poorest in society. The Tory idea to sell off the council houses in order to gain working-class votes was the gift that kept on giving, and the fact that a third of the nation’s MPs are private landlords today, and that 309 Conservative MPs voted against the “fit for human habitation bill” lays testament to this fact.

In 2010, the nation was facing a council-house shortage, and consequently, the bedroom tax idea was born. The idea was simple enough. If you are on benefits, and you have bedrooms that you don’t use, you would now have to pay an extra subsidy on each room. This meant that a sixty-two year old woman living by herself in a three-bed house was now facing an extra forty pounds a week cost. The idea was that she would surrender the big house and move into a little one-bedroom property. The basic theory made sense. But there was a problem. There were no one-bedroom little properties. There were just hundreds of thousands of poor people in big houses, being charged a ridiculous subsidy on spare rooms. There was no alternative accommodation for them to move to, they just had to stay put, and pay the extra subsidy, whilst the government ignored the gargantuan flaw in their plan. Rather than show some humanity, hold their hands up and admit that they’d got it wrong, they simply lied and lied about what a great success it had been.

This policy was just another example of how disgracefully the government have treated the poor since 2010. The roll out of the Universal Credit was said to be the “box-set” of benefits, a new simpler, easier to navigate system for the most-needy in British society. The small print however, is that from the date of registering for Universal Credit, which would cover unemployment, or disability, or income support, an applicant will automatically wait six weeks until their first payment. Not only is that impossible to sustain human life, but it is also negative in trying to find rented accommodation as no landlord is prepared to wait six weeks until the first payment. As though this was all part of a sick joke, the government set up a phone number for Universal Credit applicants in need of an emergency payment, which costs 55 pence per minute to call. It all seemed like a very sinister, dark, satire sketch show based around rich people being deliberately cruel to poor people.

Sadly, this was no sketch show. This was the reality of life for millions of poor people, whose crime in the eyes of the state, was to be born with nothing.

Now, after seven years of this sustained, unforgiving and wholly unchristian attack against them, it had become clear that somebody out there had snapped. Somebody, somewhere had had enough, and was kicking back. Whoever that person was, it seemed that he was so desperate to highlight the injustice of the war on the poor, that he was prepared to seriously maim the people who were at the coal-face of delivering the hatred. This was a deplorable way of trying to attract support for a campaign, and even to those who had the greatest sympathy for the appalling way that the British poor were being treated, there was an insurmountable sense of disgust and anger about the attacks, and a steely determination that the perpetrator of these sadistic, cold-blooded crimes was not going to achieve anything by this, come-what-may.

FINAL CUT kindle

THE FINAL CUT, the 5th DCI Miller adventure. Release date Monday 27th November 2017

You can pre-order your copy here;

UK http://amzn.to/2xukFAY

US http://amzn.to/2xuj9i8

AU http://amzn.to/2kAzEYR

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Gone Too Far : DCI Miller 4

DCI Miller is faced with a head-ache and a half in the latest Manchester based adventure GONE TOO FAR.

Kathy Hopkirk, the nation’s most detested “celebrity” has disappeared.

Famed for her outrageous remarks and nasty observations about ordinary people in the street and stars from the showbiz world, Kathy has always taken great delight in grabbing the headlines and causing as much controversy as possible. But now she is in the news for a different reason. She is missing.

While visiting Manchester for work, she was staying at The Midland. The iconic, world famous hotel was the last place Kathy was seen, CCTV recorded her leaving on foot. Her destination was unknown. Three days later, her disappearance was reported to police by her manager. The sensational news was met with great interest by the British public, though very little surprise or sympathy. Kathy Hopkirk had been pushing it for years. It looks like this time, she may just have gone too far.

DCI Miller and his team are overwhelmed by the amount of vitriol and hatred which surrounds the missing woman. Where do they possibly start with this one? Kathy has had thousands of death threats on Twitter alone.

DCI Miller is back with another roller-coaster case.

Gone Too Far is the fourth DCI Miller story from popular British indie author Steven Suttie.

“Another fantastic read by Steven Suttie, crime drama at its best!!”
“Absolutely brilliant, couldn’t put it down. Read it in a day!”
“I absolutely loved this book, couldn’t put it down, then of course sad that I’d finished it.”

Miller 1 is “One Man Crusade”

Miller 2 is “Neighbours From Hell”

Miller 3 is “Road To Nowhere”

Miller 4 is “Gone Too Far”

WARNING, Contains bad language, including the worst one a few times. Please do not purchase if offended by swearing.

SKY NEWS GONE TOO FAR PROMOposter 1poster 2Gone Too Far Promo Poster Jennie HillsSKY NEWS GONE TOO FAR PROMO 2

On Amazon’s “customers also bought” function, Steven Suttie’s books are ranked alongside titles by Kerry Wilkinson, Ben Cheetham, Martina Cole, Karen Woods, Paul Finch, Heather Burnside, Rachel Abbott, Kimberley Chambers, Anna Smith, David Menon, Ed James, Robin Roughley. Lisa Hartley, D.S. Butler, Helen Durrant, RC Bridgestock, Col Bury, Lisa Hall, Pam Howes, Iain Cameron, Jessie Keane, Val McDermid, Adam Croft, P.F Ford, Matt Brolly, Mel Sherratt, Angela Clarke, Leigh Russell, Derek Fee, Janice Frost, Paul Gitsham, Steven Dunne, Katherine Pathak, Oliver Tidy, T.M.E Walsh, Peter Grainger, Dave Sivers, Tony Black, Mike Craven, Peter Grainger, Angie Smith, Stephen Puleston, Michael Murray, Angela Marsons, Mark Edwards, LJ Ross, Kathryn Croft, Graham Masterton, Caroline Mitchell, Nick Alexander, CL Taylor, Louise Voss, Jenny Blackhurst, Marnie Riches, Michael Wood, Luca Veste, Damien Boyd, Paula Hawkins, Lynwood Barclay, Ann Cleeves, M.A. Comley, Mark Sennen, Tara Lyons, Louise Voss, Squid McFinnigan, Rob Sinclair, Jane Isaac, Nicky Black, Faith Mortimer, Dreda Say Mitchell, Michael Kerr, Stephen Edger, John Nicholl, Ruth Dugdall, Robert Bryndza, B.A. Paris, Katerina Diamond, Maggie James, Lisa Hall, Georgie Logan, Tammy Robinson and Linda Tweedie

Road To Nowhere : DCI Miller 3

Off-Duty Police Sergeant Jason Knight from Bolton police station has disappeared whilst cycling in the Lancashire countryside. His wife raised the alarm. Jason is not the kind of man who would go missing. Something is very clearly wrong. The disappearance quickly becomes a full-scale alert, and counter-terror police are on standby, monitoring the situation extremely closely.

DCI Andrew Miller is drafted in urgently to try and figure out what the hell is going on, and why Knight might suddenly disappear. It’s a race against time to find the popular, well respected Sergeant.

Meanwhile, the local press are calling for Miller’s resignation following the infamous “Neighbours From Hell” trial, and newspaper revelations that suggest Miller could be responsible for an apparent miscarriage of justice.

If Andy Miller thought that he already had enough on his plate – he’s about to discover that there’s plenty of room for more, in this fast-paced, gritty thriller set in Manchester and The Trough of Bowland, in the heart of Lancashire.

DCI MILLER 3 – Road To Nowhere

Road to nowhere is the third DCI Miller story from popular British indie author Steven Suttie.

Miller 1 is “One Man Crusade”

Miller 2 is “Neighbours From Hell”

Miller 3 is “Road To Nowhere”

WARNING, Contains bad language at times. Please do not purchase if offended by swearing.

sky news ADVERTFB 3 ROAD TO NOWHERE NEIGHBOURS FROM HELL STEVEN SUTTIE ONE MAN CRUSADE CLITHEROE PRIME MINISTER AMAZON BESTSELLER KINDLE POSTERNOV 16 4 ROAD TO NOWHERE NEIGHBOURS FROM HELL STEVEN SUTTIE ONE MAN CRUSADE CLITHEROE PRIME MINISTER AMAZON BESTSELLER KINDLE POSTER 2NOV 16 12 NO TEXT TAG ROAD TO NOWHERE NEIGHBOURS FROM HELL STEVEN SUTTIE ONE MAN CRUSADE CLITHEROE PRIME MINISTER AMAZON BESTSELLER KINDLE POSTER 2NOV 16 13 ROAD TO NOWHERE NEIGHBOURS FROM HELL STEVEN SUTTIE ONE MAN CRUSADE CLITHEROE PRIME MINISTER AMAZON BESTSELLER KINDLE POSTER 2ROAD TO NOWHERE STEVEN SUTTIE PAUL CRESSWELL REVIEW COFFEE AND KINDLE BLOG SPOT

On Amazon’s “customers also bought” function, Steven Suttie’s books are ranked alongside titles by Kerry Wilkinson, Ben Cheetham, Martina Cole, Karen Woods, Paul Finch, Heather Burnside, Rachel Abbott, Kimberley Chambers, Anna Smith, David Menon, Ed James, Robin Roughley. Lisa Hartley, D.S. Butler, Helen Durrant, RC Bridgestock, Col Bury, Lisa Hall, Pam Howes, Iain Cameron, Jessie Keane, Val McDermid, Adam Croft, P.F Ford, Matt Brolly, Mel Sherratt, Angela Clarke, Leigh Russell, Derek Fee, Janice Frost, Paul Gitsham, Steven Dunne, Katherine Pathak, Oliver Tidy, T.M.E Walsh, Peter Grainger, Dave Sivers, Tony Black, Mike Craven, Peter Grainger, Angie Smith, Stephen Puleston, Michael Murray, Angela Marsons, Mark Edwards, LJ Ross, Kathryn Croft, Graham Masterton, Caroline Mitchell, Nick Alexander, CL Taylor, Louise Voss, Jenny Blackhurst, Marnie Riches, Michael Wood, Luca Veste, Damien Boyd, Paula Hawkins, Lynwood Barclay, Ann Cleeves, M.A. Comley, Mark Sennen, Tara Lyons, Louise Voss, Squid McFinnigan, Rob Sinclair, Jane Isaac, Nicky Black, Faith Mortimer, Dreda Say Mitchell, Michael Kerr, Stephen Edger, John Nicholl, Ruth Dugdall, Robert Bryndza, B.A. Paris, Katerina Diamond, Maggie James, Lisa Hall, Georgie Logan, Tammy Robinson and Linda Tweedie

BBC Introducing Lancashire – Sean McGinty

sean mcginty in northern life magazine steven suttie

This first appeared in NORTHERN LIFE magazine

DECEMBER 2014 ISSUE

I have long been a lover of local radio. In fact, from being a very small boy in the 1980’s I’ve taken a massive interest in it. But as computer-run stations and nationally syndicated services have slowly and surely eroded the magic that local radio once created, I am becoming more and more bored by the same old thing, just like many hundreds of thousands of radio listeners who are deserting local radio and re-tuning to Radio 2 instead.

But then, just as I’m about to give up completely – I discover a radio show that completely recharges my enthusiasm and gets me fully, properly excited again. I’m talking about BBC Introducing, a national network of 40 local radio programmes that champion local music in their area. In particular, I’m talking about BBC Radio Lancashire’s “Introducing” show on Saturday evenings, which is on air between 8pm and 10pm. radio lancs

If you want to be completely bowled over by an eclectic showcase of the amazing musical talent that there is here in Lancashire – I can guarantee that you will be surprised by just how much emerging talent there is in the Red Rose county, and then, I suspect that you will feel ever so proud of the whole concept.

It’s always a great feeling to stumble across a genuinely inspirational, amusing and enjoyable radio show that isn’t all about the DJ, but about what the DJ can do for others. I went down to the BBC Lancashire studios to meet the programme’s creator and presenter Sean McGinty, a man so full of energy, enthusiasm and passion for his work that it is easy to see how it all translates so well into such a bloody good radio show.

As he ate a sandwich, eaves-dropped on a band recording a session next door, while trying to discover who blocked the radio-car in with a silver peugeot, I had a good old natter with Sean about his work.

BBC radio lancashire studios in Blackburn town centre

You can tell from listening to the BBC Lancashire Introducing show that you clearly love it. What has been your highlight of doing this show so far? It’s not really on air that I get the real highlight. That comes when I listen through the one hundred and fifty songs I receive a week and hear something that’s just amazing. For example, we play a lot of music from Aquilo. When I first heard their song I was like “wow!” It just hits you and it’s amazing. And now, eighteen months later, they are doing really well, one of their songs is going to be in a film, and being a BBC Introducing presenter, you get a great “wow-factor” when you hear someone with some real talent and a great song.

Another group who are doing great things are Bondax from Lancaster, who are regularly played on BBC Radio 1. They started out on your show. Yes, through us, Radio 1 have picked up on them. Don’t get me wrong, these guys work hard on their own, and they’ve got good people representing them and they’ve done very well without the BBC involvement. Having said that, it’s always good to say “We’ve been on BBC Introducing and we’ve done a Maida Vale session.” They’ve done all that stuff, and they were at Bestival this year, and now they’re travelling the world. It’s a great result for us, but it’s down to the artist. They do all the work, they put all the time in. Just because I play a track by Aquilo, or Bondax, or Rae Morris and say I love it, that isn’t necessarily the route to how they become successful.

The show is now ten years old in Lancashire. Is it getting harder to find exciting new bands and artists to showcase, or does it get easier? I think as technology and social media has developed we are seeing more music sent to us now. We can get any where between one hundred and two hundred tracks sent in each week via the BBC Introducing Uploader on the website, as well as links to songs on Soundcloud and Youtube as well as CD’s in the post. So it is a lot of music that’s coming in to us, and almost all of it is from Lancashire.

What advice do you have for local bands who have the talent, and want to get played, but can’t necessarily afford the studio time to get a professional sounding demo together? Well, Rae Morris is a great example of that. Rae is now signed to Atlantic Records, her new single is being played on Radio 1 and her album is out in January. There’s some really good stuff happening with her right now, but the music that she sent me at first just wasn’t recorded well enough to play on the radio. It was an absolutely beautiful song, and I loved it, but I couldn’t play it. But there are other things we can do, and we invited Rae in and let her do a live session. So assuming they can do that, there’s always different options.

The Extra Third Photography

You came to radio quite late in life after a career in banking and telecoms. What made you give up secure employment and a good salary for a career in a notoriously difficult to enter industry, that probably pays a lot less? I’ve just always loved radio, and I love the job I’m doing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is a very different earning potential as you pointed out, but as I’m approaching my fiftieth birthday, I’m really enjoying this, and all the other projects that I’m involved with and that really matters to me.

You must have to spend a lot of time listening to the music that is sent in by hopeful bands, plus you do other slots on the BBC Radio Lancashire schedule. You are also embarking on the difficult task of launching Blackpool’s Radio Victoria as a full time community radio station. How do you get the time to fit all this in? I don’t do anything that’s remotely sociable anymore! That’s it really. I’m very much into social enterprise and not for profit businesses. I was working with the hospital trust in Blackpool and suggested that they go after a community radio license, and they said go for it. So now we have the license, and just need to find about twenty five grand for the mast and various bits and pieces. I really think community radio could be fantastic for the Fylde. So yes, I’m kept very busy but I love it, and you’re a long time dead aren’t you?

Your Introducing slot is on air at 8pm on Saturdays, but it’s available all week long on the iPlayer. Are you finding that this new “on demand” technology is helping you to build a bigger audience? I don’t really look at the numbers. We used to be on Thursday evenings and we had the most radio listeners in the county on that slot, beating Radio 1, Radio 2 and everybody else. When the senior BBC management decided that all of the Introducing shows across the national network were being moved to Saturdays, we lost a lot of listeners. Mainly because most of our listeners were out playing, or listening to bands on that night. It’s possibly the worst night to have a new music show on the radio to be honest. I do get e-mails during the week from people who are listening to the I-player, but I have no idea how many there are.

introducing logo on cassette

What advice would you have for anybody who would like to follow in your footsteps and get a job in radio?Well, don’t wait until you are 38 before you even think about doing it. Do it in your 20’s! What I did was I went to the University of Central Lancashire and started a broadcast journalism course, and then I camped on the doorstep here at BBC Radio Lancashire until they let me in. When they did let me in, I just worked really hard and really long and made sure that what I did was good and eventually I got some regular paid work here.

Your wife must be very supportive of you? Yes, we both changed careers at the same time. I went into this and she went into teaching. She was very supportive of me in the early years, and now I’m supportive of her in what she does. It’s a partnership.

What ambitions are left for the BBC Lancashire Introducing show? Loads! I mean we’ve started doing BBC Introducing Live gigs at the Ferret in Preston which is a fine local venue, and a great place to play. It’s a great night for people who want to support local music and it’s free. That’s on the second Saturday of every month, and I want to build on that and get more gigs in more towns. And of course to continue showcasing the very best of Lancashire’s new music on the BBC Introducing show.

BBC Introducing programmes are on air on your local BBC station on Saturday evenings from 8 until 10pm, and available anytime on BBC Radio I-player.

More about what Sean is doing.

One Man Crusade

STEVEN SUTTIE BUS STOP ADVERT ONE MAN CRUSADE BOOK MANCHESTER
ONE MAN CRUSADE by Steven Suttie CLITHEROE PRIME MINISTER

“A RELENTLESS, ‘ONE MORE CHAPTER’ CRIME THRILLER”

The police face an extraordinary problem.

Somebody has started shooting unsuspecting citizens dead as they go about their daily business in the north west of England.

But it is a very specific type of person that the gun man is targeting. Paedophiles.

In order to keep the public calm, the police have no alternative but to reveal the killer’s motive.

And that’s when things start to get really tricky for the investigating officers. Public revulsion of child molesters is at an all time high, so when the killer is hailed as a hero vigilante by the media – DCI Andrew Miller and his team face the ultimate challenge in catching a man who is determined to continue with his executions until he is caught.

PLEASE NOTE: This book contains swearing throughout. (Including the worst one.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS BOOK IS NOT SUITABLE FOR ANY PERSON WHO IS SYMPATHETIC TO PAEDOPHILES OR ANY PERSON WHO CAN CONDONE CHILD SEX ABUSE.

AMAZON customer praise for One Man Crusade:

“Hope a television drama is forthcoming. It’s certainly on a par with Broadchurch or Happy Valley.”

“What a fantastic book. If you like reading British novels then you will love this one.”

“I have read loads of crime thrillers, but nothing as good as this in a long time.”

“Excellent and well written book. Thoroughly enjoyed it, laughed, cried and was horrified. A very thought provoking read with excellent outcome.”

“I’ve read over a hundred books this year,best so far.”

“A brilliant thought provoking book, which leaves you thinking what side of the law you’re on.”

“What can I possibly say about this book but wow! Fantastic writing and so current!”

“Addictive read, couldn’t put it down. The twists and turns in this read, keep you changing sides all the way through.”

“A great read, thoroughly enjoyed it – and I’m very fussy! Highly recommended!”

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Hartley Calling Juliet Bravo

Back in the early 80s, one of the most popular Saturday night TV shows on the BBC was Juliet Bravo. The programme regularly attracted 20 million viewers, as the nations families sat down on their brown three piece suites and allowed a very Northern drama to unfold in their front rooms.


The popular characters from Hartley police station dealt with many crimes of varying seriousness throughout the six series that were broadcast between 1980 to 1985. As a young boy, I connected with the show because it was the first TV series that I was allowed to stay up late to watch, and mainly because it looked like it was made down the bottom of our street.

Juliet Bravo was as Northern as a pie butty. Without fail, each episode celebrated the regions industrial landscape with many crimes taking place down by the canal, in a disused cotton mill or at the allotments. Many a petty criminal was chased along the cobbled streets before having their collar felt by Sergeant Beck. My wife bought me a DVD box set of Juliet Bravo, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the nostalgic trip back to 1981 in the North of England. So have my kids. Looking back at the programmes today, the landscape of Hartley has moved on quite dramatically. In fact, Juliet Bravo was filmed during a time of huge regeneration in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Many of the endless streets of slum housing were in the process of being knocked down, gigantic Mills were being deleted from the horizon, old Victorian schools were making way for modern structures and Fred Dibnah was kept in steady work pulling the giant chimney stacks down. Whoever chose Juliet Bravo’s filming locations was obviously keen to include the run down scenery just before it was bulldozed away for good.

Hartley was of course a fictional town, and the programmes external shots were filmed all over Lancashire and West Yorkshire. Sharp eyed viewers from Bacup were quick to notice that Hartley police station was actually their very own local police station on Bank Street in the Town Centre, which is just about still in operation today.

Over the course of 88 episodes, many small industrial towns were used for filming the series. Burnley, Colne, Accrington, Nelson, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden, and parts of the Ribble Valley featured regularly, painting a very picturesque, but tough image of Hartley. The town had a bustling shopping centre called “the Arndale,” rows upon rows of back to back terraces, breathtaking countryside, plenty of factories and a couple of rough council estates.

Its not hard to understand why Juliet Bravo was such a smash hit, dominating the winter Saturday night schedules on BBC TV. Of course this was a time when choice was limited. We only had 3 television channels in 1981, Channel 4 came on air the following year, greeted with huge expectation from an enthusiastic public.

The basic premise of Juliet Bravo was to follow the newly appointed top cop at Hartley police station, Inspector Jean Darbley (played by Stephanie Turner, above)) who happened to be female, and as a result struggled initially to gain acceptance and respect from her junior male colleagues. From series 3 – 6 Inspector Darblay was replaced by Inspector Kate Longton (played by Anna Carteret, below.)

Juliet Bravo was created to highlight the difficulties that female officers faced in a chauvinistic world dominated by the old boys of the Constabulary. Nowadays its common place to have female police Inspectors. Indeed female officers have risen to the very top job of Chief Constable within many police forces in the UK. The Juliet Bravo TV show can take a lot of credit for this, along with many other social changes that have happened since it went on air.

In 1981 a prime time TV show was capable of educating as well as entertaining its audience, changing social stigmas and challenging established opinions. Many social problems and taboos were dealt with by this programme, offering positive and reassuring advice and guidance to the viewers through the stories that were told.

Nowadays, we are all aware of the facts regarding depression and mental health problems. In 1981, with less understanding and acceptance, problems such as this were not for up for discussion. In one famous episode of Juliet Bravo, a desperate young mother who was suffering from post natal depression convinced the Hartley officers that she had harmed her baby. It was a desperate attempt by her to get help, and it worked. This was the first time that this sensitive subject had been covered in such an emotive and reassuring way. Without doubt, this episode opened the door to a new way of thinking about these types of problems that had previously caused shame and embarrassment for those suffering. The episode had such an impact in challenging stereotypes about depression, a similar story was covered a few series later. It told the viewers that this was normal, and was nothing to feel ashamed about.

Juliet Bravo highlighted and educated its viewers on many crimes and modern problems of the day. No other TV show could manage to tell 20 million viewers of the deadly dangers of glue sniffing, how to deal with rogue callers and show vulnerable women that domestic abuse was not acceptable. It was done with great Northern charm and style, and genuinely helped to change opinion.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom in Hartley. In fact, there wasn’t very much gloom at all. Juliet Bravo consistently provided a conveyer belt of loveable rogues, rotten scoundrels, feckless thieves and denim wearing punks. There were serious crimes such as child abuse, rape and murder, and some not so serious. One episode centred round a young lads bike being nicked. In another, the local chip shop owner was in trouble for keeping a bear in his shed. It was never dull, it was always thought provoking and delightfully gritty.

If you have fond memories of the programme, and you love 1980s nostalgia, the DVD sets are a real treat. Wander down the North’s cobbled streets to a time when community spirit was stronger, when a pot of tea and a chat could solve many of the country’s problems and the Austin Maestro was a dream car.

Let’s raise a northern toast to Juliet Bravo. Put your pie down and raise your brew to one of our finest TV programmes, and the wonderful town of Hartley.

This article first appeared in Northern Life Magazine, June 2011, written by Steve Suttie.

CLICK HERE to read about Steve’s debut Novel, The Clitheroe Prime Minister