The Thin Blue Line (TV series)

The Thin Blue Line
The Thin Blue Line.png
Created byBen Elton
Written byBen Elton
Directed byJohn Birkin
StarringRowan Atkinson
James Dreyfus
Mina Anwar
Rudolph Walker
Serena Evans
David Haig
Kevin Allen (series 1)
Mark Addy (series 2)
Lucy Robinson (series 2)
Joy Brook (series 1)
Composer(s)Howard Goodall
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes14 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Peter Bennett-Jones
Producer(s)Geoffrey Perkins
Ben Elton
Editor(s)Graham Hutchings (Series 1)
Steve Tempia (Series 2)
Charlie Fawcett (Series 2)
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Tiger Aspect Productions
DistributorEndemol UK
Original networkBBC1
Original release13 November 1995 (1995-11-13) –

23 December 1996 (1996-12-23)
External links

The Thin Blue Line is a British sitcom starring Rowan Atkinson and written by Ben Elton. It aired on the BBC from 1995 to 1996.


The Thin Blue Line is set in the police station of the fictional English town of Gasforth; situated somewhere within the North Yorkshire Police jurisdiction.

One of the main themes shows the uniformed squad led by Inspector Fowler and the CID led by Detective Inspector Grim locking horns over similar, or even the same, issues while having conflicting views or methods of operation. Generally the uniformed section triumphs over the detectives, although not without their own foibles.

Although other PCs and staff than the main characters are visible in the background and at meetings they generally have no speaking parts.

Cast and characters[]

Many notable actors made guest appearances, and these include the writer Ben Elton, Stephen Fry, Stephen Moore, Melvyn Hayes, Trevor Peacock, Owen Teale, Colin McFarlane, Alan Cox, Alexander Armstrong, Nicola Stapleton, Perry Fenwick and Rupert Vansittart.



The writer, Ben Elton, is a fan of Dad's Army,[1] and as such many of the characters were influenced by the show. Fowler's relationship with Grim is very similar to that of Captain Mainwaring to Warden Hodges, in that they are both on the same side yet enemies. Also, Constable Goody is rather like Private Pike in being a 'stupid boy' who irritates Fowler. Constable Gladstone's habit of interrupting a briefing with a story about life in Trinidad is similar to Lance Corporal Jones's penchant for reminiscing about Sudan during Captain Mainwaring's speeches. Other references include in the episode Rag Week, when Fowler is briefly seen walking out of a shop called "Mainwaring's".[2] Ben Elton has appeared in the programme himself. In the first series the "WANTED" poster behind Fowler's desk in the briefing room is an E-FIT of Elton. He had a cameo role in the Christmas special episode, "Yuletide Spirit".


The following is a summary of episodes for the British sit com The Thin Blue Line, which first aired on 13 November 1995 and ended on 23 December 1996. It has broadcast two series with seven episodes each, including a Christmas special at the end of series 1 on 26 December 1995.

Series Episodes Originally broadcast Complete series DVD release date
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Series 1 7 13 November 1995 – 26 December 1995 15 June 2004 17 September 2001 7 November 2002
Series 2 7 14 November 1996 – 23 December 1996

Critical reception[]

The sitcom was popular with viewers, though it suffered in critical reviews due to "inconsistent character development" and an "overly broad plotline". It was ranked number 34 in a poll for Britain's Best Sitcom.

DVD releases[]

Both series have been released on DVD in the United Kingdom (Region 2) by Vision Video Ltd. The Thin Blue Line is available in Region 1 (North America), having been released by BBC Warner. Episodes in the first series were not in broadcast order on both Region 1 and 2 DVDs. The Series 2 episodes in the Region 1 DVD are cut to fit about 30 minute runtime. For example, the biggest cut is from the S2E7 "The Green Eyed Monster" episode, which is cut from 40:45 UK/R2 runtime to 30:05 Region 1 runtime. The Region 1 release has English closed captions. The UK Region 2 does not have any subtitles.


  1. ^ Graham, Jane (14 July 2008). "Dad's Army: funny? You stupid boy!". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Hidden in the Ranks: a bit like this". Walmington-on-Line. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 11 March 2016.

Other sources[]

External links[]