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Dick Barton Special Agent
Created by Norman Collins

From web site

The beloved star of the BBC's first daily radio serial, private investigator and sometime special agent DICK BARTON appeared in 711 episodes between 1946 and 1951. With his two best mates by his side, Jock Anderson and Snowy White, and a slew of crime-busting gadgets that would make DICK TRACY envious, Dick managed to get into (and eventually out of) some pretty tight spots, much to the delight of thousands, not to mention the stern disapproval of various "educationalists and clergymen." And all that disapproval despite the scriptwriters strict adherence to 13 codes of conduct, such as: no sex, no booze, no bad language and all violence must be limited to "clean socks on the jaw."

Nevertheless, the radio show was a huge success, and the former Captain Richard Barton of the Commandos became a national hero, right up there with Churchill. In post-war Britain, the fast-paced, tongue-in-cheek adventures were exactly what the doctor ordered. At his peak, over 15 million listeners tuned in to his adventures, broadcast in the early evening, right after the news.

Although Geoffrey Webb and Edward J. Mason wrote the radio scripts, Barton was actually created by BBC producer Norman Collins, who has visions of a "cloak and dagger soap opera" every evening.

Of course, success like that couldn't be overlooked, and three feature films were also made, and a slew of novels and shorts stories. But the films were strictly B, and what worked so well on radio looked awkward, and sometimes even silly on film. Although the films were moderately successful, it wasn't enough to keep to keep the series going.

And then, in 1979, ITV decided to revive Dick. Of course, these were modern times and no mamby-pamby codes of conduct had to be followed. And so viewers were treated to a tough-talking, no-nonsense, square-jawed private eye, complete with trench coat and fedora. The purists (and everyone else, it seemed) were not amused. The show only lasted a few months.

But such is the cult of Dick that his popularity continues, into the next millenium. In 2001, Dick, Snowy et al were brought to the stage, and even toured Great Britain.

From web site



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