Iwan Williams comments on Bergerac/All the Sad Songs
Former pop singing duo member Tony Hubbard (Gary Bond) has fallen on hard times, and is now a cabaret performer who finds himself appearing at a low rent club on the channel holiday island of Jersey. He chances upon his former singing partner Dawn (Diane Langton) at a horse racing event, who is now married to wealthy businessman Nicholas Wolfe (James Booth).
As Tony and Dawn spend more and more time together, culminating in an impromptu performance at the club where Tony is appearing, (much to the distaste of the jealous Wolfe), old passions and new jealousies arise resulting in a suspicious death.
Sergeant Jim Bergerac of the Jersey police force then becomes involved in the situation professionally rather than just socially.
Bergerac was a long running (1981-1991) crime series which starred the previously little known John Nettles as the eponymous detective investigating crimes involving non-residents of the channel island of Jersey.
Rather curiously, his former father-in-law Charlie Hungerford (Terence Alexander) was usually involved somehow in all his cases.
This episode was shown in 1990, and is I feel one of the better episodes from this late stage in the show’s lifetime as the story has a stronger human interest value than most other episodes. Gary Bond is excellent as the tortured performer who was someone once, but has now lost his way and uses alcohol as a crutch.
Diane Langton is herself a well known music performer and plays her part well as Dawn, with her loyalties torn between her old partner and her jealous new husband.
James Booth is the ‘bad guy’ of the episode, but is really nothing more than a sneering bystander embarrassed by his wife’s behaviour, and jealous of the attention she shows Hubbard.
(Gary Bond and James Booth both appeared in Zulu, Bond as you may recall played the part of Private Cole).
In general this is a very palatable episode of the series, perhaps not the most exciting, but more dramatic than usual and a refreshing change therefore.
Sadly, this was to be Gary Bond’s last ever screen appearance as he fell ill soon after filming and eventually passed away in 1995 at the early age of 55. (Much like James Booth, he was a another criminally underused actor).
John Nettles’ TV career went into freefall after Bergerac was cancelled, until in 1997 he was given the lead role of DI Tom Barnaby in Midsomer Murders which has since gone from strength to strength.