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Shoestring: Series 1 DVD

Various (TV), 1979

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Film Details

Directed by Various (TV)

Produced in 1979

Main Language - English

Countries & Regions - British Film

MovieMail's Review

The BBC's fondly-remembered, long-unseen radio detective show comes to DVD at last! Rarely has a TV detective been so convincingly flawed and fascinating, says Julian Upton.

This acclaimed series has not been much seen in the 30 years since its original BBC run ended — its mooted 2005 DVD release was postponed due to a music rights wrangle — but it is still well remembered, and celebrated, as one of the quirkiest entries in a genre that’s hardly averse to quirkiness.

Trevor Eve’s Eddie Shoestring, a former computer programme driven to nervous breakdown by the noise and stress of working with then-unwieldy machines, has turned gumshoe, sniffing out villains on the mean streets of Bristol (when his mood swings allow it). But that’s not his only unusual career move: when a case brings him into contact with the boss of the local radio station, Radio West, he’s offered a position as a phone-in private eye — or ‘private ear’ — following up leads from anxious callers and solving cases on air.

This, on paper, is Shoestring’s unique selling point: the radio show angle is an ingenious device (a good few years before Frasier) to generate suitably compelling plotlines and introduce an assorted cast of characters (among the familiar faces in Series One are Shirley Anne Field, Lynda Bellingham, Glyn Houston and a post-Steptoe Harry H. Corbett). But the real appeal of the series is Trevor Eve.

Fairly new to television, the 28-year-old actor hit the ground running here. Eddie might be a little unstable, but there is no trace of insecurity or self-doubt in Eve as a performer. He invests the character with a wealth of appealing if contrasting traits: charming, charismatic and attractive to women, but also vulnerable, he is quick to fly off the handle, a loose cannon. He obsessively sketches none-too-flattering cartoons of the people he’s talking face-to-face with, even when he’s just met them. He’s neurotic, but also heroic, and is relentless in his pursuit of his quarry. Rarely has a TV detective been quite so convincingly flawed and fascinating.

Eve quit after Series Two; he had other ambitions and didn’t want to be tied to a TV role. So Shoestring’s producer, Robin Banks Stewart, rounded up the crew and moved onto another ‘tec creation: Bergerac.

Julian Upton on 26th August 2011
Author of 172 reviews

Shoestring: Series 1 Shoestring: Series 1

Film Description

First broadcast in 1979, Shoestring became one of the most popular British private detective shows of all time, with Trevor Eve playing the dishevelled, private eye-turned-radio show host, Eddie Shoestring. The complete first series.

Eddie Shoestring (Trevor Eve) is a man with an interesting past. A former computer programmer who suffered a nervous breakdown before returning to work as a private eye, he receives his big break when he is asked to present Radio West's 'private ear' segment and begins investigating such mysteries as the disappearance of callers' family members and old, unsolved murder cases.

DVD Details

Certificate: 12

Publisher: 2 Entertain

Length: 558 mins

Aspect ratio: 4:3

Format: DVD Colour

Region: 2

Released: 17th October 2011

Cat No: BBCDVD3488

Subtitles: English HoH

DVD Extras

  • 4 discs

Film Stills

Shoestring: Series 1 Shoestring: Series 1

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