Thursday, January 08, 2009

Dalziel and Pascoe

One of the few things that my father left me when he died 31 years ago was a battered paperback entitled 'A Clubable Woman'. It was the the volume that introduced PC Peter Pascoe to Superintendent Andy Dalziel (pronounced DEE-al). In my opinion Reginald Hill's inventions are the best creations in cop-show literature. If you have only seen the TV films you are missing a treat. To be sure Colin Buchanan and Warren Clarke are a great improvement on Hale and Pace who filmed 'A Pinch of Snuff' but even Clarke's ugliness and growing obesity do not do justice to Hill's description of the 'Fat Man' (Sidney Greenstreet perhaps, though I'm not sure he could do the Yorkshire accent). Incidentally, I watched the Anthony Hopkins film of Le Carre's 'Looking Glass War' the other day and was surprised to see a young slim and handsome Warren Clarke with fine blond hair. Colin Buchanan was fine as a young copper, but age and avoir du pois have turned him into a passable imitation of Andy. Watching them plod together with sour looks on their faces reminds one of how people and their dogs tend to resemble one another.

The books and the films diverged from one another after the first series, with the dropping of Ellie Pascoe and Sergeant Wield. They are both still in the books and the films are poorer for their loss.

I have just finished the two latest novels, 'The death of Dalziel' and 'The cure for all diseases' and I'm pleased to say that Reginald Hill is still in fine literary form.


Anonymous said...

Was 'The Looking Glass War' any good? I LOVED 'Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy' with Alec Guinness.

I wonder if the movies are available in the US?

Terry Hamblin said...

Looking Glass War should be seen as an early try out for 'The Spy Who Came in From the Cold'. Although Smiley featured in it, it was not in the same league as Tinker, tailor. If you haven't seen it try 'Smiley's People' in which Alec Guinness reprise's his role as Smiley (also has Michael Jayston as Peter).

The BBC also did "The Honorable Schoolboy" which comes between these two in the book series, but they have never released it on DVD.