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Supposedly ho-hum, this glossy but short-lived British TV show revolved around a trio of young, ambitious Brussels-based private eyes. CHRIS TIERNEY (played by Ron Spendlove), a former grape picker and teacher from the U.K., is convinced by an Italian wine businessman and Raymond Chandler junkie FABIO CAVALCANTI (Urbano Barberini) to help him form a detective agency called TECX.
On special contract to a Brussels law firm, Souverain Associates, Chris and Fabio were soon joined by ANNA HOLZ (Ulrike Schwarz), a young German lawyer with the firm, who was assigned to keep an eye on things by her boss, Isabelle Souverain. Their cases took the three attractive and affable sleuths all over the EC, particularly Holland, France, Britain and, of course, Belgium.
Although it had its fans, the show never quite caught on with the general public, and some erratic scheduling, with a two-month gap between episodes mid-season, didn’t help.
Great way to build an audience, guys.
- “… well-intentioned but uninspiring.”
— The Boxtree Encyclopedia of TV Detectives
- “TECX… is a programme that I may be unique in liking a lot. I knew that it was a ratings disaster but I didn’t know how bad until (had) some recent correspondence with the very well known executive producer Ted Childs. It seems that the programme may well have been the most hated ever on British TV, apparently even attracting condemnation for its existence in the newspaper editorials. Mr Childs said that he had made a strategic mistake in underestimating how pro-American and anti-European the British are. Being diametrically oppositely inclined myself, I suppose that I had not realised that there was a fundamental problem with the programme. The British might well not have a problem with a sitcom set in Auschwitz, but a series set (partially) on the Continent? Might as well have burned the Union Jack.
I suppose that the comment ‘well intentioned but uninspiring’ is reasonable but I don’t care, I love it anyway and wish that I had recorded all thirteen episodes but I only realised halfway through that I liked it so much. So I have only got the last five, which I have just been re-watching as TV has been a bit thin recently and so I am trawling though my favourites such as The Avengers, The Saint, Randall and Hopkirk, The Champions, etc.”
- “I loved the all too short run of TECX, but it came at a time when all the UK wanted was more American shows, and Europe just wasn’t wanted (a strangely familiar sentiment these days).”
— SD-Rob (September 2019)
13 60-minute episodes
Writers: Michael Baker, Pete Barwood, Jack Chaney, Robert Hammond, Patrick Harbinson, Jane Hollowood, Barbara Machin, Guy Meredith, Timothy Prager, Robert Smith, Susan Wilkins, Andy de la Tour
Directors: Antonia Bird, Renny Rye, Gabrielle Beaumont, Lawrence Gordon-Clark, Alan Cooke
Producer: Simon Channing-Williams
Executive Producer: Ted Childs
A Central Films Production for Central Independent Television
Aired on PBS in Fall 1994
Starring Ron Spendlove as CHRIS TIERNEY
Urbano Barberini as FABIO CAVALCANTI
and Ulrike Schwarz as ANNA HOLZ
Also starring Jenny Agutter, Stephane Audran, David Howey, Neil Dudgeon
Guest stars: Lindsay Duncan, Bill Nighy, John Stride, Stephane Audran, John Castle, Geoffrey Bayldon, Abigail Cruttenden, Mark Strong
- “Deep Water” (March 22, 1990)
- “The Wine Business” (March 29, 1990)
- “The Sea Takes All” (April 5, 1990)
- “A Question Of Chemistry” (April 12, 1990)
- “Dead End” (April 19, 1990)
- “17K” (April 26, 1990)
- “Rock A Buy Baby” (May 3, 1990)
- “Needle In A Haystack ” ( 11 July 11, 1990)
- “Previous Convictions” (July 18, 1990)
- “Getting Personal” (July 25, 1990)
- “Fall From Grace” (August 1, 1990)
- “Writing On The Wall” (August 8, 1990)
- “A Soldier’s Death” (August 15, 1990)