Stephen Inch (The Inch Man)

Created by Lester Powell
(1912 -93)

STEPHEN INCH was a house detective working in at London’s very busy Imperial Crescent Hotel in The Inch Man, a 1951-52 BBC drama series that apparently broadcast live.

This was early days–the Americans had only aired the first private eye shows a few years earlier, and everyone was scrambling to figure out how to tame this new medium–which may explain why there were only 14 episodes of this show produced.  It’s all moot, though. Apparently none of the episodes have survived. Back then, the BBC was notorious for erasing and reusing videotape, assuming they even bothered to tape it in the first place. Which may be why nobody remembers much of anything about this early, obscure show.

All I know is that Inch was played by American actor Robert Ayres, who mostly worked in England.


Before becoming a writer for radio and television, Lester Powell was a draughtsman, poultry farmer, and journalist. He also wrote the 1952 BBC serial The Hidden Motive, featuring quirky insurance investogator “Doc” Job, but is best known for creating the popular BBC radio P.I. Philip Odell, which ran until the sixties, and spawned several novels and a feature film.


    (1951-52, BBC)
    14 30-minute episodes
    Broadcast live
    Black & white
    Writers: Lester Powell
    Starring Robert Ayres as STEPHEN INCH
    with Hamlyn Benson as George Packer
    Joan Harben as Miss Bromsgrove
    Faith Bailey as Jane Cherry
    Also starring Richard Caldicot, Harry Quashie, Michael Balfour, Gerald Case, Richard Bebb, Eric J. Croall

    • “That Sudden Something” (June 30, 1951)
    • The Big Gamble” (July 7, 1951)
    • Midnight Blues” (July 14, 1951)
    • Wedding Night” (July 21, 1951)
    • Night Shift” (July 28, 1951)
    • Moments So Few” (August 4, 1951)
    • “Coming Out Party” (December 8, 1951)
    • “Badger Game” (December 15, 1951)
    • “Cocktail Hour” (December 22, 1951)
    • “I Hate Christmas” (December 29, 1951)
    • “Cloak and Dagger” (January 5, 1952)
    • “Private View” (January 12, 1952)
    • “Title Fight” (January 19, 1952)
    • “The Quiet Voice” (January 26, 1952)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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