bc bc HEARTBEAT
Updated 11th March, 2012.

Just ONE page on the Collecting Books and Magazines web site based in Australia.

Nicholas Rhea's Homepage http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/

We've decided to concentrate on Nicholas Rhea's books, both the ones about Aidensfield and the less well known series concerning  other members of Britain's finest, including DS Pemberton and DI Pluke. Book Reviews. You'll also find a partial list of CONSTABLE and HEARTBEAT books below, including some REVIEWS.  Book List For up-to-date information on books, go to Nicholas Rhea's home page. http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk . Some older information on the cast of HEARTBEAT, series 1 and 2. Heartbeat - the cast
NEW from Nicholas Rhea are the adventures of Yorkshire insurance agent, Matthew Taylor, in Some Assured.

Page editor John
chiefchook@gmail.com
Please email me with corrections and updates. Much of the information below was compiled a decade or more ago and will be corrected over time, if necessary.
FULL details on HEARTBEAT can be found on the WIKI page.

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Background on HEARTBEAT, the original Nick Berry series 1-4
Now available on DVD.  

bc To the left is a scan of TV FUN ANNUAL for 1957, featuring Terry Scott, Shirley Eaton and a very young BILL MAYNARD. (The figure on the right!)

TV tie-ins, as those books based on TV series are called, have been around for more than 40 years. There are many collectors of these generally lightweight adaptations.

Most such tie-ins come from the USA but we're concerned here with what is possibly a unique example.

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bc The Yorkshire TV series HEARTBEAT is based on the CONSTABLE books, a series of amusing books consisting mostly of short stories, authored by Nicholas Rhea and set in and around Aidensfield, a fictitious town in the North Yorkshire moors. The time is the swinging 1960s. The stories are related in the first person by the local village constable and tell of the day to day happenings in the area which covers his 'beat'. For those of you not familiar with both the books and the TV series, the original books differ on the following points:
*Our constable is Nick RHEA, not Nick Rowan
*Nick's wife is MARY, not Kate, and they have FOUR children
*Mary and the children remain in the background and she's NOT a doctor
*GREENGRASS is just one of many characters and he is physically unlike his screen nemesis, Bill Maynard
*TWO section sergeants work out of Ashfordly, Oscar Blaketon and Charlie Bairstow
*Nick drives a battered old HILLMAN, not a restored MG

There are further subtle differences which you will discover once you read the books, if you haven't already done so.

Now comes the unique point. The TV series proved so popular that the author began writing a series of books based on HEARTBEAT, incorporating all the changes. The latter are TV tie-ins as defined at the beginning. CONSTABLE books are still appearing, so you have two series which can confuse people picking up two books which although they appear to cover similar ground, are not only told differently (the originals in the first person, the tie-ins in the third person) but feature different characters!

Both series of books are generally available. The TV tie-ins usually incorporate a banner along the lower section of the cover saying 'BASED on the TV series' while the original stories say 'NOW a hit TV series'.
FULL details on HEARTBEAT can be found on the WIKI page.

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Books into television - and vice versa! Nick Berry, the actor, chats to Nicholas Rhea, the writer.
bc 'Nicholas Rhea', Peter N Walker, was inspired to write his books by his own experiences as a police officer in Yorkshire. Peter joined the force as a cadet at the age of 16. "We were close to the public in my day. A police officer should be a guide, councilor and friend to the public - and that's exactly what we were." bc
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Peter began writing when he was 24 as a policeman's wage wasn't enough to maintain a home and provide for his children's' education. He wrote 13 books before he managed to get one published. His first 'beat' was in the fishing town of Whitby, followed by a move to Oswaldkirk. A further move and promotion saw Peter at Northallerton Police Training School, then to North Yorkshire Police's public relations section. He eventually retired in 1982, having progressed to the rank of inspector.

Apart from his consultancy work for HEARTBEAT, where his 1960s police service knowledge is proving invaluable, Nicholas Rhea is working on three new books: he has completed the draft of a new novel which could be described as a fable involving foxes; he is about to start his new CONSTABLE book, provisionally entitled 'Constable at the Dam', and will follow this with a new story involving his Detective Inspector, Montague Pluke. The working title of this is 'Superstitious Death' and this will in turn be followed by another book in the 'Constable' series. In addition to this, he continues his weekly output of rural articles for newspapers in the Yorkshire area.

THE BOOKS

HEARTBEAT paperbacks published by Headline based on the TV SCRIPTS:
#Heartbeat - Constable on Call (1993)
#Heartbeat - Constable in Control (1994) For later ones, go to
http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/

HEARTBEAT paperbacks published by Headline, most containing more than one original 'Constable' story:
#Heartbeat - Constable Among the Heather (1992) This book contains 'Constable Among the Heather', 'Constable in Disguise' and 'Constable by the Stream'.
#Heartbeat - Constable Across the Moors (1993) Contains 'Constable On the Hill', 'Constable Around the Village' and 'Constable Across the Moors'.
#Heartbeat - Constable Around the Green (1994) Contains 'Constable Around the Green' and 'Constable Beneath the Trees'.
The above contains another 470 pages of fine reading. Of many enjoyable and amusing tales, my vote for the funniest group goes to the chapter "Dog with a bad name". Alfred features in the very best, when he manages to sneak into the dog show and "attend" to the needs of the various lady dogs on show. A weird assortment of puppies soon appear in all parts of the countryside, much to the horror of their owners! Highly recommended. (JT: May, 2009)
#Heartbeat - Constable Along the Lane (1995) Contains 'Constable by the Sea', 'Constable Along the Lane' and Constable through the Meadow'.
#Heartbeat - Constable v. Greengrass (1996)
#Heartbeat - Constable in the Dale (1996) Contains 'Constable in the Dale' and 'Constable on the Prowl'.
#Heartbeat - At the Gate (1997)

The CONSTABLE books were originally published in hardcover by Hale in the UK and St Martins Press in the USA.. Many are available in LARGE PRINT from Magna and Thorpe and on AUDIO CASSETTE from Soundings Ltd. The Australian agent for both formats is Ulverscroft Large Print Books Ltd, PO Box 953, Crows Nest NSW 2065, phone (02) 9436 2622. Below is the list of original titles as published by Hale in hardcover:

# Constable on the Hill (1979)
# Constable on the Prowl (1980)
# Constable around the Village (1981)
# Constable across the Moors (1982)
# Constable in the Dale (1983)
# Constable by the Sea (1985) As a seasonal break from his usual village beat, Nick finds himself involved with holiday makers and their problems. Read how he copes with a man who has lost his false teeth in the sea and a medical man who wants to give away his cash when drunk - among other things. "Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!" (John: 1997)
# Constable along the Lane (1986)
# Constable through the Meadow (1988)
# Constable at the Double (1988) 2 Across the Moors/Around the Village
# Constable in Disguise (1989)
# Constable among the Heather (1990)
# Constable by the Stream (1991)
# Heartbeat Omnibus 1 (1992) Hill/Prowl/Dale
# Heartbeat Omnibus 11 (1993) Lane/Meadow
# Constable around the Green (1993)
# Constable beneath the Trees (1994)
# Constable in Control (1994)
# Constable in the Shrubbery (1995)
# Constable versus Greengrass (1995)
# Constable about the Parish (1996)
# Constable at the Gate (1997)
# Constable at the Dam (1997)

# CONSTABLE OVER THE STYLE (1998) ISBN 0 7090 6071 8
A further amusing collection of short stories relating the adventures, in and around Aidensfield in the North Yorkshire Moors, of PC Nick Rowan, Sgt Blaketon, PC Alf Ventress and the irrepressible Greengrass. One of the most intriguing tells of the farm lad in love with the doctor's secretary who spells out her name on the hillside using live sheep. She passes by on her bicycle each day, you see. There are a series of stories involving ASRO, the Aidensfield Search and Rescue Organisation, originally formed to aid those lost in snow and foggy conditions. Another story in centred on the mysterious Home Farm above the village of Elsinby, holiday place to the stars. And there is the phantom knicker-nicker and the self-proclaimed artist who erects his masterpiece before disappearing into the sunset, not forgetting the driver who never obeys red traffic lights. Good fun for all readers. (John: August 1998)
# Constable under the Gooseberry Bush
# Constable in the Farmyard
# Constable Around the Houses (2000) ISBN 0 7090 6643 0
Nick relates numerous fascinating stories about local houses and their occupants plus yet more amazing events featuring our Aidensfield regulars, culminating in Sgt Blaketon's retirement. A great read as always and in my humble opinion, the best of the best 10/10 (John: July 2007) Note: My hardback copy of this book fell apart by the time I'd finished it; very poorly manufactured. I suggest you avoid the Robert Hale hardback and look for an American edition.

AUDIO RECORDINGS
# CONSTABLE DOWN ON THE FARM (1999) ISBN 1 86042 574 7
Available on 7 cassettes from Soundings Ltd. Another enjoyable series of PC Nick Rowan's adventures on the North Yorkshire Moors, read by that stylish narrator, Christopher Kay. Greengrass creates bedlam in Aidensfield when he buys a gigantic traction engine, part of a plan to separate caravan-towing tourists from their pounds and pence. There's the mysterious bottle thief, the nudist camp and perhaps the most remarkable character ever introduced, Tabatha Gumlock. This lovely lady goes through life paying no attention to the date or day. Ensuring this lady gets to important appointments causes Nick many problems. Greengrass running down a hill out of control backwards in an old car and the memorable Sgt Blaketon preparing to retire to the local post office give much cause for amusement. Not to be missed. J.8.2000
For later ones, go to http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/
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SOME ASSURED (2004)
Available on 7 CDs from Magna Story Sound, read by Graham Padden. Matthew is an ex-butcher who swaps his job behind the counter for a mostly out of doors occupation, puttering around the countryside on his stinkbike. Pretty much in the enjoyable style of the 'Constable' books, what would seem to be a less than exciting occupation turns out to be a collection of entertaining adventures in the hands of our master storyteller. Selling insurance to everyone from churchmen to little old ladies is often more exciting than solving crimes. Recommended for all ages, especially if they have Yorkshire connections. J.9.2006

REVIEWS of other novels. Additions welcomed.

IMPORTANT NOTE. Make sure you check under Peter N.Walker as well as Nicholas Rhea when scouring bookshop and library shelves!

DS Mark PEMBERTON series

FALSE ALIBI by Peter N Walker, Constable London, 1991  ISBN 0 09 470700 6
The author's first Detective Superintendent Mark Pemberton novel, finally unearthed by the now addicted reviewer. Chief Constable Charles Moore places Mark in a strange situation: the latter is to 'arrange' for the body of a recently deceased 60 year-old woman to be 'placed' where it will be found in such a way that the discovery will initialize a murder investigation. It's an exercise, according to Mark's boss, something to fire up and test the troops, flush out all the local crims, turn the town upside down. But is Mark being given the full picture? What's the real reason for such an unheard-of event? Mark expects the body to be found by a known blagger who walks his dog past the same spot each day. Although I'm reading this series out of order, each provides an equally entertaining read, and each can stand alone as a fast-paced yet highly detailed story of police investigative procedures. Each can also stand as a view of Yorkshire life with the day to day doings of all concerned beautifully portrayed with a constant thread of humour running along just below the surface. Just when you're relaxed, something unexpected will happen: the pace of the story will alter and events will hit you right between the eyes! (John: June 10, 1998)

GRAVE SECRETS by Peter N Walker, Constable London 1992 ISBN 0 09 471710 9
Detective Superintendent Mark Pemberton isn't happy with his current assignment: to provide protection for a soon to be released child-killer. Louisa Mary Potter has convinced her parole board that after 25 years imprisonment she is a reformed person and fit to rejoin the outside world. She had been found guilty of killing three little girls while three others had also disappeared without trace. Mark decides that he will reopen investigations into the latter three. He wonders what is really responsible for the killer's release. There is far more to this case than meets the eye. Why are the security forces involved and what secret had the little girls died for? The second of the Pemberton crime mysteries and another wonderful book with the usual twists and turns to keep you guessing until the last few pages. No one can write so convincingly of authentic police procedures like Peter Walker and yet maintain the reader's total interest. (John: July 1, 1998)

FAMILY TIES by Nicholas Rhea, Constable London, 1994  ISBN 0 09473030 X
The American Vice-President is coming to North Yorkshire on a private visit to look up a link with his family tree. Detective Superintendent Mark Pemberton and his hand-picked team are given the task of internal security at his proposed retreat, Thirklewood Hall, formerly a girls' school. As this will involve a lot of spare time, Mark decides to pre-empt the Americans: he will use the H.O.L.M.E.S. police computer system to carry out an in-depth look into the Hartley family. What follows is a fast-paced investigation covering a bewildering range of topics. What appears to be an unsolved murder is uncovered - or was it a suicide? Another exciting mystery from the author, almost 'unputdownable'! (John: May 26, 1998)

SUSPECT by Nicholas Rhea, Constable London, 1995
Detective Superintendent Mark Pemberton of Rainesbury CID had a problem on his hands. Inspector Vic Hadley had been off on stress-related sick leave. He'd shot dead a civilian during a bungled bank raid while in charge of his local firearms unit, been accused of cold-blooded murder by the deceased man's brother and the press. Hadley insisted the man had a shotgun at the time but the weapon could not be found, or so it seemed. He'd been cleared after an investigation and now would come to work under Mark's control on the HOLMES police computer. He would be allowed to set his own hours. A series of murders put Hadley in the frame due in part to his expressed desire to clear the streets and moors of evil-doers. This story moves along at a sparkling pace as you find yourself taken through the at times laborious but always interesting police investigative processes. A great read, guaranteed to keep you guessing. (Reviewed by John: May, 1998)

CONFESSION by Nicholas Rhea, Constable London, 1997
Another Mark Pemberton crime mystery, featuring a serial killer who picks a victim once a year and has done so for more than a decade. This story is even more exciting than SUSPECT and, for a change, I'm writing this review before reaching the climax! The story begins with a terrifying crash of a red MGB, from which Mark and his girlfriend remove a red-haired young man. The latter confesses to the priest accompanying the trio that he committed a murder, then dies. Mark only hears the confession, that the victim was female, and that's it. The priest, naturally, cannot reveal what other words were uttered. Thus Mark and his CID team are soon occupied in a comprehensive investigation involving classic car events, antiques and a trail of raped and murdered prostitutes, all of whom were wearing sandals! Another excellent read. (Reviewed by John: May, 1998)

DEATH OF A PRINCESS by Nicholas Rhea, Constable London, 1999
Alicia Milverdale, late of Milverdale Hall and last in her line, is found dead in a field, shot by a marksman from a distance, according to the scientific police team. DS Mark Pemberton has other worries on his mind but soon gives full attention to this disturbingly mysterious death. Who has the most to gain? Was it one of the locals, someone from outside of the village or even someone known to the deceased? Nicholas Rhea has again come up with a highly readable crime story, filled with the usual attention to detail and interesting supporting players. As always there is the ring of authenticity from this master craftsman. (Reviewed by John: August, 2000.)
For later ones, go to http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/

DI Montague PLUKE series

OMENS OF DEATH by Nicholas Rhea, Constable London, 1996
You won't meet a more superstitious policeman than Detective Inspector Montague
Pluke of the sub-divisional police station at Crickledale, a small market town on the edge of the North York Moors. The appearance of a deceased and naked female at the Druids Circle gives Pluke the opportunity to use his detecting powers and knowledge of superstitions. He soon discovers the dark underbelly of the outwardly respectable town. Will he solve his, and the town's, first murder before retiring to a life of cataloguing horse troughs? Yet another swag of fascinating characters from the pen of Nicholas Rhea: Pluke and his adoring wife, Millicent; Pluke's offsider and driver, Detective Sergeant Wayne Wain; uniformed Sergeant Cockfield pronounced Cofield and many others. Every reader will find a character to his or her liking. Amusing and fast-paced, see if you can find out who did it before the remarkably dressed Detective Inspector. Hopefully only the first of a series of novels featuring Pluke. (Reviewed by John: May, 1998)

SUPERSTITIOUS DEATH by Nicholas Rhea, Constable, London 1998
ISBN 0 09 478620 8
The long-awaited second novel featuring the remarkable Detective Inspector Montague Pluke, who walks to work each morning clothed in a coachman's greatcoat with fitted cape, beige spats, bow tie, and of course a panama hat atop his fine head of hair. The discovery of a blonde and beautiful yet unidentified girl in a shallow grave near the small Yorkshire town of Crickledale gives our hero an opportunity to employ his unusual knowledge of superstitions to help solve the case. This book, though, is not all about solving a case. It's about the fascinating characters who inhabit Pluke's 'turf': the local inhabitants, the police, the suspects. Police procedures are as before detailed in full - in an entertaining manner. Ensure, though, that you read OMENS OF DEATH beforehand. (Reviewed by John: August, 1998)
For later ones, go to http://www.nicholasrhea.co.uk/

THE CAST (First four series)

NICK BERRY came to fame as Wicksy, the Queen Vic barman in 'Eastenders', before clinching the lead in HEARTBEAT. Who could resist that smile? Nick also stormed up the pop charts with his first single, 'Every Loser Wins', back in 1986, so his performing the title song came naturally. The over-40s feel protective towards him, the younger ones find him cool, men find him pally, the type of bloke you'd be happy to share a drink with. You'd even trust him with your car keys. Strangely enough, or maybe because of this, Nick doesn't seem to rate cover stories in any of the local magazines. It's always Niamh who has her family details flashed repeatedly through the weekly periodicals.

Stage actress NIAMH CUSACK was cast as Dr Kate Rowan, from all reports on the whim of Executive Producer Keith Richardson who felt that she and Nick Berry balanced each other perfectly. There certainly was a chemistry in the way these two people reacted when on screen together. Niamh spent many months researching her role, working with doctors who practiced during the 1960s. Daughter to the late and great Irish actor Cyril Cusack, sister to Sinead, Sorcha and Catherine, Niamh wasn't too wrapped up in the clothes and music of the 1960s and felt that the writers had made her character out to be too serious. She put this down to Kate being a counter to Greengrass and Blaketon. It came as no surprise when she left the series.

DEREK FOWLDS, alias Sgt Blaketon, is an actor well known to viewers of English shows the world over, due to his co-starring role in 'Yes, Minister' and the sequel, 'Yes, Prime Minister'. Derek IS Blaketon as portrayed in the original stories. Could you imagine any other actor in the part? Derek gained an honours diploma at RADA where he trained 1958-1960 and once admitted that the person he would most like to meet was Jane Fonda, A Londoner, born September 2, 1937, Derek was also seen in 'Robin's Nest' and 'Edward the Seventh'. He also played the human partner of 'Basil Brush'! (Basil was a fox.)

FRANK MIDDLEMASS, who appeared as Dr Alex Ferrenby will be remembered for his appearances in 'To Serve Them All My Days' (a 13-part TV series similar to the movie 'Goodbye, Mr Chips') and 'War and Peace'.

BILL MAYNARD as Greengrass quickly polarized viewers, who either love him or hate him. In the original stories Greengrass was just one of many eccentric characters. For some reason he was selected for stardom and he has certainly fulfilled that role. Bill was born in Farnham, Surrey on October 8, 1928. He moved to TV in a series called 'Great Scott - It's Maynard' (starring Terry Scott - wonder what ever happened to him?) and much later appeared in 'Coronation Street'. His first film appearance was in the movie version of 'Till Death Us Do Part'. See the scan of TV FUN ANNUAL above.

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FULL details on HEARTBEAT can be found on the WIKI page.
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