New Tricks

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New Tricks
New Tricks Series 8.jpg
Genre Police procedural
Comedy drama
Created by Nigel McCrery
Roy Mitchell
Starring Alun Armstrong
James Bolam
Amanda Redman
Dennis Waterman
Anthony Calf
Denis Lawson
Nicholas Lyndhurst
Tamzin Outhwaite
Larry Lamb
Theme music composer Mike Moran
Opening theme"It's Alright" (vocals by Dennis Waterman)
Ending themeReprise
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of series12
No. of episodes107 (list of episodes)
Running time50 minutes
Production companies Wall to Wall (2003–2014)
Headstrong Pictures (2015)
Distributor Warner Bros. Television Productions UK
Original network BBC One
Picture format DVB-T 576i 16:9 (2003–2009)
HDTV 1080i (2010–2015)
Audio format Stereo
Original release27 March 2003 (2003-03-27) 
6 October 2015 (2015-10-06) [1]
The original cast of New Tricks - Amanda Redman with (clockwise from left) Alun Armstrong, Dennis Waterman, and James Bolam New Tricks cast.jpg
The original cast of New TricksAmanda Redman with (clockwise from left) Alun Armstrong, Dennis Waterman, and James Bolam

New Tricks is a British television police procedural comedy drama, created by Nigel McCrery and Roy Mitchell, produced primarily by Wall to Wall (until its final year, when it was handled by Headstrong Pictures), and broadcast on BBC One. The programme originally began with a pilot episode on 27 March 2003, before a full series was commissioned for 1 April 2004, with it concluding after twelve series on 6 October 2015. [2] The show utilises an ensemble cast, of which Dennis Waterman was the only constant over all twelve series; this cast variously included Alun Armstrong, James Bolam, Amanda Redman, Denis Lawson, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Tamzin Outhwaite, and Larry Lamb.


The series focuses on the work of the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS) – a fictional division within London's Metropolitan Police Service tasked with re-investigating unsolved crimes. UCOS primarily functioned with a senior police detective overseeing the work of three retired police officers who would handle each case, and who could bring in police support when needed. Each episode focuses on a different investigation, with characters often coping with problems at their age but using their wisdom to overcome hurdles in the original investigation of cold cases. Both creators, McCrery and Mitchell, devised the title of the programme around the proverb "You can't teach an old dog new tricks".


New Tricks began as a one-off episode broadcast on 27 March 2003. This attracted sufficient viewers for the BBC to commission a series of six episodes, which began on 1 April 2004. An eight-episode series was subsequently commissioned for 2005, 2006, and 2007. A fifth series was commissioned by the BBC after the audience share rose week upon week for the previous series. [3] In 2007, an episode from the fourth series received viewing figures of 9.25 million, becoming the second most-watched programme on BBC One that week, and the most-watched New Tricks episode to that point. [4] The fifth series continued this good run – on two occasions it was the most-watched programme in Britain for the week, and the seventh episode gained a new series high rating of 9.36 millionsecond only to the X Factor that week. [5] The fifth series aired from 7 July to 25 August 2008. The sixth series finished location filming on 8 May 2009 in central London and began airing on 16 July 2009. [6] The opening episode of series six was watched by 8.07 million, despite clashing with Five's The Mentalist (1.64m) and ITV's Living with Michael Jackson (3.64m). The second episode clashed with The Mentalist and the relaunch of The Bill on ITV, and was watched by 7.59 million.

Series 7 and 8 were commissioned by the BBC in September 2009, ensuring that the show would run until 2011. [7] The seventh series began airing on 10 September 2010 and completed its run on 12 November. The eighth series opened on 4 July 2011 with 9.2 million viewers, the show's highest rating for three years, and the first since the fifth series to break the 9 million barrier. [8] The third episode of series 8, "Lost in Translation", was the show's highest rated episode to date with 9.7 million viewers, becoming the most-watched television programme of the week in the UK. [9] Episode 7, "The Gentleman Vanishes," surpassed this figure with 9.87 million viewers, and was again the top programme of the week. [10]

The BBC confirmed in September 2011 that a further two series, each of 10 episodes, had been commissioned, to be broadcast in 2012 and 2013. [11] James Bolam, who played the part of Jack Halford, left the show, claiming that it had "become stale", [12] making his final regular appearance in the first episode of Series 9 and a guest appearance in Series 10, episode 8. In the fourth episode, Denis Lawson joined the cast, as the new character of retired DI Steve McAndrew. [13] Prior to the ninth series premiere, both Amanda Redman and Alun Armstrong announced that they would be leaving the show after the 10th series. The first programme of series nine was broadcast on 27 August 2012, and gained 8.52 million viewers, which was the highest rating of the week. [14] Only Fools and Horses actor Nicholas Lyndhurst and former EastEnders actress Tamzin Outhwaite appeared in Series 10, which was broadcast in Britain between 30 July and 1 October 2013. [15] The opening episode of the 10th series gained an audience of 8.86 million viewers, making it the 12th most-watched programme of the year. [16]

Episode 1 of series 11 was broadcast at 21:00 GMT on BBC One and BBC One HD on 18 August 2014. Ratings fell considerably from series 10 to series 11 when most of the original cast left; series 10 had an average per-episode viewership of 8.35 million, while series 11 managed an average per-episode viewership of 5.75 million. Departed star Amanda Redman, criticised the drama for becoming “bland”, adding, “the characters are not being as anarchic as they used to be, which I think is a huge shame”. [17]

Filming of a 12th series of the show began in the autumn of 2014, and its broadcasting started on 4 August 2015. It was also revealed that Dennis Waterman would be leaving the series in the early episodes. In February 2015 BBC announced that the 12th series would be the last in order to make room for a new series. [17] It was shot at West London Film Studios.

The series was broadcast in at least 25 countries, and was also available on DVD and via online streaming. New Tricks was produced by Wall to Wall Television for the BBC between 2003 and 2014, and Headstrong Pictures thereafter.


Change in cast

In 2011, James Bolam left the show to be replaced by Denis Lawson. In 2012, both Alun Armstrong and Amanda Redman departed to be replaced by Nicholas Lyndhurst and Tamzin Outhwaite, respectively. In September 2014, Dennis Waterman announced that he would be leaving the show after filming two episodes of the next series. Larry Lamb replaced him for the rest of the final series.


CharacterPlayed byPositionSeries
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Brian Lane Alun Armstrong Former detective inspector Main
Jack Halford James Bolam Former detective chief superintendent MainGuest
Sandra Pullman Amanda Redman Detective superintendent Main
Gerry Standing Dennis Waterman Former detective sergeant Main
Steve McAndrew Denis Lawson Former detective inspectorMain
Dan Griffin Nicholas Lyndhurst Former detective chief inspector Main
Sasha Miller Tamzin Outhwaite Detective chief inspectorMain
Ted Case Larry Lamb Former detective chief inspectorMain


SeriesEpisodesOriginally airedAverage UK viewers
(in millions)
First airedLast aired
Pilot 123 March 2003 (2003-03-23)6.69 [18]
1 61 April 2004 (2004-04-01)6 May 2004 (2004-05-06)6.95 [18]
2 89 May 2005 (2005-05-09)27 June 2005 (2005-06-27)7.48 [18]
3 817 April 2006 (2006-04-17)5 June 2006 (2006-06-05)8.00 [18]
4 89 April 2007 (2007-04-09)28 May 2007 (2007-05-28)8.25 [18]
5 87 July 2008 (2008-07-07)25 August 2008 (2008-08-25)8.83 [18]
6 816 July 2009 (2009-07-16)3 September 2009 (2009-09-03)7.94 [18]
7 1010 September 2010 (2010-09-10)12 November 2010 (2010-11-12)7.85 [18]
8 104 July 2011 (2011-07-04)5 September 2011 (2011-09-05)9.24 [18]
9 1027 August 2012 (2012-08-27)29 October 2012 (2012-10-29)8.35 [18]
10 1030 July 2013 (2013-07-30)1 October 2013 (2013-10-01)8.14 [18]
11 1018 August 2014 (2014-08-18)20 October 2014 (2014-10-20)5.76 [18]
12 104 August 2015 (2015-08-04)6 October 2015 (2015-10-06)6.28 [18]


As well as the "cold case" in each episode, the series drew on the characters personal lives including Sandra's fast-tracked career, Brian's alcoholism and relationship with his wife Esther, Jack's bereavement from his wife Mary and Gerry's ex-wives.

Roy Mitchell supports football team West Bromwich Albion and so named numerous characters after their players. The original three main male characters derived their names from the club's oldest stand, "The Halfords Lane Stand", at The Hawthorns football ground in West Bromwich. [19]

Apart from the police station scenes, the series was filmed on locations across London.


The theme tune of the programme is sung by cast member Dennis Waterman. The song is "It's Alright" (written by Mike Moran). Production music was composed by father and son team Brian and Warren Bennett with technical assistance from Olivia Davies. The British release of the first series DVD contains a cover version of "End of the Line" sung by Dennis Waterman at the end of the pilot episode.

DVD releases

Series 1 to 12 of New Tricks are available on DVD on Region 2 (UK). These titles are distributed by Acorn Media UK.

DVD TitleDiscsYearEpisodesDVD releaseNotes
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Complete Series 1 3 20032004 725 August 200923 May 20051 September 2005Includes 2003 pilot
Complete Series 2 3 2005 819 January 201024 April 20066 July 2006
Complete Series 3 3 2006 822 February 201114 May 20077 November 2007
Complete Series 4 3 2007 87 June 20111 September 20083 April 2008
Complete Series 5 3 2008 827 September 201124 August 20096 August 2009
Complete Series 6 3 2009 87 February 201211 October 20102 December 2010
Complete Series 7 3 2010 105 June 20121 August 201121 April 2011
Complete Series 8 3 2011 1025 September 201221 November 20115 July 2012
Complete Series 9 3 2012 1025 June 20135 November 20126 February 2013
Complete Series 9 Blu-ray 2 2012 1026 November 2012
Complete Series 10 3 2013 107 October 2013 [20] 11 December 2013
Complete Series 11 3 2014 1027 October 2014 [21] 13 May 2015
Complete Series 12 3 2015 1012 October 201516 December 2015
Complete Series 14 12 20032007 317 November 2008Includes 2003 pilot
Complete Series 35 9 20052008 2422 March 2010
Complete Series 36 12 20052009 327 March 2011
Complete Series 38 18 20052011 5218 June 2012
Complete Series 112 36 20032015 10712 October 20156 April 2016Includes 2003 pilot

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  5. "Weekly Viewing Summary" Archived 12 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine (Select 24/08/08 from dropdown – BARB Website)
  6. "Sixth run of 'New Tricks' confirmed". Digital Spy. 27 August 2008.
  7. New Tricks locks down two more series for BBC1 at, a pay-per-view site
  8. "BARB Weekly Top 30 Programmes" (Select week of 4–10 July 2011)
  9. "BARB Weekly Top 30 Programmes" (Select week of 18–24 July 2011)
  10. "BARB Weekly Top 30 Programmes" (Select week of 15 – 21 Aug 2011)
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  13. Glanfield, Tim. "Denis Lawson joins BBC1's New Tricks for series nine", Radio Times, 11 January 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  14. "BARB Weekly Top 30 Programmes" (Select week of 27 Aug – 2 September 2012)
  15. "Wall to Wall – New Tricks Series 10".
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  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 "Top 30 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board . Retrieved 4 March 2017. (User must select "BBC1" in the Channel field and then select the appropriate year, month and week to retrieve the figure for each episode)
  19. A fan possessed by Adrian Chiles, 25 July 2007, The Guardian
  20. "Acorn DVD – Home of Brand New Crime Drama, Broadchurch, The Missing, The Fall, Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War on DVD and BluRay: FREE UK DELIVERY". Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2013.
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