With Young Montalbano set to arrive on BBC4, a pattern is emerging for shows which take an iconic screen detective and turn back the clock; in order to introduce audiences to their younger self. But who is next up for the prequel treatment?

 

Hercule Poirot might not be as popular with audiences, if he’s too young to grow that world famous moustache, but Agatha Christie did occasionally mention his early years on the Belgian police force, and a police procedural set during this period could help to illustrate the events which inspired his many eccentricities. It could also explain how he found himself collaring killers in the British countryside to begin with.

 

That was basically the idea behind Endeavour, the wildly popular ITV show, which introduced the world to a young Inspector Morse, played by Shaun Evans.

 

Endeavour depicted his arrival in Oxford and the early years of his career. But in addition to a series of exciting murder mysteries, the show treated viewers to the influences which made Endeavour the man that John Thaw portrayed for more than two decades in Inspector Morse.

 

Would fans like to see a show which did the same for an equally popular franchise like Midsomer Murders?

 

The prequel could depict the formative years of both Tom Barnaby, who was played with aplomb by John Nettles, but also his younger cousin John Barnaby, played by Neil Dudgeon. Considering that both would have grown up in the swinging sixties there’d definitely be a lot of scope for scene stealing mischief in the midst of each murder mystery.

 

Midsomer of the 1960’s would be as much a star of the show too, complete with gorgeous period detailing, and twice as many people since they hadn’t all been murdered week by week at that point.

 

In truth, the formula could work for any number of hit detective shows. We could travel back in time to meet Detective Foyle of Foyle’s War while the man was enlisted in WW1. We could even add a hint of romance as our hero meets Rosalind, the woman that would eventually become his loving wife, but would pass away tragically before the original show began.

 

Another popular sleuth who lost his wife was the BBC’s Inspector George Gently, and a prequel could delve deeper into Gently’s relationship with the man who would kill his wife, notorious gangster Joe Webster.

 

Of course, the whole point of the show New Tricks is that its leading actors are old geezers and not vital young heroes, but in the back story of Dennis Waterman’s character Gerry Standing, you’ll find the makings of a brilliant show.

 

Apparently, the character earned his nickname ‘Last Man Standing’ through his stubborn refusal to take backhanders from a gangster, unlike all of his peers.

 

A seventies set show entitled Last Man Standing could introduce a young Gerry Standing to TV viewers and show the early stages of his conflict with money lending gangster Danny Paye.  We could even see our hero get his hands on the keys to the canary yellow Triumph Stag roadster, which he’d still have by the time he arrived in the universe of New Tricks.

 

Which young detectives would you like to see on screen? Or do you think the prequel trend will soon be less about solving murders and more about flogging a dead horse?