The Body Farm, the new forensic crime series from BBC Drama Production, currently airing on BBC One, also has as one of its co-executive producers Waking The Dead actor Trevor Eve and his company Projector Productions. It is written by Declan Croghan who also wrote for Waking The Dead. And one of the belated characters of that series was Dr Eve Lockhart, played by Tara Fitzgerald. Tara Fitzgerald stars in The Body Farm as well – but it is not just producers writers and actors that have moved onto The Body Farm, but the Tara Fitzgerald character too.
This time pathologist Dr Eve Lockhart leads a team of forensic scientists in a private sector facility. In Silent Witness Emilia Fox as Dr Nikki Alexander resides in the public sector – will this make any difference to the forensic science work? To the crime detection? And most importantly the TV drama?! Only two episodes in and too early to say. I am under Tara Fitzgerald’s spell but other viewers may not be so patient with the show.
As Waking The Dead was a British version of the USA Cold Case, The Body Farm is the British equivalent of Bones – or is that Silent Witness? – is Tara Fitzgerald or Emilia Fox the British Emily Deschanel?!
This set me to wondering how often does a TV character from one show end up as the lead character in another TV show?
In the 1970’s The Six Million Dollar Man’s Bionic Man Steve Austin played by Lee Majors had a female love interest who also amazingly succumbed to a life-threatening accident needing bionic surgery to make her whole again – or better than whole again.
This was Jaime Sommers played by Lindsay Wagner and she became both The Bionic Woman the character and The Bionic Woman the TV series – just three years in duration and it felt longer but remember time was speeded up! – and which incidentally was reprised with Michelle Ryan in the role and which due to a strike by The Writers Guild of America this remake was remaindered – alas a super-woman Michelle Ryan is what TV dreams are made of. Okay my TV dreams!
On our side of the Atlantic our long running sci-fi adventure Doctor Who belatedly saw one of the Doctor’s earlier side-kicks Sarah Jane Smith, played by Elisabeth Sladen, have her own Sarah Jane Adventures – I think too there were other Doctor Who spin-offs, one involving the robot dog K-9 but let’s not go there!
In the 1980’s and early 1990’s we had the Boston-based bar-room comedy Cheers and one of its relatively peripheral if constant characters Dr Frasier Crane found his way to Seattle as a Radio Psychiatrist with Frasier, a show whose success far eclipsed that of the seminal Cheers.
Later in the 1990’s there was Buffy The Vampire Slayer whose character Angel, played by David Boreanaz, span off to Angel – his eponymous show – though span-back, as Angel was a prequel to a time prior to him knowing Buffy.
(And David Boreanaz incidentally is a Bones stalwart as Special Agent Seeley Booth alongside Dr. Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan showing that in TV there are but Three Degrees of Separation). Though if The Body Farm is our Bones, then the USA get David Boreanaz, we Brits get Keith Allen!
Can you think of any more recent examples?
Dr Eve Lockhart’s new deal also set me to thinking about other shows where one of the characters could cut loose from its script and start up a new life and show of its own.
Detective Robert Goren of Law and Order: Criminal Intent – gone solo from the management constraints of Captain James Deakins with his own Private Detective Agency? Perhaps a US North meets South seeing him teamed up with The Closer ex-cop Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson herself tired of having her proverbial hands handcuffed by boss Assistant Chief Will Pope.
Jack Bauer in ‘9 to 5’ – life after 24 – can he settle down to civilian pace and domestic tranquillity?!
Or Sue Sylvester from Glee? She already has a show within a show with ‘As Sue Sees It’ – does it have legs as a series in its own right?
Any current TV characters you would like to see go it alone?
- Last Night’s TV – The Body Farm, BBC1; The Bomb Squad, BBC1 (independent.co.uk)
- The Body Farm (evahudson.wordpress.com)
- The Bionic Woman (socyberty.com)