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Steven Blakeley and David Lonsdale as Pc Geoff Younger and David Stockwell.

Heartbeat

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton

***

FOR 18 years Heartbeat was a hugely popular Sunday evening show on ITV, regularly watched by audiences exceeding ten million, and this touring version oozes nostalgia, especially when the famous theme tune is played.

You realise very early in the action how highly regarded it was when two of the original telly stars, Steven Blakeley and David Lonsdale, receive burst of applause when they first appear on stage as Pc Geoff Younger and David Stockwell.

It’s a rather gentle tale of life in a quiet Yorkshire village, beefed up by the arrival of a suspicious-looking young Irishman, quickly followed by an equally dodgy individual claiming to be from Scotland Yard’s special branch.

Not the greatest plot, but when the pair come to grips in the bar of the Aidensfield Arms and something is ticking in the corner, the audience are on the edge of their seats fearing a tragedy.

The local pub, run by chatty, short-skirted landlady Gina Bellamy (Carly Cook) is the focal point of the play where most of the one-liners are churned out, and the set can be cleverly swivelled to create a graveyard and the railway station, with video footage showing the arrival of a steam train and countryside scenes.

There are particularly amusing performances from Erin Geraghty (Annie Beck) and David Horne (Bernie Scripps), while one of the biggest laughs comes with a surprise contribution from a life-sized toy sheepdog.

This pleasant play, produced by David Graham, runs to 09-07-16

Paul Marston

05-07-16 

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