Britain’s first ever black detective in a cop drama was the fabulously named Winston Churchill Wolcott, played by George William Harris in a gritty and ground-breaking series that deserves to better known. Newly promoted to the CID, black policeman Winston Churchill Wolcott becomes embroiled in a drug war between rival black and white gangs in London's East End.
Tabled as Britain’s answer to In the Heat of the Night, with an added dose of The Sweeney’s rough realism, Wolcott was a well-budgeted production from the stables of Lew Grade’s transatlantically minded ITC. The effective 16mm photography comes from future Oscar-winner Roger Deakins, while a fascinating cast includes Christine Lahti, Warren Clark and three up-and-coming talents spotted at the Comedy Store - Rik Mayall, Alexei Sayle and Keith Allen.
Despite this, Wolcott initial broadcast in January 1981 was somewhat controversial, attracting criticism from both right and left-leaning commentators. The race-related riots later that year added another dimension to the debate and the series has, to-date, never been re-broadcast.