A TOUCH OF FROST: “If Dogs Run Free.”   ITV1 [UK], 04-05 April 2010. David Jason (Insp. Jack Frost), Bruce Alexander (Supt Mullett), John Lyons (D.S. Toolan), Arthur White, Niamh Cusack, Phyllis Logan (Christine Moorhead). Screenplay: Michael Russell, based on characters created by R.D. Wingfield. Director: Paul Harrison.


   After 17 years this venerable programme has come to an end, ostensibly because David Jason took the perhaps rather belated decision that he was too old credibly to play a serving police officer.

   This final two-parter (two two-hour episodes, less adverts), “If Dogs Run Free”, starts with an illegal dog-fight that the police are staking out thanks to a tip-off. Frost is involved because there is a major criminal involved in the drug trade who is living in Denton and is known to like dog-fights.

   By chance he is late and when the police move in he has not arrived. However his consequential desire to punish the informant leads to major consequences. Meanwhile someone seem to be repeating some criminal acts of 20 years before, including violent death, that Frost was involved in.

   This was a highly enjoyable episode in this long-running season and I enjoyed watching it, although Frost’s burgeoning romance with the RSPCA lady, Christine Moorhead, was not as riveting for me as the investigations.

   Amid much publicity, the production company filmed two endings and, after the showing, screened the alternative (and similar, except in personnel) ending on the internet.

   Sad to say both endings were rather low key and it seems a little odd that the producers should choose to go out that way, though I suspect that, rather crassly, they thought that by airing the two possible endings approach they may get more viewers.