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55 Degrees North

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Subject: Clare Calbraith, Mark Lewis Jones, Laura Norton, List of television shows set in Newcastle upon Tyne, BBC television dramas
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55 Degrees North

55 Degrees North
Also known as The Night Detective
Written by Timothy Prager
Directed by Andy de Emmony, Brian Kelly, Roberto Bangura, Jon Sen, Pip Broughton, Susan Tully
Starring Don Gilet
Dervla Kirwan
Andrew Dunn
George Harris
Mark Stobbart
Theme music composer Nick Green & Tristin Norwell
Composer(s) Nick Green & Tristin Norwell
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 14
Executive producer(s) Barbara McKissack, Adrian Bate
Producer(s) Jo Wright, Jacinta Peel
Location(s) Newcastle upon Tyne
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) BBC
Original channel BBC
Original run 6 July 2004 – 10 July 2005
External links

55 Degrees North is a BBC television drama series starring Don Gilet as DS Nicky Cole, a London detective relocated to Newcastle upon Tyne after exposing police corruption. Dervla Kirwan co-stars as Claire Maxwell, an ambitious solicitor.

The first series was originally broadcast on BBC1, with the second series following a year later. The series was shown in the U.S. under the programme's working title; The Night Detective.


  • Plot 1
  • Tyneside Police 2
  • Cast 3
  • Episode list 4
    • Series 1 4.1
    • Series 2 4.2
  • DVD release 5
  • Theme music 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Detective Sergeant Nicky Cole blows the whistle on a senior police officer guilty of corruption in London. Cole is then shunted up North to avoid any difficulties or fallout, and ends up in Newcastle upon Tyne as a Detective Sergeant in a busy CID with the fictional Tyneside Police. To begin with, he finds himself on the night shift and becomes increasingly frustrated at the inspector's desire to keep him there despite the fact that his ability and motivation clearly exceed the demands of the job.

In the second series he becomes part of the day team and is a key member of the police squad that deals with, over the two series, a wide variety of crimes.

Whilst developing his police career, Cole also finds time to help support the family he has brought to the North with him. His uncle, Errol, and nephew, Matty, are an integral part of Cole's life.

Cole's relationship with CPS lawyer, Claire Maxwell, provides another side to the story, as she is juggling work with caring for a baby, and Cole is caught between a rock and a hard place in choosing between her, or the attractive Sergeant, or one of Matty's school teachers. Another relationship developed is one between Cole and Sergeant Astel, who in the very first scene, smashes Cole's brake light after stopping him and not realising his status as a police officer. This awkward start turns into a strange but strong friendship by the end.

55 Degrees North is a police drama at heart, but covers many different aspects of life, including love and relationships, and the importance of family. Many crimes committed are pertinent to the age, and complex issues such as genetic engineering are tackled.

Tyneside Police

The exterior of the police station from which DS Nicky Cole works from is actually the base of HMS Calliope, a Royal Navy Reserve training centre for the North and North East.[1] This building is located on the Gateshead bank of the River Tyne next to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

The name given for the police force was Tyneside Police; with a logo similar to that of the defunct Tyne and Wear County Council and uniforms with slightly altered badge labels borrowed from Northumbria Police, the real police force which covers the Newcastle upon Tyne area.


Episode list

Series 1

The first series sees Cole work on the night shift, and thus, the majority of the scenes are filmed in the dark. This creates an air of suspicion and tension, and this is clear as Cole is unsure who he can trust. His two main co-workers are reluctant to forge a relationship with him, and his immediate commanding officer seems distant, harsh, and somewhat afraid that Cole may blow the whistle on his career if he steps at all out of line.

It aired from 6 July 2004 to 10 August 2004.

Episode 1

Cole goes in pursuit of the only remaining witness who can appear at the trial of a major extortionist.

Episode 2

Cole attempts to trap a Newcastle brothel owner involved in a crime ring.

Episode 3

A shopkeeper's efforts to punish a young shoplifter backfire, and a father's personal protest over access rights to his children causes traffic problems. This episode explores issues of racial tension and fathers' rights.

Episode 4

After a drunken night out, Sergeant Astel discovers he's hit something - or someone - with his car.

Episode 5

Cole, who has come under investigation for corruption, discovers the person who reported him is the only one who can help clear his name.

Episode 6

Cole and company head undercover in a local nightclub in an attempt to catch a serial date rapist.

Series 2

Series 2 sees Cole make it on to the day shift, and the introduction of Detective Inspector Bing (Mark Lewis Jones). This character is honest, open and amusing, and signals a stark contrast between the two series. He creates a more positive impression, and allows the show to move in a different direction.

It aired from 22 May 2005 to 10 July 2005.

Episode 1

Cole is under pressure to find out who is behind a series of threats to local scientists before Yates makes a quick arrest, plus Astel and Clark find that they are no match for a gaggle of rowdy Geordie girls. This episode explores genetic research, and the argument between science and morality.

Episode 2

A dangerous robber is hitting building societies. When the CID track him down and blow his cover, Cole finds himself in a dangerous situation.

Episode 3

When an assault victim dies a search is on for the two attackers - but which one dealt the fatal blow? This episode raises awareness of how difficult it is sometimes for the police and CPS to identify individuals and pin evidence to perpetrators.

Episode 4

CPS lawyer Claire Maxwell faces a chilling death threat when she and Cole become enmeshed in a land-rights case. This episode revolves around travellers and their rights to roam.

Episode 5

Cole takes the family to Lindesfarne for a peaceful weekend break. But when Errol is arrested on suspicion of murder, the detective is determined to ensure local police prove his innocence.

Episode 6

A community support officer takes the law into his own hands, but there are no records of his existence.

Episode 7

Cole's brother, Adam, is released from prison and is desperate to see his son, Matty.

Episode 8

Cole faces a race against time to catch two of Newcastle's most notorious crime families, but someone wants him silenced - permanently.

DVD release

Series 1 and 2 were released on DVD on the 26th June 2006.

Theme music

The theme music for 55 Degrees North is a specially composed piece, created by Norwell & Green.


  1. ^ Royal Naval Reserve - HMS Calliope

External links

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