Trueman and Riley by Brian B. Thompson

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Trueman and Riley homepage on BBC Radio 4 Extra

BBC Radio 4 Extra, 26-30 March 2012
Although Trueman and Riley has now entered its third series, this was the first time I had encountered it. Set in Leeds, it focuses on two police officers, DI Trueman (Robert Daws) and DS Riley (Duncan Preston), trying to solve the kind of cases which might be considered low-profile by police standards, but which still require a combination of meticulous analysis and intelligent guesswork to solve.
The series began life as Trueman, a Radio 4 Afternoon Drama in 2002, and was relaunched as Trueman and Riley on Radio 7 (now Radio 4 Extra) five years later. Its principal interest focuses on the two central characters, neither of whom are in the first flush of youth, yet who still retain a basic joie de vivre that keeps them going. They are disillusioned by the contemporary police force, for whom money appears a more important concern than solving crimes, and whose economies extend to providing tea and coffee machines, rather than permitting officers to make tea for themselves. Trueman and Riley stage their own mini-rebellion by making their own tea.
The two of them are obviously good friends, even though they perpetually irritate one another: as the senior officer, Trueman cannot understand why Riley continually questions his judgment. However Riley seems the more streetwise of the two; he understands the way people think and feel, as well as knowing his own physical limitations. Both of them are dedicated to solving their cases; any obstructions - whether physical or human - only increases their resolve. I admire their tenacity.
The two programmes I listened to in the series had intriguing premises: a dead greyhound led Trueman and Riley into a complicated story involving expat criminals; while the theft of money from a local burlesque club brought them into contact with the gorgeously named Angel Delight (Tracy Wiles). The officers approached the task of solving both cases phlegmatically, but not without a touch of amusement, especially when they were drawn into the twilight worlds of burlesque and lap-dancing, where nothing is quite what it seems. However once they had identified their suspects, they were as ruthless as any police officer should be in their pursuit of the truth.
Both Daws and Preston clearly enjoyed themselves with their respective roles in a series of entertaining half-hour tales. I look forward to hearing the remaining three programmes, as well as catching the repeats of Series Two.