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The last thing you need when you're on holiday is to become involved in a murder. For George Gently, it is a case of business as usual. The Chief Inspector's quiet Easter break in Norchester is rudely interrupted when a local timber merchant is found dead.

His son, with whom he had been seen arguing, immediately becomes the prime suspect, although Gently is far from convinced of his guilt. Norchester City Police gratefully accept Gently's offer to help investigate the murder, but he soon clashes with Inspector Hansom, the officer in charge of the case. Locking horns with the local law is a distraction Gently can do without when he's on the trail of a killer. In a British seaside holiday resort at the height of the season, you would expect to find a promenade and a pier, maybe some donkeys.

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You would not expect to find a naked corpse, punctured with stab wounds, lying on the sand. Chief Inspector George Gently is called in to investigate the disturbing murder. The case has to be wrapped up quickly to calm the nerves of concerned holidaymakers. No one wants to think that there is a maniac on the loose in the town but with no clothes or identifying marks on the body, Gently has a tough time establishing who the victim is, let alone finding the killer.

In the meantime, who knows where or when the murderer might strike again? Time spent messing about on the river isn't supposed to end with a brutal murder.

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The staff at Stoley's Boatyard were used to holidaymakers returning their pleasure cruisers a little late after a week or so exploring the network of waterways around Norchester. They were not used to finding their yachts burned almost beyond recognition with the charred remains of a client still aboard. Taking on the murder investigation, Chief Inspector George Gently faces an enquiry like no other. Somewhere beneath the lies of the victim's wife, somewhere obscured by the brittle edge of her daughter's fear, somewhere hidden by her son's hysteria, lies the truth.

Gently's only hope is to sweep aside the litter of chaos and confusion to uncover the identity of the killer.

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At first the tragedy is assumed to be a simple accident, but Gently is not one to jump to conclusions and is soon in no doubt whatsoever that this was murder. Merely produces the finest tapestries in England but the threads that Gently must unravel in his investigation are more complex than any weaver's design, with everyone from the lord of the manor to his most lowly servant falling under suspicion.

Alan Hunter was born in Hoveton, Norfolk in Durham is one of the most beautiful cities in England, if not the world. It's just the way it's set on that hill and that extraordinary cathedral — Durham seems to have a special atmosphere to it. It's very difficult — I see that it's necessary because it sets the period so well when everybody was smoking.

Inspector George Gently S07E02 Breathe in the Air HDTV

Even though they're herbal cigarettes, it's a strain on the throat — I try and choose the scene that I know are going to be short ones. I think of myself! In a way I think of my father because he would've been approximately the same age as George Gently. But I see the younger people in the programme and remember the clothes very well — it's a real trip down memory lane for me — remembering how I was dressed back then.

All of the cars remind me of that period and it's great when Arthur, who's in charge of the cars, brings them onto the set and that's a real trip down memory lane — just the smell of them. That's just like a time machine — I love that. There was much less of an obsession with hygiene and health and safety food was left uncovered in cafes — nothing cellophane wrapped and yet we weren't all dropping like flies. Ecoli and other diseases like that are much more prevalent now than they were back then. So I miss the innocence and the simplicity. You suddenly realise that these people don't have mobile phones or computers and there's a very large part of me that wishes we could still do that.

We only need these things because everyone else has them.

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There's a character in a book I read a couple of years ago called Other People's Money and there's a line in it that I think actually applies to everything — mobile phones and computers etc. It's the same with phones and computers — you only need them because the other person has them but you use them and everything gets messed up.

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  5. Police work was a lot less about administration than it is now. Nowadays policemen claim that they spend more time on admin than actually doing the work — but that's a complaint that goes throughout every industry. The lack of the vocal protest — there's no Bob Dylan, there's no Judy Collins there are no protest songs, no protest plays — there's no Cathy Come Home. I think one of the functions of the arts is to shake people, rattle their cages and try to wake them up.

    Nowadays people are so terrified of causing offence. Even when Mary Whitehouse was shouting madly trying to stop programmes, most people making the programmes just said 'get over it'. Search term:.

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