|Created by||Jimmy Nail|
Ian La Frenais
|Written by||Jimmy Nail|
Ian La Frenais
|Directed by||Mary McMurray|
|Theme music composer||Tony McAnaney|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||3|
|No. of episodes||21 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||50 minutes|
|Production company||Big Boy Productions|
|Original release||8 January 1991 –|
29 December 1993
|Infobox instructions (only shown in preview)|
Spender is a British television police procedural drama, created by Ian La Frenais and Jimmy Nail, that first broadcast on 8 January 1991 on BBC1. The series, which also starred Nail as the titular character, ran for three series between 1991 and 1993, finishing with a feature-length special, The French Collection, broadcast on 29 December 1993. A total of twenty-one episodes were produced. The first and second series were produced by Martin McKeand, while the third and final series was produced by Paul Raphael and Peter McAleese.
The series, set in Newcastle upon Tyne, focuses on the life and exploits of Detective Sergeant Freddie Spender, who was often chosen to carry out more daring police cases. With his criminal sidekick Stick (Sammy Johnson), Spender was regarded as one of the more remarkable TV detectives of the 1990s. The series featured an extensive back story for the main characters, with a number of episodes dealing with Spender's domestic life, his family and circumstances. Some of the storylines were however seen as somewhat dark; one episode featured the death of Spender's wife at the hands of a ruthless gangster, another on the kidnap of one of his daughters.
Guest stars in the series included Amanda Redman, Rodney Bewes, Frances Tomelty, Julie Peasgood, Jan Graveson, Geoffrey Hughes, Bobby Pattinson, Tom Bell and Ian McElhinney. The series was broadcast on Tuesday evenings in the peak time slot that followed the BBC's flagship Nine O'Clock News. No further series were produced following the feature-length special, despite the popularity of the show, and it being a smash hit for the BBC in terms of ratings with the show regularly pulling in 14 million viewers, and each episode costing upwards of £350,000 to produce. In 1992, a novelisation of the series, written by Nail, was published. The series has never been released on DVD.