A Touch of Frost

For the novel, see A Touch of Frost (novel).
A Touch of Frost
Series title over a headshot of Frost peering through cell bars
Genre Police procedural
Created by R. D. Wingfield
Starring David Jason
Bruce Alexander
John Lyons
Arthur White
Theme music composer Barbara Thompson
Jon Hiseman
Composer(s) Barbara Thompson
Jon Hiseman (1992–97)
Ray Russell (1999–2010)
Country of origin United Kingdom
Original language(s) English
No. of series 15
No. of episodes 42 (List of episodes)
Producer(s) Yorkshire Television
Running time 75—100 minutes
Production company(s) ITV Studios
Original network ITV, STV, UTV
Picture format 4:3 (1992–2000)
16:9 (2001–10)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 6 December 1992 (1992-12-06) – 5 April 2010 (2010-04-05)

A Touch of Frost is a television detective series produced by Yorkshire Television (later ITV Studios) for ITV from 6 December 1992 until 5 April 2010, initially based on the Frost novels by R. D. Wingfield. Writing credit for the three episodes in the first 1992 series went to Richard Harris.[1][2]

The series stars David Jason as Detective Inspector William Edward "Jack" Frost, an experienced and dedicated detective who frequently clashes with his superiors. In his cases, Frost is assisted by a variety of different detective sergeants, with each bringing a different slant to the particular case. Comic relief is provided by Frost's interactions with the bureaucratically-minded Superintendent Norman "Horn-rimmed Harry" Mullett, played by Bruce Alexander.

A number of young actors had their major debut as supporting cast in the show, including: Matt Bardock, Ben Daniels, Neil Stuke, Mark Letheren, Colin Buchanan, Jason Maza, Damian Lewis and Marc Warren.


The series is set in the fictional South Midlands town of Denton, and is marked by a gritty tone. It is believed that Denton is in either Berkshire or Oxfordshire, though there are many references to Reading, Oxford, and in particular, Swindon. In the earlier episodes, the M4 and A417 were often seen, and the map of Swindon was seen in the control room, although a map of Reading was used occasionally. The programme was produced by ITV in Leeds, and most of the outdoor locations were shot in West Yorkshire. Several scenes were filmed in and around the city and district of Wakefield and neighbouring small towns of Pontefract and Castleford, West Yorkshire.[3] The role of Frost was notable in changing the public perception of David Jason from a predominantly comic actor to a dramatic actor.

At a press conference in London on 15 September 2008, David Jason announced that he would be quitting the role of DI Jack Frost. Jason's main reason for quitting the role was that Frost was by now the oldest detective on television and he felt that it was 'natural' to retire as Frost. At 68, a police detective would already have been retired for eight years. Sir David said: "You wouldn't want me to play Frost in a wheelchair, would you?... Frost is getting a little long in the tooth. I still enjoy doing it and it's a great part but I just think he's got to retire. It'll be a sad day."[4]

Several episodes have direct allusions to "Star Trek". Dr McCoy's catchphrase "I'm a doctor not a..." is heard in several episodes, turned into "I'm a police surgeon, not a..." or "I'm a pathologist, not a...". Frost himself states that "the only place with more warp factors than Denton is Starship Enterprise", in response to a remark by Mullett about warped minds.


Main cast

Supporting cast

Supervising Officers

  • Nigel Harrison as DCI Jim Peters (1996—1997)
  • Matthew Marsh as DCI Charlie Hawkes (1995)
  • Neil Phillips as DCI Jim Allen (1992—1994)

Detective Sergeants

Detective Constables

Uniformed Officers

  • Paul Moriarty as Sgt. Bill Wells
  • Bill Roarke as Sgt. Arthur Hanlon (1992—1995)
  • Stuart Barren as Sgt. Johnnie Johnson (1992—1996)
  • James McKenna as Sgt. Don Brady (1996—2010)
  • Martin Moss as PC Stephen Lambert (1992)
  • Ian Driver as PC Robert Jordan (1992—1994)
  • Christopher Rickwood as PC Keith Stringer (1992—1994)
  • George Thompson as PC Nick Simms (1992—1996)
  • Colin Buchanan as PC Mike Austin (1994)
  • Ian Mercer as PC Mark Craven (1996)
  • Colette Brown as WPC Claire Toms (1996)
  • Katrina Levon as WPC Lindsey Hunter (1996)
  • Jan Graveson as WPC Elizabeth Brent (1996)
  • Miranda Pleasance as WPC Annie Holland (1997—1999)
  • Georgia Mackenzie as WPC Susan Kavanagh (2000)
  • Emily Corrie as WPC Louise Harmison (2006)

Police Pathologists

  • David McKail as Dr. David McKenzie (1992-2008)
  • David Gooderson as Dr. Derek Simpkins (1992—2006)


Main characters

Detective Sergeants

Other characters

Jack's girlfriends


The series is based on the novels of R. D. Wingfield:

Despite the show still being produced when the last two novels were written, they were never used as source material for episodes, possibly due to their more graphic subject matter. "Hard Frost" was the last and perhaps most closely referenced novel filmed, and was split across two almost-unrelated episodes due to its length. This also occurred with "A Touch of Frost" (split across three episodes) and "Night Frost" (two episodes, although the element of DS Gilmore's marriage break-up was used in season 4 episode "The Things We Do for Love", which has no other reference to "Night Frost", for the series-only character of DS Nash). By discarding several minor sub-plots in "Frost at Christmas", the two major cases were able to be investigated in the one episode, being the pilot "Care and Protection". This novel, and the pilot, introduced the characters of Frost, Mullet, DI Allen (DCI in the series), DS George Martin (Toolan in the series), Sgt. Bill Wells, Sgt. Johnny Johnson, DS Arthur Hanlon (uniform sergeant in the series), DC Barnard, PC Jordan, PC Simms, WPC Hazel Page (Wallace in the series), PC Stringer, newspaper reporter Sandy Lane (Longford in the series), Dr. McKenzie, pathologist Drysdale (Simpkins in the series), his assistant Miss Grey, and Shirley, Frost's on/off love interest.

The iconic saxophone solo heard during the show's theme music was performed by Barbara Thompson.[5]

The aspect ratios of A Touch of Frost have been the subject of discussion. From series 1 through to 5, the series was originally shown and transferred to DVD in the 4:3 aspect ratio (which was still mostly the UK television norm in the 1990s). From series 6 onwards, the show was shown in a widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio. The DVD releases reflected this change. However, from 2012, ITV3 HD have been broadcasting a growing number of episodes of the series in high definition, remastered from the original 16mm source. In these HD versions, even the opening series are shown in widescreen. Comparisons to the 4:3 version of the shows (still available on DVD) have shown that the frame has been "opened-up" to include previously unseen parts of the frame. This means that the episodes fit the widescreen ratio without cropping out important material.[6]


DVD releases

Title Number of Episodes Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
The Complete First Series 3 30 March 2004 18 October 2004 4 August 2008
The Complete Second Series 4 25 May 2004 18 October 2004 3 November 2008
The Complete Third Series 4 28 July 2004 18 October 2004 3 November 2008
The Complete Fourth Series 5 23 November 2004 18 October 2004 2 February 2009
The Complete Fifth Series 4 29 March 2005 18 October 2004 2 February 2009
The Complete Sixth Series 4 28 June 2005 18 October 2004 1 May 2009
The Complete Seventh Series 2 27 September 2005 18 October 2004 1 May 2009
The Complete Eighth Series 2 27 September 2005 18 October 2004 1 May 2009
The Complete Ninth Series 2 25 April 2006 18 October 2004 26 June 2009
The Complete Tenth Series 3 25 April 2006 18 October 2004 26 June 2009
The Complete Eleventh Series 2 31 October 2006 21 November 2005 31 July 2009
The Complete Twelfth Series 1 31 October 2006 21 November 2005 31 July 2009
The Complete Thirteenth Series 1 29 April 2008 6 November 2006 31 July 2009
The Complete Fourteenth Series 3 28 July 2009 27 October 2008 8 June 2010
The Complete Fifteenth Series 2 30 November 2010 12 April 2010 8 December 2010
The Complete Series 1–5 20 N/A 18 October 2004 27 November 2009
The Complete Series 6–10 13 N/A 18 October 2004 N/A
The Complete Series 6–15 22 N/A 16 August 2010 N/A
The Complete Series 1–15 42 N/A 15 August 2011 N/A


In Australia, the series aired on ABC, UK.TV and 7Two. In Canada, the series aired on Knowledge, SCN and TVOntario. In New Zealand, the series aired on Prime (New Zealand), TV1 and UK.TV. In the United States, the series aired on A&E Network. In the Netherlands, the series aired on KRO, while in Italy on La7.


External links

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