Michael Elphick died in hospital on 7 September
2002 after collapsing at his home in Willesden Green, North
London, where he lived with his daughter, Kate. His mother,
Joan, who still lives in Chichester where Michael grew up,
described him as “very quiet and very kind ... a very nice
“Boon” was a light-hearted drama centred around
two middle-aged ex-firemen, Ken Boon and Harry Crawford, who were
starting out in business together, initially in Birmingham and later
in Nottingham, after leaving the fire brigade. During the seven
series (1986–1992), Ken worked his way up from odd-job man to private
investigator while Harry ran two hotels, a ballroom, a country club
and finally a security firm. Over the years they were assisted by
Doreen Evans, Rocky Cassidy, Debbie Yates, Margaret Daly, Laura
Marsh and Alex Wilton.
The series was created by Jim Hill and Bill Stair
who wrote several episodes in the first series. Later, individual
episodes were written by various writers such as: Geoff McQueen,
creator of “The Bill” and “Stay Lucky”; Anthony Minghella, who has
since written the screenplays for several episodes of “Inspector
Morse” as well as for the film “Truly, Madly, Deeply”; and Kieran
Prendiville, former presenter of “Tomorrow’s World” and creator
of the BBC dramas “Roughnecks” and “Ballykissangel”.
Seven series, each of thirteen episodes, were made
by Central Television between 1986 and 1992. Series 1–3 were set
in Birmingham and Series 4–7 were set in Nottingham. A Christmas
episode, “The Night Before Christmas”,
was shown after Series 6 and was dedicated to Bill Stair who died
in 1991. An additional one-off episode, “Thieves
Like Us”, was made in 1993 and first shown in 1995, three years
after the end of Series 7.
The personalities of Ken and Harry were soon established.
Ken was a rough but romantic biker who was devoted to his red and
silver BSA A65L Lightning motorbike, ‘White Lightning’, read Raymond
Chandler detective stories and day-dreamed about being a modern-day
Lone Ranger. Harry was a rather pompous and yet strangely naïve
man who was always planning yet another money-making business venture
which required him to ingratiate himself with the Masons or the
local Golf Club. Harry was recently divorced; Ken had never married
but in the past had been involved in his fair share of relationships
which had never lasted.
It was not unknown for Ken to be employed by a client
to watch a suspect, but to end up sympathising with the suspect
especially if she was a vulnerable and attractive woman!
Judging by the number of times that Harry and Ken
waived their fees or never collected them because their client went
off without paying, it is a wonder that CBS ever remained solvent!
In several episodes, such as “Daddy’s
Girl”, “Help Me Make It Through The
Night” and “Whispering Grass”,
brief glimpses of maps were shown. These were identifiable excerpts
of real Ordnance Survey maps, with some place-names changed and
specific details, such as roads or railway lines, added or removed.
The title song, “Hi
Ho Silver” by Jim Diamond, reached number 5 in the Charts in
1986. Jim originally wrote it in 1985 as a tribute to his father
who had recently died and who, like Ken and Harry, had been a fireman.
Ted Childs (Series 1–2 and 4–7)
William Smethurst (Series 3)
Barrington Pheloung (Series 1)
Dean Friedman (Series 2-7)
CDs, DVDs and Books
DVD: Boon, Series 1:
4 DVDs, 13 episodes – available from
Play.com and other outlets
There is an authoring problem with this
DVD which affects the filmed scenes but not the studio scenes:
adjacent frames have been averaged, leading to blurred motion
and a double image on stills.
Book: Boon, Anthony Masters, Sphere, 1986,
ISBN 0-7221-4829-1 – based on a composite of several Series
the photo to see one of the many ‘BOON’ title sequences
Jim Diamond – Title Music
Blue Shoes Website (find out more about ‘Hi Ho Silver’ man Jim Diamond)
Dean Friedman – Incidental Music
Dean Friedman Website
During the filming of Series 3 of Boon, Michael
Elphick, Neil Morrissey, Amanda Noar and David Daker made a
rather gory but extremely funny spoof horror film called “I
Bought A Vampire Motorcycle”. There are many links between
the locations, cast and crew used in “I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle”
and Series 3 of “Boon”.
‘The Heist’ – BBC Children In Need 1990
Gary Leeke describes the BBC “Children In Need
event that was held on Friday, November
23rd 1990 in Nottingham. The cast of “Boon” were present to investigate
the theft of “Children In Need” funds and to apprehend the “thief”.
And Gary (lucky bugger) managed to sneak a kiss with Elizabeth Carling...
The Return Of The Lone Ranger – Interview with Michael Elphick
An exclusive interview
with Michael Elphick conducted by Gary Leeke on Saturday 19 June
1999 at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham. Whilst visiting Nottingham
as star of the successful touring theatre production ‘Loot’, Michael
Elphick kindly took time to participate in an exclusive interview
for the Boon site. It’s been seven years since Michael hung up his
crash helmet but, like his character, he remains just as warm, friendly
and approachable as ever...
Multimedia Man – Interview with Dean Friedman
Amongst his numerous accomplishments, Dean Friedman
provided the majority of the incidental music for Series 2-7 of
Boon. Gary Leeke spoke to him
on 1 July 1999 about his long-standing association with the programme.
Dean Friedman has now (June 2003) released a
CD of the songs and incidental music from Boon.
“Hi Ho Silver” – Its Origin
Central TV commissioned
Jim Diamond to write and record
the title song for “Boon” in 1985 and showed him the first script
so he could produce something with the right feel to it, leaving
the exact choice to Jim. The script was headed “Ken Boon: Fireman”.
By coincidence, Jim’s father had been a fireman and, like Ken Boon,
enjoyed cowboy and country-and-western music. Although Jim wrote
and recorded “Hi Ho Silver” for use in “Boon”, he wrote it in memory
of his father. Thanks to Alan Williams who sent me this piece of
HI HO SILVER
Sometimes I sit yeah! Feeling alone
No one to talk to I got no telephone
And at night I wake up I just lie and stare
Come on and save me from this nightmare
Hi ho Silver! Here come the Lone Ranger
He’s riding on down, to rescue me
Hi ho Silver! Here come the Lone Ranger
He’s riding on down
To rescue me....
For complete lyrics, e-mail
I’d like to thank
Gary Leeke (Nottingham locations),
Martyn Cadogan (guest stars) and
Alan Williams (publicity photos, site design) for the information
that they’ve supplied for this site. Gary has also spent many hours
noting down locations and then visiting them to confirm their identity
and current ownership, and he’s also responsible for the interviews
with Michael Elphick and Dean Friedman for the site.
Subscribe to the Boon mailing list
or to BoonExtra
Contacts and site construction
Notes and episode list ©
Martin Underwood, 1997–2014
Additional information © Gary Leeke,
Martyn Cadogan and Alan Williams, 1998–2014
Pictures © Central Independent Television
Page last modified:
08 January 2014, 21:31