With the kind help and co-operation of the contacts I’ve made through the TV Location tours, I have been lucky enough to obtain copies of both series one and two of Kinsey, a BBC drama from the early nineties. I was unaware of the series until recently and was interested to see which Birmingham locations were used throughout the series.
Kinsey was made at BBC Pebble Mill and set in Birmingham and ran for just two series, broadcast in 1991 & 1992. It told the story of a maverick Birmingham solicitor, Neil Kinsey, his business partners, rival solicitors and the cases they were fighting for their various clients. Neil Kinsey was played by Leigh Lawson, husband of model and actress Twiggy, and also featured a number of now well known actors and actresses which you can discover on the pages I’ve now updated on the IMDB.
What I find most interesting about shows from several years ago is how the city centre landscape has altered over such a relatively short period of time and I’m pleased to report that Kinsey was certainly no disappointment in this area.
As the theme tune to the show played, a catchy Dave Greenslade composition with vocals performed by Marti Webb, it set the tone for the story that was about to unfold in episode one.
“There’s no escape to paradise, just live the life you’re in
With all to lose you cannot choose but win the life you’re in
Pick up the broken pieces, prepare the broken heart
One day you’ll find the pain has gone
The game’s about to start”
I had not reached the end of the opening credits before I was treated to a fantastic view across the Birmingham city centre at night. The Rotunda dominated the centre of the shot and in the foreground I could just make out the huge crane that was building the new TSB Head Office on the site of the former Post Office in Victoria Square.
It was also apparent that the current work on the New Street station area would again change the shape of the city and this fantastic panning shot was taking me right back to a 1990 Birmingham that was missing so many of the current landmarks that are now taken for granted.
Episode one opens with car driving through what is now the pedestrianised Victoria Square, which is followed by a secret meeting in the car between two mystery people. What becomes clear in the next 50 minutes is that they are a very key part of this story. They are Kinsey’s business partner, Barry Haynes, and the practice cashier, Linda Barnes, and they are planning an escape but first need to find more money to fund the venture.
Meanwhile Kinsey is meeting an old friend and rival solicitor, Gerry Hollis, at the dog track. Their discussion is interrupted by the shady figure of Keith Schofield (brilliantly played by Gavin Richards) who is unhappy and suggests that Barry may be avoiding him. Schofield suggests he may have to speak to Gerry about changing his solicitor, but after he leaves Kinsey advises that Schofield may best be avoided.
The next morning Kinsey walks down Corporation Street to the offices of Kinsey Haynes Solicitors.
The exterior of the practice office in series one was the Coleridge Chambers building, which was ideally located right next door to the Birmingham Victorian Law Courts.
Kinsey is greeted by practice secretary Valerie, played by Wolverhampton born actress Meera Syal. She informs him that Eddie, played by Mark Womack (the husband of Eastenders actress Samantha Womack), is out working on one of Barry’s cases. Eddie is busy tackling a battle with some squatters who have taken up residence in a shop premises.
Barry and Linda are putting the final details of their plan together by clearing out the funds of the Schofield account, which they do on a 1990s era VDU screen.
Kinsey and Eddie work out a plan to remove the squatters. They arrive outside the XL club (now known as Subside Bar) in Fletchers Walk with a fake gas leak story that they hope will remove the squatters long enough for them to reclaim the premises for the shop owner. While they are busy carrying out their plan, Barry is busy clearing out the practice safe and making a getaway.
We next see Barry and Linda meeting at Birmingham International Airport where they catch a flight to Portugal. Kinsey is first alerted to their deception when neither of them arrive for work the following day.
The episode concludes with Kinsey discovering the scale and impact of Barry and Linda’s actions and the disappearance of the Schofield account funds. This news is made worse when rival solicitor Max Barker is appointed by the Bureau to oversee the running of Kinsey’s practice following Barry’s indiscretion.
I think I’m going to really enjoy discovering this series from nearly 25 years ago and I will post an episode by episode guide to some of the locations used over the 12 episodes in the weeks to come, starting with an episode one slideshow below.