Created by Terence Feely
Country of origin United Kingdom
Genre Detective fiction
Directed by Various
Final episode date 6 June 1987
Predecessor The Gentle Touch
|Starring Jill Gascoine
Tracy Louise Ward
Composer(s) John Kongos Barbara Thompson
Cast Jill Gascoine, Leslie Ash, Tracy Louise Ward, Rosalyn Landor
C.A.T.S. Eyes is a British television series made by TVS for ITV between 1985 and 1987. The series was a spin-off from The Gentle Touch, and saw Jill Gascoine reprise her role as Maggie Forbes, having left the police force to join an all-female private detective agency called "Eyes", based in Kent, that is actually a front for a Home Office team called C.A.T.S. (Covert Activities Thames Section).
C.A.T.S. Eyes was shown on Friday nights during the first series, before moving to a Saturday night slot for the second and third series. The series was a ratings hit, regularly ranking within the top twenty most watched programmes that week throughout its run. The theme music from the first series by John Kongos was also released as a single in 1985.
The C.A.T.S. Eyes team consisted of former police officer Maggie Forbes (Jill Gascoine), refined Oxford graduate Pru Standfast (Rosalyn Landor), the leader of the unit, and streetwise computer expert Frederica "Fred" Smith (Leslie Ash). Nigel Beaumont (Don Warrington) was the "man from the ministry" overseeing their activities. For the second series onwards, the Eyes detective agency front had been dropped; Pru was replaced by the similarly upper class but more frivolous Tessa "Tess" Robinson (Tracy Louise Ward); and Maggie was elevated to team leader.
The only other character from The Gentle Touch to make an appearance in the series was Maggie's love interest, D.I. Mike Turnbull (Bernard Holley), who appeared in the second episode of the first series, "The Black Magic Man", to help her with a case. Although they were still a couple at the end of The Gentle Touch, it was implied that they had since ended their relationship and were still good friends. However, their relationship was left somewhat ambiguous and unresolved. In the first episode, "Goodbye Jenny Wren" Maggie refers to her son, Steve Forbes, as having "taken off to Australia". She said that if he hadn't have done so, she would not have volunteered to join the organisation. An ongoing reference throughout the series was whenever Maggie was addressed as "Miss", she would correct it sharply to "Mrs" - referring to her being widowed during the first episode of The Gentle Touch.
The series was filmed in the then-closed Chatham Dockyard, as well as locations in Medway and Maidstone. All filming was done on location, and post-production editing was performed at the TVS Television Centre in Maidstone.
The cars used by the regular cast in the series were loaned by Ford Motor Company. In the first series, Pru drove a 1985 Ford Escort 1.6i Mark III Cabriolet, which was also featured at the end of the first series title sequence. Fred had a 1984 Fiesta XR2 Mark II, and Maggie used 1985 Escort 1.6 Mark III. In the second series, Fred and Tessa drove 1986 white and Azure blue Ford Escort RS Turbos respectively, with the latter being the only one produced in that colour, whilst Maggie now had a 1986 Ford Sierra Mark I. Similar looking 1987 models of the vehicles were also used in the third series.
There has been no domestic commercial release of C.A.T.S. Eyes on any format in the UK. This is possibly due to ongoing rights issues after the production company, TVS, dropped out of the ITV network in 1992 and subsequently went through a number of take-overs. This problem affects the majority of the TVS programme archive as much of the original production paperwork and sales documentation has been lost during the intervening years.