August 7, 2007


R D Wingfield (Daily Telegraph, 08/08/2007)

R D Wingfield, the crime writer who has died aged 79, created Inspector Jack Frost, the ramshackle detective played by David Jason in the ITV series A Touch Of Frost; before finding success on television, Wingfield had been a stalwart of BBC radio drama, his hallmark being scripts with clever twists and unexpected plot developments.

Although he admired Jason's portrayal of his fictional hero, Wingfield was lukewarm about the television adaptations of his Frost novels and said he never watched them. "I have nothing against David Jason as Frost at all," he explained. "He just isn't my Frost". [...]

There were inevitable comparisons between Frost and the other titan of television detectives, Inspector Morse, with whom Wingfield's sleuth shared an insubordinate disrespect for superiors, a cavalier disregard for sidekicks and a series of minor vices - in Frost's case, crudeness, rudeness, serial unpunctuality and a chain-smoking habit.

In his novels Wingfield drew Frost as a wheezing, slovenly slouch in a grubby raincoat whose scruffiness, The Sunday Telegraph noted in 1992, "makes Lieutenant Columbo look like a snappy dresser".

Unlike Morse, Wingfield's Frost relied on hunch more than on logic and was too preoccupied with his chaotic caseload to drill down on the minutiae of a single problem. Yet for all his failings, Frost had been awarded the George Cross for bravery, having been shot during a drunken encounter with an armed criminal.

While the tv series is carried by Jason's personal interpretation of Frost, the books are deliciously un-PC.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 7, 2007 10:03 PM
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