The Thin Blue Line. Image shows from L to R: D.I. Grim (David Haig), P.C. Habib (Mina Anwar), Inspector Fowler (Rowan Atkinson), P.C. Goody (James Dreyfus), D.C. Boyle (Mark Addy), Sergeant Dawkins (Serena Evans), P.C. Gladstone (Rudolph Walker). Copyright: Tiger Aspect Productions
The Thin Blue Line

The Thin Blue Line

  • TV sitcom
  • BBC One
  • 1995 - 1996
  • 14 episodes (2 series)

Police sitcom about fastidious Inspector Raymond Fowler, his array of uniformed officers, and the oafish CID Inspector Grim. Stars Rowan Atkinson, David Haig, Serena Evans, James Dreyfus, Mina Anwar and more.

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Episode menu

Series 2, Episode 2 - Ism Ism Ism

Faced with arresting a failed asylum seeker ready for deportation, Fowler trains his staff in equality by pretending to be a Martian dissident. Meanwhile, Grim has been turned down by the Freemasons and is now trying to become a member of the Order of Todgers.

Further details

The Mayoress tells Fowler to start an equality initiative to combat "-isms" in the force in preparation for their arrest of a failed asylum seeker.

Whilst Grim prepares for his upcoming initiation ceremony, Fowler sets about instructing his officers ahead of their detaining the immigrant. It's to be a particularly sensitive operation as they will be observed by an official from the EU. Raymond attempts to demonstrate the need to see past a person's appearance by roleplaying a Martian dissident, Constable Zog. The lesson is somewhat lost on Constable Goody...

Grim, meanwhile, having being turned down by the Masons, is about to join the Todgers. He has a curious initiation ceremony to practice procedure for, with a little help from Boyle. When a camp Detective Sergeant arrives to speak to him, there's an horrendous mix-up.

Later, Fowler and his officers make the arrest. However, once again they make a mistake and manage to detain the European Commissioner for Human Rights, the very man who was supposed to be monitoring the operation! Fowler is in big trouble.

Just when he thought his day couldn't get any worse, it does. Reviewing CCTV security tapes from the town centre, Sergeant Dawkins notices what appears to be a woman receiving a savage beating in a nearby property. The truth, as it turns out, is far more disturbing.

Broadcast details

Thursday 21st November 1996
36 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Friday 25th April 2014 8:00pm Gold
Saturday 26th April 2014 2:30pm Gold
Saturday 5th July 2014 10:55am Gold
Wednesday 13th August 2014 11:00am Gold
Saturday 3rd January 2015 11:00am Gold
Tuesday 24th March 2015 5:00pm Gold
Wednesday 25th March 2015 12:40pm Gold
Wednesday 9th December 2015 11:05am Gold
Thursday 30th June 2016 10:40pm Yesterday
Friday 1st July 2016 9:20pm Yesterday
Wednesday 11th January 2017 10:00am Gold
Tuesday 20th June 2017 8:10am Gold
Tuesday 20th June 2017 2:00pm Gold
Tuesday 15th August 2017 3:15am Gold
Sunday 27th August 2017 2:55am Gold
Tuesday 20th June 2023 9:00am Gold
Tuesday 20th June 2023 1:00pm Gold
Wednesday 13th September 2023 6:55pm Gold
Thursday 14th September 2023 1:40pm Gold
Thursday 14th September 2023 6:20pm Gold
Thursday 12th October 2023 1:00pm Gold
Thursday 12th October 2023 4:20pm Gold
Friday 19th January 2024 8:00pm Gold
Saturday 20th January 2024 12:40am Gold
Saturday 20th January 2024 8:20am Gold
Tuesday 27th February 2024 2:40pm Gold
Saturday 2nd March 2024 9:25pm Gold
Sunday 3rd March 2024 12:05am Gold

Cast & crew

Rowan Atkinson Inspector Fowler
David Haig D.I. Grim
Serena Evans Sergeant Dawkins
James Dreyfus P.C. Goody
Mina Anwar P.C. Habib
Rudolph Walker P.C. Gladstone
Mark Addy D.C. Boyle
Lucy Robinson Mayoress Wickham
Guest cast
Melvyn Hayes D.S. Quentin Courvoisier
Colin McFarlane European Commissioner
Writing team
Ben Elton Writer
Production team
John Birkin Director
Geoffrey Perkins Producer
Ben Elton Producer
Peter Bennett-Jones Executive Producer
Steve Tempia Editor
Charlie Fawcett Editor
James Dillon Production Designer
Howard Goodall Composer

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