Saturday, 21 September 2013

Unknown Actress in The Detective (BBC1/1985)

This query is for an unidentified actress who appeared in two nude scenes in the 1985 BBC1 Drama serial "The Detective" which starred Tom Bell and also featured an early role for Hugh Grant.

The source of this lead comes from two retained clips posted on a forum.  The name of the programme was relatively easy to work out from the actors involved, but the name of the actress seen in the clip has proved harder to determine.

There are two different scenes both situated by a heated indoor swimming pool in the Home Secretary's mansion.
  • In the first scene the mystery actress is seen swimming in the pool while her boyfriend Andrew (Hugh Grant) is standing by the side talking to Detective Ken Croker (Tom Bell) who has arrived to talk to Andrew's father the Home Secretary - at the end of the scene the actress gets out of the pool with rear nudity and some side breast seen - she doesn't speak in this scene
  • In the second scene, on another day, the girl is sitting topless at the edge of the pool in the water with Andrew when Croker returns and they tease him until he agrees to take a dip.  She is then seen naked from behind as she climbs out just as Croker jumps in after changing into some spare trunks.  Later in the clip she is seen topless standing on the side drying herself with a towel as Andrew allows Croker to see (offscreen) his hereditary birthmark located on a particularly private part of his body - this is a plot point that Croker had come to surreptitiously check up on - in this scene she speaks several lines although her character name is not used in the clip.
Since she speaks there seems a good chance she would be credited.

I have located and read the book by Paul Ferris from which the series was adapted.
Here is where the clipped scenes occur in the book which runs to 237 pages.
  • Page 134: Crocker makes his first visit to the pool and briefly meets Andrew - at this point there are two girls swimming (unnamed).  Dialogue matches clip.
  • Page 147: Crocker returns to the pool and has a longer conversation as he tries to get a look at Andrew's birthmark.  In the book Andrew is naked too, although in the clip Hugh Grant wears trunks.  The naked girl is named here as "Celia" and most of the dialogue is similar to the clip.
So if she was credited it seems quite likely she would be called the same name as in the book "Celia".

Unfortunately the credits available on both IMDB and the BFI database are incomplete. The Kaleidoscope Drama Research Guide has a fuller (possibly complete) cast list broken down by episode but it does not show character names for the lesser players.

Hugh Grant (as Andrew) was in episodes 3, 4, & 5.  The relative position in the book for Andrew's first appearance (which is the first clip) tends to suggest that scene could be in episode 3.  The second scene could be later in the same episode or maybe in episode 4.

Clearly she appears in one or more of the same episodes as Hugh Grant.  The unknown actresses listed on the Kaleidoscope entry for those three episodes whose character names are not known are:-
  • ep3: Julia Stockwell, Shelley Wiggins
  • ep4: Julia Stockwell
  • ep5: None
Since the two scenes more likely span two episodes, then clearly the name that seems to best fit the facts is Julia Stockwell.  However this seems to be the only thing she has been in so her likeness cannot be compared against appearances in other things.  Similarly for Shelley Wiggins if it were to be her - her name does not crop up in anything else either.

You may think I've pretty  much solved my own query with that name of Julia Stockwell as the most likely identification, but there is still doubt with that other name of Shelley Wiggins also being a possibility - and in order to add an entry to the site I have to be really sure.  It might, for example, turn out that she was uncredited and Julia Stockwell was someone else in it.

It would seem that the only way to solve this query is from the original end credits of the programme itself where hopefully there will be someone listed called "Celia".  Or alternatively maybe there is another non-nude scene featuring her in which her character name (if different) is mentioned.

So if anyone knows anything more about Julia Stockwell and/or Shelley Wiggins, or knows of a better credits source, or has kept a recording of the series that can be directly checked, please let me know.


with Hugh Grant

UPDATE - May 2014
Added full collage of the scenes ...

UPDATE - Aug 2014
See blog entry Query Solved: The Detective (BBC1/1985) for an update


  1. Spotlight Actresses for 1985 / 86 contains an entry and photo for Julia Stockwell. Described as 5 feet 6 inches with Blue Eyes. She is in the Young Actresses section (as distinct from Leading or Character Actresses). Usually the entry in Spotlight will have an agent listed as contact. However in her case, and quite often with young actresses new to the profession, her contact is given as c/o the Spotlight. Photo is by Graham Tonks from 1985.
    In my opinion the photo of Julia Stockwell in Spotlight is very similar to the girl discussed here.
    There is no entry for Shelley Wiggins.


    1. Thank you for your very useful comment.

      Do you have any way of scanning the picture or taking a photo of it and posting a link here, or sending via email if you prefer.

      An email address is on the bottom of the home page of the main site at

      Then if I agree with you on the likeness, as seems likely, then I can post an update on this query.