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'Heartbeat' was one of the longest running dramas in the history of ITV, and was set in rural Yorkshire in the 1960s, with music of the period cleverly woven into the scenes.

Created by Keith Richardson and Gerry Mill, 'Heartbeat' was loosely a police drama, though as much activity centred in the local pub. The series began in 1992, when Nick Berry and Niamh Cusack were in the two lead parts as young couple PC Nick and Doctor Kate Rowan. Long-running characters included Oscar Blaketon (Derek Fowlds) and PC Alf Ventress (William Simons), who both appeared in the first series. Mark Jordon, who played PC Phil Bellamy, was another original, but he was killed off in 2007, which was an example of darker storylines coming into the series.

ITV '60s hospital drama 'The Royal' was a spin-off of 'Heartbeat', and began in 2003. Both series consisted of hour-long episodes.

Though 'Heartbeat', which ran for 18 series on ITV, came to an end in 2010, it is regularly repeated on ITV3.

- Paul Rance/

Heartbeat Main Cast List (actors/actresses who have appeared in 30 episodes or more - up to January 1st, 2009)

William Simons as PC Alf Ventress (342 episodes, 1992-2008)
Derek Fowlds as Oscar Blaketon (327 episodes, 1992-2008)
Mark Jordon as PC Phil Bellamy (324 episodes, 1992-2007)
Tricia Penrose as Gina Ward (322 episodes, 1993-2008)
David Lonsdale as David Stockwell (242 episodes, 1993-2008)
Peter Benson as Bernard 'Bernie' Scripps (218 episodes, 1995-2008)
Bill Maynard as Claude Jeremiah Greengrass (155 episodes, 1992-2000)
Jason Durr as PC Mike Bradley (128 episodes, 1997-2003)
Kazia Pelka as Maggie Bolton (99 episodes, 1995-2001)
Nick Berry as PC Nick Rowan (96 episodes, 1992-1998)
John Duttine as Sergeant George Miller (90 episodes, 1992-2008)
Geoffrey Hughes as Vernon Scripps (88 episodes, 2001-2007)
Steven Blakeley as PC Geoff Younger (85 episodes, 2005-2008)
Gwen Taylor as Peggy Armstrong (82 episodes, 2005-2008)
Philip Franks as Sergeant Raymond Craddock (80 episodes, 1998-2002)
Jonathan Kerrigan as PC Rob Walker (73 episodes, 2004-2007)
Rupert Vansittart as Lord Charles Ashfordly (72 episodes, 1992-2008)
Vanessa Hehir as Rosie Cartwright (72 episodes, 2001-2007)
Duncan Bell as Sergeant Dennis Iain Merton (71 episodes, 2002-2005)
Sarah Tansey as Jenny Latimer (69 episodes, 2001-2004)
Stuart Golland as George Ward (67 episodes, 1992-1996)
Fiona Dolman as Jackie Bradley (54 episodes, 1998-2001)
Lisa Kay as Carol Cassidy (53 episodes, 2004-2008)
Niamh Cusack as Dr. Kate Rowan (49 episodes, 1992-1995)
Aislín McGuckin as Dr. Liz Merrick (46 episodes, 2003-2004)
Anne Stallybrass as Eileen Reynolds (42 episodes, 1993-1998)
Clare Calbraith as Dr. Tricia Summerbee (42 episodes, 2000-2002)
Sophie Ward as Dr. Helen Trent (40 episodes, 2004-2006)
Juliette Gruber as Jo Weston (36 episodes, 1995-1998)
James Carlton as PC Steve Crane (35 episodes, 2003-2004)
Alice Jones as Katie Rowan (32 episodes, 1995-1998)
Joe McFadden as PC Joe Mason (30 episodes, 2007-2008)
Clare Wille as DS Rachel Dawson (30 episodes, 2005-2008)

Heartbeat DVDs available from - in association with

'Heartbeat - The Heartbeat Chronicles DVD' Heartbeat - The Heartbeat Chronicles [1992] ~ William Simons, Derek Fowlds

'Heartbeat - Changing Places - The Unseen Episode DVD' Heartbeat - Changing Places - The Unseen Episode [1997] ~ Nick Berry, Juliette Gruber

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