Why did Jack Halford leave New Tricks?

New Tricks’ Jack Halford allegedly quit the show due to the meddling of the producers, as corroborated by actors that followed after his departure.


Every show has its own behind-the-scenes dynamics that affect the longevity and consistency of the actual show. New Tricks was the successful BBC One crime drama series that first premiered in 2003 and was an immediate success with fans.

With a 12-season run, the series was premised on, “Three retired police officers are drafted in to solve cold cases, with a touch of comedy and drama.”

In 2011, the crime drama comedy experienced the departure of its first main character, James Bolam, who played Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Halford.

Reasons for his departure were never confirmed, but there were allegations that would later be corroborated by other cast members.

Who is Jack Halford?

Jack Halford was one the four main characters on the hit comedy crime drama, New Tricks. Making his first appearance in the pilot episode, Jack Halford was the former Detective Chief Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police Service who retired from duty in 1998.

However, he was brought out of retirement five years later by Detective Chief Superintendent Sandra Pullman to be a part of the Unsolved Crimes and Open Case Squad (UCOS).

He was part of the series for eight seasons, but he did not return for season nine. Though he did a brief cameo during the exit series for Sandra Pullman.

Why did Jack Halford leave New Tricks?

In the story, Jack Halford’s exit follows after his resignation from the UCOS. Jack lamented that his resignation was due to health reasons, a matter in the show that would be confirmed a few months later when it is revealed that the former Detective Chief Superintendent had died of liver cancer.

However, as highlighted before, in reality, his exit storyline was due to the alleged contention behind the scenes. James Bolam confirmed his departure from the show in September 2011, following the airing of the season eight finale.

While his announcement was made after the conclusion of season eight, it is believed that Bolam was already set on the decision during the shooting of his final seasons due to the alleged meddling of the producers and how the story was treated.

New Tricks “sorry to see him go”

At the time of Bolam’s departure, it was confirmed that New Tricks had been renewed for two more seasons.

The producers of the show pushed this narrative when speaking about the departure of James Bolam when Richard Burnell, an executive producer of New Tricks commented on Bolam’s exit, stating, “We are very sorry to see him go.”

Then went on to add, “We are very excited about the return of the rest of the cast and are thrilled to have been commissioned for another two series by the BBC.” No further word was shared.

Other cast members begin to leave New Tricks

It seemed that James Bolam’s departure from New Tricks marked the beginning of the series’ unravelling. As such, the details about how the interference of the show’s producers also began to take a toll on the leading cast of the show.

The second to leave the show was Amanda Redman, who played the role of Detective Chief Superintendent Sandra Pullman, citing the gruelling hours and, similarly, the interference of the producers as her reasoning.

Alun Armstrong also departed in the same year as Redman, and the last to leave the show was the late Dennis Waterman, who stayed with the show until its end in 2015.

The ghost of Jack Halford returns

While James Bolam left New Tricks in 2011, claiming the story had “gone stale” and as a result of the interference of the producers, he did form real friendships with the title cast of the show.

As such, when friend and main cast member, Amanda Redman who played Sandra Pullman was leaving the show in 2012, Bolam seemingly put his differences with the producers aside to reprise his role as Jack Halford.

His return was as a ghost, due to the confirmation of his death from liver cancer. The return of the beloved character was considered the perfect send-off for the character that the show was anchored on before her exit and subsequent replacement.

Final thoughts

New Tricks was BBC One’s hit crime drama with a touch of comedy. The show’s behind the scenes drama and interference from the producers was detrimental to the show as its main cast started to leave. The first to leave in 2011 was James Bolam in the role of Jack Halford.

In the world of the story, Halford’s departure was saved for the season eight finale, which saw Halford quit the UCOS for health reasons.

A few months later, it was confirmed that Halford had since died of liver cancer. But fans were pleasantly surprised when the actor returned as a ghost for Sandra Pullman’s exit episode.