This page is about the comedy-crime novel In the Red and it’s spin-off radio and TV series.

Novel: In the Red (1989) Radio: In the Red (1995) Radio: In the Balance (1997)
Radio: In the Chair (1998) Radio: In the End (1999) TV: In the Red (1998)


BBCBookInTheRedCoverIn the Red is a 1989 PG Wodehouse Prize nominated black comedy-crime novel by Mark Tavener, featuring fictional BBC Reporter George Cragge and fiction Police Officer Frank Jefferson, investigating a series of murders of London bank managers, a small political party contesting a by-election, and a plan to overthrow the Director-General of the BBC.

The novel’s setting in the worlds of finance (from which it draws its title), politics and media, was inspired by the writer’s early experiences working for the BBC and the Liberal Party.

The novel was released (BBC Books, 1998) following the production of a television adaptation of the same name (BBC Two, 1998).

Radio Series

In the Red (1995)

In the Red is the first in a sequence of four black comedy-crime drama series created for BBC Radio 4 by Mark Tavener featuring Michael Williams as BBC Reporter George Cragge and Barry Foster as Police Superintendent Frank Jefferson investigating a series of murders of London bank managers, a small political party contesting a by-election, and a plan to overthrow the Director-General of the BBC.

Broadcast January 5, 1995 – February 16, 1995

Notable guest stars include Julian Rhind-Tutt and Peter Serafinowicz, as well as, Stephen Fry and John Bird, who would reprise their roles of Charles Prentis and Martin McCabe in the follow-up series In the Chair (BBC Radio 4, 1998), and In the End (BBC Radio 4, 1999), the TV adaptation In the Red (BBC Two, 1998), and their own spin-off series Absolute Power (BBC Radio 4, 2000-2006/BBC Two, 2003-2005).

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George Cragg Michael Williams

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Frank Jefferson Barry Foster

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Julian Rhind-Tutt

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Peter Serafinowicz

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Charles Prentis Stephen Fry

John-Bird
Martin McCabe John Bird

In the Balance (1997)

In the Balance is a six-part BBC Radio 4 black comedy-crime drama series written by Mark Tavener and produced by Paul Schlesinger as a sequel to In the Red.

The story features BBC Reporter George Cragge, played by Michael Williams, and Police Superintendent Frank Jefferson, played by Barry Foster, investigating a series of murders of during a FIFA World Cup at Wembley Stadium, a summit of EU leaders and an upcoming general election.

Broadcast February 6, 1997 – March 13, 1997

Notable guest stars include Robert Bathurst, Jim Carter and Geoffrey Whitehead.

Michael_Williams
George Cragg Michael Williams

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Frank Jefferson Barry Foster

Robert_Bathurst
Robert Bathurst

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Jim Carter

Geoffrey_Whitehead
Geoffrey Whitehead

In the Chair (1998)

In the Chair is a six-part BBC Radio 4 black comedy-crime drama series written by Mark Tavener and produced by Paul Schlesinger as a second sequel to In the Red.

The story features BBC Reporter George Cragge, played by Michael Williams, and Police Superintendent Frank Jefferson, played by Barry Foster, investigating a series of murders of dentists linked to New Labour policy.

Broadcast June 5, 1998 – July 10, 1998

Notable guest stars include Hugh Laurie, Kenneth Cranham, Rebecca Front and Richard Griffiths, as well as the return of Stephen Fry, John Bird and Geoffrey Whitehead from previous series.

Michael_Williams
George Cragg Michael Williams

Barry_Foster_(1972)
Frank Jefferson Barry Foster

Geoffrey_Whitehead
Geoffrey Whitehead

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Charles Prentis Stephen Fry

John-Bird
Martin McCabe John Bird

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Hugh Laurie

Kenneth_Cranham
Kenneth Cranham

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Rebecca Front

Richard-Griffiths
Richard Griffiths

In the End (1999)

In the End is a six-part BBC Radio 4 black comedy-crime drama series written by Mark Tavener as a third sequel to In the Red.

The story features BBC Reporter George Cragge, played by Michael Williams, and Police Superintendent Frank Jefferson, played by Barry Foster, investigating a series of murders of journalists.

Broadcast November 18, 1999 – December 23, 1999

Notable guest stars include Anton Rodgers and David Holt, as well as the return of Stephen Fry, John Bird and Rebecca Front from previous series.

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George Cragg Michael Williams

Barry_Foster_(1972)
Frank Jefferson Barry Foster

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Anton Rodgers

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David Holt

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Charles Prentis Stephen Fry

John-Bird
Martin McCabe John Bird

Rebecca_Front
Rebecca Front

TV Series

In the Red (1998)

In the Red is a three-part BBC Two black comedy-crime drama series featuring Warren Clarke as BBC Reporter George Cragge and Alun Armstrong as Police Superintendent Frank Jefferson, investigating a series of murders of London bank managers, a small political party contesting a by-election, and a plan to overthrow the Director-General of the BBC.

The series was adapted by Malcolm Bradbury from Mark Tavener’s novel of the same name (Hutchinson, 1989), which had been inspired by the writer’s early experiences working for the BBC and the Liberal Party.

Following the conclusion of the series, the characters of Charles Prentis, played by Stephen Fry, and Martin McCabe, played by John Bird, who also appeared in the radio adaptation of the book (BBC Radio 4, 1995-1999), were featured in their own spin-off series Absolute Power (BBC Radio 4, 2000-2006/BBC Two, 2003-2005), which was also created and written by Tavener.​

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George Cragge Warren Clarke

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Frank Jefferson Alun Armstrong

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Jim Wilkes Keith Barron

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Controller, Radio 2 Stephen Fry

John-Bird
Controller, Radio 4 John Bird

Richard-Griffiths
Geoffrey Chrichton Potter Richard Griffiths

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Dominic De’Ath Rik Mayall

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Ms Sin Siobhan Redmond

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Hercules Fortescue John Sessions

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Lord Tone Richard Wilson
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