Newton's laws of television


Crossing Over

Compiled by Matthew Newton

This page aims to list occurences of cross-overs between two television shows. That is, characters have appeared or there have been explicit references (but not of the simple type where it is remembered or referenced as a television show, such as a modern day sitcom referring to the Daleks). I am also excluding connections between actual spin-off shows (such as any connections between, say, Man About The House and George And Mildred).

This list is also limited purely to British shows on the basis that I know that this kind of thing was quite commonly done with lots and lots of US shows that I have never heard of! There is also a comprehensive list of these American examples at Poobala.com.

The shows are listed below, indexed first by the programme in which the cross-over occurred, and then the programme referenced. If you know of any others then please let me know.

Brookside - Emmerdale
When the Yorkshire soap opera featured the plot involving a plane crash, a newspaper was seen in "Brookside" which had a headline concerning an air crash on a Yorkshire village. This was at the time when "Brookside" creator Phil Redmond was also working on "Emmerdale".

Chalk - Press Gang
Steven Moffat's much maligned school comedy contained a number of references to Moffat's earlier show which are listed elsewhere on this site.

Chelmsford 123 - Doctor Who
This Roman era set sitcom from the 80s featured a cameo appearance from the TARDIS, which appears in the background of a wood. The Doctor (seen in silhouette) emerges and looks around for a bit before returning to the TARDIS which then departs.

Cracker - Prime Suspect
This is probably not a true cross-over but was a special sketch as part of the 1997 Comic Relief telethon called "Prime Cracker" where DI Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) and Fitz (Robbie Coltrane) teamed up to solve a crime. However, despite the seriousness of the original shows, this latter cross-over was played as a comedy - in particular featuring a song and dance routine for Tennison and Fitz!

The Detectives - Bergerac & The Paradise Club
An episode of the Jasper Carrott/Robert Powell comedy ("Studs") featured an appearance by John Nettles and Terence Alexander playing Jim Bergerac and Charlie Hungerford. The following episode ("Strangers In Paradise") featured Leslie Granthan playing Danny Kane, his character from The Paradise Club.

Doctor Who - EastEnders
Another charity special, this one from Children In Need in 1993 to celebrate the Doctor's thirtieth anniversary. Portrayed as two part Doctor Who story called "Dimensions in Time", it featured the Doctor visiting Albert Square in 1973, 1993 and 2013 and featured many members of the then current cast of the soap opera. Notably, the future set scenes pre-empted the real future of the show by having Pauline Fowler refer to the death of her husband Arthur, something which happened in the real show a few years later.

Father Ted - Ballykissangel
The 1996 Father Ted Christmas special ("A Christmassy Ted") featured a dream sequence in which Dervla Kirwan and Stephen Tompkinson appear playing their Ballykissangel characters.

Goodnight Sweetheart - Dad's Army
The first episode of the second series of the time travelling sitcom (called "Don't Get Around Much Anyway") features a sequence when Nicholas Lyndhurst's Gary Sparrow visits a bank during the Second World War and is met by the Mainwaring and Wilson, the manager and assistant manager, who are played by look-a-likes for Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier. However, Gary does recognise them as characters from a 70s comedy and has problems taking them seriously.

The New Statesman - Roll Over Beethoven
When Piers gets married, one of his guests is rock star Nigel Cochrane, the main character from an earlier comedy by Marks and Gran (although only his car is seen).

Preston Front & Border Cafe - Once Upon A Time In The North
Writer Tim Firth has tied together three of his television shows in the form of the character of Morris Tollit, a lorry driver with an Apache spirit guide called Geronimo. This character was a regular in Once Upon A Time In The North but was mentioned in an episode of Preston Front and subsequently appeared in an episode of Border Cafe (but played by a different actor).

2 Point 4 Children - Health And Efficiency
I may be breaking my spin-off rule here, but one episode in series two of Andrew Marshall's comedy featured an appearance by Victor Maguire as a hospital doctor. Maguire then went on to play essentially the same character in Marshall's hospital comedy.

The Vicar Of Dibley - Ballykissangel
As with "Prime Cracker" above, this was the subject of a special sketch as part of the 1997 Comic Relief special. It was called "Ballykissdibley" and featured Stephen Tompkinson's Father Clifford visiting the village of Dibley and meeting Dawn French's Geraldine Grainger.



Newton's Laws Of Television main page 

Copyright MJ Newton 2003. All rights reserved.
This article may not be reproduced without permission