The Diamond Brothers: South by South East (found CITV adaptation of children's detective book; 1991)
Radio Times promotion of The Diamond Brothers: South by South East.
Date found: 2 Jan 2023
Found by: Matthew Hopkins
The Diamond Brothers: South by South East (also known simply as South by South East) is a six-part television series broadcast by ITV in 1991 as part of its CITV block. Based on the third book from Anthony Horowitz's children's detective series Diamond Brothers called South by South East, it stars Dursley McLinden as the hapless detective Tim Diamond, and Colin Dale as Tim's younger, street-smart brother Nick Diamond.
The series was relatively obscure, even for fans of the Diamond Brothers book series. The lack of available media for the show even led to its existence being questioned. Confirmation was achieved thanks to the television show being featured in several of Horowitz's "about the author" book pages, as well as a listing by the British Film Institute. The show was a spiritual successor of the 1988 film Just Ask for Diamond, a film based on the first book of the series The Falcon's Malteaser, which starred McLinden and Dale in their respective roles.
According to one viewer, The Diamond Brothers: South by South East was written and directed by Horowitz, and was co-produced by Red Rooster and a Dutch film company. The co-production with the latter enabled filming to take place in Amsterdam, a central location in the book. Broadcast on CITV, transmission of episode 3 was impacted due to technical issues midway through, resulting in episode 4 being extended with the affected episode 3 portion included at the start. The finale was also changed, with the main antagonist, Charon (Monique van de Ven), attempting to kill the protagonists with a gun at their office, rather than trying to electrocute them, the latter possibly being unsuitable for the young audience watching.
Although the book South by South East - as well as other subsequent Horowitz Diamond Brothers books, stated that the TV series was adapted from it, this was not the case. In fact, Horowitz confirmed that he wrote the TV screenplay first, and then made a book adaptation of it.
The Diamond Brothers: South by South East is coveted media for fans of the book series. It never received any repeats beyond its original transmission, nor any home media release in the guise of VHS or DVDs. It may be explained by how CITV media from the 1990s was poorly represented in the home media market. Anthony Horowitz stated that he was "relieved" that the series never got a home release: as the creator of the series, his lack of interest in a home video release is another potential factor for the lack of a home video version.
Not a single image or video clip from the series or other form of media could be found on the internet until 2017 when a Radio Times article that included a still photo from the series was unearthed. Subsequently, a promotional poster and the cover art for a potential Spanish dubbed edition VHS of the series were discovered.
The first video footage emerged in 2021, when the title sequence was uploaded by Jay Dragonarc Productions on May 29th, 2021. In the comments beneath the video, the uploader confirmed that he had a copy of the entire series, but would not be uploading it due to this being a copyright breach. Although none of the episodes have yet resurfaced publicly, this appeared to be confirmation that at least one full recording set of episodes was in existence.
This proved true in December 2021, when Ludicrously Niche blogger Christopher Wickham made contact with an individual who had VHS copies of the sole CITV broadcasts from April 1991. They ended up being digitised, with copies of all episodes been transferred to Wickham. With his analysis of the show, he was able to fully confirm in a March 2022 post that the book is actually an adaptation of the television series, rather than vice-versa.On 30th June 2022, Big Buddha is Watching... would release his comprehensive review of the series and on 30th July 2022, the first episode, titled "McGuffin", would be uploaded to YouTube by Matthew Hopkins. By 2nd January 2023, Hopkins would upload the entire series to YouTube.
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- British Film Institute listing of The Diamond Brothers. Retrieved 20 Jun '21
- British Film Institute listing for Just Ask for Diamond. Retrieved 20 Jun '21
- An account of the show on the Ganymede & Titan forum. Retrieved 20 Jun '21
- Ludicrously Niche comparing the book and TV series, noting the former was based on the latter. Retrieved 2 Aug '21
- Ludicrously Niche blog discussing why The Diamond Brothers: South by South East never received a home media release. Retrieved 20 Jun '21
- Twitter post from Anthony Horowitz regarding the TV series. Retrieved 2 Aug '21
- Ludicrously Niche announcing he had received digitised copies of every episode of the show. Retrieved 1 Apr '22