THE PROGRAMME: Baldi was the brainchild of Barry Devlin, who had written the TV films Lapsed Catholics and All Things Bright and Beautiful and directed several U2 videos and documentaries. A one-time member of Irish rock band Horslips, he trained at a seminary and once considered becoming a Franciscan priest. Baldi was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 10 January 2000, as part of the 'Afternoon Play' strand. David Threlfall (who later played Frank Gallagher in Shameless) was cast as Father Paolo Baldi, with Tina Kellegher (whose credits include Ballykissangel and Sinners) playing DI Tina Mahon for the first four series (she was replaced in series five by Tara Flynn). Owen Roe, an experienced Irish stage actor, took the role of Superintendent Rynne, while Father Troy was played by T. P. McKenna, whose credits include Girl with Green Eyes, Straw Dogs and Inspector Morse. Among the guest stars who have appeared in Baldi are Martin Clunes, Michael Maloney, Bill Nighy, Sorcha Cusack and Geraldine James. To date, there have been five series and 28 episodes. Baldi’s investigations have taken him around Dublin and beyond, from an Italian chip shop to such diverse locations as an old people’s home, a monastic retreat, a remote castle, a gym and a squat; and he has followed the trail into worlds as far-ranging as horse-racing, caving, rare books, celebrity cooking and environmentalism. The writers have included such well-known names as Simon Brett (author of the Charles Paris and Mrs Pargeter books), Bill Murphy (whose novels include Tin Kickers and Fractions of Zero) and Andrew Martin (author of the Jim Stringer, Steam Detective mysteries). The theme tune is from Sting’s album The Soul Cages, and is called ‘St Agnes and the Burning Train’.
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