One of the last TV dramas filmed on Teesside and what happened to the cast


You don’t have to stretch your memory too far to recall one of the last drama series filmed in and around Teesside.

There was danger, action and camaraderie, but it only lasted one series and never returned to our TV screens.

Do you remember Steel River Blues?

Read more: Teesside on TV: 40 shows, music videos and films that were filmed in the area

As the ITV drama about canoe con artist John Darwin and his wife Anne had its eyes on our area, we thought we’d revisit another drama series that was filmed right here on our patch and what happened to the actors inside .

Steel River Blues, as the name suggests, was set in and around Teesside with the title music performed by legendary Middlesbrough singer-songwriter Chris Rea. It followed the lives of a group of Blue Watch firefighters based in Middlesbrough.

The show ran for seven episodes and was also dubbed “Teesside’s Burning” after the firefighting drama London’s Burning which ended in 2002. The cast of the show included Daniel Casey, who also starred in Midsomer Murders, Clare Buckfield who starred in the 90s sitcom 2point4 Children and Charles Dale who played doorman Big Mac in the BBC series Casualty.

The first episode aired on September 1, 2004, and began with the arrival of a new station officer. Over the course of the series, viewers have seen the crew witness several incidents ranging from nuns getting stuck in an elevator to an industrial accident and a fire on a boat.

It was announced in January 2005 that the series would not be re-commissioned due to low viewing figures despite the first episode attracting over 6 million viewers and the last on October 13, 2004 attracting 4.8 million viewers. What happened to the cast?

Probably the best known actor was Daniel Casey who played firefighter Tony Barnes. He is best known for Misomer Murders, playing John Nettles’ DCI sidekick DS Troy Tom Barnaby. Born in Stockton, he appeared in EastEnders in 2017 and Emmerdale in 2018. According to the IMDb site, Daniel appeared in a short film called The Long Walk in 2022.

Clare Buckfield appeared on the sitcom 2point4 Children in the 90s, she also appeared on the TV show Dancing on Ice, finishing in second place in 2007. She played the role of Katy Bell in Steel River Blues. She also dated Declan Donnelly, the couple separated in 2003.

Ant, Dec and Clare appeared in Snow White at the Sunderland Empire in 1998

Northern Irish actor Stuart Graham played Bill McGlinchy on the show, the station officer who arrived to make his mark on Blue Watch. Most of his stage work has taken place in Ireland, he starred as Howard Carter in a BBC series called Egypt in 2005 and appeared more recently in the crime drama Vera, also filmed in the North East.

Houses to be demolished in North Ormesby form the backdrop to the filming of Steel River Blues in June 2004

Kelly Wenham starred as firefighter Julie Priestley. She has also appeared in shows such as Where The Heart Is, Coronation Street and the BBC fantasy series Merlin as Queen Mab.

Charles Dale played firefighter George Barnes. The Welsh actor is known for playing Big Mac in Casualty and Dennis Stringer in Coronation Street. His stage work has included the role of Hugo in the 2017 musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

Satnam Bhogal played firefighter Sunil Gupta. Viewers will have seen him in Call The Midwife in 2019 where he played Mr Mahmood, he also appeared in Doctors and Holby City.

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