Great Yeldham firm plays its part in new ITV crime drama

Roger Chinery has three of his classic Ford cars appearing in Prime Suspect 1973
Roger Chinery has three of his classic Ford cars appearing in Prime Suspect 1973

A prequel to the hit TV drama Prime Suspect gets underway on ITV One tonight (Thursday) and will feature three cars owned by one man well known to many in Haverhill.

Called Prime Suspect 1973, the crime drama heads back to the title year and the start of the police career of the central character, Jane Tennison.

Roger Chinery has had four cars used in Prime Suspect 1973

Roger Chinery has had four cars used in Prime Suspect 1973

It stars Stefanie Martini as Tennison, a role played to such acclaim in seven series of Prime Suspect by Helen Mirren.

Appearing in various scenes during the series will be a Mk III Cortina, a Mk I Escort and a Granada estate, all 1971 models and all hired to the show by Great Yeldham-based businessman, Roger Chinery.

Through his business, Affordable Classics, Roger sells and hires out Ford cars, largely dating from the 1970s and 1980s, although some are older, with many of them being used in TV and movie productions and music videos.

Most of the filming - Roger spent six to seven days on set over a two week period - was done in and around Uxbridge in north London, where an old department store was also turned into a police station and a flat that were used for a number of scenes.

Although many may think being involved in such a high profile show will be glamorous and exciting, that is not often the case.

“To be honest,” explained Roger, “it’s just lots and lots of hanging around, but one of the things I do enjoy is that I get to drive old cars around and get paid for it. And I get to have a real purpose for driving old cars around.”

Roger, who many also know as a part-time musician of some renown, particularly with the Haverhill-based Centre Stage Company, was even filmed in one scene where he plays a driver who pulls over to pick up a prostitute.

While working on the show he chatted briefly with Miss Martini and other cast members and over the past few years has got to meet and talk to many well-known names, including Julie Walters and Keith Allen.

Roger has also had a few famous clients, selling cars to comedian Jon Culshaw and Harry Potter star Rupert Grint.

On one occasion, while working on Eddie the Eagle, Roger had a chat with a Hollywood star without even realising it.

“They left and someone said to me, ‘do you know who that was’ and I said ‘no’ they said to me, ‘that was Hugh Jackman’.”