1. ITS CREATOR WAS THE SON OF A FOOTBALLER
Reginald Hill, the witty and self-deprecating genius behind Dalziel and Pascoe, wasn't the first well-known Reg Hill in his family. His dad, who had the same name, was a player for teams including Tranmere Rovers and Hartlepools United (it had an "s" on the end, back in the day). This was in the 1930s, when footballers were rough and ready everyday blokes, rather than perma-preening magazine stars. This is perhaps why, despite being dubbed "one of the most popular players that has ever worn a Pools jersey", Reg Hill Sr had to maintain a day job and died in relative obscurity.
Reginald Hill's mother deserves a mention as well, because it was while fetching her Agatha Christie books from the library that the young Reginald first discovered the crime genre, which he would find such success in later in life.
2. THERE WAS A DIFFERENT DALZIEL AND PASCOE
Think "Dalziel and Pascoe" and two faces spring to mind: the scowling, magnificently ogre-like visage of Warren Clarke, and the smooth, handsome countenance of Colin Buchanan. The two made the roles so completely their own, it's hard to imagine anyone else playing the parts. But... a few years prior to their iconic incarnation, there was a one-off Dalziel and Pascoe story broadcast on ITV, starring none other than comedy duo Hale and Pace.
For those who may have forgotten, Hale and Pace fronted some popular sketch shows in the 1980s and 90s, and were known for their smutty and schoolboyish sense of humour. Not the obvious choice to play two tough detectives, then, and perhaps unsurprisingly the adaptation got poor reviews and has long since been consigned to the memory hole.
3. THERE'S A SCI-FI SEQUEL TO DALZIEL AND PASCOE
Strange as it may sound, there's a Dalziel and Pascoe story set in a dystopian future where a murder is committed on the Moon. Don't worry, such a crazy concept never actually made it to the TV screen - it was actually a short novella which Reginald Hill wrote as a fond love letter to his beloved pair.
Published in 1990, the novella is set in the year 2010, and is a whodunit focused around the killing of a French astronaut from the "Federated States of Europe", which requires the attentions of the long-retired Dalziel and Pascoe. While it doesn't get any marks for prophetic accuracy (it imagines a resurgence of Communist Russia), it certainly makes for an amusingly odd departure for our two coppers.
4. THE TV DALZIEL IS VERY DIFFERENT
The late, great Warren Clarke was so outstanding as the boorish, bigoted Dalziel, that it may come as a surprise to learn that he was much, MUCH more pleasant and respectable than the Dalziel of the books. While Clarke's Dalziel was a loudmouth who doesn't suffer fools or university graduates gladly, the original Dalziel of the books is an out-and-out beast of a man: unstoppably rude, loutish, and prone to farting with abandon.
This Dalziel is often described in animal-like terms, as if he's a bear crudely disguised as a human, and his gluttony is a thing of legend. Clarke may have been stout, but he was nowhere near as gargantuan as the literary Dalziel, who can carry a "procession of food through the marble portals of his teeth", and whose epic feasting "hardly registered on the massy column of his oesophagus". Lovely.
5. REGINALD HILL WROTE PLENTY OF OTHER THINGS
Dalziel and Pascoe were the characters which made Reginald Hill a star among crime writers, but he was far more than a one-trick pony. He also had a whole other series of stories featuring another character called Joe Sixsmith - a machine operator and choir singer turned private detective, walking the mean streets of Luton.
Hill also whipped out other books under a number of pen-names. As "Dick Morland" he wrote a bizarre, Clockwork Orange-like tale of fascistic football hooligans running rampant in a future England, and as "Charles Underhill" he wrote rollicking historical romps about a flamboyant and amoral adventurer called Captain Fantom. Whatever would Dalziel say?