So this was it - the final episode, just six into the second series. I couldn't remember watching it first time round, so when it came on satellite I was interested to see if it showed signs of mid-season cancellation - hurried tying-up of loose ends, that sort of thing. Having seen it now, I don't think it did. What's more likely is that the BBC had said "We'll give you six episodes to turn it round", and that by episode three (OK, make that episode two) they knew it wasn't going to happen. So it was an early end, but a planned one.
For its last ever episode, Harbour Lights returned to its roots of folksy storylines and bad guys who were quite cuddly really. Gone were the genuinely nasty, gun-toting villains of the rest of Series 2, and in their place were two members of the local football team hired by Tony Simpson to fake a robbery for insurance purposes, and two slightly more real ones whom he then apprehended by mistake, thinking they were the fake ones. Tony and his newphew bonded after the youngster got trapped in the world's most brightly-lit cave, and Mike bonded (sort-of) with the dad who'd deserted him (played by the ever-reliable Tony Selby), just in time for the old man to expire, having first provided the answer to the mystery of why Mike shunned commitment ("Someone must have let you down really badly", said Policewoman/Love Interest Melanie, just as the dad who'd let Mike down really badly appeared on the scene).
George Blade, meanwhile, completed his transformation from workshy layabout of Series 1 to action man of Series 2 by coaching the local football team to victory. There was a message to all men of a certain age there - forget the mid-life crisis, just dump your wife and troublesome kids, and within weeks you'll be running your own business and playing in goal again, just like the old days. Yeah, right.
Finally, Mike and Mel got it together (possibly) by planning a romantic cruise in the off season, before the show itself headed for the off season that never ends. It remains an object lesson in How To Get it Wrong - a vehicle for a rugged ex-soap star which was initially as mild as Last Of The Summer Wine, then swung violently (literally) towards the shoot 'em, beat 'em, blow 'em up school of TV drama, but came home again for its final chapter. Rest in peace.moreless