MORE than two decades ago, soapstar Nick Berry graced Bridport and West Bay with his presence as he played the lead in the BBC One drama, Harbour Lights.

First airing on February 18, 1999, the programme followed the protagonist Mike Nicholls, a former Royal Navy officer who returns to his childhood town of Bridehaven to take on the role of harbourmaster. The story begins with the death of Mike's close friend and colleague in a tragic diving accident, eradicating all hopes Mike had of leaving his complicated past behind him. As the drama progresses, storylines include blossoming romances between lead characters, ruthless business dealings, and inter-family feuding.

Achieving limited success, Harbour Lights ran for 15 episodes across two series, with the final episode shown in May 2000.

The drama was filmed in and around the west Dorset region, with recognisable locations appearing throughout. The Bridport Arms was transformed into the Bridehaven Public House for the series, while the Riverside in West Bay was portrayed as the Sea View Restaurant. The Lyric Theatre acted as Bridehaven's Village Hall, and the Bridport police station appeared as the Bridehaven equivalent in series two. Various cottages were used as residences for several lead characters, and Weymouth even appeared as the fictional town of Heymouth.

St John's Church and the community hospital in Bridport also made an appearance.

While the area welcomed series one, series two proved to contain more violent and hard-hitting storylines than its predecessor, including themes of murder, robbery and illegal immigration. Consequently, the community of West Bay criticised the drama, distancing themselves from the false impression shown of their town.

In Harbour Lights, Nick starred alongside Tina Hobley, who played a police constable and Mike's immediate love interest, as well as Gerard Horan, Tim Matthews and Freddie Davies. The second episode of the first series, Marie Celeste, was famously said to be missing and was never broadcast on the BBC. It has, however, been shown during repeat screenings of the series and is included in the DVD release.

At the time when Harbour Lights appeared on screen, Nick was best known for his roles as Simon Wicks in Eastenders between the years of 1985 and 1990, and as PC Nick Rowan in Heartbeat from 1992 to 1998. He trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London and took minor parts in theatre, film and television before Eastenders propelled him to widespread recognition.

Nick also dabbled in the music industry, and in 1986 released the single Every Loser Wins, which went to number one in the UK chart and remained there for three weeks. It was the second-biggest-selling single in the UK that year. The song was also featured heavily on Eastenders, when the youths of Albert Square formed a pop group and performed the songs on screen.

Nick retired from acting in 2012 and now runs his own production company, Valentine Productions. He lives in Epping, Essex, with his wife, actress Rachel Robertson, and their two sons.