Who remembers watching CHiPs? Following the lives of Ponch and John, motorcycle officers working for the California Highway Patrol, the action-packed cop drama originally aired from 1977 until 1983 for a total of 139 episodes.

CHiPs was among the best-loved TV shows of the era – but did you know the following facts about it?

10. Erik Estrada once went on strike over a pay dispute

CHiPs starred Erik Estrada as Officer Francis ‘Ponch’ Poncherello and Larry Wilcox as Officer Jon Baker, two highway patrolmen in California. During the fifth series, Estrada went on strike during a dispute about pay.

This meant there were seven episodes in which he didn’t appear at all, and was instead replaced by Officer Steve McLeish, played by Caitlyn (then Bruce) Jenner.

9. Real-life California Highway Patrol officers don’t ride in pairs

Bizarrely, real-life California Highway Patrol Offices hardly ever ride in pairs, so the show’s makers had to come up with an inventive way to explain why Officers Ponch and John did.

They did this by initially having Ponch Poncherello on probationary status with Jon as his field officer. But very soon this plotline ended and they simply stayed in a pair without explanation!

8. Erik Estrada couldn’t even ride a motorbike at first

Unbelievably, before being cast in the show Erik Estrada had absolutely no experience riding motorbikes, so he had to undergo some intensive training to get him ready to ride on camera.

It was later also revealed that he didn’t even have a motorcycle licence whilst they were filming the show – which, of course, is in reality exactly the kind of thing that would get him in trouble with the California Highway Patrol.

7. Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox didn’t get along

Despite their friendship and chemistry on-screen as Ponch and Jon, in real life Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox did not always get on well at all. Wilcox also fell out with producers behind the TV series, as he believed that favouritism was always being shown to Estrada, the TV show’s breakout star.

This meant that Wilcox didn’t return for the final series, and was instead replaced by Tom Reilly as Bobby ‘Hot Dog’ Nelson. Bruce Penhall also joined the cast of motorcycle officers as Bruce Nelson.

6. It was one of the first portrayals of a Vietnam war veteran on TV

CHiPs often mentioned that Larry Wilcox’s Jon Baker had served time in Vietnam, and this was one of the very first portrayals of a Vietnam veteran on a TV show.

Nor was this entirely fiction, as prior to embarking on his acting career, Wilcox actually served for a year in Vietnam as a Marine Artilleryman.

5. The lead actors performed many of their own stunts

Although many of the more difficult stunts in the TV series were performed by stuntmen, Estrada and Larry Wilcox actually did many of the smaller stunts themselves. Apparently Wilcox suffered no injuries while filming the TV series, but Estrada wasn’t quite so lucky.

Whilst shooting a series 3 episode in 1979, Erik Estrada was in a serious motorcycle accident, fracturing a number of ribs and breaking both of his wrists. But rather than give Estrada some time off to recover, his accident and hospitalisation were instead written into the show’s storyline.

4. It was broadcast alongside The A-Team and Magnum, P.I.

Despite the fact that it was originally only shown in the London region of the UK, and from the start of the second series rather than the first, CHiPs was eventually shown nationwide alongside some classic shows.

Because from 1981, the show shared its Saturday evening television slot with some other classic seasons of 80s shows, including Knight Rider, The A-Team and Magnum, P.I.

3. A made-for-TV movie starring Ponch and John aired in 1999

More than a decade after the show’s final season in 1983, a made-for-TV movie was released – one that continued the adventures of CHiPs cops Ponch and Jon. Clearly Estrada’s star power had waned enough that the pair could get along and don their motorcycle officer garb once again.

It was called CHiPs ‘99, and it starred the original pair of Larry Wilcox and Erik Estrada as Jon and Ponch as well as many of the other original cast members, including Robert Pine as Sgt Joseph Getraer.

2. Estrada later became a real-life police officer

Credit: Erik Estrada Twitter

Years after finding fame as a TV traffic cop, Erik Estrada tried his hand at law enforcement for real. In 2016, the actor shared images of himself in uniform on Twitter, declaring, “OK fnf’s I’m now a police officer with the ST ANTHONY POLICE DEPT.”

Estrada, who was 67 at the time, became a reserve officer in the police department of the Idaho city, where another reserve officer was a former TV star – Dean Cain of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

1. There was a big-screen reboot in 2014

There was also a theatrical version (simply called CHiPs) released in 2014. Dax Shepard wrote, directed and starred in the film as Jon, whilst Michael Peña played Ponch, and the film was a raunchy spoof of the show in the vein of 2012’s film adaptation of 21 Jump Street.

Unfortunately, 2014’s CHiPs didn’t enjoy a fraction of the success of the Jump Street movies. Met with largely negative reviews, the film flopped, earning only $26.8 million off the back of a $25 million budget.