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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Crime > Police > British TV > The Gentle Touch – The Complete Third Series (1981 – 1982/Network U.K./PAL Region 2 DVD Import)

The Gentle Touch – The Complete Third Series (1981 – 1982/Network U.K./PAL Region 2 DVD Import)

 

Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: C     Episodes: C+

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Two/2 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Network U.K. at the website address provided at the end of the review.

 

 

On U.S. TV, Hill Street Blues was considered a groundbreakingly realistic series about the live of the police, which spawned the female-focused hit Cagney & Lacey, while the U.K. equivalent is The Sweeney spawning The Gentle Touch.  Barely known in the U.S. and likely too edgy for PBS, who skipped most of this cycle of British programming until very recently, the show may have also been skipped because it was taped.  That is something U.S. producers were not doing in until HD.

 

The Complete Third Series captures the show at its peak as Jill Gascoine plays the lead DI Maggie Forbes (yes, the name lends itself to a match with Neo-Conservative former Prime Minister and now Baroness Margaret Thatcher, intended or not) and gives us more of her back story than you would get at the time.  This was groundbreaking enough, but like China Beach and similar shows from the time, the show is limited and feels like it is as anti-feminist as it is feminist.  Still, the thirteen hour-long episodes are good if dated and anyone serious about TV on either side of the Atlantic should catch it once.

 

The series was created by the great Terence Feely, who has a great history of genre work on TV prior to the show (much like the writers of Hill Street Blues) including as Associate Producer on the first season of Callan, Story Editor on Mystery & Imagination and Armchair Theater (whose A Magnum For Schneider became the pilot for Callan) and memorable, often classic scripts for classics like The Avengers, The Saint, The Prisoner, U.F.O., The Persuaders, The Protectors, Brian Clemens’ Thriller, Space: 1999, The New Avengers and Return Of The Saint.  This is not as exciting, but can be as important as one of the more interesting of the “we’re getting serious” trend that was going on all over U.K. TV at the time.  Now you can see for yourself.

 

 

The 1.33 X 1 color image is shot on PAL videotape and shows its age more than expected with some good color, but also aliasing errors and softness, while the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is down a few generations and lower in volume than expected.  That means the source on all episodes are down that way, but this is still watchable enough.  Extras include a stills section with various memorabilia, reminding us what a success the show was in its home country.

 

 

As noted above, you can order this DVD import exclusively from Network U.K. at:

 

http://www.networkdvd.net/

 

or

 

www.networkdvd.co.uk

 

 

-   Nicholas Sheffo


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