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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 May 2006
As a spotty teenager I had a few "TV crushes" in the 1980's: Jane Badler (The evil lizard woman from "V"), Debbie Shore (Children's ITV presenter!) and GLYNIS BARBER from DEMPSEY & MAKEPEACE. Now I can re-evaluate this Anglo-American co-production from a more 'mature' perspective *blush*

DEMPSEY & MAKEPEACE was pretty much the end of an era that began decades earlier with classic ITC series such as THE SAINT, DANGER MAN and other such gems (Evolving via THE SWEENEY and THE PROFESSIONALS along the way). Subsequent to this show, attempts to create a similar format were always ruined with the introduction of borderline soap-antics (when the definition of "characterisation" came to mean "boring domestic angst").

I certainly won't insist that DEMSPEY & MAKEPEACE was "quality television", but I will say it was always a lot of fun to watch. Snobby critics hated it of course, but the show was still a huge hit with the viewers. This is mainly thanks to the personalities of the two leads - Michael Brandon slips into the shoes of a NYPD cop with ease - It's a clichéd role that should fall flat, but thanks to Mr. Brandon's performance we do actually find ourselves liking the character.

Glynis Barber is of course the "glam" role, but despite the scripts playing off her (considerable) good looks a little too often (Getting her stripped to her undies or ogled/groped while undercover) she carries it off well. Despite being there "for the lads", it's to her credit that the character is as memorable - When MAKEPEACE has to land a pilotless plane in one episode I actually started to share her panic, so convincing was Glynis' performance!

I have to mention Ray Smith as "Spikings", their chief. Once again a potentially clichéd role is given extra dimension in the hands of a good actor. Gordon Spikings is a "Guv'Nor" for this series in every sense of the word.

This series has pace, excitement and some crazy plot notions, but all of these fit into the old "action thriller" universe with surprising ease (With the exception of the worst female impersonator ever apparently fooling Dempsey in the episode MAKE PEACE NOT WAR!) - It's never meant to be profound or world-changing, just enjoyable and glossy, something television doesn't really do anymore.

If I have to criticise the show it's purely for the fashions. 80's clothes had the uncanny ability to make the most attractive people look amazingly tacky (The normally lovely & classy Catriona MaColl in HORS DE COMBAT looks awful thanks to the clothes she's forced to wear!) but that isn't a complaint specific to this series. Having said that, Glynis Barber transcends her wardrobe and looks stunning in just about anything they put her in (But then I'm biased!)

Apart from this stumbling block, DEMPSEY & MAKEPEACE stands up pretty well and is just as much fun today (More so perhaps, thanks to the lack of anything similar on screens now!).

This boxset is good value, with all ten season 1 episodes on three discs. The quality is a little grainy compared to modern standards of film, but I find that adds to the atmosphere.

There isn't much in the way of extras, but a nice 15 minute interview with the two stars (Still married after 20 years!) demostrates that they both had a lot of fun making it and Glynis Barber still looks great!
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on 9 April 2006
The 80's British hit-series Dempsey and Makepeace have finally arrived on DVD, courtesy of NetworkDVD. Running only three series and a total of 30 episodes, D&M was shortlived, but what a show it was! Starring Michael Brandon as Jim Dempsey and Glynis Barber as Harriet "Harry" Makepeace, the series combined fast car-chases, big explosions, gun-ho policework and martini-dry humor with the awesome chemistry between Brandon and Barber. The result: the best British crime-fighting TV series ever.
This first release has all ten episodes of the first series. The first two episodes can be run normal or with bonus commentaries by Brandon and Barber. An added bonus is an 18 minute interview with Barber and Brandon, on how they lived through Dempsey and Makepeace. This interview shows the lead actors having aged extremely well (with Brandon possibly looking even better than he did back then) and telling great tales about the making of the show and more. Even the fourth main character of the show (Dempsey's .357 Magnum) turns up again and Brandon ends the interview pointing it at the camera and telling the viewer (in very much's 'Jim Dempsey' style) to FREEZE!
Highly recommended!
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on 17 March 2006
I cant believe this series was never repeated on telly. I was too young to fully appreciate it the first time round but loved the show. The characters rub each other up the wrong way but are clearly attracted to each other which makes this not just your average cop show. the action scenes are brilliant and the stunts wouldnt look out of place in a hollywood movie.I hope series 2 and 3 are released as the show gets better and better (pitty there wasnt a 4th series) Perhaps Glynis and michael would consider a reunion show?. I like the commentary and the interviews and would hope the commentaries are carried on to the 2 and 3 series if they are released. Great entertainment
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VINE VOICEon 10 November 2006
My what a difference 20 years makes. This first series of Dempsey and Makepeace was groundbreaking in the mid 80s. A pretty Englishwoman firing a gun!! Shootouts on London streets!! All that American influence!! Now that we're well into the Noughties and Americana is no longer our cultural aspiration, it's less clear to see quite what the attraction was. And yet, and yet... there's something about the way Glynis Barber puts down Michael Brandon's yankee machismo with one arch of the eyebrow that even now makes me chuckle. Alas, shootouts on London streets are de rigeur these days, and I guess we're all a bit harder to please.

What does strike me now though (I always was a bit protective towards Makepeace, even as a gay 11 year-old) is just how damn mysoginistic this series (in particular) is. Makepeace, make the coffee. Makepeace, you're stupid. Makepeace, take a punch please. Her slightly wistful allusion to the macho production world of 80s British cop shows in the enlightening bonus interview makes you realise just what interesting times Glynis Barber must have had making this first series.

Another point to mention is just how shoddy the show looks technically. Lots of drama club acting, very poor stories, hackneyed scripts and grainy film (seemed to be a problem with LWT series from the period). And yet this first series IS groundbreaking, and knowing what followed in series 2 and, to a slightly lesser extent 3, where the technical aspects improved beyond measure and the roles and characters really developed, you can't help but admire it.

Dempsey and Makepeace takes you back to a time when ITV was more than about just filling the gaps between ad breaks. A good natured, and, for its time, classy show that has long stayed in the memories of those who watched it. Let's hope beyond hope that we've not yet seen the last of D+M!
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VINE VOICEon 25 February 2006
Finally, this great British 80s action series makes it's way onto DVD. A brash American cop sent to work at special police branch SI-10 in London. Teamed with Harriet Makepeace, there is great love- hate chemistry between them. The series has humour, action and drama, and a great score by Alan Parker.
The DVD is well presented on three discs. All 10 episodes of season 1. With two audio commentaries and a short 20 minute retrospective interview/documentary with the two leads. Who have aged extremely well(where's the reunion TV movie ITV?).
If you know this series, you know what to expect. If you've never seen it, but like other 80s shows like Magnum PI, Knight Rider or The A-Team. You will probably like this series too.
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on 3 April 2006
An excellent set of stories, with good plotlines that have echoes in what's happening today. The stories are exciting and fun, with the byplay between the 2 stars made even more interesting by their relationship in real life. I think that the acting is also very good, having had the opportunity to study a few of the stories on video before the dvd came out. The actors behave like real people not just acting out the plots. The late Ray Smith was a joy to watch, trying to keep Dempsey under control!
I think that these stories show up what is sadly lacking in TV in general and police shows in particular at this time, Dempsey & Makepeace is entertaining, a lot of fun to watch, with characters you care about (every time I see Makepeace trying to catch the ladder hanging from the helicopter at the end of the pilot story I still hold my breath, even though I've watched Dempsey save her each time!). I was so pleased to see the whole of the first series on dvd, I hope the rest of the series is released soon, and it has made me want to follow the careers of the Michael Brandon and Glynis Barber. I look forward to seeing them again.
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on 12 March 2006
Fabulous. The best crime-fighting duo since The Avengers with far more style than any of the American shows of the time, or any British shows since. This new DVD set includes an interview, and great audio commentaries by the two stars for the first two episodes, causing you to look at certain scenes in a whole new light (more commentaries for series 2 and 3 please), and how nice to see stars still proud of making a fantastic show after so many years.
It's both fun and action-packed, with strong lead and secondary characters, proving that you can't beat good writing and good acting. Deserves far more recognition than it seems to get, particularly since I don't know anyone who didn't watch it the first time round.
If you loved it 20 years ago, it's even better now; if you're too young, time to see how TV shows can be made. There really should have been a fourth series, but as there wasn't please let's have series 2 and 3 on DVD soon - with as many extras as possible. I'm getting a second copy in anticipation of wearing out the first!
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on 16 March 2006
Awesome! I wait 20 years for this DVD set ! (Got old crapy TV copies in beta, and in french !!). The commentaries on the first two episodes are a delight. Since I'm from Montreal, Quebec, I have to buy a region 2 Pal DVD player just for this DVD (little difficult to find too), I REALLY want to see the last 20 episodes in DVD...SOON. Micheal and Glanis are just brilliant together! Bloody good cop/sexual tension show.
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on 11 October 2015
Loved this when it was on first,and still like it a lot.
Lots of very good and enjoyable episodes in this
first season of the show.
Makepeace Not War is a highlight,using lots of
famous sights in London well.
Given To Acts Of Violence and Hors De Combat
are also excellent.
My fave episode of the season though is Cry God For
Harry,as its a real change of pace for the show in a good way.
Almost the whole episode is set at Harrys anchestral home.
A real murder mystery tale with lots of night location work.
All in all well recommended purchase.
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on 21 January 2013
I just bought Series one of this fabulous series, recently, I think purely by mistake as I didn't realise id bought the Dutch packaging of D+M. I decided to watch the First episode "Armed and Extremely Dangerous" which was great as it was feature lengthed and seemingly uncut. The subsequent episodes are spread out over 3 discs, (with the pilot only on the first disc. ) and these, too , appear to be unedited, as most of the "violence" is there alright. There are no advert interruptions on the episodes ( as they have shown on youtube)which is a good thing, the only downside are there are no commentaries or interviews. But that is a minor thing as its the episodes we all really want to watch. If you can put aside the niggle that you've bought a foreign disc copy , the episodes are In English, not Dutch, ( its only subtitled in Dutch )so you can sit back and watch them at your leisure. Hors de Combat, Blind Eye and Judgement were my personal favs from series one.
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