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Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD]


Price: £31.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] + Z Cars [DVD] + Dixon of Dock Green [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Stratford Johns, Frank Windsor, Walter Gotell, Norman Bowler, David Lloyd Meredith
  • Directors: Frank Cox, Peter Cregeen, Vere Lorrimer, Ben Rea, Brian Parker
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Simply Media
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Nov 2013
  • Run Time: 800 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00FJXWSIA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,267 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

The classic long running police series that became one of the BBC's most successful spin-offs.

Stratford Johns stars as no-nonsense DCS Charlie Barlow, a tough, relentless and sharp-tongued copper, with Frank Windsor as his even-tempered sidekick DS John Watt. Together they tackle the force's most heinous crimes, and unravel the most perplexing cases.

The two hard-nosed officers first became household names in Troy Kennedy Martin's legendary TV series, Z Cars. In this colour spin-off, Barlow and Watt headed south to head up a special task force in fictional Thamesford, where they continued their nice and nasty cop routine to good effect.

The groundbreaking series was created by Elwyn Jones, a stalwart of BBC crime drama, and featured a stellar British cast of regulars alongside the crime-busting duo, including Terence Rigby as dog hander PC Snow (with his dogs Inky and Radar), David Lloyd Meredith as Sgt Evans and Walter Gotell as Chief Constable Cullen.

All sixteen episodes from Series 1.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. K. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Nov 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Most people will be aware that there was widespread dismay at the picture quality of Softly Softly Task Force - Series 1 when it was released in November 2013. Within a few weeks Simply HE had conceded there was a problem, and said -

"Our findings indicate that the`filmised` effect was caused by a progressive scan being enabled during the DVD encode which caused an uncomfortable watch for some. New sample encodes have been examined by a former member of the BBC archive team, who incidentally actually completed some of the original Softly Softly transfers from 2` to D3 and hence was sympathetic to the views that had been expressed. We are advised that the new test encodes address the issue and the picture quality is now as it should be."

Corrected stock was originally made available at the end of 2013 and Simply provided the following freepost address to send the faulty DVD to - Simply HE, FREEPOST RSYX-ERKC-CJJH, Ringwood, BH24 1HD. They requested that you include proof of purchase and a return address.

The first corrected discs still had the filmising effect on three episodes - Private Mischief, Open and Shut and Trust a Woman. A second batch of corrected discs were produced in early February 2014 and these have fixed the issue on these three episodes - so finally we should be able to enjoy all sixteen episodes as they were originally transmitted.

Encoding problems aside, what's unquestionable is that this is a cracking series with many fine episodes and a first-rate cast. Stratford Johns, Frank Windsor and Norman Bowler were the three cast members who had appeared in the original Softly Softly and crossed over into this reboot.

Windsor and Bowler are always solid, but Stratford Johns is amazingly watchable, dominating the screen.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Geraldine on 25 Nov 2013
Format: DVD
Two stars for the original programmes, but nothing for the picture quality on this set. I was looking forward to revisiting this programme which was a favourite at the time, but I only managed four stories before I returned it for a refund, because the image is so degraded that watching them was hard work. What should be a crystal clear image is now dark and dingy, with a very odd look to any movement. A really shame.

If this set was withdrawn and reissued with corrected discs then I'd happily repurchase.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Alcock on 23 Nov 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Oh dear what a disappointment - was really looking forward to this. Somewhere along the line these transfers have been cocked up, result being that the studio bound vt sections are fuzzy, with blurred motion, and a funny sort of 'trellis' effect on many scenes. So, lovely as it is to see these old shows again, a thumbs down. A similar problem to the releases of Grange Hill and P.C.Penrose, for those in the know.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Laurence on 28 Nov 2013
Format: DVD
Just to reiterate what others have already said here, AVOID BUYING THIS SET! I've seen a friend's copy and the picture quality of these is dreadful. There seems to have been some kind of attempt to give these videotaped programmes a film appearance, which just makes them look strange. Very distracting to watch, with a very poor quality end result.

I hope Simply do the right thing and press corrected versions. Otherwise I won't be buying this or any other of their future releases of programmes such as this. I was looking forward to seeing these again after so many years but they've been botched.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Marchbanks on 27 Nov 2013
Format: DVD
Television dramas, pre 1990, were routinely shot in a Television studio, using VIDEO cameras, with external scenes filmed using 16mm film, and played in at the appropriate moment. This led to studio scenes looking different than the outside scenes, akin to how 'Coronation Street' looks different onscreen than an episode of 'Spooks', as the interior scenes on VIDEO will have 50fps, whilst those on exterior film will have 25fps. This is how the shows were made, transmitted, and stored on video tape.
Sadly, someone at Simply have decided that this method of production is no longer appropriate, and have taken the source video tapes from the BBC on this release, and treated them all to remove the 50fps segments on video and convert them all to a film-like 25fps. This leads to a very strange faux-film effect to the show, completely analogous to BBC studio drama, and quite removing from the action onscreen.. it could have been so much better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Davecg99 on 28 Feb 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I couldn't buy this DVD fast enough once I realised it was available. From about 1972-1978 (when I was about 11-17) I was hooked on Z-Cars, Dixon of Dock Green and Softly Softly. I was bitterly disappointed with the first Z-Cars DVD that has been released as the episodes are so boring, but I love the first 2 DVDs of Dixon of Dock Green. Then this DVD has been released and what good memories it has brought back.....DCS Charlie Barlow and DS John Watt, ably played by Stratford Johns and Frank Windsor respectively, give us the realistic town of Thamesford and set about solving crimes in their own fashion, which in Barlow's case means being laid back so far he is almost horizontal, whereas Watt likes to be a bit more hands-on and getting about things a bit more. They had a fantastic on screen camaraderie, even though you sometimes get the feeling that Barlow is a bit of a surly so-and-so and Watt is almost tearing his hair out at the obstacles that Barlow seems to keep putting in his way. I found I was getting very sympathetic towards Watt when his good ideas were constantly being put down and I so hoped that Watt could prove what a good detective he was and solve crimes even when Barlow didn't like the way that Watt was going about it.

But to sum up, this 4 DVD set of series 1 is a superb reminder of days long since gone and the method of solving crimes in the 1970's. If you are on a low budget and can't afford all these old police DVDs, then forget about Z-Cars and invest in Dixon of Dock Green and Softly Softly Task Force.
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