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Special Branch - Complete 1974 Series [1969] [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Derren Nesbitt, George Sewell, Morris Perry, Fulton Mackay, Patrick Mower
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 2 Aug 2004
  • Run Time: 650 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002ADY4C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 125,571 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Complete final series of the 1970s police drama, about a group of hard, no-nonsense, London cops operating against a gritty, urban background. George Sewell plays Detective Chief Inspector Craven, while Dennis Waterman makes a guest appearance. Episodes are: 'Double Exposure', 'Catherine the Great', 'Stand and Deliver', 'Something About a Soldier', 'Rendezvous', 'Sounds Sinister', 'Entente Cordial', 'Date of Birth', 'Intercept', 'Alien', 'Diversion' and 'Downwind of Angels'.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By NEO on 10 Mar 2004
Format: DVD
I have no memory of this show from childhood but I do love a good cop show. This show starring George Sewell best known for 'UFO' and 'The Detectives' as DCI Craven. The plots are pretty run of the mill and bare comparison with 'The Sweeney'.The action is quite good in a 1970's way as are the basic storylines.Patrick Mower who is DCI Haggerty comes across as a brash 'Bodie' like person.Set against the plodding by the book Craven who won't rock the boat.They drive around in a lovely mk1 Ford Granada and stick out like a sore thumb.The Dvd's have been re-mastered and offer good quality at a resonable retail price.The very 'First' episode 'Troika' from series one is featured.As a purist I would have liked series 1 issued to be followed by the rest in order.However if you like 1970's cop drama to a high standard this is still a good purchase.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Hammond on 23 Mar 2006
Format: DVD
Series Four of Special Branch is the last series prior to Euston Films going on to make their TV hit, The Sweeney.
It follows the lives of Craven (George Sewell) and Haggerty (Patrick Mower) two members of the MET's Special Branch unit and in the first episode of this series, it is clear that the less interesting character of DS North (played by Roger Rowland) is finally written out of the show after suffering a nervous breakdown when confronted by and killing an armed suspect. It also now features Paul Eddington as a meddling home office official getting involved in cases and hindering Special Branch investigations. The episodes are livelier than the awkward 3rd series, which showed the transition between stale set based Thames drama and the Euston Films filmed on location series. The episodes are typically more interesting and action packed, they almost appear like some of the season 3 and 4 episodes of The Professionals but by remaining true to Special Branch procedure, lack some of the flare and action that The Professionals had in its scripts, being based on the fictional elite Ci5 department.
All in all a fair series, worth adding to a collection if you're a fan of Euston Films products but it won't excite like the rough and tumble action and social commentary of the now legendary "Sweeney" series.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By John Jones on 28 Jan 2005
Format: DVD
There is a common perception that TV in Britain isn't what it used to be. A magical 'golden age' of TV is often imagined, starting somewhere in the mid-sixties (possibly with the start of BBC2 in 1964) and ending at the start of the 'eighties.
I wonder how many people would consider Special Branch to be part of the 'golden age'. Not many, I reckon. Even the actors who appeared in it - George Sewell and Patrick Mower - interviewed on the DVD set of the 1974 series (also available as a network release) seem to be somewhat apologetic about it. Mower suggests that he was brought in to "grab the series by the balls" after the filming of the first six episodes because the format wasn't working, and Sewell disarmingly admits that it lacked the "polish" of its highly-regarded successor, The Sweeney.
Well, forgive me for disagreeing, but Special Branch - at least the 1973 and 1974 series - certainly deserve to be seen as part of the golden age of British TV. Well acted, well scripted, and the first of Thames TV offshoot Euston Films' productions shot entirely on film and on location, this series is a gem from start to finish.
Chic, it certainly isn't. It's gritty and cynical, an attitude superbly captured by Sewell's portrayal of Detective Chief Inspector Craven, a smoking, swearing, punching copper whose idiosyncratic methods - in a wonderfully cliché-snubbing way - do not always get results. A sense of almost sordid ethical ambivalence pervades the series: you find yourself siding with the 'criminal' as often as with the law, who themselves often wonder why they are pursing their latest hapless victim.
London in the 'seventies - a far grubbier and decaying city than that of today - is superbly captured on film, as is the dullness and dimness of Special Branch's office.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Hammond on 5 Sep 2005
Format: DVD
Series Three of Special Branch is the first of the series to be made by the more radical Euston Films department, and as such it took the stale set based format of Special Branch used by Thames Television, and filmed it on colour film on location instantly setting a new standard in TV production and introducing new characters to the show.
However the show can be slightly awkward, particularly DS North (played by Roger Rowland) through no fault of the actor, his character was just not made interesting or deep enough. Patrick Mover was brought in mid way through the series to liven it up a bit by being a more rebellious and macho character, which seemed to ignite the show a bit. Many of the episodes are based on espionage plots, much like the later episodes of The Professionals, but by staying true to replicating Special Branch procedures it almost limits itself to the amount of action it can include in the show.
It was a ground breaking series, when we look back to set based shows like Z-Cars and Dixon of Dock Green, but it lacked the real punch and grit of its Euston Films brother - The Sweeney so has been overshadowed by The Sweeney's legacy.
Its still very entertaining, and features some good episodes and early cameos from support actors who later went on to be household names.
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