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Special Branch - Series 1-4 - Complete [DVD]

George Sewell , Paul Eddington    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: £49.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Special Branch - Series 1-4 - Complete [DVD] + Strangers - The Complete Series [DVD] [1978]
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Product details

  • Actors: George Sewell, Paul Eddington, Frederick Jaeger, Susan Jameson, Patrick Mower
  • Format: Box set, 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: 16
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Network
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Aug 2008
  • Run Time: 2650 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001B8CBM0
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,753 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

All 53 episodes from the classic police drama series about a group of hard, no-nonsense London cops operating against a gritty, urban background. The original series began in the late sixties but was taken over by Thames Television in 1973 and shot on location and in colour.

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Black & White, Box Set, Interactive Menu, Multi-DVD Set, Scene Access, Uncut, SYNOPSIS: The series that finally broke the mould of the stereotypical British copper as seen through the eyes of television and laid the foundations for later police actioneers such as The Sweeney and The Professionals. The 'Special Branch' was a division of Scotland Yard that investigated government security leaks, people-trafficking, fanatics, spies, and other such anarchists. ...Special Branch - Complete Series - 16-DVD Box Set

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Special Branch - Series 1-4 19 July 2009
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I was a big fan of this show when series 3 and 4 were shown in the early 70's, but was too young to remember series 1 and 2 so was intrigued to now be able to watch these for the first time. There is certainly a marked difference between them - the video taped ones have extensive dialogue and are an interesting example of how TV drama was developing at the turn of the seventies. With the exception of Derren Nesbitt, Fulton Mackay and Wensley Pithey, some of the acting is rather wooden at times. The Euston Films series are much more hard hitting and show a grittier London of the early seventies which The Sweeney developed later. George Sewell, Patrick Mower, Paul Eddington and Frederick Jaeger all put in good performances. All in all, a good slice of TV drama from the non-technical age. And of course, the cars bring back memories too!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
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The four series of Special Branch, aired between 1969 to 1974, are both historically important and gripping viewing.

I was a little surprised when I put the first disc in the DVD player. My memories of Special Branch were of the colour series, starring George Sewell and Patrick Mower. I had no idea that there was an earlier black and white series starring the great Derren Nesbitt and Fulton Mackay.

This almost feels like two separate series. Apart from the name, nothing carried over from the 1969 series into the later colour episodes. The first series is a bit stagey, with lots of plot and little action. That's not to say there's no tension. It's gripping stuff, and really gets the little grey cells going. Derren Nesbitt plays the modern, no-nonsense Jordan, clashing with his stuffy superiors, to a tee. Fulton Mackay, more familiar as Mr. Mackay from Porridge, provides the perfect foil as his steely boss, Inman. The stories are involved, with much attention to detail and touching on many of the political issues of the day. Despite being 40 years old, it's odd how many of these issues are still relevant today, including illegal immigration, civil liberties and terrorism. It's a fascinating document of the attitudes of the time, and disturbing to see how little society has moved on.

Series three and four had a totally different format. The focus is now on action. Nesbitt and Mackay were replaced with Sewell and Mower as Craven and Haggerty. Filming is now in colour, with more filming on location. The series evolved from a stagey 60's drama into a format which we would recognise today as the modern police drama. Indeed, the same team would later go on to make the Sweeney, using the template developed here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four years of very good television 26 Nov 2011
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Having just watched all four series back to back in less than a month, I am hard pressed to pick favourite eras. I followed the original Network release order; The Sweeney, later Special Branch and 2.5 years after buying the complete series (cheaper than buying 1 and 2 individually) I finally watched series 1 and 2 for the first time. I had watched the bonus early Special Branch episodes on the later Special Branch releases and was not overly enamoured with them, although 6-7 years later I have a much different opinion.

At the end of the day they are two different series, and format similarities are further dissipated by Euston's desire to move out of the studio and have more outdoor action. The end result seems to be preferred by many people perhaps biased towards the excellent Strand played by the exceedingly well-liked Paul Eddington. However the first series had its equivalent Moxon, always getting the better of Jordan and Inman. Morris Perry will never be as well liked, but in reality plays a far less agreeable and likeable individual, but the character and performance make it one of the most engaging of the entire four series.

Overall I prefer the first two series. I find them intriguing and often tense despite many office bound scenes. The weakest of the significant regulars is probably Wensley Pithey who leaves midway series 1 to be replaced by the initially unlikeable Fulton Mackay. However, thereafter the shows greatest dynamic exists between Jordan, Inman and Moxon the aforementioned government official who gets the better of Special Branch in every episode. It is a more intelligent and thought-provoking series than the later ones, because there are a greater agendas at foot, and learning of these at the end of each episode is part of the highlight.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars special branch complete 19 Jan 2011
The investigations of a division of Scotland Yard known as Special Branch, is the basis of this series created originally by Thames Television.
The first two series was filmed on videotape for domestic screening and starred Derren Nesbitt as D.I. Jorden and Faulton Mackay as Detective superintendent Inman. These first two series are high on story development with strong plots but suffer from production values of the period they were made. The first series is in black and white and each episode is studio based with dull scenes and props. And there is little action. The stories rely on dialogue and conversation and the pace is very slow. The second series is colour and is slightly better with a few scenes filmed out of studio but once again it is all very slow paced. Another factor is that the acting is a bit wooden apart from the main actors,
Both of these seasons are worth a look just for curiosity or nostalgia. They were created between 1969 and 1970.
If you want to have all the episodes for the sake of completeness, or you if remember the early series and liked it, then this is a good release of the complete Special Branch.
However I generally would not recommend the first two seasons other than they are a good bonus to the better and superior series that followed them.
In 1973 the series was brought back with a re vamp and this new look is much superior and the most remembered version. It was made by Thames Televisions offshoot Euston Films and shot on film with the intention of being able to sell the show to other countries. (Clearly a lesson learned from the success of other British TV companies like ITC and ABC)
This new look version is gritty. It has excellent production and direction and some good stories. The series starred George Sewell as D.C.I.
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