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5.0 out of 5 stars The excellent second series of this classic 80's police drama, 11 May 2009
By 
Ian Phillips (Bolton, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gentle Touch - Series 2 - Complete [DVD] (DVD)
This 3 disc set collects all ten episodes of the excellent second series of "The Gentle Touch". I, for one, am thrilled that Network DVD have started releasing this criminally over-looked drama series that achieved mammoth ratings and scooped numerous awards during its five year run between 1979-1984. "The Gentle Touch" bore the distinction of being Britain's very first police drama to feature a female in the leading role, thus making the show an important landmark in British television history.

The second series of "The Gentle Touch" boasts strong, high calibre writing from Terence Freely (who also went on to create the spin-off "C.A.T.S Eyes"), Tony Parker, Roger Marshall, Pat Hooker, David Crane, Neil Rudyard and Tony Hoare. Its lead character DI Maggie Forbes, is played beautifully by the charismatic, award-winning Jill Gascoine. In the first series, Maggies husband Ray had been shot dead when he intervened in a security van heist. As the series progressed it diligently dealt with how Maggie juggled her life as a DI at the Severn Dials police in London and how it contrasted with her home life bringing up her teenage son Steve. It also explored how she coped when all the while she was still grieving over the tagic loss of her husband (who was also a policeman). Jill Gascoine's intelligent, sensitive, compassionate performance was why audiences and critics loved "The Gentle Touch". It was a show both men and women could enjoy. Its place in British television hisory is firmly cemented..
The pace of the second series is slightly more swift than the first and slightly more action-orientated. Like in season 1, the studio scenes were filmed on video while the outside locations were all shot on film. This effectively gives "The Gentle Touch" a raw, gritty edge, setting the tone and mood and heightning the atmosphere of this down to earth drama.

Disc One begins with "Something Blue". Maggie investigates a gang of shrewd shop-lifters that are making quite a comfortable living from it! Look out for a very young Linda Robson, long before her days in the classic BBC sitcom "Birds Of A Feather", as one of the notorious shoplifters. Maggie is also concerned when she discovers porn mags hidden under her sons bed. Acclaimed writer Lynda La Plante guests stars in this episode.
"Decoy" is utterly superb and a highlight of series 2. Maggie goes undercover as a bar maid in order to trap a serial rapist. There are many suspects in the frame which keeps you in suspense throughout. There also also some genuinely chilling, edgy and harrowing scenes in this episode. Commendably the subject of rape is is dealt with both realistically and sensitively. You'll certainly be on the edge of your seat at the tense, terrifying climax. And "Break In" will have you in tears as Maggie investigates a robbery within a solicitors firm. It turns out to be an "inside" job. One of the employees has stolen thousands in order to pay for a life-saving operation to save his terminally ill young daughter. Maggie is torn between her duties and her personal feelings and empathy.

Disc Two opens with an episode titled "Menances". A well respected JP begins receiving mysterious phone calls, blackmailing and demanding money from him. There are many clever twists and turns in the story. Acclaimed thespian Joss Ackland and Judy Loe (wife of the late Richard Beckinsale), guest star in this episode. "Hammer" is perhaps the best of series 2 and one of the most shocking. The story revolves around a dangerous, mentally disturbed woman, already convicted of several brutally violent crimes, who goes around London attacking people for money. In order to stay one step ahead of the law, she dresses in a bizarre number of disguises. A dark, intriguing episode with a very young Leslie Ash and Lesley Manville in guest starring roles. More routine in "Chance" where Maggie is forced to spend a long, frustating day in court for what should have been a straight-forward case. Slower than usual in pace, this is, never-the-less, a throughly entertaining episode.
Disc Three kicks off with "Loyalties", where a wealthy businessman is kidnapped on what turns out to be over political issues. "Maggies Luck" will have you feeling sorry for poor Maggie as she is looking forward to a hard-earned weekend off to spend time with her new boyfriend, but as the title of the episode suggest, things dont go according to plan. By the end of the episode, Maggie is left heartbroken and distraught.

"Shame" depicts a story of a small boy who is savagely beaten up but is too reluctant to identify his attacker. Something doesn't quite add up in his convoluted story either. The last episode of series 2 is excellent. Titled "The Ring", Maggie has an affair with high-flying Dave Connelly. He gives her an antique ring, only later Maggie discovers its been reported stolen.
Among the regular cast of "The Gentle Touch" are Nigel Rathbone as Maggies teenage son Steve, the superb William Marlowe (a one-time Dr.Who) in a cracking performance as firm but (mostly) fair DCI Russell, Paul Moriarty as Detective Sgt Barratt (who harbours a a soft side for Maggie), a young Derek Thompson as Det Sgt Jimmy Fenton (long before his days as Charlie in the BBC drama "Casualty") and Brian Gwaspari as sexist bigot DI Bob Croft.

The social commentary in "The Gentle Touch" is interesting within itself. Remember this was the early 1980's, Thatchers Britain and the era of punk, the skinheads, the Sex Pistols etc. "The GentleTouch" still flows miraculously well for the shows age. Intriguing, shrewd, well-written stories, excellent performances all-round, not least by its magnificent star, the beautiful Jill Gascoine, deeming "The Gentle Touch" series 2 a must have! And incidentally, I love the soulful "Gentle Touch" theme tune by Roger Webb, played at the end of each episode. Classic British TV at its best!

Ian Phillips
September 2009
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5.0 out of 5 stars gentle, 12 Dec 2012
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great sevenite tv very enjoyable l love it very wachable if its your thing thank you all very much great
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