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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Corrected discs now fix all of the picture issues
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...
Published 16 months ago by Mr. D. K. Smith

versus
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very bad picture quality
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...
Published 16 months ago by Geraldine


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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Corrected discs now fix all of the picture issues, 20 Nov. 2013
By 
Mr. D. K. Smith (South Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
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Corrected stock was originally made available at the end of 2013 and Simply provided the following freepost address to send the faulty DVD to - Simply HE, FREEPOST RSYX-ERKC-CJJH, Ringwood,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. The episodes where he's the central character are some of the strongest of this run, with a particular highlight being Power of the Press featuring a fine guest turn by Ronald Radd (the original Hunter in "Callan").

There's plenty of other familiar faces, and Doctor Who fans can have fun spotting Tom Baker (in a blink-and-you-miss-him appearance) in one episode, whilst Katy Manning has a more substantial role in another.

Like the Dixon and Z Cars episodes released by Acorn, the crimes here aren't always particularly serious - if you want action then this definitely isn't The Sweeney. SS-TF' s strengths are in scripting and characters - both the regulars and guest casts. Topics of the day, such as union unrest and football hooliganism are tackled and help to shine a light on the attitudes of late 1960's Britain.

Whilst the encoding problems have overshadowed an excellent series, if Simply can improve their QC I'll certainly be picking up any future releases.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very bad picture quality, 25 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] (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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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Yes indeed, a very poor transfer, 23 Nov. 2013
By 
Mr. T. Alcock - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
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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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars AVOID BUYING!, 28 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories from childhood, 28 Feb. 2014
By 
Davecg99 (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
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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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Appalling Picture Quality, 27 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] (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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Grainy picture quality - hard to watch and impossible to enjoy, 5 Dec. 2013
By 
Marion Bush (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Good TV drama which was intended to bring back some nostalgic memories. Unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. The picture quality is not up to scratch. It would appear that Simply Media have messed up when converting the master print to DVD and the result is a grainy mess which is hard to watch and impossible to enjoy. I've seen VHS transfers which are better than this.

I'm amazed at the amount of complaints both on Amazon and elsewhere about the poor picture quality and yet Simply Media insist it's not a fault on their end and the original DVD release is fine.

The company should admit they've made a mistake and reissue the box set as soon as possible. Thankfully I watched a friend's copy and am glad I didn't purchase the set as Amazon might not have accepted the return.

Read the comments from other reviewers and you'll see just how bad it is. I've reluctantly given the product 2 stars as it's the release that's the problem rather than the show itself.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Poor Picture Quality, 30 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
After buying the excellent Z Cars DVD set from Acorn DVD, I was looking forward to this release of Softly Softly Task Force. Unfortunately Simply DVD have made some serious errors during the production and mastering of this release. On every episode the indoor scenes originally shot on electronic interlaced cameras have been de-interlaced to produce a filmic look. Not only does this remove the original smooth motion and replace it with motion judder but it also softens the picture as a result of showing only half the original resolution. This is such a pity as many other releases from Simply have been excellent quality. I do hope this release will be recalled and repressed with the episodes in the correct quality. In the meantime I have returned this item to Amazon for a refund and will refrain from buying any further releases from Simply until this fault is corrected and they can guarantee it will not be replicated on future releases.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant if you hanker for a wander down Memory Lane!, 3 Aug. 2014
By 
M. Bingley (Lincolnshire, England.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
I used to watch this series avidly many years ago, and remembered enjoying it a lot. I was a little nervous about the quality of the DVD, having read some of the reviews, but the quality now (2014) is excellent so clearly all issues have been resolved. I'd forgotten some of the characters, and watching this time round I found myself appreciating Frank Windsor and Walter Gotell more than I did originally. They both have a very relaxed screen presence. The story lines are slight compared with today's police dramas, but the characters are strong and well drawn, and for those of us who hanker for a wander down Memory Lane this is absolutely brilliant. I really hope that Series 2 will follow soon, as this has given me so much enjoyment and brought back many happy memories.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Curse of the filmised, 26 Nov. 2013
By 
Mr. Paul English "analoguebubblebath" (Co Kildare, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Just back from watching my friend John's copy of the Softly Softly DVD. His order arrived yesterday and there was a message from him earlier saying "it doesn't look right". I called over and watched the first episode. The curse of the Grange Hill cock-up arises again. The studio videotaped scenes look awful. It's as simple as that. No amount of screengrabs will tell the story - we need somebody local to call into Simply's offices with a bunch of archive DVDs that look right. Sit the bosses down, compare the good with this Softly Softly travesty and make them watch until they realise their mistake.
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Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD]
Softly Softly Task Force: Series 1 [DVD] by Michael Simpson (DVD - 2013)
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