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This review is from: Dixon of Dock Green [DVD] (DVD)
When thinking of George Dixon, most people may either recall his debut appearance in the classic film, The Blue Lamp, where he is shot and killed midway through, or the early years of the BBC series which began in 1955.
Dixon seems so rooted in the B&W, '50's and '60's era that it's surprising to realise that the series ran until 1976. The conventional viewpoint is that the show was already hopelessly dated when Z Cars arrived in the early 1960's, so what appeal can the episodes on this DVD, sourced from the some of the earliest surviving colour episodes from the early 1970's, have?
The answer is, quite a lot. Although Dixon of Dock Green was hit hard by archive purges, with relatively few episodes remaining from its 21 year run, a handful of high-profile B&W episodes have appeared a number of times on BBC2 and BBC4 over the last few decades. But the colour era of the programme has had much less exposure and therefore is ripe for reappraisal.
The first surprise is that several of the episodes are shot entirely on film. This wasn't standard practice for BBC drama of the era, normally exteriors would be shot on film and interiors on VT. The all-film episodes do give the series an added realism, although it's a shame that the prints are in such bad condition. Some restoration would have been nice, although given the niche interest of a title like this, it's probably not surprising that it wasn't done.
The first episode, Waste Land finds Dixon and his colleagues searching for a missing policeman. With some hand-held camerawork and a mildly disturbing voiceover, this is far removed from the cosy image of the Dixon series. The downbeat ending reinforces this view.
Given that there's a number of missing episodes after Waste Land, it's a slight pity that the next story on the disc, Jig-Saw is quite similar to the previous story on the disc, this time the search is on for a missing woman, last seen at the abandoned Dock Green gasworks. As with Waste Land, there's some stark camerawork that lingers on the decay of early 70's Britain.
The remaining episodes are slightly more conventional, with Eye Witness featuring George somewhat implausibly sent on a holiday to mind the only witness in a gangland murder. By this time Jack Warner was somewhat advanced in years, so it's difficult to imagine him putting up much of a fight!
The last episode - Firearms Were Issued - sees Dixon and Crawford under scrutiny when a suspect is shot and killed. The result of the inquiry might raise a few eyebrows, but it was a different era, and there's nothing to say that the inquiry result isn't an accurate reflection of the times.
Hopefully Acorn will release the remaining colour and B&W episodes which should allow for a fuller reappraisal of a series that, even in its later years, could still produce stories of high quality.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Nov 2012 13:33:45 GMT
Christopher Nash says:
Amen to that. I wish we'd have had some b/w episodes in this set, but these were fine.
In reply to an earlier post on 3 Nov 2012 13:19:31 GMT
Hopefully the sales of this DVD have been good enough to encourage Acorn to release more. Sadly. there's not that much of Dixon left in the archives, so it only needs a few more releases to complete the remaining colour & b/w episodes.
The positive reviews, both here on Amazon and elsewhere, hopefully should be further encouragement for Acorn to continue the releases.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jun 2013 13:17:40 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jun 2013 13:18:12 BDT
Christopher Nash says:
Check this out - Dixon of Dock Green: Collection 2 [DVD]
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2013 17:15:43 BDT
Yes! Great news! I've already got my copy (direct from Acorn) and I've put a review up. Hopefully it'll sell well and we'll get the remaining eps in due course.
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