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Back on the beat at Dock Green nick,
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This review is from: Dixon of Dock Green: Collection 2 [DVD] (DVD)
Dixon of Dock Green was a series particularly hard hit by the BBC archive purges of the 1960's and 1970's. Out of the 432 episodes made, only 32 exist today - 11 in black & white and 21 in colour.
The first Acorn release contained six of the first seven surviving colour episodes (Molenzicht was not included due to unspecified rights issues). This DVD contains the next six existing episodes (all originally transmitted as part of the 21st season in 1975). So if sales are good hopefully we should get volume three in due course (the final season - and the only complete Dixon season that remains) and then volume four could mop up the existing b&w episodes.
Of the six episodes contained on this DVD, two of them (Baubles, Bangles & Beads and A Slight Case of Love) only exist as domestic recordings because the original videotapes were wiped back in the 1970's. This means that the picture quality is not quite broadcast standard, but they are still quite watchable. And given the small number of Dixons that still exist, I'm sure most people would sooner have them than not, even with the lesser PQ.
Looking at these two episodes, Baubles has a lighter touch than some of the other stories on this set and is quite amusing at times. Love, about a female con-woman, is helped no end by a guest turn by Julian Glover who is always good value in anything he appears in.
Target - which sees the Dock Green coppers stumble across a Special Branch stakeout - is a strong opening episode with a fine performance by Anthony Steel as the mysterious Mr Smith. Also very good is the final story on this release - Conspiracy. Concerning an investigation by Dixon and Crawford into possible police corruption, it was the last episode of the 21st season and for a while it looked like it could have been the final story of all until the go-ahead was given for one more season.
The first Dixon DVD, released last year, saw a welcome reassessment of the programme, as for far too long the show was regarded as a paternalistic and hopelessly out-of-date dinosaur. This view was seemingly formed from a handful of out of context clips from the early b&w episodes. The colour Dixons were hardly discussed at all, and when they were it was usually only to convey amazement that the programme had lasted so long.
The reality is that the majority of the surviving colour Dixons are very engaging dramas, as well as the historical interest they have in allowing us to see how both the urban landscape and attitudes have changed in the last 40 years. This DVD is well worth a purchase, and hopefully Acorn will release the remaining episodes in due course.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Jul 2013 17:26:50 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 Jul 2013 22:01:02 BDT
I. Mcdougall says:
Excellent review, and a rare thing on Amazon these days.
I agree particularly about the perception of the program being of a paternalistic Bobby of the old school, dishing-out nothing stronger than a stern word, and an escort home to mum. I was surprised at the good, sturdy plots, authentic and quite bleak settings, particularly around London's old docks, and some real, what we would now call 'issues' at the fore-front of the story lines. Indeed, after recently watching re-runs of The Sweeney, (the program always cited as the one which wiped the cosiness of Dixon from our screens) I was surprised to find that it had pretty-much just picked-up the baton from where Dock Green had left it, albeit with a few more fists and guns. Proof once again that the 1970s really were a golden age of TV.
In reply to an earlier post on 6 Jul 2013 21:15:44 BDT
Yes, for example Wasteland from Vol 1 is as far removed from the traditional view of Dixon as you can get. Unsettling voice-over, shot all on film, decaying urban landscape - it certainly wasn't the series of popular myth.
For me the colour Dixons feel quite similar in tone to Juliet Bravo, made a decade or so later. Both were bleak at times, and didn't always provide a neat, happy ending.
In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jul 2013 19:09:03 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 7 Jul 2013 19:12:41 BDT]
Posted on 7 Jul 2013 19:16:27 BDT
M. E. BARRY says:
an excellent informative review one of best of any online of any product. thank you
In reply to an earlier post on 7 Jul 2013 21:24:46 BDT
Thanks, glad you found it of interest!
Posted on 30 Oct 2013 21:01:22 GMT
Witchfinder General says:
There could be more of the wiped episodes surviving in other parts of the world as with that latest Dr Who find. Many of theBBC programs were exported to other parts of the world on 16mm film as this was a standard format all over.
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2013 21:45:45 GMT
Last edited by the author on 30 Oct 2013 21:46:28 GMT
The chances of recovering any Dixons are quite slim as for some reason it wasn't widely sold abroad. The early Z Cars were sold though (and a number were recovered in tbe 1980's) so there could be something else still out there.
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Oct 2013 21:50:53 GMT
Witchfinder General says:
I've just ordered this set. Watched a clip on You Tube and it took me back to being aged ten. Coming home from shopping with my mum and dad on a saturday afternoon, having crumpets for tea, watching Dr Who and George Dixon later. I can still taste 1973 and wish I could go back as all my relatives were still alive. Jack Warner was a great actor. Have you ever seen the film Jigsaw? I'm waiting for this to come out on dvd.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Nov 2013 18:09:50 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Nov 2013 18:10:35 GMT
Yes, Jigsaw's a great little film and it would be good to see it on DVD. Network have released, and are continuing to release, a lot of rare British films of this era (from the collection owned by Studio Canal).
If Jigsaw's part of the Studio Canal catalogue then hopefully it might end up on DVD in the future.
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