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Dixon of Dock Green: Collection 2 [DVD]
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In this second collection, the Dock Green police force under the watchful eye of old timer Sergeant Dixon played by Jack Warner, come up against a mixed bag of villains, with one case playing out dangerously close to home. Mercenaries on the streets of London lead to a dangerous shoot-out; an apparent suicide generates a cross-country manhunt; stolen jewels thrown into a squat provide an entry to a world of very dubious long-haired hippy spiritualism; a robbery witness brings the Dock Green police to a household where crime is a way of life; a desirable con-woman finds herself at the mercy of one of her victims; and in a case of possible in-house corruption no one likes a bent copper as Dixon so aptly puts it. One of the longest running police series on British television from 1955 to 1976, Dixon of Dock Green set the tone for television police drama and paved the way for all that would follow. Filmed on set and on location around the disappearing dockland of London s East End, the character of Dixon, famous for Evening all , was a mainstay of British television with its friendly, reliable world of coppers on the beat.
Seven for a Secret Never to Be Told (22/2/75)
Baubles, Bangles and Beads (15/3/75)
Looters Ltd. (29/3/75)
A Slight Case of Love (19/4/75)
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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.
A very good start by Acorn at reviving this wonderful TV series - please let's have more! The ultimate situation would be to have all the episodes from 1955 to 1976 as a boxed set - Acorn please take note! However, according to some research that has been done, although 432 episodes of the series were produced, only 32 remain - this is because the early episodes were live and later on, before the historical significance of the material was realised, the BBC had a policy of wiping and reusing videotapes. So to be fair to Acorn their task is a difficult one and they've done very well so far in tracking down the dozen episodes they've released to date.
Highly recommended to those of a DoDG vintage.
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