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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 8 May 2012
this is the kind of entertainment that is sorely lacking in this day and age. what we have in this series "redcap," is the ability to provide tightly-scripted plots with some brilliant acting.
in his first regular starring t.v role, john thaw plays a military police officer who is sent to different parts of the world and investigates cases of assault, soldiers who are absent without leave, armed robberies, allegations of systematic beatings, murder and almost any other reported crime that occurs at an army barracks.
the thing that struck me when i watch this series, is how most of the characters in any given episode, prove to be thoroughly unhelpful and obstructive. it is mainly down to officer types who would rather brush the current investigation under the carpet and forget about it all. of course, john thaw as sergeant mann, will not let the matter drop until he has solved each and every one of his cases to the best of his ability.
john thaw has been superbly cast and given his very young age at the time(22 when "redcap" was first broadcast), he injects plenty of authority and maturity into his character. his take on sergeant mann, although tough and harsh at times, is also possessed of a compassionate streak as he hates injustice but also loathes the idea of criminals escaping their crimes unpunished.
considering that the british t.v archives are in somewhat of a mess with a good deal of programmes missing or destroyed, happily "redcap" is hardly affected. 26 episodes of this series were made and 23 currently exist. as a special feature, approximately 12 minutes that was recovered from a missing episode has been added in this dvd set.
the footage is a bit grainy and the sound isn't always clear but that should not put people off from watching this programme as it is well-written and features some fine actors apart from john thaw. you see notice guest stars such as: mike pratt, michael robbins, leonard rossister, ian macshane, peter copley and many others.
the lack of location shooting doesn't much matter, there is a bit of that here and there but it's the dialogue and acting that counts above everything else.
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Running for two series in the mid 1960's, Redcap was the first starring vehicle for John Thaw. He played Sergeant John Mann, a member of the Royal Military Police's Special Investigation Branch. At the time, the British army was still very active worldwide, so Mann travels the globe - Germany, Malaysia, Cyprus and Borneo amongst others - in order to investigate various cases of misconduct and military indiscipline.

Despite the globe-trotting nature of the series the programme never left the UK, as it was a largely studio based production. This isn't a criticism though, as flashy foreign visuals were not what the show was about - instead Redcap offered well-written and well-acted stories that still have impact today.

The script editor for the first series was Ian Kennedy-Martin (later to create The Sweeney, amongst other notable programmes). He assembled a first rate roster of writers - including Richard Harris, Roger Marshall, Troy Kennedy-Martin, Julian Bond and Leon Griffiths - who were responsible for the high standard of scripting (maintained in the second series).

There was also plenty of talent in front of the camera across both series, with Keith Barron, Michael Robbins, Glynn Edwards, Yootha Joyce, Leonard Rossiter, Mike Pratt, Ian McShane, Warren Mitchell, Windsor Davies, Brian Wilde, Hywel Bennett, Richard O'Sullivan, Colin Blakley, James Grout, Graham Crowden, George Sewell, Brian Cox, Peter Bowles, Philip Madoc, Edward Fox and Donald Hewlett all guest-starring.

The bulk of the episodes are sourced from 16mm telerecordings made from the original videotapes - presumably for overseas sale. Generally, these are in pretty good shape - although a number of episodes do have very visible tramlining on the third part of the story. It's strange why only the third part of each affected story should have this damage - and whilst it would have been good to have it fixed, sadly there's little that could have been done - even frame by frame restoration wouldn't have been able to eliminate the problem completely.

So whilst in parts the picture quality is a little disappointing, the first-rate writing and acting more than makes up for it. This seven disc set includes all the surviving episodes (series 1 is complete, series 2 is missing several episodes) and is a must buy for anybody who enjoys quality British archive television.
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on 4 July 2012
More than a decade before he was hard-nosed DI Jack Regan on THE SWEENEY, more than two decades before he was cultured DCI E. Morse on INSPECTOR MORSE, John Thaw, still in his early 20's, starred as a cop in his first TV series, REDCAP. As Sgt. John Mann of the Special Investigation Branch of the Royal Military Police, Thaw's character was both soldier and police detective, investigating crimes both major and minor in every part of the world that the British Army had a presence.

Studio-shot, and apparently broadcast live, REDCAP (not to be confused with RED CAP, the 2003-04 series in which Tamzin Outhwaite also played a sergeant in the SIB) doesn't have the visual clarity of a filmed series, but it more than makes up for it with excellent scripts, and fine performances. It's startling how authoritative Thaw is, easily projecting leadership, decisiveness, and toughness though only a few years out of his teens.

The military background of the show is unusual for a police series, and makes it possible for Sgt. Mann to solve cases in locales as diverse East Berlin, Cyprus, and the Far East (though, as I mentioned, it was mostly studio-shot).

Highly recommended, for the gritty, pacy scripts, and for Thaw's electrifying performance.
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on 1 May 2016
thoroughly enjoying the dvd, it is bringing back some lovely memories. It is wonderful to see favourite actors again, albeit younger. This dvd really would be a good idea to give as a present. Sound quality may not always be perfect but given the programme's age that is not surprising, and there are plenty of problems with the sound quality of modern tv programmes! A definite buy.
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on 19 June 2012
I was very pleased to locate this product on Amazon. It was despatched and received quickly and I was soon able to enjoy it in the comfort of my own home.

Considering how old the original was made the quality of the picture was very good.

I would be happy to recommend this pack to anyone who likes pplice drama, from a bygone age, starring a young John Thaw.
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on 3 March 2013
Not good if your hearing isn't perfect! The dialogue is very fast and there are no subtitles, so I was forever rewinding to try to work out what had been said. I only have a slight hearing loss, which is normal for my age; provided modern programmes do not have loud 'background' music/noise to drown out dialogue, I can watch and listen to programmes without any difficulty.
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on 11 November 2014
It's amazing to look back at a series like this from the early sixties and reflect on how amateurish TV was back then. Laughably poor acting from the supporting cast complete with fluffed lines left in. Flimsy, wobbly sets (everything seems to be filmed indoors even the 'outdoor' scenes) and ridiculous fight scenes with punches going nowhere near yet the person still falling down. Yet if you are of a certain age you, like me, will love this for the sheer nostalgia. Thaw's acting stands out and you can tell he's destined for better things. Plus there are some fantastic bit parts from the likes of Warren Mitchell and a host of other yet to be famous, still very young, faces. I knew I was going to love this, I recommend you only buy it if you know too.
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on 29 January 2015
Too bad there were episode(s) missing.
Good writing, great acting, good stories.
Wished more episodes were made.
Early on you can see Thaw was an accomplished actor.
Video was ok.
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on 22 July 2016
this is a very old b&w tv series which has not survived transfer: appalling sound and picture quality
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on 26 March 2016
great even though its all in black and white
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