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Customer Review

Set against the cosmopolitan backdrop of Amsterdam, with its reputation for drugs and prostitution, this series explores the world of Police officer Van der Valk. He is a blond curly haired detective who searches out common criminals involved in subversive activity.
This classic British TV series is presented here in the complete box set. It is an interesting set with some excellent episodes.
Series one began with six episodes in 1972. This series has mostly studio based scenes with most of the drama taking place in the office of Van der Valk. But the series works well mainly because of the outstanding acting by Barry Foster who played Van der Valk.
Van der Valk is a sophisticated character. He likes fine wine and classical music and he is tough on criminals. He doesn't hesitate to speak his mind. This is a very strong character and the role is played perfectly by Barry Foster.
Series three is much better with plenty of outside location scenes, There is improved editing and production. The scripts are better too with some excellent stories. The series ended and it was revived again in 1977. Once again the episodes have strong stories, production and acting. There is a new actress playing the wife of Van der Valk.
These episodes from the 1970s are all excellent and offer not only good production but plenty of scenes of life in 70s Amsterdam. There are two other things the series was famous for. Firstly it features the DAF car, an automatic car that was very popular in Europe and thanks to this series became popular in the UK. Secondly the shows theme music was recorded by the Simon Park Orchestra and released as a single that topped the UK pop charts in 1973.
The series was revived again for a third time in 1991. There is yet another actress playing the wife of Van der Valk and the format of the show has changed from an hour long show to a two hour show. This was to bring it up to date and follow the format used for other shows like Inspector Morse.
This box set includes those episodes too. I have to say I did not care much for them. They were too long and dreary. The acting and production is fine but its just too long and there is not enough bite in the stories for two hours. They are just not as good as the episodes from the 70s. However if you consider that there are plenty of episodes from the 70s in this box set then the 1991 series is more of a bonus rather than a bad thing.
Generally this set is worth investigating if you like classic TV shows. There is good drama, good acting and strong production for a show of the 70s despite it being more of a domestic UK style of production. It doesn't have the gloss of an ITC show or the action of the Sweeney but for a show made by Thames television in the 1970s it is a quality programme.
There are no subtitles for the deaf or hard of hearing and no audio description either.
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Product Details

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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