Dixon of Dock Green DVD
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Directed by Various (TV)
Produced in 1970-74
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
Jack Warner, Peter Byrne
Jack Warner takes the lead as the dependable PC George Dixon in these six episodes from 1970-74. It's a rare chance to see his generous talent in his later years, writes Julian Upton.
Jack Warner’s dependable PC George Dixon famously ‘bought it’ at the hands of gun-toting tearaway Dirk Bogarde in The Blue Lamp, but this didn’t stop co-creator Ted Willis bringing him back five years later for his own TV series, which proved to be one of the longest-running and best loved in the history of the BBC. Clocking up over 450 episodes in 21 years (1955-76), Dixon of Dock Green was generally more comforting and familiar than it was realistic, more homespun than it was gritty, but for all its cosiness it did offer a fair and accurate portrayal of the meandering frustrations of everyday, low-level policing. What’s more, the knowledge that the avuncular Warner was not far away, keeping an eye on things in London, probably did as much to foster a sense of national security as any real law enforcement ever did.
Back in those days of throw-away TV, the BBC felt compelled to wipe the majority of the series, but about 10 per cent of it remains, and of that six of the earliest extant colour episodes are collected in this release. Dating from 1970-74, these instalments see our man (well into his seventies by now) holding various investigations together with the paternal wisdom and patience of a seen-it-all veteran, while some of his younger colleagues do the running around. Indeed, there’s a little more action here than in the Dixon of popular memory, and, shot mostly on film and on location, these episodes look like more of a precursor to The Sweeney than you might expect. There the comparison ends though: Warner was a bit too arthritic to give the villains a good kicking even if he’d wanted to (which he wouldn’t), and, ultimately, it is his unruffled brand of ‘soft policing’ that wins the day.
Warner was one of our great character actors, and this is a now-rare chance to see him in his later years, a generous, sagacious, no-nonsense talent. As ever, he is ably supported - and complemented - by Peter Byrne as his unwavering right-hand man, DS Crawford.
Julian Upton on 18th June 2012
Author of 151 reviews
One of the longest-running police series on British television, shown between 1955-1976, Dixon of Dock Green was also the best-loved. Filmed on set and on location around the fast disappearing dockland community of London's East End, the programmes saw the popular Jack Warner take the role of Sergeant George Dixon, who with his friendly and informal 'Evening all', offered viewers the kind of policeman you'd be tempted to welcome into your home for a cup of tea. The series set the tone for television police drama and paved the way for all that would follow.
In these first six available colour episodes, the Dock Green police has to deal with cases as diverse as a vanished policeman, a mysterious assailant of young women, police protection of a witness to murder, a charming crook with friends in the right places, the hidden world of domestic violence and the police shooting of an unarmed criminal.
Contains the episodes: Waste Land (1970), Jig-Saw (1971), Eye Witness (1973), Harry's Back, Sounds and Firearms Were Issued (all 1974).
Publisher: Acorn Media
Length: 284 mins
Format: DVD Colour
Released: 16th July 2012
Cat No: AV3034
- 2 discs