TV Cream

TV: S is for...

Special Branch

Patrick and George pursue leads into the singular case of the reverse-stencilled municipal signageTOUGH-NOSED, HARD-PERMED, tight-trousered cop shop series which graduated from studio-bound videotaped vaudeville to all-on-film out-and-out shouting. Original star was DERREN NESBITT, he of the curly blond hair and artfully-shaped sideboards. FULTON MACKAY cleaned up the mess. Revamp found PATRICK MOWER spitting feathers and swinging fists while GEORGE SEWELL looked petulant keeping the car engine ticking over in the background. Sewell got the last laugh though, going on to be George Smiley’s troubleshooter and Jasper Carrott’s boss. Mower, meanwhile, went on to Burton’s adverts (“Nice safari suit, not leaving the country are we?”) and Carry On England.

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  1. Glenn Aylett

    June 20, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Set the tone for gritty ITV police series in the seventies. Interesting that Special Branch has been included but not its LWT equivalent, New Scotland Yard, an equally hard hitting series from the same era starring John Knights of God Woodvine. This seems to be one of the forgotten greats of the seventies.

  2. Chris

    June 22, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Slight correction here – Mower never worked with Derren Nesbitt on the show. Nesbitt’s co-star was Fulton Mackay.

  3. TV Cream

    June 22, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    Cheers Chris – now corrected.

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