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Softly Softly Task Force Series 2 DVD

Sunday, 25 September 2016 23:00 Written by 

Softly Softly Task Force - Series 2 out now on DVDLong before the days of CSI and NCIS, spin-off shows weren’t unheard of, but none was more popular at the beginning of the 1970s than Softly Softly: Task Force. It featured two stars from Z Cars, Stratford Johns and Frank Windsor, reprising their roles as DCS Charlie Barlow and DCI John Watt. The show had originally come into being as Softly Softly in 1966, running for four and a half series before a sudden change halfway through series five, in 1969. Originally to simply be called Task Force, late in the day the BBC decided to keep the Softly Softly brand in place as an umbrella title. And now, thanks to Simply Media, we had three copies of the DVD set up for grabs of Series 2 of Softly Softly: Task Force (aka series 6 of Softly Softly if you want to be pedantic) in a prize competition.

Formatted by BBC crime go-to-guy Elwyn Jones, other popular characters included fellow Softly Softly stalwart DS Harry Hawkins (Norman Bowler), dog handler PC Snow (Terence Rigby) with trusty Police Dog Radar (who gets his own end credits caption), cheery Sergeant Evans (David Lloyd Meredith) and gruff and rule-bound Chief Constable Cullen (Walter Gotell). Unafraid to address problematic social issues of the day, the show provided an accurate reflection of police methods of the time, and many of the simmering tensions and resentments on the streets of 1970s Britain. This leads to social commentary, and classy production, which even today is worth your appreciation.

120 episodes of the original Softly Softly were produced, most of them now missing believed wiped from the vaults. 10 episodes into the fifth series, change was the order of the day, reflecting the move at the time to have specialist groups of police to tackle crime on a wider regional basis. So, on 13 November 1969, the last episode of Softly Softly was transmitted. And the following week, on 20 November 1969, Softly Softly: Task Force began. It would run in its own right for eight series, right up to 15 December 1976, clocking up 149 episodes. That figure is dwarfed by the 803 total reached by Z Cars, admittedly, but still a phenomenal body of work to savour in its own right.

Softly Softly was set in Wyvern, supposedly in the Bristol area of England, whereas the Task Force was in the fictional south-eastern English borough of Thamesford (which used the City of Rochester and the Medway area mainly for its backdrop).

The first series of 16 episodes of Task Force was released on DVD in November 2013 (yes, if you added the 10 episodes from the final run of Softly Softly just before it, that would have meant a 26 episode run). Almost three years later, here we have a full 26 episode DVD release which constituted series 2, originally broadcast from September 1970 to March 1971. Personally, I hope we don’t have to wait three years for series three, as once you’re hooked on the show, you will get withdrawal symptoms very easily.

Charlie Barlow, the character given form by Stratford Johns, defined the nation’s very notion of a no-nonsense, sharp-tongued police chief not averse to thrashing suspects into submission. Frank Windsor’s John Watt played restrained and mellow mind games with the villains, acting as the proverbial bad cop and good cop. Together with their Task Force, they tackle fictional Thamesford’s most monstrous crimes and puzzling cases. It would be easy to see this as a two-hander, but the ensemble cast take turns at being centre stage on stories, giving the team a totally rounded set of characters.

Despite the age of the series, the pacing is very contemporary, although some will have problems with the lack of incidental music. It’s telling that you won’t actually notice it’s missing within a very short space of time, the characters and the plots simply don’t need it.

This run of episodes begins with PC Snow putting his new dog, Radar, through his paces. The first season had reached a traumatic climax in the shooting of his previous dog, Inky, by an assailant. At the time, wanting to make an impact on the audience with the final episode of the run, the thinking had been it would have been too upsetting to kill one of the human characters. For some reason, the writers forgot what a nation of dog lovers we are in the UK!

We get to see one character, Sergeant Jackson, actually leave the series following promotion. His successor even gets a handover period as part of the plot – Inspector Armstrong, played by The Demon Headmaster himself (and Cult TV Festival guest), Terrence Hardiman. Though the seven episodes in this set represent Hardiman’s total work on the series, it’s a fascinating performance, as he plays an officer on the way up, who has also trained as a solicitor. Very upright and methodical in his duties, he gets to learn to relax a little and be less formal over the course of the episodes. It’s a shame he didn’t return the following year.

For those of you who like ‘star spotting’, this series of Task Force will have your jaw dropping a few times. You can see our episode guide for full details, but watch out for the like of Peter Sallis, Geoffrey Palmer, Windsor Davies, Vicki Michelle, Glynn Edwards, Sally Thompsett, Denis Quilley, Victor Maddern, George Waring, George Pravda, Jean Boht, Reginald Marsh, Roddy McMillan, Terry Walsh, and Gay Hamilton (Space: 1999 “Force of Life”) as John Watt’s wife, Jean.

One particular episode, “Something Big”, boasts all of David Graham, Jeremy Wilkin, Desmond Llewellyn, Vicki Woolf and John Woodvine as guest stars!

There is an episode in this set where you can see Geoffrey Hayes acting without Zippy, George and Bungle of Rainbow fame around him.  This is in the story “Bearings” – he had previously played Hughes in the 1969 episode “Diversion”, and later appeared in the 1975 episode “And with What Measure?” as Barrett. However, you can even find him in the show’s predecessor Z Cars. He played Jerry Turner in a 1969 two-parter called “Picture of Guilt”, and played Det Constable Scatliff in 27 episodes between 1971 and 1974.

Play School and Play Away appreciators should also look out for Chloe Ashcroft as a farmer’s wife in one story (and Doctor Who fans will know her as Professor Laird from the Peter Davison story “Resurrection of the Daleks”).

Following series 2, Stratford Johns himself got his own spin-off, Barlow at Large - this began as a three-part self-contained story broadcast in September 1971 with Barlow drafted in by the Home Office to investigate police corruption in Wales. Johns left Task Force for good in 1972, at the end of series 3, but returned for a further series of Barlow at Large in the following year. This consisted of 10 episodes, each with a self-contained story.

In 1974 the format was rebranded as Barlow and a further two series of eight episodes followed. The final story was transmitted in February 1975, clocking up a total of 29 episodes. Let’s hope that Simply Media add these stories to their DVD release schedules.

All this left the way clear for Watt to come out of Barlow's shadow and take command of Task Force in his own right,

Johns and Windsor appeared together again in a six-part factual show in 1973, Jack the Ripper, which saw Barlow and Watt re-appraising the murders. This led to Second Verdict, where they re-investigated some baffling criminal cases from history, in “Who Burned the Reichstag?”, “Lizzie Borden”, “The French Bluebeard”, and “The Lindbergh Kidnapping”. The characters sparred off each other to get to the truth, but mainly lacked actual evidence to offer true “second verdicts”. In a later interview, Stratford Johns commented: “I did not like the title. It was too limiting. I would have preferred Second Opinion”.

Following the end of Softly Softly: Task Force, John Watt would make one final screen appearance via the last ever Z Cars, in September 1978.

In terms of quality on this run of episodes in this DVD set, there is just the occasional flicker from the age of the video tapes. Interestingly there are two all-film episodes in the run - “Lessons” and “Do Me a Favour”. From their washed-out look, it would appear only 16mm prints still exist and not negatives, which is a shame. However, that won’t detract from what are two very good stories in their own right.

Task Force has actually done rather well in the archive survival stakes. The only exception is the 1972 series four episode “Welcome to the Club” which survives only as a black and white 16mm film tele-recording.

Softly Softly Task Force: Series 2 is out now from Simply Media. The seven DVD set has a ‘12’ certificate, a running time of 1,300 mins approx., and a RRP of £44.99 – or get it for less at

And you had an opportunity to win one of three copies of this Softly Softly Task Force Series 2 DVD set to put on to your mantelpiece, in our prize competition, courtesy of Simply Media.

All you had to do was tell us the answer to the following question: What is the name of PC Snow’s Police Dog in Series 2? The answer was RADAR and the lucky winners were Steven Holden of Long Eaton, Sheri Darby of New Southgate, and Stewart Miller of Darlington. Well done all, and now it's time to turn your attention to NOMINATING IN THE CULT TV AWARDS.


Softly Softly: Task Force - Episode Guide

Stratford Johns as Det Chief Supt Charlie Barlow

Frank Windsor as Det Chief Supt John Watt

Norman Bowler as Det Chief Insp Harry Hawkins

Susan Tebbs as PW Det Con Betty Donald

David Lloyd Meredith as Det Sgt Bob Evans

Terence Rigby as PC Henry Snow

Walter Gotell as Chief Constable Arthur Cullen

David Allister as Sgt/Insp Richard Jackson

Terrence Hardiman as Insp Thomas Armstrong

Radar as Police Dog


6.1 “Baptism”

Three prisoners have escaped jail, including a very violent individual called Tommy Abbott. Watt leads the line, but calls on the skills of PC Snow and the new police dog Radar – a canine new to the force and very much receiving his ‘baptism of fire’ on this case.

Guest cast: Ian Hogg (Tommy Abbott), John Corvin (Supt Leach), Louis Mahoney (Michaelson), Diana Bishop (Mrs Abbott), John Hussey (Dr Runcorn), Edwin Brown (Fire Officer Prince), Clyde Pollitt (Richards), John Garrie (Jewkes)

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: Frank Cox

Original Transmission: 16 September 1970


6.2 “Sunday, Sweet Sunday”

Watt has had a tip-off that a large gang of skinheads will attack a coastal town. As such, the Task Force is called in to assist the local force. It begs the question as to how the team will occupy their time if the brawl doesn’t materialise. Betty Donald meanwhile has her attention caught by seafront photographer Daley, who may not be able to deliver on his promises to customers.

Guest cast: Michael Cooper (Inspector Atkinson), Donald Morley (Hughes), Windsor Davies (Stephens), Christopher Beeney (Daley), Michael Hawkins (Miller), Victor Brooks (Green), Andrew Neil (Kennedy), Danny Schiller (Harry)

Writer: Alan Plater

Director: Simon Langton

Original Transmission: 23 September 1970


6.3 “Safe in the Streets?”

Ali Suleiman is walking through a dark alley, and finds himself the unwelcome recipient of a gang’s attention. The felons rob the man of his money and beat him up. Hawkins calls in to him at hospital, but cannot get a word out of him. He is afraid because he has entered the country illegally. Barlow sends Watt and Hawkins to investigate a source of illegal work permits.

Guest cast: Vicki Michelle (Reen), Marne Maitland (Nasim Khan), Leon Vitali (Henry Mardsley), Barbara Keogh (Marie), George Tovey (Mr Gedge), Mohan Singh (Mohammed Jinnah), Saad Ghazi (Ali Suleiman), Rafiq Anwar (Dr Chowdhry), Azad Ali (Pakistani Immigrant)

Writer: Allan Prior

Director: Paul Ciappessoni

Original Transmission: 30 September 1970


6.4 “Good Listener”

Janet Thompson is a seasoned accountant who has noticed irregularities in the books of her workplace. She speaks to PC Snow, via Radar the police dog, who is the ‘good listener’, in a park. When Jackson becomes aware of what is going on, he persuades Hawkins not to pass the case to the Fraud Squad, so they can deal with it.

Guest cast: Sylvia Barter (Miss Thompson), Douglas Livingstone (Bert Fowler), Marilyn Harrington (Betty Adams), Jonathan Newth (Overson), Reg Jessup (Gordon), Roslyn Slater (Telephonist)

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: Leonard Lewis

Original Transmission: 7 October 1970


6.5 “Time Expired”

Harry Hawkins and Betty Donald are sent on surveillance to the coast. Ingram is their target, recently released from prison now seems to be very interested in a particular vessel. Gold bars worth £50,000, which they think he had stolen before his stint, are still missing. It appears they might be within ten small wooden boxes, two of which they quickly get a lead on.

Guest cast: Leon Eagles (Ingram), John White (Peter Bruton), Jonathan Holt (Thomson), John G Heller (Maitland), Gerard Norman (Watson)

Writer: Robert Barr

Director: David [Sullivan] Proudfoot

Original Transmission: 14 October 1970


6.6 “Lessons”

Barlow is tutoring a training session, showing what to look for when investigating a murdered ‘corpse’. Reality then kicks in, as Mr Vernon’s daughter is found dead on a beach. Suspicion falls on Dave, a young guy who surely knows better. This episode is lensed entirely on 16mm film.

Guest cast: Glynn Edwards (Mr Vernon), Sally Thompsett (Susan), John Ringham (Chief Inspector Fox), Crispin Gillbard (Police Cadet Wellbeloved), Michael Gaunt (DC Timms), Graham Berown (Dave), Colin Starkey (Charles Hyland)

Written by Arnold Yarrow

Director: Leonard Lewis

Original Transmission: 21 October 1970


6.7 “Without Favour”

£4.00 a week for dreadful digs? Landlords do as little as possible, placing unfortunates in slum housing, and anyone complaining gets a visit from ‘the boys’. Evans takes up the investigation. Meanwhile, Watt needs a joke on the theme of policemen for a talk he is giving, and Snow tries to assist.

Guest cast: Collette O’Neil (Mrs Marlow), Donal McCann (Christopher Spence), Susan Maudslay (Brenda), Caroline Rogers (Sybil),

Writer: Alan Plater

Director: Frank Cox

Original Transmission: 28 October 1970


6.8 “Never Hit a Lady”

Barlow and Hawkins are suspicious of lorry driver Mick Harrigan, who they reckon is up to no good. WPC Betty Donald is set up as bait, with PC Snow - minus dog - keeping a close eye on her. Harrigan takes an unhealthy interest in Peg over Betty’s advances, and is later found badly beaten up on a country road. Betty visits the woman in hospital, but gets nothing from her as to who was responsible. Betty is again put in harm’s way by again making a play for Harrigan, and this time he seems to bite. However, she is now definitely in harm’s way herself.

Guest cast: Neil McCallum (Mick Harrigan), Timothy Craven (PC Banks), Margaret Brady (Peg Waller), Anthony Morton (Mann), Katie Fitzroy (Schwester Cantwell), Richard Beale (Harry), Harry Brunning (Willis), Fred Clemson (Maskierter)

Writer: Allan Prior 

Director: Simon Langton

Original Transmission: 4 November 1970


6.9 “Its Ugly Head”

Student Bernard Pinks is arrested during a demonstration, and Harry Hawkins is handed the case. The lawyer of the young man tries to speak to Chief Constable Cullen and accuses Hawkins of molesting his client during the interrogation. Barlow uses his guile to cross paths with the lawyer and his far from perfect paymaster.

Guest cast:  Michael Goodliffe (Grenville), Caroline Rogers (Sybil), Ian Sharp (Bernard Pinks)

Writer: Elwyn Jones 

Director: Leonard Lewis

Original Transmission: 11 November 1970


6.10 “Who Wants Pride…?”

Hawkins inspects a van which has been discovered without a driver and with a large hole in its side. A witness had seen three men near the vehicle. Is this pointing towards a larger heist in the making? Hawkins observes three men - Jim, Dave and Tommy - in a pub, who fit the descriptions given by the witness. Barlow and Hawkins are shown how the hole could have been made by experts from the Army, using explosives. The villains have carried out their ‘dry run’ – now it’s time for the real thing.  

Guest cast: Jess Conrad (David Marks), Michael Gaunt (DC Timms), Ray Lonnen (Jim O'Donnell), Bill Wilde (Tom Patterson), Jeannette Wild (Betty Patterson), John Lee (Colonel Banks), Michael Goldie (Sergeant Osborne), Lloyd Lamble (Parsons), Patrick Connor (Marshall)

Written by Robert Barr

Director: Roger Jenkins

Original Transmission: 18 November 1970


6.11 “Collation”

Superintendent Watt is the victim of a clever theft, and his other half, Dr Jean Morrow, is bemused as to how it has happened. Similar burglaries and thefts are not long in being reported, setting up an observable pattern. What, and more importantly who, is behind it? Jackson has some theories to follow up.

Guest cast:  Gay Hamilton (Dr Jean Morrow), Bay White (Mrs Russell), Marigold Sharman (Mrs Porter), Henry Knowles (Oddy), James Drake (Marsh), David Arnold (Timothy),

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: David [Sullivan] Proudfoot

Original Transmission: 25 November 1970


6.12 “Do Me a Favour”

A farmhouse is chosen to play its part in a daring truck robbery, with the cover story that a market trader from a distance away needs a place to store his stock of transistors and cigarette lighters, rather than hauling it time after time across the country. Unfortunately for them, the thieves aren’t as clever as they think. This episode is unusual as it is all on 16mm film.

Guest cast: Jon Rollason (Kerr), Chloe Ashcroft (Mrs Kerr), Victor Maddern (Mott), Robin Lloyd (Police Constable Marks), Ann Fairclough (Ann), John Forbes Robertson (Hutchinson), Leslie Glazer (Jenkins), Alan Travell (Lee), Donald Tandy (Jarvis), Trevor Adams (Duggan), Ken Hutchinson (Smith)

Writer: Robert Barr

Director: Brian Parker

Original Transmission: 2 December 1970


6.13 “Sweet Are the Uses of Adversity”

Vera, a call girl, is attacked, and another woman has a suitcase stolen. Who is the stranger responsible? Hawkins and the team are bemused, as the crimes apparently seem at random. Checking out another property, Radar the police dog and the Task Force comes close to detecting the felon on the premises, but not close enough. The frustrated Hawkins is not, however, too enamoured by Cullen getting involved. Next on the hit list is a milkman, and then there’s a return to the scene of the first crime to rough-up Jennifer, another prostitute.

Guest cast: Del Henney (Parsons), Ruth Trouncer (Miss Adamson), Irene Bradshaw (Jennifer), Maggy Maxwell (Vera), Reginald Peters (Potterson), Alan Tucker (Geordie), Gordon Pitt (Ambulance Man), Patrick Gibson (Milkman), Brian Walton (Reporter)

Writer: Elwyn Jones.

Director: Ronald Wilson

Original Transmission: 9 December 1970


6.14 “Bearings”

A young man witnesses a collision between a freight train and a passenger train, where there are many left dead and injured. The Task Force consider whether the accident was caused by criminal actions. Barlow believes that thieves have caused something far more than they ever expected to happen.

Guest cast: George Waring (Det Sergeant Wills), Geoffrey Hayes (Brooks), Roy Patrick (Inspector Pauley), Robert Aldous (Sergeant Lugton), Rosalyn Slater (Mary Turner), Clifford Cox (Sergeant Graves), John Abbott (PC Martin), George Lee (Sergeant Shaw), Paul Dawkins (Harris), Desmond Perry (Matthew Riley), Margaret John (Mrs Wells), Barry Stokes (Philips), Adrian Shergold (Johnstone), Paul Thompson (Wiley), Jack Carr (Dawes), Philip O’Neill (Norman Lester), Paul Nemeer (Scott)

Writer: James Doran

Director: Frank Cox

Original Transmission: 16 December 1970


6.15 “A World Full of Rooms”

Sylvie Ashford is a working girl who was beaten up in her apartment while turning a trick. Along with DS Foster, John Watt searches for the perpetrator while checking up on their background.

Guest cast: Aubrey Richards (Detective Sergeant Foster), Alex Scott (Jackie Frankitt), Elizabeth Seal (Mollie Frankitt), Jennifer Wilson (Sylvie Ashford), Milton Johns (Charley Smith), Keith Marsh (Jake Rollins), John Bown (John Johnson), Sita Sing (Sandra), Peter Lund (Doctor Hopkins), Simon Barnes (Prison Officer Wells), Yvonne Ball (C/R Operator)

Writer: Allan Prior

Director: Paul Ciappessoni

Original Transmission: 23 December 1970


6.16 “The Lie Direct”

PC Snow comes across an Austin 1100 car during a night patrol in a quiet residential area, and discovers the body of a murdered woman. He finds himself working with Barlow, Watt and wife Jean on the case. Attention turns to the the husband of the deceased, Jim Colley, a compulsive liar, who Barlow decides to interrogate himself.

Guest cast: Gay Hamilton (Dr Jean Watt), Geoffrey Palmer (Professor Brett), Tony Calvin (Jim Colley), Maureen Norman (Mrs Elsie Thomas)

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: Roger Jenkins

Original Transmission: 30 December 1970


6.17 “Ground Level”

Jean Watt doesn’t trust Wheeler, who has offered to do some building repairs to their home. With John away, Barlow takes an interest, and looks into potentially connected thefts of bricks and other construction materials. Evans and Snow also help with the inquiries. Evans is bemused by Laker, one of the building contractors in charge of one of the sites where stock has been stolen, who seems to have a pragmatic attitude when it comes to after-hours activities of his employees.

Guest cast: Gay Hamilton (Dr Jean Watt), Glyn Owen (Logan), Alec Ross (Laker), John Hamill (Wheeler), Mary Hignett (Mrs Owen), Anton Darby (Barker), Colin Vancao (Masters)

Writer: Alan Plater

Director: David [Sullivan] Proudfoot

Original Transmission: 6 January 1971


6.18 “Company Business”

‘Desk jockey’ Jackson is placed by Watt into a factory, out of which valuable platinum has disappeared several times. He finds himself invited to a party, where he is introduced to management and staff, where no-one seems to be able to avoid suspicion.

Guest cast: Wendy Gifford (Ruth Kemp), William Dexter (Calwell), Donald Douglas (Fisher), Penelope Lee (Linda Calwell), Frederick Hall (Bates), Andrew Jack (Radley)

Writer: John Elliot

Director: Gerald Blake

Original Transmission: 13 January 1971


6.19 “Kick Off”

The first of a two-part story. Barlow, Watt, Hawkins, Jackson and Evans attend a football match, but their interest is not in the sport, They are aware of other stadiums where cash has been stolen. Barlow finds himself working alongside the ambitious Inspector Armstrong (Terrence Hardiman in his debut story). Watt and Hawkins are not enamoured by the high flier, who has a fast-tracked career ahead of him, and neither is Jackson who, following promotion, will have his place taken by Armstrong.

Guest cast: George Pravda (Kahn), Roddy McMillan (Tommy Nunn), Roy Hanlon (Tait), Avis Bunnage (Mrs Young)

Terrence Hardiman is introduced in this episode.

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: Frank Cox

Original Transmission: 20 January 1971


6.20 “Final Score”

In this second part, Barlow interrogates Mrs Young, who is detained carrying a suitcase with a large sum of money, and plenty of jewels. Hawkins, meanwhile, forms a team with Armstrong to observe the shady businessman Kahn. Barlow and Hawkins eventually confront him over the stolen jewels, and accuse him of receiving stolen goods.

Guest cast: George Pravda (Kahn), Roddy McMillan (Tommy Nunn), Roy Hanlon (Tait), Avis Bunnage (Mrs Young), Stefan Gryff (Denis), Madeleine Mills (WPC Berry)

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: Paul Ciappessoni

Original Transmission: 27 January 1971


6.21 “Something Big”

Two impostors have appeared on the map in Thamesford. With the help of DCS Allan, Barlow investigates a possible link with illegal gambling, amongst a very famous guest cast list!

Guest cast: John Woodvine (DCS Allan), David Graham (Davis), Jeremy Wilkin (Peter Thornley), Vicki Woolf (Pat Anderson), Desmond Llewellyn (Somers), Derrick Slater (DS Graham,) Godfrey Quigley (McBride), William Abney (Benny Hulton), David Morrell (Rendell), Robert Tayman (Jim Blake)

Writer: Robert Barr

Director: Ronald Wilson

Original Transmission: 3 February 1971


6.22 “Games”

After thugs have caused havoc across many cities, creating harassment for forces at every turn, John Watt looks to help secure his local police stations from possible attacks, before such turmoil can reach Thamesford.

Guest cast: Jean Boht (Mrs Lacey), Terence De Marney (Timothy Lee), Andrew Benson (David Ransom), Colin Rix (Sgt Beckett), Jon Yule (Cadet Shepherd), Jane Sharkey (Emma Jones)

Writer: Arnold Yarrow.

Director: Michael Simpson

Original Transmission: 10 February 1971


6.23 “In the Public Gaze”

Chief Constable Cullen witnesses PC Pugh, a young policeman, under attach in the street by a couple of hoods, and jumps out of his chauffeured car to “bang some heads together”. The problem is that he will now end up in court for using excessive violence.

Guest cast: Reginald Marsh (Chief Superintendent Leach), Gawn Grainger (Wilson), Patricia Lawrence (Mrs Raynes), Kenneth Watson (Mr Gower), Michael Finbarr (Dawson), Martin C Thurley (PC Pugh), Katie Evans (Miss King), Alan Lawrance (Jury Foreman), Leslie Pitt (Court Usher), Patrick Brock (Coroner’s Clerk)

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: Peter Cregeen

Original Transmission: 17 February 1971


6.24 “Held for Questioning”

There have been three safe burglaries within just a few weeks. Attentions turn to Tommy Lee, who Watt knows was sentenced for the same offence many years earlier. Hawkins and Evans interrogate Jack Taylor, who has connections to Lee. Taylor has form, but in his case he was acquitted. The Task Force is not dealing with an easy opponent, as he knows his rights.

Guest cast: Denis Quilley (Jack Taylor), Norman Jones (Tommy Lee), Michael Griffiths (CI Rankin), Andrew Carr (Sgt Burke), Pamela Miles (Mary Phillips), Dean Harris (Billy Reid)

Writer: Robert Barr

Director: Gerald Blake

Original Transmission: 24 February 1971


6.25 “Black Equals White”

A group of activists, both black and white, march in on a hotel, in which there is a gathering of businessmen, and begin a siege. Their chanting of “black equals white” is unfathomable to John Watt as to what their motivation is. Watt is not popular with the hotel manager, Henry, when he makes clear the interlopers cannot be evicted as no crime has been committed. Barlow and Watt try to reason with the demonstrators without success. During a diversion, Watt and Snow collar Leroy, the spokesman for the demonstrators, and Barlow tries to fathom out what it is he wants. The stakes are raised when a Molotov cocktail is produced to threaten an escalation of the situation.

Guest cast: Neville Aurelius (Leroy), James Copeland (Mac) Angus Mackay (Mr. Henry) John Gatrell (Rayburn) Bruce Walker (Morry Baker) Pat Gorman (PC Knowles),  Leslie Parker (TV Cameraman), Richard Penny, Michael Patten, Al Fleming, Francis Williams, Siobhan Quinlan, Louisa Carroll (Demonstrators)

Writer: Allan Prior

Director: Keith Williams

Original Transmission: 3 March 1971


6.26 “Cash and Carry”

During a night patrol PC Snow believes he has seen a torch light in a closed cash and carry store, followed by a noise from within. Radar can’t sense anything, there’s no sign of illegal entry and the alarms haven’t sounded, but reinforcements are called for. A search of the premises by Evans and other Task Force members is inconclusive. Initially, nothing is believed missing, until there is a thorough stock check, at which point the extent of the problem is realised. How are the thefts being carried out, and is there a ‘big haul’ also on the cards?

Guest cast: Peter Sallis (Lodge), Terry Walsh (Fair Man), Alan Chuntz (Dark Man), Timothy Craven (PC Briggs), Roland Curram (Fox), David Spenser (James), Catherine Brandon (Mrs Prosser), Gertan Klauber (Knowles), Louis Matto (Guzzoni), Dinny Powell (Rowland)

Writer: Elwyn Jones

Director: Simon Langton

Original Transmission: 10 March 1971


Last modified on Tuesday, 04 October 2016 00:54