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Sergeant Cork: Series 2 DVD

Tuesday, 20 September 2011 00:00

We are transported back to 1890s London, where Sergeant Cork (John Barrie) works for Scotland Yard’s recently formed Criminal Investigation Department. Astute and years ahead of his time, he enthusiastically employs the pioneering techniques of modern forensic science to investigate crimes born of poverty and deprivation, passion, vengeance and greed, ably assisted by the youthful and equally dedicated Detective Bob Marriott (William Gaunt).

Devised by Ted Willis, also the creator of Dixon of Dock Green, it’s something of a miracle to see this entire second series made available on DVD.  For years, four of these eight episodes were believed to not exist, but it seems to be that they have been unearthed from somewhere. There’s certainly a change in quality from the known-of 16mm Telerecordings that were listed in the vaults, but it’s a delight to see all of them present and correct!

Sergeant Cork Series 2 - Recent find of all episodesAccording to fables about the show, it was a meeting between Willis and Lord Lew Grade where the series was hatched, literally ‘off the cuff’.  The cornerstones of Victorian London - the thick fog, the menace of Jack the Ripper, the bawdy Music Halls - all sold Grade on taking a season’s worth of stories. Armed with the then-new techniques of emerging forensic evidence, Sergeant Cork would show how detection developed in the era.

Boasting meticulous research, this Victorian police drama gave John Barrie the chance to break out of guest starring one shot, and a pair of short recurring roles in Emergency Ward 10 (as RSO Miller, the Sergeant Woolley) to take centre stage.  He would later have a stint on Z Cars in early 1967 as Det Insp Hudson, before returning for a sixth and final season of Sergeant Cork. Other guest roles in notable cult series included The Saint (“The Benevolent Burglary” and “Locate and Destroy”), Gideon’s Way (“The Wall”), Man in a Suitcase (“Man from the Dead”), The Adventurer (“Miss Me Once, Miss Me Twice, and Miss Me Once Again”), and Follyfoot (“Miss Him When He’s Gone”).

As Bob Marriott, a well-bred University Graduate, cult icon William Gaunt (later to be Richard Barrett in The Champions) can count this as his breakthrough performance.  Previously, he’d appeared in an episode of The Avengers (“Traitor in Zebra”), Ghost Squad (“The Grand Duchess”), Out of this World (“Botany Bay”) and two episodes of The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre (“Solo for Sparrow” and “The Innocent Man”).

Running for 65 episodes between 1963 and 1968, Sergeant Cork was a popular success for ATV during its five year run, The episodes previously thought lost from the archive were found whilst researching this release, investigation which Cork himself would have been proud of!

This is an engaging show, very much building on the First Series, previously released by Network in 2009. The stars spar off each other very nicely, and guest stars of the likes of Edward Woodward, Geoffrey Bayldon, Anna Palk, George A Cooper and Jack Watson raise the interest level with fine performances.

Sergeant Cork – The Complete Second Series is out now as an exclusive available ONLY from the Network Online Shop.  The two DVD set has a ‘PG’ certificate, a running time of 400 minutes approx, and a RRP of £15.00 – please note it will only be available on sale until 9 March 2012, so don’t delay your purchase!


Sergeant Cork – Season Two Guide

John Barrie as Sergeant Cork

William Gaunt as Bob Marriott


Theme Music by Philip Green

Series Devised by Ted Willis

Produced by Jack Williams

(* denotes a previously-considered lost episode)


2.1 The Case of the Fenian Men (File No. 4518)*

Guest starring: John Richmond (Superintendent Nelson), Arnold Diamond (Inspector Bird), Freddie Fowler (Chalky White), Jack MacGowran (Drummer), Norman Rodway (John D’Arcy), Anthony Sagar (Sergeant Tovey), Derek Benfield (Mr Spiller), Maureen Toal (Biddy), Jack Cunningham (Quinn), Tony Doyle (Byrne), Brandon Brady (Selstrom), Robert Webber (Rev Pryke), Vernon Smythe (Lord Liscurragh), Bryan Mosley (PC Rhodes)

Writer: Bill Craig

Director: Josephine Douglas

Original ATV (Weekend) Transmission: 28 December 1963


2.2 The Case of the Fourth Visitor (File No. 1174)*

Guest Starring: Gwynne Whitby (Major Henrietta Washbourne), Kathleen Byron (Captain Ruth Childers), Betty Baskcomb (Clara Wilkinson), Jack Watson (Sergeant Jones), Howard Pays (Henry Gill), Pauline Winter (Flora Bolton), Margo Andrew (Josephine Wells), Kika Markham (Violet Berry), Roy Holder (Dick), Bobbie Oswald (Barbara), Deirdre Turner (Maggie), Jan Stewart (Dora), Freddy Fowler (Chalky White), Doris Littel (Hannah Gill), Lily Harrold (Dulcie), Richard Owens (Docker).

Writer: Michael Noonan

Director: Philip Dale

Original ATV (Weekend) Transmission: 4 January 1964


2.3 The Case of the Ormsby Diamonds (File No. 4137)

Guest Starring: Edward Woodward (Austen Carew), Geoffrey Bayldon (Menzies), Noel Johnson (Sir Geoffrey Ormsby), Diane Clare (Kate Carstairs), Sally Home (Lady Emily Ormsby), Hugh Latimer (Evelyn Ormsby), Madi Hedd (Dora Ormsby), Keneth Thornett (Inspector Bellman), Ronald Meyer (PC Johnson), Darroll Richards (Gideon).

Writer: Julian Bond

Director: Philip Dale

Original ATV (Weekend) Transmission: 11 January 1964


2.4 The Case of the Hangman’s Noose (File No. 4910)

Guest Starring: Ronald Adam (Lord Justice Palmer), Hazel Bainbridge (Lady Palmer), Anna Palk (Virginia Palmer), Gerald Rowland (David Palmer), Grace Arnold (Mrs Fowler), Patrick Carter (Len Fowler), Jonathan Collins (Alan Fowler), Kenneth Edwards (Mr Howard), Robert Sidaway (Charles Unwin), Dennis Edwards (Preston).

Writer: Eric Paice

Director: Philip Dale

Original ATV (Weekend) Transmission: 18 January 1964

(NOTE: In previous archive records, this broadcast slot was considered to be for an episode called “The Case of the Medicine Man”, with no transmission details for “... Hangman’s Noose” being logged).


2.5 The Case of the Bristol Mail (File No. 3716)*

Guest Starring: Charles Morgan (Superintendent Rodway), Freddie Fowler (Chalky White), Paul Dawkins (Alfred Little), Harry Littlewood (William Holt), Alan Foss (Joseph Jenkins), Edward Ogden (Sergeant Gardner), Barry Raymond (PC Evans), David Webb (Fred Dale), George Curtis (Railway Policeman), Lane Meddick (George Bilson), Bill Meilen (Amis Warren), Leonard Cracknell (Billy Lyne), Ann Way (Mrs Fry), William Forbes (Andrew Forrest), Valli Newby (Mrs Merton), Brenda Cowling (Sarah Jenkins), Jeremy Wilkin (Tom Pocock), Patricia Denys (Betty Chalmers), George Betton (Railway Porter)

Writer: Arthur Swinson

Director: Josephine Douglas

Original ATV (Weekend) Transmission: 25 January 1964


2.6 The Case of the Silent Suffragette (File No. 4863)

Guest Starring: Charles Rodway (Supt Rodway), Freddie Fowler (Chalky White), Edward Ogden (Sergeant Gardner), Jane Hylton (Lady Martha Devereaux), Leslie Dwyer (Best), David King (Walter Roper alias “Wilson” “Granger” “a Workman”), John Scott (Mr Trumper), Margo Croan (Nellie Benton), Barry Raymond (PC Evans), Eric Elliott (Politician), Raf De La Torre (Orator), Edmund Warwick (Clergyman), Beaufoy Milton (Clerk), Susan Ross (Miriam), Wendy Marshall (Winifred).

Writer: Bruce Stewart

Director: Philip Dale

Original ATV (Weekend) Transmission: 1 February 1964


2.7 The Case of the Self Made Man (File No. 4732)

Guest Starring: Joyce Carey (Mrs Maud Marriott), John Sharp (Inspector Spicer), George A Cooper (Mr Bellamy), Maurice Hedley (Sir Andrew Mellor), Noel Dyson (Mrs Bellamy), Maureen Beck (Julia Bellamy), Anne Robson (Liz Earnshaw), Morris Perry (Sergeant Burke).

Writer: Bill Craig

Director: Josephine Douglas

Original ATV (Weekend) Transmission: 8 February 1964


2.8 The Case of the Stricken Surgeon (File No. 5123)*

Guest Starring: Charles Morgan (Superintendent Rodway), Freddie Fowler (Chalky White), Edward Ogden (Sergeant Gardner), Bernard Archard (Sir Wilson Hermitage MD FRCS KCMG), Douglas Livingstone (James Briscoe MD Edin), Olive McFarland (Mary Briscoe), Godfrey Quigley (John Geohegan), Charles Lloyd Pack (Sir George Pleydel), Carleton Hobbs (Joseph Lister), Ivor Dean (Dr Rice), Peter Ducrow (Dr Joseph), Alan Rothwell (Mr Carney), Edward Harvey (Mr Baxter), Elaine Mitchell (Nurse), Jane Bowman (Alice Baxter).

Writer: Bruce Stewart

Director: Philip Dale

Original ATV (Weekend) Transmission: 15 February 1964


Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37