Monday, 27 June 2016

427 The Gentle Touch

First  viewed  : 1980

The  first  series  of  this  followed  Vega$  on  a  Friday  night  but  as  mentioned  in  the  previous  post  that  was  the  cue  to  going  to  the  chippy  so  my  first  glimpses  of  it  would  be  snatched  while  eating  my  supper  before  going  home. Later  my  mum  got  very  keen  on  it but  it  never  really  caught  fire  for  me.

The  Gentle  Touch   concerned  a  serious  crimes  unit  in  London  led  by  Detective  Inspector  Maggie  Forbes  ( Jill  Gascoine ) . The  crimes  she  investigated  were  similar  to  those  in   The  Sweeney  but  the  series  marked  a  switch  in  cop  shows  on  both  sides  of  the  Atlantic  from  focusing  on  the  investigation  of  a  case  to  the  life  of  the  cops  outside  of  work  which  usually  had  no  relation  to  the  case. This  was  not  a  development  I  welcomed. Maggie's  husband  was  killed  in  the  first  episode  and  she  subsequently  had  to  deal  with  a  wayward  son  and  ageing  father  as  well  as  do  her  job  so  there  were  many  episodes  when  the  case  seemed  to  go  on  the  backburner.

Also,  unlike  The  Sweeney  which  was  all  on  film, much  of  The  Gentle  Touch  was  shot  on  videotape  with  harsh  lighting  and  minimal  make-up  which  gave  it  a  rather  dowdy  feel.  It  certainly  didn't  do  any  favours  to  William  Marlowe  as  Maggie's  superior  who  had  such  bad  skin  you  wanted  to  look  away  when  the  camera  came  in  for  a  close-up. There  was  a  practical  reason  for  shooting  so  much  of  it  on  VT; Gascoine  couldn't  drive  which  made  filming  outdoor  scenes  more  complicated.

I  didn't  fancy  Gascoine  with  the  Leo  Sayer  perm  that  made  her  look  like  Kevin  Keegan  in  drag  and  the  rest  of  the  regular  cast  was  all  male  including  a  first  regular  TV role  ( up  to  1982 )  for  Casualty's  Derek  Thompson  who  had  his  own  bubble  perm.

The  series  finished  in  1984  although  Gascoine's  character  was  moved  into  a  new  series  C.A.T.S.  Eyes   which  I  enjoyed  rather  more.

1 comment:

  1. The bubble perm really wasn't a good look, was it? My mother and aunty sported ones too, and both are somewhat embarrassed about it 30-odd years on.

    Bryan Robson's circa 1981 was the worst, though! Lucky for him, he'd ditched it by the World Cup.