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.