Last night s episode was a bit of a disappointment & I failed to stay awake until the end !
A bit of a slow plodder , which opened with the river police fishing a man s body from The Thames & later finding out he
was the husband of an MP & had a bit of a reputation as a womaniser , but I didn't get much further with the episode .
Despite featuring Patrick Mower , this episode lacked any real action . I think this is where we see the differences between Special Branch & The Sweeney , as there was rarely a Sweeney episode , that was so slow moving , you found yourself "nodding off" !!
I always have a chuckle during the title sequence , as we see a white Hillman Hunter driven into a pile of cardboard boxes . This "cheap car stunt" , is usually associated with 70s action series , mostly The Professionals & their Capris , however I don't ever recall seeing a car driven into a pile of boxes in the Professionals ! , so perhaps Special Branch introduced us to it after all
I watched Inquisition the other night - I’d forgotten what a snooze fest it was. Thankfully, Assault was much better. Had to laugh though when they burst into the attic at the antiques shop and Craven patted down the thief’s bare torso just in case he was hiding any weapons under his skin
That shop is now an estate agents:
Check out the brickwork and vent below the window:
“Jean Paul Belmondo and Mary Quant got stoned to say the least”.
Some of those episodes in S3, like Inquisition, seem like they're written for a studio/VT series like the first 2. The female interest leads me also to think that they were written with Derren Nesbitt's DI Jordan in mind. I thought the best one was with Geoffrey Bayldon holding the woman hostage in the flat.
In the episode about Heggarty's father being beaten up whilst using the underground, there's a scene towards the end of the episode of a busker playing in a station corridor. The song seems familiar but I can't think where I know it from.
I'm also fairly certain that I've heard something very similar to it recently by a current artist.
Anyone got any ideas?
I had a listen Baz and I could only make out what I think was 'I'm getting over you' being sung as a chorus, a song of this name which was released a few years ago by MIAS favourite Carly Rae Jepsen.
I doubt Ms Jepson would be a fan of Special Branch, but you never know.
Last nights episode of Special Branch , had a couple of connections to season 1 of The Professionals . Firstly , Craven was hot on the tail of a con man , David Flanagan , played by Michael Latimer , who was Greek terrorist Georgi in "Killer with a Long Arm " & secondly , Flanagan drove an orange Triumph Stag RVC425H , one of the first batch off the production line , which is seen in "Long Shot" & also The Sweeney episode "Latin Lady" . However , by then it has had a colour change , to a typical British Leyland 70s shade of chocolate brown . !
We have now reached the start of season 4 , on Forces TV , which I must say is a lot faster paced & more comparable to The Sweeney . Patrick Mower s character Haggerty now appears in the main titles as oppose to "guest star" previously .
The regular senior officers , played by Paul Eddington & Frederick Jaeger , help as well .
However , on to the most important part , the motors - It is now obvious that Euston Films has struck the deal with Ford , for supplying the main cars . Haggerty uses a bronze MK3 Cortina GT AVX661L , easily identified by its twin headlamps & "bottle top " style GT badge in the centre of the grille . The registration doesn't appear on the DVLA database , but is definitely a genuine Essex , Ford Motor Co plate . The tax expires in APR74 , which would indicate a registration date of May 1973 . Craven now drives a grey MK1 Granada GXL - AOO672L , also an Essex Ford plate . I think in some season 4 episodes we also see a police Consul GT , in "jam sandwich" livery .
In the first episode , Haggerty goes under cover as a "70s playboy" (the easiest piece of acting for Mower , in the entire series) , to investigate a dodgy photographer & uses his own car , a red F registered Lancia Fulvia , which is in reasonable condition , so must have been kept in a dry place for the past five years .
We also see numerous blue Hillman Hunters , as back up vehicles , which were still a favourite choice of transport for the real life "Special Branch" , up until the early 80s . I think they used them a lot for undercover work as they didn't stand out from the crowd , due to their design being well past its sell by date at this point
I tried to like this one but somehow couldn't! Not enough sex despite Craven being in a strip club in the credits every week!!! I've always like George'Knocker Pike' Sewell but somehow this show was too dry for me and The Sweeney it ain't! My late cousin was into all the hearthrobs of the seventies but she never liked Patrick Mower (Patrick Archibald Shaw) one bit and she always said there was something sinister about him! I think I sold the DVD sets about five years ago... JB
I've watched a few on Forces TV and it's a strange one.
In many ways, it's good and seemed to be getting better as we move into the 4th series. And yet, it never quite works. It's really as if they are trying to fit square pegs into round holes. It's neither The Sweeney nor The Professionals and yet it seems to contain elements of both. The music is good, the revamped end titles are brilliant (you can definitely see where The Sweeney got theirs from) and even the opening titles (now with added Mower!) make it all look very exciting. We've now got a silver Ford Granada (Consul?) and a bronze Ford Cortina, which make it look very Sweeney-ish. And yet Craven and Haggerty just don't gel the way Regan and Carter do and all the corridors of power cloak and dagger stuff seems at odds with the car chases, punch ups and hi-jacks.
What I am seeing is a series that was holding the door open for both The Sweeney and The Professionals to walk through and do everything they did ...but better. Last night's episode ('Jailbait') was actually pretty good and, dare I say it, very Sweeney-ish - watch it again and imagine Regan in there instead of Craven, Carter instead of Haggerty and Haskins instead of Fletcher and you'll see what I mean.
People shouldn't dismiss it, as I think that it's far from being bad and series four could certainly be said to have got Euston Films up to speed and able to hit the ground running with 'Regan' and The Sweeney. And let's not forget the immortal line, now inextricably linked to The Sweeney, that first appeared in Special Branch. You know the one I mean.
"Get yer trousers on... you're nicked!"
Need I say more?
"What are you two, some kind of music hall act?" "Whatever we are..." "...you made us!" "TA-DAA!!"
'Stand and Deliver' could have been an episode of The Professionals, although had it been, I suspect that the anti-tank weapon would have been fired as a demonstration of power and the episode would probably have ended with it blowing up! Having said that, it was great stuff, with a commanding performance from Dennis Waterman and a nice twist at the end
the weapon was next to useless, the new laser sight didn't work very well but they didn't want the opposition to know this
'Something About a Soldier' was brilliant. This could have been an episode of The Sweeney - the final climactic siege was Euston Films at their best, with a police car bursting through the shed doors, having been set alight by a Molotov cocktail, bullets being sprayed everywhere and a totally convincing death scene from Garfield Morgan. This was in the same league as similar sequences in 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' or 'Taste of Fear' etc...
Had there been more episodes like these - and had Special Branch run to at least one more colour series - then I think it would be more highly regarded and better remembered today.
"What are you two, some kind of music hall act?" "Whatever we are..." "...you made us!" "TA-DAA!!"
It would have been interesting to see how The Sweeney would have fared without Special Branch, as I reckon a lot of mistakes in SB which to be fair, were rectified by the end, must have helped them get it so right with The Sweeney.
Last nights episode was a pretty boring & involved story which revolved around a group of German political activists
However , it contained one of the most hilarious car chases , I have seen for a while .
If you were the wife of a leading German political activist & you wanted to make a rapid escape from two pursuing Special Branch officers in a 2.0 Cortina GT , you would choose an appropriate vehicle . So probably the last thing on your list , would be a 1970 Volkswagen Type 3 Variant , with a 1600 air cooled engine .
What we get is plenty of speeded up footage of the VW , hairing around the same London side street , as though it is competing in the Forest stages of the RAC Rally , with the Cortina hot on its tail .
It then performed a "Dukes of Hazzard " style leap onto a piece of wasteground , that looked familiar from The Sweeney , before the Cortina did exactly the same .
Both vehicles landed on their wheels , totally unscathed !!
There was also an obvious stunt double , for Patrick Mower , driving the Cortina . I would guess Peter Brayham
A couple of motors worth a mention in last nights episode , Strand (Paul Eddington ) , is seen briefly in a dark coloured Rover P5B coupe , with a light grey roof , which unfortunately we don't see enough of to clock the number plate .
A good old British motor , as oppose to Jerry Leadbetter s yellow Volvo estate , in The Good Life !
We also see a Consul GT , in police "jam sandwich " livery YOO300L , which appeared in numerous other shows around the same time . I also recall it appearing in an episode of Enid Blyton s Famous Five , which was filmed at least five to six years later . I think this was also leant out by Ford , to various police forces to "try out" , with a view to adding them to their fleet , which they probably didn't need to do , once The Sweeney had aired !!!!!
Ford probably owned YOO 300L at the time of 'Special Branch' - as it was in police livery, maybe it was sold in later life to a company that hired vehicles out for film & TV, hence it appeared in such as 'The Famous Five'?