Friday, 27 January 2012

TV'S First cops

Originally transmitted after, "The Toddlers Truce," in the popular Saturday evening slot, Fabian of the Yard would eventually move to Wednesday evenings. The show was inspired by the success of US shows such as Dragnet but also by real life Chief Detective Inspector Bob Fabian - the real Bob Fabian would pop up, talking to camera after the show, highlighting his real cases that had inspired that week's episode.

The show was a hit for CBS in the US where it was titled Patrol Car.

Trivia - When the real Bob Fabian retired from the Yard he went onto become the guardian of the questions on The 64,000 Question.

Unlike many TV shows of the day Fabian was made on film which gave it a much more realistic look than most of the studio-bound TV shows and several episodes were edited together to make feature films that recieved a cinema release - Fabian of the Yard (1954) and Handcuffs, London (1955).

The show was a huge success in its day and ran from 1954 - 1956 - I've seen several surviving episodes on tape and although the show is dated, it does hold up.

Dixon of Dock Green which came about in 1955 and incredibly ran until 1976 was an even bigger hit with the British public. George Dixon first saw light in the 1949 Rank film, The Blue Lamp and was promptly murdered by a young Dirk Bogarde. But the policeman had struck a chord with film fans and so creator, Ted Willis brought the character back when the BBC were looking for a replacement for Fabian of the Yard.

Episodes have from time to time been aired on BBC TV and there are also some clips on sites such as You Tube - the show is incredibly dated but it was showing it age even in its day. It's is incredible to think that the last series was shown when shows like The Sweeney were running.

Dixon's London is a city where crooks, when confronted by the police would hold out their hands to be cuffed and say, 'It's a fair cop,' And at the end of each episode Dixon would deliever a monologue into camera designed to reassure viewers that crimes such as these depicted were rare.

The show really is a TV classic - the scene of Dixon walking through the London smog, whistling, 'maybe it's because I'm a Londoner.' really is an iconic image of retro TV.

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