Skip to content

Classic TV: Z Cars – S01 E05 – Big Catch

24/06/2018

Z-Cars or Z Cars /ˈzɛd ˌkɑːrz/ was a British television drama series centred on the work of mobile uniformed police in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby, Lancashire (now Merseyside).

Produced by the BBC, it debuted in January 1962 and ran until September 1978. The series differed sharply from earlier police procedurals. With its less-usual Northern setting, it injected a new element of harsh realism into the image of the police, which some found unwelcome.

Z-Cars ran for a total of 801 episodes, of which fewer than half have survived.

Regular stars included: Stratford Johns (Detective Inspector Barlow), Frank Windsor (Det. Sgt Watt), James Ellis (Bert Lynch) and Brian Blessed (“Fancy” Smith). Barlow and Watt were later spun into a separate series Softly, Softly.

The name Z-Cars relates to an imaginary “Z” Division of the local constabulary. The stories revolve around pairs of officers patrolling that week. Riding on changing social attitudes and television, the social realism, with interesting stories, garnered popularity for Z Cars. It was initially somewhat unpopular with real-life police, who disliked the sometimes unsympathetic characterisation of officers.

Being set in the North of England helped give Z Cars a regional flavour when most BBC dramas were set in the south.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: