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The most beloved of British serials that ran for 430 episodes for an entire
generation - and no-one appears to have thought this worth commenting on!
series before or since has generated the viewer affection that PC George
An extension of the tremendously popular Basil Dearden film of 1950 entitled THE BLUE LAMP, brit actor Jack Warner was so typecast in this role, he received truck-loads of fan-mail for almost twenty years addressed simply to "PC Dixon." He was loved and idolised by millions right up until his death from pneumonia in 1981.
I remember clearly the first episode in 1955, it was just one week after we got television...a tiny 12" screen in grainy black and white! I watched that show all my childhood. I grew up with the characters in it, yet PC Dixon NEVER changed. The epitome of one's concept of British dignity and decency, PC Dixon had a heart bigger than any. Selfless, tireless, incorruptible and representing pretty much everything that modern society has rid itself of, the stalwart of fictional Dock Green Police Station rode his bike from adventure to adventure. No smart comments, no punch-ups, bad language ANYTHING vaguely indelicate. Yet you KNEW after each episode that crime really does not pay and that we all had a choice in life.
I wish more than anything that I could meet PC Dixon today. He alone could re-establish my childhood beliefs and dreams.
This was British TV's original police series. I'm not old enough to remember the early days of this show, but I grew up with it in the sixties and seventies. At the time, Dixon of Dock Green already seemed old fashioned compared with Z-cars or US shows like Ironside. It was a cozy and faintly sentimental representation of policing. Despite this, it retained a certain authenticity that other shows lacked. The police officers that I had met had more in common with Dixon than any other TV character. Jack Warner's perennial character George Dixon oozed calm authority and respectable self-assurance. Each programme was introduced by the whistled theme tune after which George Dixon would always begin a spoken introduction direct to camera with the words "Evening all". He would make dry observations about "villains" and the frailties of human nature. The episode's drama would then be played out. By the seventies Dixon himself rarely played a huge part in the story; he was pretty old. The programme would end with Dixon again; this time proposing a moral for the story. He invariably signed off with the words "'Night all". They don't make shows like this any more. Pity.
"Evening All." Dixon of Dock Green-which ran for 21 years and about 429
episodes-was a fine show about a salt of the earth copper called P.C. George
Dixon who was played by Jack Warner. He looked far to old to be a police
officer but that didn't matter to me.
I believe this is the longest running British police show ever (although that record may be beaten by The Bill in a few years time). It was entertaining stuff and I wish someone would release it onto DVD.
Watching the show now, you may think Dixon is an old fashioned relic but back when this show was broadcast, that is the way coppers were. The police has evolved since then but I will always have a place in my heart for P.C. Dixon.
P.C. Dixon was a good copper-he was honest, he was firm but fair when doing his job and he was a friendly local bobby. The stories were extremely interesting as was the dialogue. And the ending of the episodes were good as Dixon stood beneath the police stations lamp giving his thoughts for the day before walking off and whistling.
Eventually, Dixon was promoted to Desk Sergeant and the younger officers did the legwork but the stories were still top-notch.
This is probably the best representation of the police force in TV history and I urge anyone to try and get their hands on any of the episodes. It really was good.
PC George Dixon died just 21 minutes into the film _The Blue Lamp (1950)_ (qv). When filler was needed after a season of _"Fabian of the Yard" (1954)_ (qv) ended 'Ted Willis' (qv) wrote six scripts with PC Dixon back in Dock Green. The series was steady, authentic, and even down to checking that: a) The helmet is kept on when entering a house, but b) is, out of courtesy, when addressing elderly ladies, and c) is removed and held neatly under the right arm when addressing a bishop. [not sure how many bishops where in the programme though] At a time when New York City would see more murders inn a week than Great Britain would in a year it is not surprising that Dock Green was a series of low-level crimes. A gentle series which meant George Dixon's promotion to sergeant in 1964 was a big change , caused in part by 'Jack Warner' (qv)'s arthritis and by his age . (70-year-old coppers don't walk the beat). This allowed the younger characters to come to the fore, although the violent crime rate was never increased just to keep ratings share. Jack's age and arthritis meant his character rarely left the station, and in the final seasons, rarely came from behind his desk. In 1976 the newer, more violent, cop shows won, and Dock Green Station finally closed its doors. Still, 21 minutes to 21 years isn't bad. Evenin' all
I'm afraid we all took this TV cop series for granted when it was on
you don't know what you've got till it's gone. 432 episodes were
broadcast 1955-1976, over 400 of them junked by the BBC all the way up
to 1975 and not many illegally filmed by any of the TV viewers at the
time either. It was PC George Dixon's, sorry, Jack Warner's show, it
suited his avuncular personality down to the ground. In his case
familiarity bred warmth. His weekly homily could range from you to be
on your guard for scams to children to know their kerb drill, and other
such laudable aims. When he started to get too old to pound the beat
and others took up the stories instead it started to lose that special
feeling the real world began to creep in. Saturday evenings were
never the same again. When he stopped pounding the beat I think every
copper in Britain must have done so too, and hardly any have been seen
The Roaring Boy broadcast 18.08.56: The programme was played live as was everything then and is one of a small group from the same period that managed to avoid being binned afterwards. Dixon has to check on whether army deserter skinny Kenneth Cope has been sighted in the neighbourhood, by going to see his girlfriend. He finds him and we're in for a tense psychological 15 minutes as psychological as Dixon was ever likely to get anyway. The story was bookended with an old lady gossipping to the station Sergeant which was reminiscent of Mrs. Lopsided in The Ladykillers which Warner had recently been in, even managing to be a Superintendent there. Peter Byrne who played Detective Andy for all those years made a brief appearance shortly before his marriage to Dixon's daughter Mary.
Unsensational and unrealistic as it may have been, 40 years ago it was as realistic as I wanted anything to get and want to get now. I don't need to graphically see how bad the baddies are because I don't consider myself to be one. And of course, were cops ever part of their communities as depicted at Dock Green? But great to see again to check how much our lovely society has progressed since then.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As with many of the contributors, I'm old enough to remember the age in
which Pc George Dixon was set. And I can attest to encountering several
rozzers just like him. He was the sort of bloke that made other kids -
usually working-class kids - want to join the force when they grew up.
Because despite the programme's age, and despite the fact that he
represented the establishment through the law; he himself was
working-class through and through.
A staid and stable geezer with no particular ambition than to sign-off each day, comfortable in the knowledge that he had done his duty and that his little patch of the world was better for it. To coin a line from a popular hymn; 'the trivial round, the common task; should furnish all we ought to ask'.
He didn't wield the law like a big stick. He wasn't concerned with crime clear-up statistics or political correctness. He didn't need a companion or a radio. He persuaded and cajoled miscreants, only taking them 'in charge' as a last resort, as that would lead to a criminal record. His was the familiar and trustworthy face of the law.
The real charm of this programme was both the simple decency of the man portrayed, and the glamourless, un-sensational presentation of life on the force. How things have changed.
Jack Warner made this part his own. Absolutely nobody could have done it better.
A few years later came an almost equally plausible copper in slightly more dramatic situations. This was Commander Gideon of 'Gideon's Way'. Another thoroughly nice salt-of-the earth persona was offered by wonderful George Gregson. This program is still available on VHS/DVD and is highly recommended as an alternative piece of nostalgia.
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