A gritty drama which follows the work of the police force in the fictional northern English town of Newtown.



1978   1977   1976   1975   1974   1973   … See all »
2 wins. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Persuaders! (1971–1972)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Two worlds collide when the titled Englishman, Lord Brett Sinclair, and the Bronx-raised, self-made American Danny Wilde, reluctantly join forces to right wrongs, and to protect the innocent.

Stars: Tony Curtis, Roger Moore, Laurence Naismith
The Sweeney (1975–1978)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Jack Regan is a hard edged detective in the Flying Squad of London's Metropolitan Police. He pursues villains by methods which are underhanded and often illegal themselves, frequently violent and more often than not successful.

Stars: John Thaw, Dennis Waterman, Garfield Morgan
Dixon of Dock Green (1955–1976)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Constable George Dixon and his colleagues at the Dock Green police station in the East End of London deal with petty crime, successfully controlling it through common sense and human understanding.

Stars: Jack Warner, Peter Byrne, Geoffrey Adams
Steptoe and Son (1962–2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Classic 1960s British comedy series about a thirty-something year-old man named Harold and his elderly father, Albert, who work as rag and bone men (collecting and selling junk). Harold is ... See full summary »

Stars: Wilfrid Brambell, Harry H. Corbett, Frank Thornton
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Disillusioned after a long career at Sunshine Desserts, Perrin goes through a mid-life crisis and fakes his own death. Returning in disguise after various attempts at finding a 'new life', ... See full summary »

Stars: Leonard Rossiter, Pauline Yates, John Barron
Rising Damp (1974–1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Popular sitcom set in a seedy bedsit lorded over by the mean, vain, boastful, cowardly and racist landlord Rigsby. In each episode, his conceits are debunked by his long suffering tenants.

Stars: Leonard Rossiter, Don Warrington, Frances de la Tour
The Two Ronnies (1971–1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Long running BBC comedy show consisting of sketches and humourous musical routines involving the large Ronnie Barker and the small Ronnie Corbett. Most sketches involved both men, but ... See full summary »

Stars: Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, The Fred Tomlinson Singers
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When Algernon discovers that his friend, Ernest, has created a fictional brother for whenever he needs a reason to escape dull country life, Algernon poses as the brother, resulting in ever increasing confusion.

Director: Anthony Asquith
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Richard Wattis, Michael Denison
Wycliffe (TV Series 1994)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Set in Cornwall, Detective Superintendent Charles Wycliffe, who works along with his colleagues DI Doug Kersey and DI Lucy Lane, investigates murder cases with his trademark determination and clinical accuracy.

Stars: Jack Shepherd, Helen Masters, Jimmy Yuill
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Norman is working in the stock room of a large London department store, but he has ambition (doesn't he always !!), he wants to be a window dresser making up the public displays. Whilst ... See full summary »

Director: John Paddy Carstairs
Stars: Norman Wisdom, Moira Lister, Megs Jenkins
Waking the Dead (TV Series 2000)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd is the leader of a police team which investigates unsolved murders using modern technology.

Stars: Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston, Wil Johnson
Softly Softly (1966–1969)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Softly Softly was a drama series about a West Country police force solving local crime. It was a spin-off from another BBC drama series, Z Cars.

Stars: Stratford Johns, Frank Windsor, Norman Bowler


Series cast summary:
James Ellis ...
 Sgt. Lynch / ... 627 episodes, 1962-1978
John Slater ...
 Det. Sgt. Stone 421 episodes, 1967-1974
 PC Newcombe / ... 277 episodes, 1967-1971


A gritty drama which follows the work of the police force in the fictional northern English town of Newtown.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama





Release Date:

2 January 1962 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Freie Hand für Barlow  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


(462 episodes) | (337 episodes)

Sound Mix:


(1962-1970)| (1970-1978)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Before he became famous as a film star, Sir Michael Caine turned down the part of Police Constable Bob Steele, as he did not want to be typecast in a television series. It went to Jeremy Kemp. See more »


Z Cars Theme
Composed by Bridget Fry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Z-Cars in perspective.
18 December 2004 | by See all my reviews

Jeremy Kemp has to be one of the most striking actors there has ever been. In looks and voice!

It was because of him that I ever came to watch an episode of 'Z-Cars'. Completely by chance, I saw the episode of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' in which he played alongside Patrick Stewart. I was so struck by Jeremy Kemp that I tried to find out more about him and read in a book that he had been in 'Z-Cars'. And so began my interest in the series...

I was not born when it began in 1962 and my only memories of it before it ended in 1978 were as listings in the 'Radio Times'. The only episodes I have watched are the three on the video from the first series. Nevertheless, I should still like to comment on what I have seen of it.

From what I have read, the programme was made with the aid of the police force in Lancashire and was realistic in its portrayal of the police, their lives and work. This being the case, I should have been quite happy to be taken care of by the likes of Barlow, Steele and co. and would have felt reassured by their presence. They seemed to see their responsibilities simply as keeping law and order, protecting the innocent and bringing criminals to justice. No political correctness or community policing nonsense for them!

I can see why it probably raised a few eyebrows when it was first broadcast. The four young Police Constables, Steele, Lynch, Smith and Weir, were very different from George Dixon of Dock Green. However, no human is perfect and, I daresay, there were/are policemen who gambled on horse races, smoked like chimneys and chatted up young girls. It is more interesting to have rounded characters than stereotypes. Also, it showed that many people in the early 1960s still lived in poverty and tremendous hardship, which might not have been comfortable viewing for certain watchers.

The male-orientation of the early series (only one policewoman appears) would also have been typical of the period. This does not bother me in the slightest; writing as a young lady forty years later, I find it protective and reassuring. Also, complaints about the quality of the production seem unjustified when made by someone today; with the advances in technology, how can one possibly compare?

A word about P.C. Steele hitting his wife. Watching and reading about the occurrence several times, I would support his comment that it was an accident. It is never actually shown on screen; we see his wife, Janey, with a black eye and she openly explains to P.C. Lynch how it happened. Steele came in late for his dinner after promising he would be early. In her anger, his wife threw a hotpot of stew at him which missed narrowly and he, presumably fuelled by drink, struck out at her. To be classed as a wife-beater, in my opinion, Bob Steele would have to be physically assaulting his wife on a regular basis. It is clear that this does not happen so the label is unjustified. Indeed, Steele displays much tenderness and understanding towards Janey, particularly in a later episode when she starts receiving hate mail, as well as to members of the public, including a widowed mother whose children have been killed in a motorcycle accident.

I do wish that I had seen more of 'Z-Cars'. From watching the early episodes, I can say that I think I would have been attracted by its characters and stories, and would probably have become a regular viewer. I have managed to purchase some books of the series and have enjoyed reading those.

Incidentally, Jeremy Kemp left after the first series, which was a pity. It would have done the series much good to continue have such a striking actor in the programme - and such a striking policeman in the Lancashire force! He is now a character actor, mainly in films.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 8 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page