Van der Valk (TV Series 1972–1992) Poster


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The Dutch Columbo
pmiano10020 January 2007
I first saw it when I visited Britain in 1977. I was intrigued by the anomaly (to me) of a British TV show about a Dutch police detective. I enjoyed it and continued to watch it every time I visited Britain, which was often as I had gotten a job requiring it. Some of the actors spoke with British accents while others spoke with Dutch accents, but that was no big deal. After all, aren't we the country that gave the world Robin Hood with an American accent? The only thing that really bothered me was that it apparently never got on American TV, at least not that I knew. It would be great if BBC America were to broadcast the reruns. Barry Foster was a great actor, perfectly cast. I suppose it didn't make it "across the pond" because he used brains instead of brawn and guns, and we already had Lt. Columbo.
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Theme became a Top 40 hit
Bruce Corneil4 June 2003
TV drama based around the daily "Goings On" at an Amsterdam police station . The show's musical theme was called "Eye Level" . Written by Dutch composer Jack Trombey and performed by England's Simon Park Orchestra, the track went on to become a major Top 40 hit in the early 1970s and eventually sold in excess of a million copies world wide.
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Highly-Recommended Amsterdam intrigue...
Callum Gee30 November 2015
In between the TV showings of the original series of "Special Branch" (1969) and "The Sweeney" (1975), Thames Television delivered a classic piece of Detective fiction in the form of "Van Der Valk" - Commissaris Piet (Simon) Van Der Valk of the Dutch CID based in Amsterdam. It was a very good updated take on the character from a series of best- selling novels by Author Nicolas Freeling and a superlative characterisation by actor Barry Foster in the lead role. Furthermore, it was the marrying of Foster's performance with the intelligent and gritty realism of the scripts and location that made this a must-see of the time (the entire five series - 32 Episodes in total - was made over a twenty-year period). As a youngster, I was more familiar with the third series (1977) which was made by Euston Films for Thames, but watching the episodes of the original series from 1972 and 1973 (2nd series) was most enjoyable too as it not only gave us an insight into how the character of Van Der Valk was originally conceived for television, but also allowed us to experience the production process of the time - a mix of VT (studio) and film (location) work that assisted in the unfolding of the drama. The city of Amsterdam is beautifully captured in each and every overcast shot of period detail - trams, bikes, canals, cars and bars all add to the realistic take on a glorious setting. There was a gap of almost 14 years before the decision was finalised to commence work on the fourth series (screened 1991) and by this time the episodes were produced for a longer format: a two-hour time slot (the trend of the time). However, it was wonderful to see the older Barry Foster continue his memorable characterisation all those years on, and I felt that the series had lost none of that gritty style and intelligence that gave it an endearing quality almost two decades previously. In these longer early '90's episodes there is obviously an emphasis on the changing face of culture and environment, and a new face is added to the Van Der Valk family - namely an adopted daughter called Ruth who has a young child. The Van Der Valk's eldest son, Wim is also in the employ of the Amsterdam Police as an Inspector, and he plays a considerable part in some of the case-cracking proceedings of these later episodes, and reference is also given to his brother in the final series (1992) although he never makes an appearance. Overall, 'Van Der Valk' is a highly-recommended viewing experience especially for those entertained by the crime fiction genre.
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Great TV series set in Amsterdam
zensixties17 July 2000
I saw this British TV series a few times on PBS and I loved it. I love the theme song as well. It features Barry Foster as a detective in Amsterdam (it's all in English) investigating various crimes. One I remember is some Yugoslavs were ripped off by a tractor salesman who dies, and they are the suspects.
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Barry Foster classic
marc-36-47396324 June 2014
I think I must have seen a few episodes as reruns in the late seventies,always after News at Ten. After a recent visit to Amsterdam I remembered the original and wanted to see it again so bought the box set. Barry Foster is very good and was clearly a fine actor. He has some really good scenes that exploits to the full Filmed in Amsterdam in colour you get to see the sights. The plots are complex and some scenes may seem a little laboured by modern standards but the show really holds up well against Wallender, Montalbano etc. If there is a production company out there looking for the next European detective they couldn't do much better than resurrect one of the originals, Commissaris Piet van der Valk and pay tribute to the excellent Barry Foster who made the part.
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Great theme
badaboom-29 October 2003
Has the distinction (IMHO) of being the TV show with the best ever theme music. Track it down on the net if you haven't heard it.

Oh, and it was a great detective show also.
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