Network On Air (studio)
18 September 2017 (released)
07 October 2017
D.S. Rockliffe (Ian Hogg) has 7 'babies' in all and it would seem these babies really do need their 'daddy'. This was a reasonably BBC-produced popular police procedural' series back 1987 and spawned three series – (the less successful Series 3 titled Rockliffe’s Folly is not included in this set).
It is pretty obvious from the well meaning but hopeless ineptitude young London crime squad P.C.'s that they are pretty much lost – our plain-clothed ambitionistas are: Steve Hood (Brett Fancy), Gerry O’Dowd (Joe McGann), Janice Hargreaves (Alphonisa Emmanuel), David Adams (Bill Champion), Paul Georgious (Martyn Ellis), Karen Walsh (Susanna Shelling) and Keith Chitty (John Blakely). The series begins with a bit of a shaky start when D.S. Rockliffe is off thanks to a bout of flu. DI Charlie Flight (Edward Wilson) does his best to step in but these youngsters are, er... Rockliffes Babies!
The cases the ‘babies’ cover are by and large pretty mundane which is probably quite near the truth in reality. The charm of the series is the relationship between the seven PCs. They are all only too human - like P.C. Steve Hood is a bit of an uneducated yob to say the least and his middle class partner P.C. David Adams has a taste for classical music and reads books (‘Ten Days that Shook the World’).
WPC Karen Walsh has a bit of a drink problem and is a bit morally lose unlike P.C. Paul Geogiou who she fancies but he is a bit of a prude, a bit dim (he is portrayed as a Welsh stereotype after all) though not lacking in courage. In fact all the babes are quite courageous which is only as it should be. Often they are all called to go undercover, as they are all plain-clothes officers anyway. W.P.C. Janet Hargreaves would appear to be the brightest of the bunch. Perhaps it would have been interesting to see if she - bearing this was filmed 30 years ago, as a black woman would have made it into the C.I.D. We all know that the senior ranking government big-wig is going to get off lightly when caught burgling and P.C. Adams is nearly killed. By nowadays standards the cases don’t come across as too thrilling (compared to the excellent SILENT WITNESS to name but one example) and invariably have inevitable conclusions, whether it be a hold-up complete with hostage situation in a corner shop, crimes on a notorious council estate, dodgy goings in in a hospital, racial tension among one of the black communities and more.
We have some decent performances on hand here. Stage actor Ian Hogg is really first rate as Rockliffe, although not the most demanding of parts. Edward Wilson (perhaps known as the artistic director of the National Youth Theatre) lends considerable weight to his D.I.Flight despite still having the same South Shields lisp he had in 'When The Boat Comes In'. Malcolm Terris (another refugee from that series) as DS Munro is also on hand. And Joe McGann gives us a fair bit of Scouse gusto as PC O'Dowd. This is not exactly the most exciting of series and one cannot imagine anyone dashing home to see it even 30 years ago. The Sweeney it ain't but then that was The Flying Squad. W.P.C.
The theme music by Paul Hart and Joe Campbell is to be commended. Some consider, one is informed, that the theme was the best thing about the series. That is perhaps a little harsh and you could spend 48 quid on something infinitely worse.