Eye For Film >> Movies >> Redcap: The Complete Second Series (1966) Film Review
This is vintage TV drama, grainy film and a proud black-and-white animated credit that proclaims, "an ABC production". Then the excellent theme tune, played on snare drums and xylophone, a sadly underused combination. Photos of John Thaw (as a boy) in the uniform of a military policeman, and the title graphics give way to the set-up scene, where Sgt. John Mann (Thaw) arrives and is informed about the details of the case he is to investigate. Classically plotted stories of human interest against the varying exotic backgrounds of the British Army's outposts - Cyprus, Germany, the Far East, all most probably simulated at Shepperton.
There are few surprises except for good writing, engaging stories and brilliant performances by stalwarts of UK drama, such as Edward Fox, John Junkin, that "I say, eee I say" bloke off Corrie, Brian Cox, Peter Bowles and many more. These players turn out some fine characters with an interesting array of regional accents - broad Brummie, a particularly cod "by 'eck" Boltonian, a few varieties of Scots and Welsh. The stories revolve around the class divide, women trouble, theft, psychos, a VC and assorted killers and murderers, and we see the genesis of the good cop/bad cop interrogation technique, used later by Thaw in his many future incarnations from The Sweeney to Inspector Morse.
As stated above, this is vintage stuff. It feels like it was shot live in one take, with two or three cameras. If an actor makes a mistake, or fluffs a line, it can be left in the scene, most noticeably with a boom shadow, or the whole mike popping down into shot. There are a few racist jokes, more "sweating like a nigger" phrases that simply are not in general use the way they were back then. The sex issue is present in a few of the episodes, as wife or girlfriend trouble, and homosexuality is hinted at in a very clever episode, The Alibi, starring Keith Baron.
Overall, this is a fascinating introduction to The Thaw Experience on televison.Reviewed on: 17 Mar 2006