Derren Nesbitt may not be quite so well remembered now but back in the day he was very much the popular action man, cast in the same mould as Patrick McGoohan he was at the height of his powers when he starred in the first series of Thames classic Special Branch and funnily enough the Special Branch that most people will probably remember, that of the Patrick Mower and George Sewell era of kick down the door first and ask questions later era is a different kind of show altogether, much more of a police/spy procedural than a thick ear show.
Nesbitt is the lead as Inspector Jordan and for the time was something of an original, his maverick womanising ways might be the stuff of every genre show you see now but back in 1969 he was leading the field somewhat, his immediate superior was initially Superintendant Eden (Wensley Pithey) (he
appears in the first seven episodes before being replaced by Fulton McKay's Inman).
Like all classic TV drama re-watched today the pace is much slower and all the better for it, scripts are allowed to breathe (for example the first ten minutes of the brilliant first episode Troika take place around the table in the briefing room) and the production team actually allow for the fact that intelligent viewers might be watching rather than the jump cut zoom around all style and no substance that makes up modern TV.
Distributor: Network DVD
Certificate: PG | Region: 2 | 4 disc set | 700 minutes
Derren Nesbitt, Fulton McKay, Wensley Pithey, Jennifer Wilson