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  • Sergeant Cork is a police procedural set in the 1890's, that ran between 1963 and 1968 on ITV in the UK. It is based on the Criminal Investigation Department of Scotland Yard, which was a new department focused on introducing new techniques in the detection of crime. It stars John Barrie as Sergeant Cork and William Gaunt as Detective Constable Bob Marriott.

    The first two series depict a do-good police sergeant tackling crime in a grimy and impoverished class based system in London and makes telling points about the treatment of people in society at the time. In the later series, the type of cases is more varied and less focused on the under privileged. In the later series, Marriott sometimes takes a major role in solving the cases. It is possible that John Barrie was over committed as he was also involved in Z-Cars at the same time.

    In many ways the series was ground breaking with its moralising and technique - it had one of the first portrayals of a siege on TV. The cases were predictable and there was not much tension, however I found the show quite watchable. The quality was OK, however, there were not enough re-takes - quite a few stumbles with the dialog and there was the odd moving wall and stray boom microphone in the shot. Shot in black and white, all 66 episodes have survived.
  • I used to enjoy 'Sergeant Cork' on Saturday evenings in the mid-1960s, not least with a fish and chip supper. Freddie Fowler's character Chalky was something of a scene stealer: 'Here's your tea, Sergeant - it's just how you like it: as hot as Hell and as strong as the Devil'. I paraphrase the quote today still, on occasion. Towards the end of the series, production standards seemed to slip - certainly it seemed like live television. I never found Charlie Rodway particularly convincing - sorry. Bruce Forsyth paid tribute to the show's two main characters in one of his Sunday Night shows around 1964.