A gritty drama which follows the work of the Police force in the fictional northern English town of Newtown.
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13   12   11   10   9   8   7   6   5   … See all »
1978   1977   1976   1975   1974   1973   … See all »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
James Ellis James Ellis ...  Sgt. Lynch / ... 627 episodes, 1962-1978
John Slater ...  Det. Sgt. Stone 421 episodes, 1967-1974
Douglas Fielding ...  PC Quilley / ... 340 episodes, 1969-1978
Bernard Holley ...  PC Newcombe / ... 277 episodes, 1967-1971
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Storyline

A gritty drama which follows the work of the Police force in the fictional northern English town of Newtown.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

british | police | 1960s | 1970s | england | See All (7) »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 January 1962 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Freie Hand für Barlow See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(462 episodes) | (337 episodes)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Black and White (1962-1970)| Color (1970-1978)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Z-Victor 1, reg. KTJ 578, was Smith and Weir; Z-Victor 2 (348 VTB) was Lynch and Steele, latterly Graham. See more »

Goofs

Whilst taping 'moving vehicle' shots in studio, as technology was nowhere near as advanced as it is currently, it was so much simpler to use a 'stripped' version of the vehicles involved. Many such were missing their entire front ends and windscreens to facilitate both filming and sound recording. Continuous film was played on the screen behind, to give the impression that the vehicle was actually on the move during recording. Immediately after one such shot, actor Brian Blessed (PC 'Fancy' Smith) stepped out of the Z-car, and, having left his cap on the dashboard, reached in through the vacant windscreen space to retrieve it. Blessed himself spoke of this during a talk show some years later, but apparently neither the film crew nor the director noticed. See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Soundtracks

Z Cars Theme
Composed by Bridget Fry
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User Reviews

Z-Cars in perspective.
18 December 2004 | by juho69See all my reviews

Jeremy Kemp has to be one of the most striking actors there has ever been. In looks and voice!

It was because of him that I ever came to watch an episode of 'Z-Cars'. Completely by chance, I saw the episode of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' in which he played alongside Patrick Stewart. I was so struck by Jeremy Kemp that I tried to find out more about him and read in a book that he had been in 'Z-Cars'. And so began my interest in the series...

I was not born when it began in 1962 and my only memories of it before it ended in 1978 were as listings in the 'Radio Times'. The only episodes I have watched are the three on the video from the first series. Nevertheless, I should still like to comment on what I have seen of it.

From what I have read, the programme was made with the aid of the police force in Lancashire and was realistic in its portrayal of the police, their lives and work. This being the case, I should have been quite happy to be taken care of by the likes of Barlow, Steele and co. and would have felt reassured by their presence. They seemed to see their responsibilities simply as keeping law and order, protecting the innocent and bringing criminals to justice. No political correctness or community policing nonsense for them!

I can see why it probably raised a few eyebrows when it was first broadcast. The four young Police Constables, Steele, Lynch, Smith and Weir, were very different from George Dixon of Dock Green. However, no human is perfect and, I daresay, there were/are policemen who gambled on horse races, smoked like chimneys and chatted up young girls. It is more interesting to have rounded characters than stereotypes. Also, it showed that many people in the early 1960s still lived in poverty and tremendous hardship, which might not have been comfortable viewing for certain watchers.

The male-orientation of the early series (only one policewoman appears) would also have been typical of the period. This does not bother me in the slightest; writing as a young lady forty years later, I find it protective and reassuring. Also, complaints about the quality of the production seem unjustified when made by someone today; with the advances in technology, how can one possibly compare?

A word about P.C. Steele hitting his wife. Watching and reading about the occurrence several times, I would support his comment that it was an accident. It is never actually shown on screen; we see his wife, Janey, with a black eye and she openly explains to P.C. Lynch how it happened. Steele came in late for his dinner after promising he would be early. In her anger, his wife threw a hotpot of stew at him which missed narrowly and he, presumably fuelled by drink, struck out at her. To be classed as a wife-beater, in my opinion, Bob Steele would have to be physically assaulting his wife on a regular basis. It is clear that this does not happen so the label is unjustified. Indeed, Steele displays much tenderness and understanding towards Janey, particularly in a later episode when she starts receiving hate mail, as well as to members of the public, including a widowed mother whose children have been killed in a motorcycle accident.

I do wish that I had seen more of 'Z-Cars'. From watching the early episodes, I can say that I think I would have been attracted by its characters and stories, and would probably have become a regular viewer. I have managed to purchase some books of the series and have enjoyed reading those.

Incidentally, Jeremy Kemp left after the first series, which was a pity. It would have done the series much good to continue have such a striking actor in the programme - and such a striking policeman in the Lancashire force! He is now a character actor, mainly in films.


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