From 1973, this action-drama series was the forerunner to "The Sweeney" and aimed squarely at the same audience. The third series of Special Branch was the first production made by Thames Television's Euston Films. Unlike previous British police series, it was resolutely unglamorous and the location filming effectively created a grimmer vision of London's backwaters.
From series 3 onwards, Special Branch starred George Sewell as DCI Craven. A short way into filming, the producers decided that one main character could not carry the show, and so early in production Patrick Mower was drafted in to play DI Haggerty and told to give the show a "kick up the arse". The transmission order was juggled so that Haggerty appeared throughout the run.
It is reputedly the first series to use "Get your trousers on... you're nicked", a line that epitomises an entire era of police drama.
Detective Chief Inspector Craven George Sewell
Inspector Haggerty Patrick Mower
Detective Sergeant North Roger Rowland
Chief Superintendent Richard Leech
Pam Sheila Scott Wilkinson
Guest stars include Peter Jeffrey, Tony Selby, Barry Jackson, Roger Lloyd Pack, Stephanie Beacham, Michael Gambon, Geoffrey Bayldon, Elisabeth Sladen, Nadim Sawalha and Kenneth J Warren
1. A Copper Called Craven by Roger Marshall
TX: 4th April, 1973
Inspector Craven finds himself under suspicion of accepting a bribe.
2. Round The Clock by Tom Brennand and Roy Bottomley
TX: 11th April, 1973
Haggerty's appointment to Special Branch immediately brings him into conflict with Craven - he believes that Craven is on the trail of a main who is already dead.
3. Inquisition by Trevor Preston
TX: 18th April, 1973
Craven finds the tables turned when he is accused of hounding a self-confessed fraud.
4. Assault by Tom Brennand and Roy Bottomley
TX: 25th April, 1973
Haggerty and Craven target a team of vicious muggers.
5. Polonaise by Alan Scott and Chris Bryant
TX: 2nd May, 1973
The Special Branch team are assigned to protect the captain of a Polish passenger and cargo ship who believs he is going to be killed.
6. Red Herringk by Peter Hill
TX: 9th May, 1973
Special Branch joins forces with a bomb-disposal expert to stop a terrorist bombing campaing in the heart of London.
7. Death By Drowning by John Kershaw
TX: 16th May, 1973
The body of a young girl is found floating in the Thames - is it murder, suicide or something worse?
8. All The King's Men by Trevor Preston
TX: 23rd May, 1973
A deranged man has taken a hostage and threatens to blow up a block of flats. Craven must act quickly to avert disaster.
9. Threat by Tom Brennand and Roy Bottomley
TX: 6th June, 1973
The Special Branch team are assigned to protect a visiting Hollywood star who is targeted for murder.
10. The Other Man by Roger Marshall
TX: 13th June, 1973
Craven finds himself investigating a man accused of being a traitor, but has his doubts as to the truthfulness of the accusations.
11. You Won't Remember Me by Anthony Skene
TX: 20th June, 1973
Craven is puzzled as to why he has been asked to carry out twenty-four hour surveillance on a couple who are engaged to be married.
12. Hostage by John Kershaw
TX: 27th June, 1973
Craven and Haggerty are under the gun to find a kidnapped diplomat's daughter before she is killed.
13. Blueprint For Murder by Peter Hill and Ian Black
TX: 4th July, 1973
The team is assigned to protect a visiting foreign diplomat.
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Special Branch - series 1
Special Branch - series 2
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