Z-Cars – 1962

Stepping away from comedy for a while to look at some more classic TV.

Z-Cars was a British TV drama series whose stories revolved around the work of mobile uniformed police in the fictional town of Newtown, based on Kirkby in the outskirts of Liverpool.

Produced by the BBC, it made it’s debut in January 1962 and ran until September 1978, clocking up some 800 episodes in the process (799+1 un-broadcast).

The series original run came to an end in 1965, however three of the show’s main characters: Barlow, Watt and Blackitt were spun off into a new series Softly, Softly.

Z-Cars was  revived in March 1967 with only James Ellis and Joseph Brady from the original show.  The revival was produced by the serials department of the BBC in a twice-weekly soap opera format of 25-minute episodes.  It ran in this format until April 1971 (in colour from early 1970), then returned to a regular season pattern of 50-minute episodes for its final years.

Whilst popular with the viewing public, surprisingly the show was initially less popular with real-life police, who disliked the sometimes unsympathetic characterisation of officers.

Z-Cars differed sharply from earlier police procedurals.  Set in the North of England, it injected a new element of harsh realism into the image of the police, which some found unwelcome.



The stories revolve around pairs of officers patrolling that week.  Riding on changing social attitudes and television, the social realism, with interesting stories, the show gained in popularity.







Main Cast

James Ellis
Brian Blessed
Stratford Johns
Frank Windsor
Jeremy Kemp
Joseph Brady
Colin Welland


Channel: BBC1
Created By: Troy Kennedy Martin and Allan Prior
Original Transmission Dates: 2nd January 1962 – 20th September 1978


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