"Good evening, all."Dixon of Dock Green
— Sergeant George Dixon (first words of each episode)
was a long-running Police Procedural
from The BBC
. It ran from 1955 to 1976. Set in the fictional Dock Green police station and area of London, the series focused on Sgt. George Dixon, Old-Fashioned Copper
in every sense of the word that doesn't involve Gene Hunt
and The Sweeney
-style shenanigans. In short: a British Bobby.
Although it occasionally dealt with corruption and "bent coppers", the portrayal of the police was overwhelmingly sympathetic (and the criminals usually caught and "banged up"). This niceness left the show open to criticism and its supremacy as top UK cop show was eventually challenged by the altogether grittier Z Cars
and downright violent The Sweeney
A key feature of the show was the Framing Device
of an opening to-camera narration by Dixon which always began, "Good evening, all," (shortened in popular usage to "Evening, all,") and a closing narration-cum-homily which nearly always ended, "Goodnight, all."
The character of George Dixon was originally encountered in the Ealing Studios
movie The Blue Lamp
(1950), in which he was shot to death (by Dirk Bogarde's young tough).
Contains examples of:
- Catch Phrase: "Good evening, all" (the good has been dropped in popular usage)
- Framing Device: The opening and closing narrations
- Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: An episode saw Dixon collaring a corrupt colleague, demanding that the corrupt copper remove his uniform (jacket only - this is a family show) so that Dixon could arrest him.
- Old-Fashioned Copper: Dixon is most definitely one of these, but in the positive sense: incorruptible. Indeed, he's the Trope Codifier for that version.
- Recycled: The Series: Recycled from The Blue Lamp.
- Spared by the Adaptation: George Dixon was shot dead in the original movie.
- Spin-Off: From a movie, in this case.
- Tone Shift: While it often gets held up for its unerringly positive portrayal of both the police and the work that they do, the series did take a turn towards Darker and Edgier in the 1970s, presumably in response to the likes of The Sweeney. The Dock Green police found themselves facing a more hardcore type of villain, and the previous ban on mentioning corruption in the police force was relaxed. For example, the episode "Eye-Witness" sees the police face up against a major league criminal gang known for murder and extortion, with links through-out Europe and the UK, where mention is made of the gang having "pipelines" into local police up and down the country as a source of information. Another 1970s episode, "Harry's Back", focuses on a criminal who comes back to the UK and who is said to have had got away with a lot of his crimes back in the day in part through bribing corrupt coppers. Naturally George Dixon himself remains utterly incorruptable throughout...
- Written-In Infirmity: Around halfway through the series run, Dixon was promoted to Sergeant and started spending more time behind a desk while younger coppers did the leg work. This was to accommodate Jack Warner's advancing age and arthritis.