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Series / Dixon of Dock Green

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Jack Warner as Dixon.

"Good evening, all."
Sergeant George Dixon (first words of each episode)

Dixon of Dock Green was a long-running (195576) Police Procedural series from The BBC. Set in the fictional Dock Green police station on the East End of London, the series focused on Sgt. George Dixon (Jack Warner), an old-fashioned British Copper in every sense of the term which doesn't evoke Gene Hunt and The Sweeney-style shenanigans.

Although it occasionally dealt with corruption and "bent coppers", the show's portrayal of the police was overwhelmingly sympathetic (with the criminals usually caught and "banged up"). This niceness left the series increasingly open to criticism as times changed, and its status as the top UK cop show was eventually challenged by the altogether grittier Z Cars and downright violent The Sweeney.

A key feature of the series was the Framing Device of Dixon directly addressing the camera (and the audience) with an Opening Narration that 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 portrayed by Jack Warner in the Ealing Studios movie The Blue Lamp (1950), in which he was shot to death by Dirk Bogarde's young tough.

The series was revived in 2005 as a Radio Drama on BBC Radio 4. Twelve episodes were produced over two years.

Contains examples of:

  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Dixon's closing narrations typically had some version of this.
  • Catchphrase: "Good evening, all", spoken by Dixon in the opening.
  • 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: invoked 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: invoked 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.