1 9 8 0 – 1 9 8 4 (UK)
56 x 60 minute episodes
The Gentle Touch introduced Britain’s first starring female cop, Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes (Jill Gascoine, fresh from The Onedin Line) of Soho’s Seven Dials police station. Maggie beat Juliet Bravo to the honour by a mere five months.
The widowed mother of teenage son Steve (Nigel Rathbone), much of Forbes’ initial attention – and thus the viewers’ – was given over to her downbeat home life.
As the seasons passed, however, the LWT series moved into action mode – although non-driving actress Jill Gascoine always had to be filmed behind the wheel of a tiresomely stationary car.
Subjects ranged from prostitution, pornography and anti-Semitism to homosexuality and animal rights, while Forbes and her colleagues were frequently placed at the sharp end of things. At the end of the fourth series, Forbes was hurt when the Seven Dials station was blown up when a distraught woman recently diagnosed with breast cancer walked into the station with two hand grenades.
Although a potential love interest was introduced in the second series in the shape of Alan Lawson (Ray Lonnen), the main focus in Maggie’s personal life remained her son and the uneasy relationship with her aged father.
The Gentle Touch eventually morphed into C.A.T.S. Eyes, a rather gimmicky effort in which Forbes led an all-female Covert Action Team Section working for the government.
DI Maggie Forbes
DCI Bill Russell
DI Bob Croft
DS Jake Barratt
DS Peter Phillips