1 9 6 9 – 1 9 7 5 (Australia)
300 x 60 minute episodes
Another Australian cop drama from Crawford Productions, Division 4 was originally titled Saints and Sinners and set in the St Kilda (Melbourne) police station.
It was changed to Division 4 and relocated to the fictional Yarra Central police station after claims it cast a bad light on the St Kilda area.
The series concentrated on a suburban police station and included uniformed police on the beat and plain-clothes detectives.
The Nine Network production was similar to Homicide (which was already a huge hit on the Seven Network) with a mixture of filmed location footage and videotaped indoor footage.
Division 4 was much honoured in its lifetime and won many awards – of particular note are those won by Gerard Kennedy as best actor.
Kennedy had joined Division 4 at the beginning (fresh from his success in Hunter) and his portrayal of the spiky-haired Detective Sergeant Frank Banner represents his best work in Australian film and television.
The other regular characters at Yarra Central made an equally strong impression.
Before appearing in Division 4 Chuck Faulkner had been the first newsreader at TCN9 in 1956, and singer Ted Hamilton also changed persona, turning in good performances as Constable Kevin Dwyer.
The show was also responsible for introducing Andrew McFarlane.
Because of the popularity of the series, rival channel ATV-0 tried to make its own variant of the genre. It commissioned former Sydney radio producer Ron Beck to produce The Long Arm, but cancelled the show after poor ratings. The station then approached Crawfords and Matlock Police went to air the following year.
Division 4 was axed not long after Gerard Kennedy left the show, although respected actor and Crawfords regular John Stanton had replaced him. By 1976, Homicide and Crawfords’ other cop show, Matlock Police, had also been axed.
DS Frank Banner
DC Mick Peters
Senior DS Keith Vickers
PC Kevin Dwyer
Sgt Scotty MacLeod
WPC Margaret Stewart
WPC Jane Bell
PC Roger Wilson
PC Bob Parry