Home Television Drama Softly, Softly

Softly, Softly

1 9 6 6 – 1 9 6 9 (UK)
69 x 50 minute episodes

The work of the Regional Crime Squad was the subject of this spin-off from Z Cars featuring Stratford Johns as Charlie Barlow.

Also featured were Garfield Morgan as Detective Chief Inspector Lewis, Norman Bowler as Detective Sergeant Hawkins and Alexis Kanner as Detective Constable Stone. They were later joined by Frank Windsor as John Watt.

Barlow had moved from Liverpool (the location of Z Cars) to the South-West Midlands and earned a promotion to Detective Chief Superintendent, while Watt had become a Detective Chief Inspector.

They were joined in time by Norman Bowler as West Country pin-up Inspector Harry Hawkins, and by Terence Rigby as dour dog-handler PC Snow – a man who seemed to think that smiling was liable to get him drummed out of the force.

One of his Alsatians was Inky, which had been sacked as a real police dog when it went AWOL over a wall. When Inky was shot in the programme, angry letters poured into the BBC so the dog had to appear on Blue Peter to show that it was only acting.

In 1970, Softly, Softly: Task Force followed with Barlow made head of Thamesford Constabulary CID and supervising officer of the Constabulary’s Task Force. He was assisted by Watt and Hawkins again, under Chief Constable Cullen (William Gotell).

In yet another spin-off (Barlow At Large), Barlow was eventually promoted to the Home Office.

DCS Charlie Barlow 
Stratford Johns
DCI John Watt 

Frank Windsor
DCI Lewis 

Garfield Morgan
DC Stone 

Alexis Kanner
Inspector Harry Hawkins 

Norman Bowler
PC Snow 

Terence Rigby