Author Topic: Van der Valk (1972-1992)  (Read 289 times)

Ambient Sheep

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Van der Valk (1972-1992)
« on: May 22, 2020, 06:31:25 PM »
Top quality 1970s police procedural starring Barry Foster, briefly revived in the early 1990s.  Wikipedia has lots here.

It's somewhat Morse-esque, if Morse had been happily married, lived in Amsterdam, and drove a DAF (at least in the early series).  But the intelligent approach and world-weary cynicism are similar.

I've been wanting to start this thread for weeks, ever since Talking Pictures (Freeview/Youview 81, Virgin 445, Sky 328, Freesat 306) started rerunning them on Friday nights at 9pm.  I watched them all earlier this year (from TP's daily runs of it last year) and was very impressed.  The main reason I haven't done the thread before now is because I have so much I want to say about it and haven't found the time to type it all out!

However I'm starting this today because Series 2 (1973) is about to start airing tonight.  This is the first episode:

The original series is superb. Some nice location shooting, great cast and excellent writing and stands up today.

Foster was outstanding - his Van de Valk wasn’t entirely likeable, largely for his abrasiveness (IMO), but an incredibly compelling and charismatic performance.

There was neat plotting, good character interplay and some story elements could be quite dark.

One episode that really stuck with me is A Death by the Sea, where Van de Valk suspects an influential banker of murdering his wife and pressure is brought upon him to drop the case.

The banker is played by Patrick Allen.  It's a good watch.


Discussion of the new 2020 version (as well as some more about the original) can be found here.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2020, 07:03:48 PM by Ambient Sheep »

Re: Van der Valk (1972-1992)
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2020, 06:55:09 PM »
Have you seen the new ITV remakes/makeover. I've seen the first one and enjoyed it. Got two on series record. Not Van Der Valk but Van Der Valk.

Ambient Sheep

  • Please help me, I'm lost. I don't know what to do.
Re: Van der Valk (1972-1992)
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2020, 07:01:42 PM »
Have you seen the new ITV remakes/makeover. I've seen the first one and enjoyed it. Got two on series record. Not Van Der Valk but Van Der Valk.

From the 2020 thread mentioned above:

As for this new one, I knew they were making a new version but managed to miss the broadcast.  I'll catch it later in the week; it should be interesting.

I did manage to record Episode 1, but haven't watched it yet.  Forgot to make space on the TiVo to get episodes 2 and 3, so not sure how much point there is in watching episode 1 as I get the impression (perhaps wrongly) that the story continues across all three episodes.

Most people on here seemed to hate it, I'm afraid, so it's interesting and nice to hear a different opinion. :-)

Re: Van der Valk (1972-1992)
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2020, 07:19:45 PM »
Hmmm, judging by that thread maybe it's a bit too sacred for the haters. I thought the theme tune was more homage than vindictive.

monkfromhavana

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Re: Van der Valk (1972-1992)
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2020, 10:08:12 PM »
Did the 80s version hold up against the original? It still had Barry Foster in and the jaunty theme and was the version I remember watching as a nipper.

Ambient Sheep

  • Please help me, I'm lost. I don't know what to do.
Re: Van der Valk (1972-1992)
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2020, 10:52:51 PM »
There wasn't an 80s version, they go as follows:

1972 (6 eps), 1973 (7),
1977 (12),
1991 (4), 1992 (3).

So you probably mean the 90s ones. :-)

Series 4 (1991) holds up.  They suffer a bit by being dragged out to two hours instead of one (to follow the success of the Morse format), and by the strange decision to change his wife's character, but it's still recognisably the same show and was enjoyable to watch.

(In the 70s she was loving and supportive, and sometimes even helped crack the case by making a passing comment; in the 90s she hates him being in the job and is even more pissed off that one of their sons has followed him into the profession.  I suppose that could be the sort of thing that happens to a police wife over time, but the contrast is so jarring when binge-watching it right after the 70s version, and according to the Internet I wasn't the only one who wondered how and when she became such a horribly bossy bitch.  Although it has to be said that's really only in S04E01; it's toned down for the rest of the series but still not really the same character as the 70s lady.[1]  Also not sure that having his son in the police as well really works, although it does lead to some interesting storyline opportunities.)

Series 5 I only watched the first one of... it was fucking dreadful.  Ostensibly the same setup as S4, but the plot made no fucking sense at all, the whole thing was a confused mess with a limp ending.  I've yet to watch the other two but hopefully they'll return to at least S4 quality and S05E01 was just an aberration.

I think Series 2 is probably the best (I reckon 2 > 1 >> 3 >>> 4 >> 5, although I reserve the right to change my view on that), hence me finally getting off my arse to start this thread given that's where Talking Pictures are now up to. :-)

 1. That's not just down to a different actor, as he had two different wife-actors in the 70s, and both were fine.

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