Saturday, 6 June 2015

Theme Time : Roger Webb - The Gentle Touch (and C.A.T.S Eyes by John Kongas)

The Gentle Touch was an LWT police drama series created by veteran TV writer Terence Feely that ran from 1980 to 1984 and is notable for beating the BBC's Juliet Bravo to the accolade of being the first British series to feature a female police officer as its leading character. Jill Gascoigne was the actress in question playing DI Maggie Forbes of Seven Dials police station, London.

The Gentle Touch stood apart from previous police dramas, and not just because of its female lead. It eschewed the violence and action of predecessors like The Sweeney, focusing instead on character and realistic depictions of the relevant social issues blighting Britain in the early 80s, including the difficulties a woman faced in a police force that was still ostensibly a man's world. It became a hit series which pulled in some strong ratings in the Friday and later the Saturday night slot it maintained across the four years it was broadcast. Alongside Gascoigne, who became a household name, The Gentle Touch also starred William Marlowe, Paul Moriarty and Derek 'Charlie from Casualty' Thompson as cops from Seven Dials.  

The theme tune to the series was composed by Roger Webb, a prolific composer whose credits include the themes for The Strange Report, the sitcoms George and Mildred, Love They Neighbour and Miss Jones and Son, and several films including the Cannon and Ball comedy Boys In Blue and several sexploitation flicks from the 70s like Au Pair Girls and the Derren Nesbitt directed The Amorous Milkman and Nesbitt starred Burke and Hare 

Webb also provided a speeded up version for the show too, which featured across the opening credits in later series

Once The Gentle Touch ended Gascoigne returned as Forbes in the Charlie's Angels like spin off series C.A.T.S Eyes as one of a team of Home Office employed female detectives (alongside Leslie Ash, Rosalyn Landor and later Tracy Louise Ward) based in Kent whose investigations were overseen by Rising Damp's Don Warrington. It ins't considered to be as good as The Gentle Touch and lasted three series from '85 to 1987.

As a bonus, here's the theme to that series - both the incidental and vocal version (sung by Louise Burton) - provided by John Kongas, the 70s singer/songwriter famous for hits Tokoloshe Man and He's Going To Step On You Again - later famously covered as Step On by The Happy Mondays. 

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