Fans of the award winning Australian police drama Division 4 will be thrilled to learn that the twelfth and final DVD volume of the series has just been released in the UK. This means that all 300 action packed episodes are now available for you to own and enjoy once again.

The cast of Division 4. From left are Frank Taylor, Terence Donovan, Andrew McFarlane, Chuck Faulkner, and Gerard Kennedy.

In this final instalment Detective Sergeant Keith Vickers (Chuck Faulkner), Detective Sergeant Frank Banner (Gerard Kennedy) and Detective Mick Peters (played by Terence Donovan of Neighbours fame) are faced with a stream of weird and wacky cases to solve. It’s just as well they have the assistance of Policewoman Jane Bell (Rowena Wallace), and Constable Roger Wilson (Andrew McFarlane). Rowena went on to play Pat ‘The Rat’ Hamilton in Sons & Daughters of course, and Andrew would become a household name in both The Sullivans and The Flying Doctors.

The law enforcers of Yarra Central Police Station are left stunned when a male is brutally slashed in a frenzied razor blade attack, is a dangerously psychotic teenager (played by Sigrid Thornton) to blame, and is she being abused by her parents?

Keith Vickers (Chuck Faulkner) hears some disturbing news.

A former copper lies through his teeth to cover for his son who has committed a robbery, Constable Gray (John Hannan) faces the wrath of his girlfriend when he arrests her brother, and an accountant who is involved with a prostitution racket is given a nasty bashing. Meanwhile the wife of a local town councillor is blackmailed over her ‘bastard’ son, and another member of the council is accused of indulging in homosexual activities.

Two old rockers are saddled with a female convict who is on the run from prison, and a distraught man takes to the streets with a loaded gun when his teenage wife vanishes.

Frank Banner finds himself in a very dicey situation on the roof of a tall building as he attempts to stop a female jumper from topping herself. Things continue to look crook for him when it is revealed that he unwittingly put an innocent man behind bars some years earlier. Banner has had his fill of police work, he hands in his badge and Vickers reluctantly accepts his resignation.

Things look crook for Frank Banner (Gerard Kennedy).

Banner’s replacement comes in the form of Senior Detective Tom Morgan (played by John Stanton from Homicide), the new member of the team soon finds himself trying to get to the bottom of the death of a local paperboy.

On a lighter note, an ageing alcoholic decides to marry another old lush because her sister owns a bottle shop. Will the planned nuptials end in tragedy or will the free grog start flowing for young and old alike?

Guest artists who appear in this DVD volume include Vivean Gray from Neighbours; Jeremy Chance from Class of ’74; Vikki Hammond and Noni Hazlehurst from The Sullivans; and Val Jellay, Pat Evison, Bruce Barry and Beverly Dunn from The Flying Doctors. Other well-known faces that crop up during the police investigations include Gerard Maguire from Prisoner: Cell Block H; and Ross Thompson from Carson’s Law. Keep your eyes peeled for veteran performers including John Ewart, Joseph Furst, Wallas Eaton, Ernie Bourne, Kit Taylor, Noel Ferrier, and singer Johnny Farnham.

A rotten crim takes a disliking to Detective Mick Peters (Terence Donovan).

The entire series of Division 4 and many other Australian television classics can be ordered in the UK exclusively from Eaton Films. Those of you who are based in Australasia can obtain your copies from Crawford DVD.

I know that many of you have been lapping up the ongoing DVD releases of some of the wonderful series produced by Crawford Productions, but way before television launched in Australia, Crawfords were churning out drama for radio. One such series was D24 which ran from 1951 until 1960, the programme dramatised real-life stories from the files of the Victoria Police Force, and showcased the unceasing war against crime. Narrated by Roland Strong, the programme was initially sponsored by the Victoria Police themselves with a view to improving public relations, and to encourage more recruits to join the force.

Policewoman Jane Bell (Rowena Wallace) learns of some disturbing goings on in Melbourne.

A special episode in 1953 broke new ground by presenting an unsolved case, the murder of a young girl, in the hope that it would result in new leads from the public – 400 listeners rang in with information. Hopefully we might see some classic Crawford radio drama released on CD at a future date, but in the meantime you can hear an excerpt from D24 and a number of other radio classics courtesy of the fantastic Women in Radio curated collection on the website of the National Film & Sound Archive of Australia.

Crawford Productions started making the police drama D24 for radio before television had launched Down Under.

All images copyright Eaton Films/Crawford Productions/WIN Corporation.
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