‘Department S’: The Complete Series Special Edition DVD review

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Now this is what you expect retro TV to be like. Colourful, extravagant and gloriously camp in tone… but that’s enough about star Peter Wyngarde as Jason King. Department S was a series about the elite Interpol branch that were called in when a case was too baffling for normal departments to solve.

From the producer of the original Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), this was one of the most popular series of the late 1960s and early 1970s and when watched now it’s still easy to see why. Each episode we see an intriguing storyline unfold and our heroes get called in to solve it. Direct in approach, the team comprised of hard man Stewart Sullivan, the sultry yet smart Annabelle Hurst and the wonderfully hammy Jason King, a devil-may-care womaniser who helps out Department S in between writing crime novels. (Look out for an early appearance from Anthony Hopkins too!)

With all 28 episodes included in this boxset, the series has been well cared for DVD-wise – each episode is crisp, colourful and is as entertaining now as we’re sure it was when first shown. The plentiful extras offer up enough material to please fans old and new, with an image gallery containing more than 1,300 classic images.

So popular was this series that after its two year run, Wyngarde’s ‘hedonistic dandy’ King got his own spin-off series where he investigated often surreal cases whilst researching his novels. If stories about political secrets, government plots, extravagant robberies, kidnappings and a big slice of retro kitsch are your thing, then this really is a must-buy set.

Released on DVD on Monday 21st April 2008 by Network.