Perhaps because it is in the shadow of it's other Elton - Atkinson collaboration, Blackadder
, The Thin Blue Line
has remained on of the most under-rated BBC programs of the mid 1990s.
Set in a small town, Gasforth, police station, this is the story of a stodgy old inspector as he tries to run the station in an ever changing world. His character is mild mannered and old fashioned, as opposed to the in-house CID, headed by boisterous detective inspector Grim.
The antics within the station and the conflict of opposing characters juxtapositioned are the basis of the laughs. Although it has a reputation of being wholesome, it is not completely founded, and is perhaps more based on the wholesome nature of Atkinson's character, as opposed to the cast in general. Well and cleverly scripted, it's, at least in part, reminiscent of Elton's previous work.
Click here to listen to the theme song.
Recaps1x6: Kids Today recap
: Fowler cheerfully comes into the station with exciting news for the officers: ‘Gasforth has been selected to host the next sub-district regional police conference.’ He is met with blank stares that he mistakes for gobsmacked excitement. Then the begin proposing asking for new equipment, like riot gear and bigger truncheons. The meeting gets carried further from the point when the topic of graffiti arises. Raymond thinks it’s a monstrosity, whereas Habib thinks it’s a new urban art-form. Gladstone then hypothesizes why graffiti exists: fridge magnets. He thinks that the parents glorifying the scribblings of youth leads to them spraying graffiti everywhere in search of the same feelings of praise. Getting back on track, Habib proposes that the first step is a change in the mindset of how the young offenders are viewed. She thinks they’re just bored and believes they need meaning in their lives, which can be brought about by providing ‘real jobs, decent housing . . . [and] long term investment in the urban, social infrastructure.’ Fowler has a better idea: a camping trip... read more.1x4: Rag Week recap
: This episode opens with Raymond and Patricia getting on their bikes outside some shops. Just then, a gang of students rushes by shouting wildly and carrying collection tins. This – of course – perturbs Raymond, but Patricia reminds him that they’re just college kids having a laugh, and that it is
rag week after all. When they get to the station, they’re in the midst of a disagreement: Pat thinks their home life is boring, but Raymond disagrees and thinks its full of life and excitement... read more.1x3: Honey Trap recap
The episode begins with Raymond creeping into his bedroom late at night, trying desperately to both get undressed and not wake up Patricia, both of which he fails to accomplish. She asks where he has been and he tells her that he was at the pub quiz night; and what’s more, they are through to the finals. He was so overjoyed, he tells her, that he kissed Maggie, understandably infuriating Patricia. Enraging her even more is the fact that Fowler begins to tell her at length how amazing Habib is, when he has neglected to tell her anything similar in such a long time... read more.1x2: Fire and Terror recap
: This episode opens with Goody and Habib at the scene of a fire. A fireman, Gary, has caught Maggie’s eye and Kevin is seething with jealousy. After chatting for a moment, he invites them to go get a drink, which Maggie jumps at and Kevin resists... read more.1x1: The Queen's Birthday Present recap
: The episode opens with Raymond finishing the morning’s briefing. Goody, as usual has difficulty in grasping some basic concepts. Grim, thereafter, cannot help but belittle Raymond and the entire uniform branch; then shows Fowler the key to the future of crime prevention: computers. He’s also got a hot case going, involving stolen credit cards; Raymond, however, disagrees with the need for computers, and declares that a man needs only to look after his possessions and therefore not have to worry about theft... read more.