In Doctor Hoffman’s Children Van der Valk investigates when a prominent businessman throws himself off the top of an offfice block. His personal assistant is convinced that it was not suicide. His death is closely followed by several others, all of whom went to school with the man. It’s clear the answer to the mystery lies in the wartime past.
A side plot sees Van der Valk being ordered to deal with a large group of squatters who have taken over a disused building that is going to be converted into a luxury hotel.
Van der Valk returns to our screens 14 years after the last run of episodes. This time, thanks to the massive success of Inspector Morse, the format changed to feature length stories.
Van der Valk is still happily married to Arlette (this time played by Meg Davies) and one of their now grown up children, Wim, is currently living at home. Wim is a detective Inspector in the police force. This version of Arlette seems much less likable and sympathetic though. The Van der Valks are also now grandparents, their adopted daughter, Ruth, has a toddler. Van der Valk’s boss Samson is still on the scene too, this time he is played by the excellent actor Ronald Hines.
There are lots of familiar face popping up including Tom Bell, Amanda Burton, Judy Cornwell as a brothel madam, Donald Churchill as a bookshop owner,
Churchiil was also a prolific TV writer and Cornwell had starred in his 1970’s series Moody and Pegg.
A slightly updated version of the theme tune that lacks some of the oomph of the original and the opening title sequence is nicely familiar.
The series, like so many ITV shows of the late 80’s and early 90’s suffers from being filmed on video rather than film which would have given it a much higher sheen.
UK / ITV – Thames / 1×105 minute episode / Broadcast 16 January 1991
Writer: Nicholas Hales / Director: Anthony Simmons
Series: Van der Valk Season 4 Episode 1
Barry Foster as Commisaris Van der Valk
Meg Davies as Arlette van der Valk
Ronald Hines as Hoofd-Commisaris Samson
Richard Huw as Wim van der Valk
Tom Bell as Freddie Brugmans
Sara Kestelman as Monika Hendricks
Donald Churchill as Johnny Roos
Judy Cornwell as Harriet Kuyper
Philip Locke as Conrad Molenaar
Amanda Burton as Elly van Roekel
Arkie Whiteley as Ruth van der Valk
Dave Atkins as Sergeant Donkers
Ronnie Stevens as Jacob Reinecke
Denica Fairman as Barbara Steenkamp
John Vine as Klees
Ian Redford as Harry Reitz
Natasha Pyne as Janet
Brian Badcoe as The Dominee
Anthony Douse as Pastor
Frances Atkinson as Young Girl on the Boat
Jacqueline Roth as Pretty Girl
Edward Pinner as Squatter
Jonathan Donne as Boy on Boat
Stephen Marcus as Burly Man