Matlock Police was a crime drama series revolving around the lives of a group of country based policemen whose backgrounds and private lives were an integral part of the series. At the time Matlock Police had the biggest budget and was the most highly publicised show yet. The town of Matlock was on the central Highway about 100 miles from Melbourne and with a population of 17,300, there were 75,000 people in the surrounding district, the town had a long history of settlement and featured all classes from the landed gentry to the displaced settlement dwelling Aboriginals.
When the show started the focus was on four main characters; Sgt Bert Kennedy who was in charge of the station, Kennedy had been at the station 7 years; Detective Allan Curtis; Curtis was a city boy and resented his country posting; Detective Sergeant Vic Maddern; Maddern had spent all his life in the Melbourne area apart from a spell in the army for the Korean War and Constable Gary Hogan youngest of the four main players, Hogan was a highway patrolman.
The show was an immediate top ten hit and Crawford’s initial budget for the show was $20,000 per episode and filming began in November 1970. In the TV Week of 5 June 1971 Michael Pate said that “we have the best Australian show on TV and we intend to keep it like that, Homicide and Division 4 had better watch out”.
This sense of rivalry between all three Crawford cop shows helped make them all better shows. Guest stars over the course of the series included George Lazenby, Jack Thompson, Andrew McFarlane, Judy Morris and Sigrid Thornton.
In 1976 a brief spin off with Paul Cronin emerged this was called Solo One.
The series was filmed in black and white until episode 162.
Australia / Channel 10 – Crawfords / 229×60 minute episodes / Broadcast 22 February 1971 – 1976
Creators: Ian Jones, Terry Stapleton
PAUL CRONIN as Gary Hogan
VIC GORDON as Sgt Albert Kennedy
PETER GWYNNE as Detective Sergeant Jack Maloney
MICHAEL PATE as Det Sgt Vic Maddern
TOM RICHARDS as Senior Detective Steve York
GRIGOR TAYLOR as Detective Allan Curtis
SUE DONOVAN as Policewoman Irene Bishop (debut Episode: Still-Life)