A Home of One’s Own – Dixon of Dock Green Review

Another Saturday night came into view, and once again I sat down to watch the weekly adventures of George Dixon (Jack Warner) and the residents of Dock Green. The episode, A Home of One’s Own, was recently broadcast on Talking Pictures TV. It originally aired on the BBC in 1962.

It was clear that the picture quality had improved dramatically. No longer filmed live, it gave the chance for a few more angles. The running time was also increased by this period in the programme’s lifetime, from 30 minutes to just shy of an hour at around 50 minutes. This episode seems to prove that a longer running time for Dixon of Dock Green allowed for more meaty explorations of the week’s supporting characters. More time can be spent over each scene, and George Dixon’s role as storyteller is less necessary. He can be more fully a player in events, as the plot can be moved along via more sophisticated means, such as exposition within the dialogue.

Having said that, there is something softer about this episode, now that we have made the jump to 1962. The extra running time allows for the exposition to be stretched out so that some scenes lose their punch. It may be that the setting of A Home of One’s Own, in the retirement home, lends an extra air of cosiness which won’t be so present in the following episode. That remains to be seen, but as yet this reviewer is unsure whether a longer episode of Dixon is as positive a thing as it first appears.

This episode of Dixon concerns an elderly Dock Green resident, Mrs Binney (Fay Compton). We are introduced to her through her resistance to being moved out of her long-term home to a different area, due to the housing estate being acquired by a development company. George helps her fight her corner, bringing in a man from the council who can help her find somewhere more suitable, closer to home.

Eventually, she takes over an independent flat at a local retirement community from an old friend who has decided to move into the main care home. Initially happy there, she soon brings to George’s attention some “strange goings-on”. Small sums of money have been going missing, with quite a number of the residents affected. Although the total sum doesn’t amount to very much, George points out that the Police still take it seriously: after all, theft is a crime, no matter how big or small, and this money means a lot to elderly people of little means.

George’s son-in-law Andy and his CID colleagues help look into matters, soon discovering that nowhere in the retirement centre is especially secure, as the master key for everyone’s accommodation is hung in a communal location accessible by anyone. The efficient and kindly matron of the centre doesn’t want her staff to feel under suspicion, so the whole thing is handled as quietly as possible by Andy and George.

Meanwhile, we have met Mrs Binney’s neighbour, Mr. Caldicott, played by the wonderful Finlay Currie at the age of 84. Mr Caldicott is a sweet and proud Scotsman who makes toy model acrobats to make a little money on the side and teach his grandson the value of craftsmanship and hard work. When Mr Caldicott eventually confesses to the crime, the Police are loath to believe him. His version of events doesn’t add up and he seems to have forgotten his most recent theft. No sooner have they got him down to Dock Green station, than Mrs Binney turns up with the real culprit.

This episode finds its strength in the realism and relatability of the elderly characters, the main two of whom are portrayed by acting royalty in Fay Compton and Finlay Currie. Their characters of Mr Caldicott and Mrs Binney are played with such truth and integrity that the story is incredibly compelling. The supporting cast are extremely good also, including Daphne Newton as the matron Mrs Greaves and Nan Braunton as sharper-than-she-appears Miss Dashwood.

We are treated to the usual balance between station and home life, with conversations about the case itself taking place inside the home with George, Mary and Andy (George’s daughter and son-in-law). Andy and Mary have been married for some years by this time and have twin children. Although as previously mentioned, the extra time allows for some softening compared with the earlier episodes and their no-nonsense grit, it does maintain that link between the ordinariness and loving vibe of the home scenes and the business of justice on the street and inside the station.

A Home of One’s Own also continues the usual theme of caring for the community, with George concerned for the welfare of one of the long-term residents of Dock Green. Despite often only seeing each supporting character for one episode, the feeling of a close and caring community of people is present throughout and very tangible in the way the characters interact and conduct themselves. The dialogue is so strong and realistic.


The Kitchen Sink vibe of Dixon of Dock Green is still prevalent, despite a few of the rougher edges being smoothed off a little. The longer running time is both a blessing and a curse: we as the audience get more time each week to enjoy the world of Dock Green and its residents, but this time necessarily stretches things out so that each minute is no longer quite as tightly packed with quality as previously.

However, this is not as strong a statement as it might seem: the drop in quality isn’t really anything that can be explained, Merely that the feeling in earlier, shorter episodes is just a little bit more powerful due to the fact that plot and emotion have to be distilled down to their most pure form in order to make their point concisely in a short space of time. With this extra time, ideas can be explored more fully, and therefore simply don’t have quite the urgency that they did previously. We may have entered the beginning of the era of Dixon of Dock Green which garnered the reputation of being slow and cosy. We shall have to watch next week and find out!

Dixon of Dock Green: A Home of One’s Own is available on Talking Pictures TV Encore until 2nd March 2024. Further episodes of Dixon of Dock Green air every Saturday evening around 7 pm on Talking Pictures TV.

Leave a Reply

Next Post

Talking Pictures TV to air newly discovered Dixon of Dock Green Episode

Mon Feb 26 , 2024
This article has been edited from the original version to include details on where the episode came from. Talking Pictures TV is to air a newly discovered episode of the […]
Broadcast News

You May Like