Division 4 in living colour on DVD

Division 4

The dedicated law enforcers of Yarra Central Police Station are on high alert as they tackle a tsunami of criminals in Division 4 – Volume 9 which has just been released on DVD in the UK. This box set features the very first colour episode of the programme.

Fans will be enthralled as Detective Sergeant Frank Banner (Gerard Kennedy), Detective Sergeant Keith Vickers (Chuck Faulkner), and Detective Mick Peters (Terence Donovan) investigate a wave of homes being broken into by a cold hearted menace. A bible basher is suspected of assaulting a prostitute, people are being bludgeoned for no obvious reason, and a pick pocket is making life a misery for punters who are out for a flutter on the trots.

Meanwhile a deranged razor slasher is going after helpless women, an unhinged bomber and a psychopath escape from a mental institution intent on revenge, and a known sex offender is suspected of abducting a young boy. Elsewhere a policeman is left badly maimed after being skittled by a getaway driver, a girl is killed in an unrelated hit and run incident, and married women start receiving obscene letters from a warped pervert.

Things turn decidedly ugly when a gang of hoons attempt to rape a retarded girl and her father vows to take the law into his own hands. Things go bad for Detective Sergeant Vickers when a police pursuit gets out of hand and he is charged with manslaughter. Elsewhere Frank Banner is wounded and faces turmoil in his personal life.

Division 4 star Terence Donovan has been back on our screens playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Doug Willis in Neighbours over recent months. His handling of this challenging storyline has received critical acclaim but disappointingly the character has just been written out after perishing when the Lassiter’s Hotel was blown up.

Terence Donovan in Division 4

Anne Charleston, who went on to play Madge Bishop in Neighbours, can be seen guest starring in this DVD volume, as can Elspeth Ballantyne and Sheila Florance from Prisoner: Cell Block H. Other well-known guest artists who crop up in this batch of episodes include Rowena Wallace and Leila Hayes from Sons & Daughters, Cornelia Frances from Home & Away, and Brian Moll from The Young Doctors.

I am sorry to report that Don Battye died recently, he enjoyed a prolific career as a writer, producer and executive producer – some of his work can be enjoyed on this DVD box set. Don began his career as an actor before joining the ABC television serial Bellbird as a writer. He moved to Crawford Productions where he initially wrote for Homicide. He went on to write, script edit and produce Division 4, Matlock Police, Bluey, The Box and The Sullivans.

Don joined the Grundy Organization in 1977 as a producer, writer and executive producer working on Chopper Squad, Bellamy, The Restless Years, Sons & Daughters, Waterloo Station, Possession, Richmond Hill, Neighbours, the telemovie A Special Place, Tanamera – Lion of Singapore, and Shortland Street in New Zealand. After leaving Grundy’s he worked on the serial Pacific Drive.

Don and his long-time collaborator Peter Pinne penned sixteen musicals together including Prisoner Cell Block H – The Musical which enjoyed a successful run on the West End of London. The pair wrote sketches for the satirical revue programme The Mavis Bramston Show, they created the iconic theme tune for Sons & Daughters, and wrote two songs for Neighbours– In Your Arms and You’re my Friend.

Peter says, “Don Battye was multi-talented and throughout his vast career used all of those talents to bring pleasure to many. He was witty, well-liked, and will be remembered for his generous and warm spirit.”

Sons and Daughters - 100th Episode Celebration

Thanks to Crawford DVD we are able to revisit some of Don’s incredible work. Division 4 – Volume 9 and a plethora of other Crawford television classics can be ordered in the UK from Eaton Films  Fans who are based in Australasia can obtain their copies from Crawford DVD.

Pictured Top: The cast of Division 4. Back from left, Terence Donovan, Ted Hamilton, Chuck Faulkner. Front from left, Frank Taylor, Patricia Smith, Gerard Kennedy. Pictured Middle: Terence Donovan in Division 4 and Pictured Bottom: Don Battye celebrating 100 episodes of Sons & Daughters with some of the cast. From left are the late Pat McDonald, Don, Tom Richards, production manager Emanuel Matsos,Leila Hayes and Stephen Comey.
Images 1 & 2 copyright Eaton Films/Crawford Productions/WIN Corporation. Image 3 courtesy of Stephen Comey.