|The Gentle Touch|
|Created by||Terence Feely|
|Opening theme||Roger Webb|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||5|
|No. of episodes||56 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||60 mins (inc. commercials)|
|Production company||London Weekend Television|
|Original release||11 April 1980 –|
24 November 1984
|Followed by||C.A.T.S. Eyes|
The Gentle Touch is a British police drama television series made by London Weekend Television for ITV which began on 11 April 1980 and ran until 1984. The series is notable for being the first British series to feature a female police officer as its leading character, ahead of the similarly themed BBC series Juliet Bravo by four months.
The series starred Jill Gascoine as Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes, who has worked her way up through the ranks of the police force and is based at the fictional Seven Dials police station in London. Maggie's husband, a police constable, is murdered during the first episode, leaving her to juggle her career with single parenthood, raising her teenage son.
The Gentle Touch largely dealt with routine police procedures and offered a frank depiction of relevant social issues (including racism, sexism, homosexuality, mental health and euthanasia). It was relatively low on action and violence in comparison to previous classic crime series such as The Sweeney, opting for a more realistic and low key approach. Although the series mostly focused on Maggie's professional life in a male-dominated field, it also showed her home life with her elderly father George and her teenage son Steve. Occasionally, Maggie's romantic involvements were seen which sometimes clashed with her job. She had a difficult relationship with her abrasive and chauvinistic colleague Bob Croft.
The Gentle Touch was a ratings success in the UK, where it was screened on Friday nights in a 9.00 p.m. slot (except for the final series which was shown on Saturday nights). One episode shown in January 1982 garnered over 18 million viewers and was the 5th most watched television programme in Britain that year. The Gentle Touch made Gascoine a household name, and ran for five series until 1984.
Gascoine returned as Maggie Forbes in the more action-oriented spin-off series C.A.T.S. Eyes (also created by Terence Feely), concerning a specialised team of female detectives in Kent who covertly work for the Home Office. C.A.T.S. Eyes lasted three series from 1985 to 1987.
Main article: List of The Gentle Touch episodes
The complete series is available on DVD in the UK in five series sets from Network.