£6.49 at Amazon & Play - next best £1 more
439 minutes running time
Set in a fictitious suburb rather like, say, Pinner (only more so), The Thin Blue Line is the wickedly funny story of a rather down-at-heel police station headed by Inspector Raymond Fowler (Rowan Atkinson), a pompous, repressed but well-intentioned anachronism who wants to do the right thing but who is constantly hampered by his own shortcomings, not to mention his blundering CID colleagues. Atkinson expertly balances his character's inflated sense of self-importance with the insight born of old-school police values, for which his galumphing, shiny-suited CID counterpart, DI Grim (David Haig) has no time at all.
Strongest among the supporting cast is Sgt Pauline Dawkins (Serena Evans), who also happens to be Fowler's live-in lover--a moral dilemma that his traditional values won't allow him to resolve. He salves his conscience by avoiding sex with her whenever possible, an amusing subplot enhanced by Evans's brilliant performance--she positively vibrates with contained, ladylike lust in a manner only equalled by Penelope Keith in the classic sitcom To the Manor Born.
Scripted by Ben Elton, this series manages to satirise provincialism, institutionalised pig-headedness and dated moral values in one fell swoop, while also being chock-full of quick-fire, Blackadder-esque dialogue.