British made detective series starring Barry Foster in the title role as Dutch detective Commissaris Piet Van der Valk. The series was based on the novels of Nicolas Freeling (the first of which was published in 1962) but this was not the detective's first screen outing, having first appeared in a 1968 British made b-movie entitled Amsterdam Affair featuring German actor Wolfgang Kieling in the main role.
Following the TV series debut in 1972 a Dutch language version was made by Filmking in 1973, Because of the Cats was a Dutch/Belgian co-production starring British actor Bryan Marshall and there was also a Franco-German series of made-for-TV movies starring Frank Finlay: Van der Valk und das Madchen (1972), Van der Valk und die Reichen (1973), and Pas de frontieres pour l'inspecteur: Le bouc emissaire (1975). But it is Barry Foster's portrayal which is best remembered as the moody blond, curly haired detective who works for the local CID.
Also memorable was the beautifully filmed extensive Amsterdam location shots which acted as a backdrop for the investigation of such gritty cases of drugs, prostitution and murder. After an initial two-year run (6 episodes in 1972 and 7 episodes in 1973) the series disappeared from our screen for four years returning in 1977 in a longer, twelve-episode, third series made by Thames Television's subsidary, Euston Films.
The format was revived once again towards the end of Thames' life as a part of the ITV network, with four two-hour episodes of the fourth series in January and February 1991, and the fifth series three two-hour episodes in February 1992 in a longer two-hour format.
The series signature tune, Eye Level played by the Simon Park Orchestra, reached number one in the UK singles charts in 1973.
Published on February 11th, 2019. Written by Noel Onely (2002) for Television Heaven.