Case Number 21776: Small Claims Court


BFS Video // 1980 // 750 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 14th, 2011

The Charge

No school like the old school.

The Case

And Sergeant Cribb (Alan Dobie) is old school. We're in Victorian England where our hero is one of the top detectives in Scotland Yard's brand new Criminal Investigation Department. He's wanders around in a bowler hat, wears boots that are in desperate need of a few shots WD-40 and his monster sideburns are legendary.

His investigative technique is slow and methodical. When a crime crosses his desk, Cribb takes his time teasing out the details, bugs the hell out of the suspects, employs a touch of wryness, then nails the criminal's ass to the wall. That's just how Sergeant Cribb rolls.

BFS has the entire 1980-1981 series here, 14 episodes on seven discs, including two previously unaired installments: "Waxwork" and "Abracadver."

That would be 12 hours worth of three-decade-old mystery spinning and I have to be honest: Sergeant Cribb was made for your grandmother. Sure you might be able to squeeze some amusement out of Dobie's deadpan, quirky performance as Cribb. Or if you consistently nurse a burning need for any kind of mystery show, the cases presented in this set could scratch that whodunit itch.

I found these adventures plodding, however. Much like Cribb himself, who is infamous for his unending patience when trying to get to the bottom of a case, you will likely have to be just as patient, wading through these episodes, awaiting the resolution. I typically enjoy discovering these mystery imports, but Cribb just doesn't do it for me.

However...I am firmly convinced, your nana will love this. Sergeant Cribb is precisely the kind of show that my grandmother would watch when we'd go over to visit. The series aired on PBS Mystery so there's a chance your grandma has already seen these. My recommendation: buy this set for her, soak in the adulation then head for the hills as soon as the first disc is popped in.

All the episodes are transmitted in the original full frame presentation, which offers a curious and arbitrary combination of video and film stock. Audio is 2.0 stereo and all the extras -- biographies, filmographies, Scotland Yard history, trivia, bibliography -- are text-only.

The Verdict

Not Guilty, because you'll be a hero in the eyes of the geriatric in your life.

Review content copyright © 2011 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 70

Perp Profile
Studio: BFS Video
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 750 Minutes
Release Year: 1980
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Scotland Yard History
* Biographies
* Bibliography
* Filmographies
* Trivia

* IMDb