ITV police series 1955-91

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Billy Smart
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ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Billy Smart »

I've been trying to collate a chronology of police series made for ITV up to the early nineties. I've been quite stringent, excluding serials, private detectives, retired police like Mr Rose, foreign police like Van Der Valk and made-up quasi-police like C.I.5., C.A.T.S. or the Ghost Squad. Have I missed anything out?:

16 Sep 1957 Murder Bag: Series 1 (Associated-Rediffusion, 29 X 25m)
24 May 1958 Dial 999 (ABC, 39 X 25m)
30 Jun 1958 Murder Bag: Series 2 (Associated-Rediffusion, 26 X 25m)
01 Jan 1959 Murder Bag: Series 3 (Associated-Rediffusion, 13 X 25m)
08 Apr 1959 Crime Sheet (Associated-Rediffusion, 24 X 25m)
16 Sep 1959 No Hiding Place: Series 1 (Associated-Rediffusion, 20 X 50m)
05 May 1960 No Hiding Place: Series 2 (Associated-Rediffusion, 26 X 50m)
10 Sep 1960 Police Surgeon (ABC, 13 X 25m)
19 Oct 1960 The Odd Man: Series 1 (Granada, 8 X 25m)
03 Feb 1961 No Hiding Place: Series 3 (Associated-Rediffusion, 26 X 50m)
01 Apr 1961 The Pursuers (ABC, 39 X 25m)
02 Nov 1961 Stryker of the Yard (Republic, 13 X 25m)
08 May 1962 No Hiding Place: Series 4 (Associated-Rediffusion, 44 X 50m)
11 May 1962 The Odd Man: Series 2 (Granada, 8 X 50m)
29 Jun 1963 Sergeant Cork: Series 1 (ATV, 13 X 50m)
02 Jul 1963 No Hiding Place: Series 5 (Associated-Rediffusion, 26 X 50m)
28 Dec 1963 Sergeant Cork: Series 2 (ATV, 8 X 50m)
03 Jan 1964 It's Dark Outside: Series 1 (Granada, 8 X 50m)
22 Feb 1964 G.S.5 (ATV, 13 X 50m)
04 Apr 1964 Sergeant Cork: Series 3 (ATV, 13 X 50m)
06 Apr 1964 No Hiding Place: Series 6 (Rediffusion, 26 X 50m)
22 Aug 1964 Sergeant Cork: Series 4 (ATV, 6 X 50m)
01 Feb 1965 No Hiding Place: Series 7 (Rediffusion, 26 X 50m)
26 Feb 1965 It's Dark Outside: Series 2 (Granada, 8 X 50m)
18 Mar 1965 Gideon's Way (ITC, 26 X 50m)
03 Nov 1965 No Hiding Place: Series 8 (Rediffusion, 13 X 50m)
04 May 1966 No Hiding Place: Series 9 (Rediffusion, 13 X 50m)
25 Jun 1966 Sergeant Cork: Series 5 (ATV, 4 X 50m)
16 Mar 1967 No Hiding Place: Series 10 (Rediffusion, 15 X 50m)
07 Oct 1967 Sergeant Cork: Series 6 (ATV, 22 X 50m)
20 May 1969 Fraud Squad: Series 1 (ATV, 13 X 50m)
17 Sep 1969 Special Branch: Series 1 (Thames, 14 X 50m)
19 Sep 1969 Parkin's Patch (Yorkshire, 26 X 25m)
11 Aug 1970 Special Branch: Series 2 (Thames, 13 X 50m)
19 Sep 1970 Fraud Squad: Series 2 (ATV, 13 X 50m)
22 Apr 1972 New Scotland Yard: Series 1 (LWT, 13 X 50m)
13 Oct 1972 New Scotland Yard: Series 2 (LWT, 13 X 50m)
04 Apr 1973 Special Branch: Series 3 (Thames, 13 X 50m)
04 Jun 1973 Hunters Walk: Series 1 (ATV, 13 X 50m)
23 Jun 1973 New Scotland Yard: Series 3 (LWT, 13 X 50m)
14 Feb 1974 Special Branch: Series 4 (Thames, 13 X 50m)
13 Apr 1974 New Scotland Yard: Series 4 (LWT, 7 X 50m)
22 Apr 1974 Hunters Walk: Series 2 (ATV, 13 X 50m)
02 Jan 1975 The Sweeney: Series 1 (Thames, 13 X 50m)
01 Sep 1975 The Sweeney: Series 2 (Thames, 13 X 50m)
01 Jun 1976 Hunters Walk: Series 3 (ATV, 13 X 50m)
06 Sep 1976 The Sweeney: Series 3 (Thames, 13 X 50m)
05 Jun 1978 Strangers: Series 1 (Granada, 7 X 50m)
07 Sep 1978 The Sweeney: Series 4 (Thames, 14 X 50m)
09 Jan 1979 Strangers: Series 2 (Granada, 5 X 50m)
11 Apr 1980 The Gentle Touch: Series 1 (LWT, 7 X 50m)
05 Sep 1980 The Gentle Touch: Series 2 (LWT, 10 X 50m)
14 Oct 1980 Strangers: Series 3 (Granada, 7 X 50m)
25 Sep 1981 Strangers: Series 4 (Granada, 6 X 50m)
06 Nov 1981 The Gentle Touch: Series 3 (LWT, 13 X 50m)
08 Sep 1982 Strangers: Series 5 (Granada, 7 X 50m)
22 Oct 1982 The Gentle Touch: Series 4 (LWT, 13 X 50m)
01 Sep 1984 The Gentle Touch: Series 5 (LWT, 13 X 50m)
16 Oct 1984 The Bill: Series 1 (Thames, 11 X 50m)
11 Jan 1985 Dempsey and Makepeace: Series 1 (LWT, 1 x 75m, 9 X 50m)
31 Aug 1985 Dempsey and Makepeace: Series 2 (LWT, 10 X 50m)
11 Nov 1985 The Bill: Series 2 (Thames, 12 X 50m)
30 Aug 1986 Dempsey and Makepeace: Series 3 (LWT, 10 X 50m)
06 Jan 1987 Inspector Morse: Series 1 (Central, 3 X 100m)
21 Sep 1987 The Bill: Series 3 (Thames, 12 X 50m)
25 Dec 1987 Inspector Morse: Series 2 (Central, 4 X 100m)
19 Jul 1988 The Bill: Series 4 (Thames, 48 X 25m)
03 Jan 1989 The Bill: Series 5 (104 X 25m)
04 Jan 1989 Inspector Morse: Series 3 (Central, 4 X 100m)
02 Jan 1990 The Bill: Series 6 (Thames, 104 X 25m)
03 Jan 1990 Inspector Morse: Series 4 (Central, 4 X 100m)
07 Feb 1990 El C.I.D.: Series 1 (Granada, 6 X 50m)
20 Apr 1990 The Chief: Series 1 (Anglia, 6 X 50m)
01 Jan 1991 The Bill: Series 7 (Thames, 105 X 25m)
01 Jan 1991 El C.I.D.: Series 2 (Granada, 7 X 50m)
20 Feb 1991 Inspector Morse: Series 5 (5 X 100m)
05 Apr 1991 The Chief: Series 2 (Anglia, 6 X 50m)
07 Apr 1991 Prime Suspect: Series 1 (Granada, 2 X 100m)

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon36 »

No Shadow Squad?

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by ian b »

A private 'tec series - albeit run by ex-police officers.

As the dvd blurb has it...

A highly successful crime show from the late 1950s, Shadow Squad initially featured the adventures of Detective Vic Steele who, tired of being boxed in by rules and regulations, quit his job to form his own detective agency with the help of crafty Cockney Ginger Smart and their stalwart cleaning lady, Mrs. Moggs. Steele subsequently disappeared on a mission to Australia and the running of the Squad was then taken up by ex-DI Don Carter.

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon36 »

Fair enough! Thought I'd got you there. Very impressive list though!

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Simon Coward
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon Coward »

If you are excluding serials, Billy, I believe at least some of the The Odd Man seasons were serials, though I'm not sure whether there was much interconnectivity between the different seasons. The first series, aka The Runnable Stag, was based on a radio serial and I'm pretty sure series two was a running story about the character South (Christopher Guinee).
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon Coward »

Although you say, "police series", I take it - from the complete absence of comedies - that you mean police drama series. Otherwise I could suggest The Fuzz, Coppers End, Spooner's Patch...

But what about Associated-Rediffusion's NHP spin-off Echo Four-Two, which started its run on 24/08/1961?

Edit: And isn't each series of Prime Suspect a serial too?
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon Coward »

What about STV's Glaister (started 10/12/1965)?
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon36 »

The Fourth Floor?

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Phantom Wombat
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Phantom Wombat »

No Taggart (1983 - 2010)?

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon Coward »

Phantom Wombat wrote:No Taggart (1983 - 2010)?
I'd assumed that Taggart was absent because of the "no serials" rule, and that the same reason would explain the omission of, for instance, The Ruth Rendell Mysteries (1987-2000).

Depending on when "the early nineties" finishes, I had a few more ideas where the earliest seasons might just sneak in: what about Wycliffe (1993-98) or A Touch of Frost (1992-2010)? Or Heartbeat (1992-2010)? Or even 99-1 (1994-95)?

And, from the original list, aren't the main characters in El C.I.D. ex-cops?
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Billy Smart »

I suspect that Simon C may have seen more of these series than anyone else!

Its a pity that no Glaister or Echo Four-Two survives. 1961 seems early for a spin-off series - interesting that its differered from NHP by only having 25 minute episodes

I put this together because I'm writing a chapter about Parkin's Patch and Hunters Walk at the moment, and I wondered if every ITV company tried their hand at a police series at some stage and what distinguished them from each other. Also, I wondered how ITV compared with the BBC for police coverage during the 10 years when Dixon, Z Cars and Softly Softly were all running concurrently on BBC1.

The form starts to change in the eighties with Morse, Taggart, Prime Suspect etc and their feature length/ serial cases. Perhaps The Bill was closer to the form's origins, with self-contained half-hour cases.

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon Coward »

Billy Smart wrote:I suspect that Simon C may have seen more of these series than anyone else!

Its a pity that no Glaister or Echo Four-Two survives. 1961 seems early for a spin-off series - interesting that its differered from NHP by only having 25 minute episodes
Other than being older than many here, I'm not entirely sure about that! Of the chronologically earlier programmes on which I've made comments, the only one I've knowingly seen any of is The Odd Man, and then only one episode from series two.

I suspect Echo Four-Two was seen by Rediffusion as a way of benefiting from the incredible popularity that No Hiding Place had without putting any further burden on NHP's star Raymond Francis, and while perhaps also being a way to offer Francis' co-star Eric Lander promotion to a lead role without losing him from 'the franchise' (as they almost certainly didn't call it then). The fact that it was never resurrected after its initial run was curtailed by the Equity strike suggests that whatever the reason, it didn't succeed.

I'm not sure what the earliest ITV spin-off series would have been, assuming that you don't consider Crime Sheet and NHP themselves to be spin-offs, of course. Certainly Granada's Spyport, as a spin-off of Shadow Squad, pre-dates Echo Four-Two by a couple of years but whether that's the earliest... Although both Granada series used the 25-minute format, with Shadow Squad favouring 2 x 25 min stories and Skyport 1 x 25 min I suppose the pattern isn't too dissimilar to that adopted later by NHP and E4-2.

I presume 1991 was in the thread's subject line all the time, and in mentioning the "early nineties" in an earlier post I was focussing too much on the text in your post rather than the heading... I must confess had it been me I might have picked an end date of 1992 as that's more specifically justifiable given that the end of that year was also the end of a number of ITV companies' contracts including Thames, who provide much of the list in the OP.
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon Coward »

Billy Smart wrote:16 Sep 1957 Murder Bag: Series 1 (Associated-Rediffusion, 29 X 25m)
On reflection, it seems staggering that it took ITV two years before the first. Surely that can't be right.
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by fatcat »

Simon Coward wrote:
Billy Smart wrote:16 Sep 1957 Murder Bag: Series 1 (Associated-Rediffusion, 29 X 25m)
On reflection, it seems staggering that it took ITV two years before the first. Surely that can't be right.
What about all the Danziger (Marc Saber etc) and Colonel March stuff?

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Billy Smart »

Yes! I was just writing the same thing -

29 Feb 1956 Colonel March of Scotland Yard (Fountain Films) (26 X 25m)

I'd assumed that Mark Saber was some kind of generic adventurer, rather than a policeman.

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Billy Smart »

I must confess had it been me I might have picked an end date of 1992 as that's more specifically justifiable given that the end of that year was also the end of a number of ITV companies' contracts including Thames, who provide much of the list in the OP.
I agree! I can't think why I left 1992 out. It reads (El C.I.D. and Prime Suspect perhaps don't count, but I've included them for the sake of continuity):

02 Jan 1992 The Bill: Series 8 (Thames, 105 X 25m)
27 Jan 1992 El C.I.D.: Series 3 (Granada, 6 X 50m)
26 Feb 1992 Inspector Morse: Series 6 (Central, 5 X 100m)
10 Apr 1992 Heartbeat: Series 1 (Yorkshire, 10 X 50m)
06 Dec 1992 A Touch of Frost: Series 1 (Yorkshire, 3 X 100m)
15 Dec 1992 Prime Suspect: Series 2 (Granada, 2 X 100m)

Heartbeat and Frost were two important new additions to the developing genre.

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Richard A »

Superb, thanks!

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon Coward »

Billy Smart wrote:Yes! I was just writing the same thing -

29 Feb 1956 Colonel March of Scotland Yard (Fountain Films) (26 X 25m)

I'd assumed that Mark Saber was some kind of generic adventurer, rather than a policeman.
I think Saber was just a private eye, so I reckon you're right in not counting him. I'd wondered about suggesting Colonel March yesterday, but had assumed that its omission was the result of "The Department of Queen Complaints" being as fictional as C.A.T.S., C.I.5 etc although at least he was based at a real location (i.e. Scotland Yard).
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by fatcat »

does 'Martin Kane Investigator' fit the bill?
1950s show in which a New York detective is assigned to Scotland Yard.

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Billy Smart »

does 'Martin Kane Investigator' fit the bill?
I'm not sure. The full title, 'Martin Kane, Private Investigator' put me off! Then again, when it comes to Americans at Scotland Yard, 'Dempsey & Makepeace' is perhaps pushing it.

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Mickey »

Would D&M qualify anyway? They were assigned to SI-10, a fictional section of the police. Hence the propensity for gunfire and exploding cars, which the real police are sadly low on.

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Billy Smart »

I was wondering that! Its been almost thirty years since I saw it. Did S10 have a Scotland Yard office where they used to be briefed by Ray Smith?

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon Coward »

Billy Smart wrote:I was wondering that! Its been almost thirty years since I saw it. Did S10 have a Scotland Yard office where they used to be briefed by Ray Smith?
A lot depends on how much artistic license you're prepared to allow. I don't suppose there was ever an "Intercity Squad" either, but it would be a shame to lose Strangers from the list.
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Mickey »

They were based at Scotland Yard, yes. And yes, Ray Smith played Spikings, their boss (with Tony Osoba being sadly underused as his XO, Chas).

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Mark »

Impressive list, there.

One omission I noticed is "Cribb", Granada series, Pilot in 1979 and two series in 1980 and 1981.
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by billo »

what about 'Burnside' ? - the short lived spin off of the Detective featured in 'The Bill' (which is on your list) or was it after 1991 ?

although 'Riviera Police' (ITV circa 1965-66) was based overseas, if I remember correctly the regular cast did include at least one British Police officer, (possibly two) in addition to Euro cops and I think they were a branch of Interpol (thus a part of a supposedly 'real' Department - as arguably were 'Department S' !) - so would that qualify re the UK part of the squad ?

'Saber of London' WAS about a Policeman - 'Mark Saber' portrayed by a few actors including Tom Conway, it was a fifties American show re a London Police Captain made by both ABC and NBC , I believe a UK version was also made - full details can be found on wiki under 'Saber of London'

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Simon Coward »

billo wrote:what about 'Burnside' ? - the short lived spin off of the Detective featured in 'The Bill' (which is on your list) or was it after 1991 ?
It was, it ran in July and August 2000.
billo wrote:'Saber of London' WAS about a Policeman - 'Mark Saber' portrayed by a few actors including Tom Conway, it was a fifties American show re a London Police Captain made by both ABC and NBC , I believe a UK version was also made - full details can be found on wiki under 'Saber of London'
In the early Tom Conway incarnation he may have been a policeman, but those were American-made and were neither shown on nor made for ITV. By contrast in the UK-produced Mark Saber/Saber of London version he was a private detective - as the Wikipedia page you mentioned makes clear. And therefore, under Billy's criteria, both versions are ineligible for the list.
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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by silverking »

Being somewhat ancient (sadly) I can remember most of these older series & would offer a few observations –
Colonel March of Scotland Yard – Well March had an office at the Yard & was assisted By Det. Inspector Ames so was presumably a policeman, therefore should be on the list. Although March investigated supernatural crimes,( such as tracking down an abominable snowman,) his cases all turned out to have logical explanations. Very low budget, plots you drive a bus through & scripted by blacklisted Hollywood writers. Karloff was great though.
Shadow Squad – Very popular in its day, sad so few still remain. Vic Steele & later Don Carter assisted by George Moon as Ginger Smart , a safecracker who reformed in the first episode.The early ones were a bit grittier I remember & Ginger Smart was always getting beaten up. However as both tecs were ex Scotland Yard now working as private eyes should not really be included.
Murder Bag – The first introduction of Raymond Francis as Lockhart. I think it went out live as I distinctly remember an actor forgetting his lines in the first episode & causing much confusion.
Crime Sheet – was not so much a spin-off as a progression as they wanted to include other crimes other than murder, with Lockhart being transferred to a new division.
No Hiding Place – Likewise but expanded to an hour & became immensely successful. Again shame that many no longer exist. The early episodes had some quite grisly murders. One took place in a deserted London underground station with the dead body floating down the escalator. Another dealt with the murder of a small baby & yet another had Patrick Troughton as a former POW strangling his former POW companions with a cheese wire as they had left him out of their escape plan.
Echo Four Two was a spin off as a vehicle for Eric Lander who had become very popular as Lockhart’s sidekick. A bit like Lewis & Morse. All I can remember of it was a snappy, fast moving opening credit. It was, of course, badly disrupted by the ITV strike.
All four series were police procedurals & should be included on the list.
Mark Saber later Saber of London was very long running. There had been an American series previously which was never shown here but had no connection with the British show starring Donald Gray & a variety of sidekicks over the years. The most notable being Diane Decker, a popular girl singer & pin-up of the period. The series was shown endlessly during the ITV strike as a filler. Saber was a private eye though so doesn’t qualify for the list.
Martin Kane – actual British title was ‘The New Adventures of Martin Kane’ – started out as a daytime series in the US, which went out live. Never shown here. As it was live there was sometimes a problem with running times so the producers devised a plot device where in every episode Kane would have to search an office or apartment for a clue. If they were running late he would find it immediately, if under running he could spend several minutes searching through drawers etc.The Us series starred William Gargan, later Lloyd Nolan & others. When it was decided to remake it as a British show & set in London, Gargan was brought back as Kane. It was now filmed & virtually every episode ended with a long chase around London streets, presumably to show the locations.My memory of it is that Kane was a private eye, so not really a candidate for the list.
Dial 999 – with dependable old Robert Beatty as Mike McGuire. He was actually a Canadian cop assigned to Scotland Yard to study their methods. He therefore moved around to various departments, Ghost Squad, Flying Squad etc. Beatty , at the time was very well known, having done dozens of British ‘B’ films when the producers wanted an ‘American’ lead without the expense of importing one. He also did an early documentary series for BBC highlighting night workers & was the poster boy for Brylcreem, so his picture was everywhere. Definitely a police series though.
Finally – a series everbody has forgotten from about 1960 ‘Nick of the River’- had a short run & starred George Baker & Lane Meddick (who was also a writer for NHP) as members of the River police solving crimes along the Thames.
You could also make out a case for ‘African Patrol’ – John Bentley later of Crossroads as a British Police Inspector solving crimes in the African Bush. Very dull despite the exotic location.

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by fatcat »

Silverking - throughly enjoyed your anecdotes and observations.

thanks

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Re: ITV police series 1955-91

Post by Billy Smart »

Thank you so much, Silverking, for giving us some idea of what these long-lost series were actually like! A profound problem in researching forgotten drama...

I'm particularly pleased to learn of 'Nick of the River' - the sort of show that could have been almost anything, if you've only got the title to go on. I wonder if A-R stretched to much in the way of exciting filmed inserts for that one?

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