Softly, Softly: Taskforce is a police based drama series which ran on BBC 1 from 1969 to 1976. A revamp of Softly, Softly, itself a spin off from Z-Cars, the change was partly made to coincide with the coming of colour broadcasting to the BBC's main channel. The main characters, Detective Chief Inspector Barlow and Detective Inspector Watt were promoted to control of 'taskforces', a new development in regional police divisions wherein expertise and manpower could be drawn together when needed for special operations. Joining them from Softly, Softly would be DS Harry Hawkins, also on promotion. The stories were set in the fictional south-eastern English borough of Thamesford, where the team were under the baleful eye of Chief Constable Cullen.
The programme was due to be called Taskforce, but the BBC were reluctant to sacrifice a much-loved brand and so a compromise was reached; it became Softly, Softly: Taskforce.
The continuing storyline of the series saw Barlow widowed in 1972, after which he was head-hunted by the home office to work on special cases. This left the way clear for Watt to come out of Barlow's shadow and take command in his own right, with the reliable assistance of Hawkins. Regulars included Terence Rigby as PC Snow, David Lloyd Meredith and Walter Gotell.