“Get inside the most famous police headquarters in the world.”
Just like the rest of PBS’ “Secrets Collection,” Secrets of Scotland Yard is a program designed to give the viewer, however casual, a look behind a well-known entity. This time that institution is Britain’s Scotland Yard, one of the world’s most famous police squads. It is extremely well-paced, moving from the early days of the police squad’s formation through modern day in a little less than an hour. While trying to tackle such a rich subject might seem presumptuous for such a quick runtime, it works very well, in no small part to the no-nonsense atmosphere of the piece. Get in, share the information, and get out. No rambling stories or unrelated tangents here.
As far as an educational program goes, I find no faults with this disc; in fact, the only thing I can negatively comment upon concerns the technical aspects. Far too many interviews were performed in moving cars, and the camera work that results is not the best. Too often the camera attempts to frame a point of interest through the vehicle’s glass, which results in poor viewing.
The video transfer is an unsurprising 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, by now the almost universally accepted format for currently airing television shows. There is a fair bit of compression artefacting present, especially evident around the eyes of the interview subjects as well as the end credit sequence. It’s something you will need to adjust your eyes to however after a few minutes it fades to the background. The palette is a pale neutral, a no-nonsense choice to back up the no-nonsense subject matter. The audio track is a simple Dolby 2.0 Stereo, however it’s more than serviceable for a television documentary such as this.
There are no special features.
I really enjoy this program. It is extremely fast paced, however never moving at a speed that leaves me behind in terms of what I am learning. It is more in-depth than I anticipated, which is a welcome surprise. For those with even the most passing of curiosities about Scotland Yard, Secrets of Scotland Yard will likely answer every question you have and some you would never think to ask.