SPIKE MILLIGAN’S Q VOLUME 1: SERIES 1-3 SIMPLY MEDIA 166446
Spike Milligan’s Q was one of the most surreal sketch shows ever made and a huge influence on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which launched six months after Q first aired in 1969. Considered one of the best examples of the British Comedy Award winner’s eccentricity and ‘stream-of-consciousness’ humour, Spike Milligan’s sketches in Q make outrageous leaps from one subject matter or location to another, stopping with no apparent conclusion, and not shying away from controversial matters. Filled with invention and taking huge risks, Q provides the perfect showcase for Milligan’s off-the-wall wit. The Monty Python crew were quick to hire Q director Ian MacNaughton for their own show. As well as the genius of Spike, the series features regular appearances from the excellent John Bluthal, John D. Collins, Peter Jones, Margaret Nolan, Cardew Robinson, Alan Clare (pianist and ‘amnesiac actor’), Stella Tanner, Sheila Steafel, the admirable Robert Dorning, stoic Stella Tanner (formerly one of the Tanner Sisters), David ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ Lodge, raucous Rita Webb, and the voluptuous Julia Breck. Musical interventions include jazz greats Stan Tracey and Ronnie Scott, and seasoned satirists Richard Ingrams and John Wells appear in the early episodes. The inspired tomfoolery of Q has rarely been seen since it was first broadcast, perhaps because of its political incorrectness and occasional gratuitous nudity. Now this highly sought-after BAFTA-nominated series gets its first home entertainment release in this three-DVD set, which contains all surviving episodes from series one, plus the complete series two and three. Essential viewing.
SOMEWHERE AT SEA - TIMOTHY SPALL SIMPLY MEDIA 167494
When BAFTA nominated Timothy Spall, one of Britain’s best-loved actors, was facing a life-threatening illness, he promised himself that if he survived leukaemia he would take up sailing. The 2010 BBC Four television series Somewhere At Sea follows Timothy and his delightful wife Shane as they navigate around the coast of Britain in a specially built sea-going barge, the Princess Matilda. in their mini-odyssey from Cornwall to Cardiff Bay, Timothy and Shane set off from Fowey, heading towards Lands End and then into South Wales. By his own admission, Timothy is an unqualified and slightly nervous mariner, but Shane has every confidence in his seafaring abilities. The self-taught sailor manoeuvres his Dutch barge around the infamous Lizard Point to Newlyn, where he gets advice from the Penlee Lifeboat crew on how to tackle Land’s End. In the final programme, Timothy reaches the relatively calm of the port of St. Ives and makes plans to negotiate some of the most extreme tides in Britain on his route through the Bristol Channel. Inspirational, charming and funny, Somewhere At Sea was followed by BACK AT SEA (SIMPLY MEDIA 166457), four programmes that covered Timothy and Shane’s journey around Wales to Liverpool, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The last programme follows them from the western Scottish Isles to winter port in Aberdeenshire via the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness. The third series, ALL AT SEA (SIMPLY MEDIA 166456), will soon be released and covers the final leg of their journey after a winter mooring in Eastern Scotland. We follow the intrepid, loving couple from Aberdeenshire to London, via North East England, the East of England, the River Medway and Chatham, finishing with their heartwarming return up the River Thames.
FULL STEAM AHEAD - VICTORIAN RAILWAYS ACORN AV3328
Full Steam Ahead is the latest BBC Two series from the team that brought us Victorian Farm, Wartime Farm and Tudor Monastery Farm. This fascinating new six-part series follows our intrepid historians Peter Ginn, Alex Langlands and Ruth Goodman as they set off down the line on an old-fashioned locomotive, visiting different parts of the country and immersing themselves in the workings of the railways. They get their hands dirty driving the train, working in the station, manning a signal box and learning how to run every aspect of a 19th and early 20th century railway. The age of steam was an era of extraordinary change which utterly transformed every aspect of British life – from trade and transportation to health and recreation. This series reveals how the world we live in today was shaped by the railways, charting the glorious evolution of rail transportation and how it left its mark on every aspect of our life, landscape and culture. All six hour long episodes of Full Steam Ahead - Victorian Railways are now available together in this nostalgic, informative and entertaing box set. Special features include behind the scenes interviews with the presenters and crew as well as a picture gallery. ‘A fascinating look at train history.’ - Daily Mirror.
WALLANDER SERIES 4 - THE FINAL CHAPTER BBC
Kenneth Branagh returns as Swedish Detective Inspector Kurt Wallander in the BAFTA award-winning crime drama series based on the novels by Henning Mankell. These three final thrilling stories were filmed in South Africa, Sweden and Denmark. In The White Lioness, Wallander is drawn into the case of a missing Swedish national while attending a police conference in South Africa. It is the start of an emotional journey that leads him from the aching beauty of rural Africa to the intense poverty of its urban townships. The second film sees Wallander back in Sweden where a woman’s body is discovered half buried in the forest swamps. When it transpires the victim’s daughter has also gone missing, Wallander and his team at Ystad police station must catch the culprit before he has another death on his conscience. And in The Troubled Man, Wallander is in a race against time as struggles with the onset of Alzheimer’s as he embarks on his final case - the disappearance of his daughter’s father-in-law. Extras with this double Blu-ray set (also available on DVD) include an interview with late author Henning Mankell. A box set Wallander: The Complete Collection has also been released on DVD and Blu Ray.
AGATHA CHRISTIE – THE CLASSIC CRIME COLLECTION ACORN AV3320
Dame Agatha Christie has been called the best-selling writer of books of all time, and the best-selling writer of any kind together with William Shakespeare. Only the Bible sold more with about 6 billion copies. An estimated four billion copies of her novels have been sold and she is the most translated individual author in the world. Altough she also wrote romance novels under the name Mary Westmacott, she is best remembered for her 80 detective novels and her successful West End theatre plays, including the perennial Mousetrap. Her works, particularly those featuring Hercule Poirot or Miss Jane Marple, earned her the title the ‘Queen of Crime’ and made her one of the most influential writers in the genre. This star studded four-DVD collection brings together three excellent television adaptations of murder mysteries by the acknowledged Queen of Crime. THE PALE HORSE pits a young man with an eye for danger against a perilous coven of conniving and black magic. SPARKLING CYANIDE revels in the coincidence of money, manipulation and murder, uncovered in the glamorous world of London socialites and secret agents by Colonel Reece (Oliver Ford Davies) and Dr. Catherine Kendal (Pauline Collins), with the excellent Kenneth Cranham and Susan Hampshire. WHY DIDN’T THEY ASK EVANS? is the question to raised when Vicar’s son Bobby Jones (James Warwick) comes across a dying man and hears his enigmatic final words. Bobby discovers a photograph of a beautiful young woman in his coat pocket. While he is waiting with the body another man finds him there. He introduces himself as Roger Bassington-ffrench (Leigh Lawson) and offers to stay with the body so Bobby will not be late to play the organ at his father’s church. Intrigued by the mystery, Bobby then teams up with his plucky childhood friend Frankie Derwent (Francesca Annis), and together they stumble across a tangled web of false identities, faked wills and murder. The classy cast also includes John Gielgud as Reverend Jones, Connie Booth, Eric Porter, the delightful Madeline Smith, and television veteran Raymond Francis as the Earl Of Marchington. Extras include an Agatha Christie biography & bibliography, cast filmographies and a photo gallery.
A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE TRILOGY ACORN AV3319
Barbara Taylor Bradford’s novel, A Woman of Substance, was first published in 1979 and led to a seven-book saga about the fortunes of a retail empire and the machinations of the business elite across three generations. A Woman of Substance charts the life of Emma Harte, from kitchen maid at the beginning of the 20th Century, to respected business woman and grandmother in the 1980s. From humble beginnings she starts her business with a small shop, but over the next twenty years she expands and invests in the growing textile industry in Leeds. By the time of World War Two, Emma is the head of a major retail and manufacturing empire, but she has struggled all her life to find personal happiness before meeting the love of her life, Paul McGill. This boxed set features the acclaimed televsion mini-series trilogy based on these best-selling novels. In A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE, Emma’s drive and ambition enables her to become one of the richest women in the world. The saga continues with HOLD THE DREAM when, at the age of 80, Emma decides to pass control of the business empire to her beloved granddaughter, Paula. We follow Paula’s battles to stay at the top and as she takes on the greatest struggle of her career in TO BE THE BEST. This engrossing saga is one of the best and most successful television series ever and features an outstanding cast that includes Jenny Seagrove, the great Deborah Kerr (in her last ever acting role), Liam Neeson, Barry Morse, Miranda Richardson, John Mills, Anthony Hopkins and Stephanie Beacham. Extras with this box set of four DVDs include an interview with Barbara Taylor Bradford and a picture gallery.
FRED: COMPLETE SERIES SIMPLY MEDIA 166413
Bolton-born Fred Dibnah was an English steeplejack, engineer and eccentric who became a television personality, a cult figure and, ultimately, a national institution. He was a great steam fan and owned a vintage traction engine as well as steam roller called Betsy. He first became known to the public in 1979 when the BBC broadcast a documentary featuring him at work, both repairing and demolishing chimneys. His rough-hewn Lancastrian manner and ever-present flat cap were an instant hit and he went on to write and present many television series, mostly concerned with the Industrial Revolution and its mechanical and architectural legacy. His national fame began when the BBC commissioned a BAFTA winning 1980 documentary ‘Fred Dibnah: Steeplejack’, which showed him demolishing giant factory chimneys with ease and casually hopping across the chimney tops with death-defying agility. After that, seven 30-minute programmes were made, exploring Fred’s eccentric life as a steeplejack and steam tractor fanatic. Now for the first time together on DVD in this two-disc set, the seven episode 1982 BBC television series ‘Fred’ can be seen alongside ‘Fred Dibnah: Steeplejack’. In Fred, director by Don Haworth caught Dibnah at great heights doing what he does best. Driving his favourite steamroller Betsy, soon the man with two very Victorian tastes became a television star just for being himself. With the world at his feet, he was much in demand as a television presenter and after-dinner speaker on industrial history and all things mechanical - especially anything related to his overriding passion: steamrollers. He even arrived on one to collect his MBE from Buckingham Palace. Fred Dibnah was a national treasure and his knowledge and infectious enthusiasm make this a winning collection that will delight his many fans.
MIDSOMER MURDERS: SERIES 18 ACORN AV3287
The first episode of the Midsomer Murders television detective drama aired on ITV in 1997 and the series continues to be hugely popular. The stories, based on Caroline Graham’s Chief Inspector Barnaby books, are set in the idyllic picturesque but deadly villages of the fictional county of Midsomer, where so far there have been 222 murders, plus 11 accidental deaths, 11 suicides and seven deaths from natural causes. Some of the more unusual murder implements featured have included a cricket bat, a saucepan, a doped horse, toxic fungus, a drinks cabinet, a plough, a French guillotine, King Neptune’s trident and alien abduction. The current lead character is DCI John Barnaby (played by Neil Dudgeon), who works for Causton CID alongside Gwilym Lee who plays Detective Superintendent Charlie Nelson as they uncover a number of sophisticated killings. John is the younger cousin of former DCI Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) who featured in the series until 2011. This two-DVD set includes the complete Midsomer Murders Series 18 with six episodes of the much loved thriller: Habeas Corpus, The Incident at Coopers Hill, Breaking the Chain, A Dying Art, Saints and Sinners and Harvest of Souls. Joining the cast for the 18th series is a new pathologist Dr Kam Karimore played by Manjinder Virk, and Fiona Dolman plays Sarah Barnaby. The Telegraph said that there was a surprising freshness and good humour about the opening episode in which (apparently) nobody dies! Add that to the release of the board game Midsomer Murders Cluedo and plans for another TV series and it’s clear that murder will continue to haunt Midsomer for some time to come. Extras with this boxset include subtitles, a picture gallery, cast filmographies and a writer bigraphy.
SHAKESPEARE AT THE BBC BBC
Playwright, poet, actor, and arguably the greatest writer ever in the English language, William Shakespeare’s legacy is a body of work that will probably never be equalled. His words have lasted for well over 400 years, still moving people as powerfully as ever, and fascinating us with his genius and sometimes mysterious life. As well as introducing 3,000 words into the English language, he coined everyday phrases such as ‘heart of gold’, ‘wild goose chase’, ‘faint-hearted’, ‘break the ice’ and ‘love is blind’. Shakespeare died on April 23 in 1616 at the age of 52 and special events are taking place across Britain throughout 2016 to mark this special 400 years anniversary, including performances, talks, exhibitions, concerts, conferences, film showings, poetry and youth projects. April 23 might also been his birthday, making him 452 years old. In 1978, the BBC set itself the task of filming all of Shakespeare’s plays for television. The resulting productions, renowned for their loyalty to the text, utilised the best theatrical and television directors and brought acclaimed performances from some of this country’s finest actors. SHAKESPEARE AT THE BBC – COMEDIES (BBCDVD 4138) is a new five-DVD set that includes five of the hugely popular comedies: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, The Winter’s Tale, and Twelfth Night. The star-studded casts include John Cleese as Petruchio, the wonderful Sarah Badel as Katherine, Robert Hardy, Felicity Kendall as Viola, Robert Lindsay, Cherie Lunghi and Helen Mirren as Titania. SHAKESPEARE AT THE BBC - TRAGEDIES (BBCDVD 4139) is another excellent five-DVD collection, starring John Gielgud, Anthony Hopkins as Othello, Michael Hordern, Bob Hoskins as Iago, Alan Rickman as Tybalt, Nicol Williamson, Claire Bloom, Rebecca Saire as a delightful Juliet, Patrick Stewart as Claudius, and Derek Jacobi as Hamlet, in Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello and Romeo & Juliet. A new digital service, BBC Store, makes it easy to buy and keep copies of BBC programmes, including an unrivalled compendium of work from the world’s greatest playwright. All 37 plays made for the classic BBC series are available. The Shakespeare at the BBC Collection guides you through some of the most interesting plays and most creative productions, from the obsessively faithful to the experimental. BBC Store also offers viewers background information with historian Simon Schama’s Shakespeare series exploring the playwright’s revolutionary role in our history and the Francesco da Mosto hosted series, Shakespeare in Italy, a beautiful travelogue exploring the land that inspired a third of Shakespeare’s work.
HAPPY VALLEY, SERIES 2 BBC BBCDVD4108
Happy Valley was a massive popular and critical hit when first broadcast by the BBC in 2014. Filmed and set in The Calder Valley, this thrilling crime drama starred Sarah Lancashire, was superbly written by Sally Wainwright, and justly won every award going, including five BAFTAs. The hugely anticipated second series, again written and partly directed by Sally Wainwright, was broadcast to further acclaim in March 2016 on BBC One. It opens with Catherine, the no-nonsense police sergeant, back heading up her team of dedicated police officers in in West Yorkshire. The evil Tommy Lee Royce (an unnerving performance by James Norton) is firmly behind bars but Catherine suspects there may be another serial killer on the loose when she makes a gruesome discovery that will have shocking repercussions for her and her family. Meanwhile, a new detective, DS John Wadsworth (Kevin Doyle) arrives with his own set of problems. Despite being firmly under lock and key, Tommy continues to manipulate and forms a bond with a mysterious female admirer (played by the brilliant Shirley Henderson). Sarah Lancashire is mesmerising as the doughty Catherine, saying more with a look than many actresses can with pages of dialogue. The outstanding cast also includes Siobhan Finneran as Catherine’s sister Clare, Rhys Connah as young Ryan, Katherine Kelly, Julie Hesmondhalgh as John’s vengeful wife, Amelia Bullmore as his mistress, Charlie Murphy as new recruit Ann Gallagher, and Angela Pleasence as Catherine’s Polish friend Winnie. The second series of Happy Valley is now available on Blu-ray and DVD with extras that include cast interviews and behind the scenes footage. Also available on DVD and Blu-ray are box sets of the complete HAPPY VALLEY, SERIES 1 & 2 (BBCDVD4109). Unmissable.
MR SELFRIDGE, SERIES 4 GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT 3711537083
Mr. Selfridge recounts the real life story of the flamboyant and visionary American founder of Selfridge’s, London’s lavish department store. Originally set in 1909 London, when women were reveling in a new sense of freedom and modernity, it follows Harry Gordon Selfridge (‘Mile a Minute Harry’), a man with a mission to make shopping as thrilling as sex. Pioneering and reckless, with an almost manic energy, Harry created a theatre of retail where any topic or trend that was new, exciting, entertaining - or just eccentric - was showcased. The fourth and final series of this successful ITV drama sees the return of Katherine Kelly’s Lady Mae and the introduction of the frivolous Dolly sisters as time has moved forward to 1928. A slightly greyer Harry Selfridge remains at the helm of his Oxford Street store and at the pinnacle of his wealth and celebrity, but his weaknesses for women and gambling are beginning to clash with the running of his empire. Will Lady Mae keep Harry grounded or will the gold-digging Dolly sisters tempt his wandering eye? In the frenzied, buzzing 20s, Harry parties and gambles with stage stars and pursues risky new business ventures as the trials and tribulations of the much loved characters, and a handful of newcomers, unfold. Lady Mae rebuilds her life whilst Mardle (Amanda Abbington) and Grove (Tom Goodman-Hill) thrash out their differences. Meanwhile Kitty (Amy Beth Hayes) and Frank embark on the biggest challenge to their relationship yet. All ten episodes of the fourth series of Mr. Selfridge are included in this three-DVD set together with three special features - The Making of Mr Selfridge; The Rise and Fall of Harry Selfridge; and The Ladies of Mr Selfridge.
THE MISSING POSTMAN SIMPLY MEDIA 166309
Forced to take early retirement when new technology is introduced in his sorting office, mild-mannered Dorset postman Clive Peacock takes a spur of the moment decision to deliver his last mail collection by hand as a protest. Mounting his trusty bicycle, he sets off on an adventure all around Britain, delivering each letter personally. Pursued by the police for ‘stealing Her Majesty’s mail’ and glorified by the media, he becomes both a fugitive and a reluctant hero. Written by Mark Wallington and directed by Alan Dossor, this funny, warm-hearted BBC TV film from 1997 stars James Bolam as the self-effacing, accident-prone Clive and Alison Steadman, looking particularly scrumptious, as his wife. The outstanding cast also includes Jim Carter as a pursuing detective, Stephen Moore, Barbara Dickson, Larry Lamb, Tessa Burbridge as a bored stripper, Rebecca Front as a pushy Daily Mail reporter (is there any other kind?) and Roger Lloyd Pack. Highly recommended.
STALKY AND CO. SIMPLY MEDIA 166311
Rudyard Kipling’s novel about adolescent boys at a British boarding school, Stalky & Co, was first published in 1899 after being serialised in the Windsor Magazine. Set at an unnamed school based on the United Services College in Devon, which Kipling attended, the stories have elements of revenge, the macabre, bullying and violence, and hints about sex, making them far from childish or idealised. These entertaining and gently subversive tales were adapted as a six-part series for BBC television in 1982. Excellently directed by Rodney Bennett and produced by Barry Letts, the series starred Robert Addie as the charismatic leader Stalky (real name Arthur Lionel Corkran), Robert Burbage as William ‘Turkey’ M’Turk (who comes from a landed estate in Ireland) and David Parfitt as the literary Reginald Beetle, a character partly based on Kipling himself. Their seemingly unending supply of practical jokes invariably frustrate their long-suffering schoolmasters, but will the three pranksters eventually find their match?
THE CHILDREN OF GREEN KNOWE SIMPLY MEDIA 166310
When his father and stepmother leave the country for Christmas, young Toseland (called Tolly for short) is doomed to spend the holidays at his boarding school, until his eccentric great-grandmother, Mrs Oldknow, invites him to stay with her at The Green Knowe estate, an 11th century house built by Normans. While she tells him stories of his ancestors, Toseland soon finds out not everything is what it seems, and he begins to see the spirits of children who lived in the house during the reign of Charles II. Originally screened in 1986 but never released on DVD, The Children of Green Knowe is a charming and mystical classic children’s mini-series adapted from the first of Lucy M. Boston’s award-winning novels. Alec Christie is excellent as young Tolly and Mrs Oldknow is played by the much-loved Daphne Oxenford, formerly the voice of ‘Listen With Mother’ on BBC children’s radio (‘Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin’).
MURDER - THE COMPLETE SERIES ACORN AV3228
In the innovative drama Murder: Joint Enterprise, a woman lies dead in a Nottingham flat. Her terrified sister is barricaded in the bathroom and at 2.00am a young man in a bloodstained shirt is pulled over for speeding. The three only met that afternoon - so what happened in those fatal hours? All there is to go on is what the two survivors say. Moodily directed by Birger Larsen, who also made the acclaimed Danish series, The Killing, this BAFTA award winning film includes an outstanding performance by Karla Crome. Following the same unique format, the programme returned with three new films shown on BBC Two and here released on DVD courtesy of RLJ Entertainment’s Acorn Label. Rich in forensic and psychological detail and with unique depth of characterisation, each of the films picks apart a murder in its terrible complexity. The stories dig deep into character and motive to unearth the hidden truths behind the riverside killing of a Scottish doctor (The Third Voice, directed by Birger Larsen); the disappearance of a wealthy philanthropist from her lover’s home (Lost Weekend, directed by Paul Wright); and the cold-blooded murder of an off-duty policeman (The Big Bang, directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard). Co-creators Robert Jones and Kath Mattock spent months in the public galleries at the Old Bailey researching real-life cases for inspiration and authenticity, and the films are intercut with CCTV footage, live action and forensic evidence. The protagonists speak to camera, each giving their version of events. The stories are heard from every angle and cast the viewer as a jury-member, forcing us to decide: Guilty or Not Guilty? These are desperate people telling tales full of the grittiness and ambiguity of real life. The excellent casts include Peter Bowles, Morven Christie, Jessica Barden, Karla Crome, Joe Dempsie, Stephen Dillane, Robert Pugh, Lauren Socha and Anne-Marie Duff. The Complete Series comes comes with the original Murder: Joint Enterprise on a bonus DVD disc. ‘Electrifyingly tense.’ - The Telegraph.
WAR AND PEACE BBC BBCBD0329
Leo Tolstoy’s novel of Russian history and society, War and Peace, was first published between 1865 and 1869 and tells the story of Russia during the Napoleonic era. This wide-ranging study of early 19th Century Russia contains much realistic detail as well as profound psychological analysis, making it indisputably one of the world’s great novels. A huge number of characters are involved in a plot that lives up to the book’s grand title as the author sets out a theory of history, concluding that free choice is minimal and that life is ruled by an inexorable historical determinism. These profundities underlie a melodramatic story that is part soap opera and part passionate historical romance. Emotional lives are lived against a background of global warfare and uncertainty, and these stories and feelings are just as relevant today as they were two hundred years ago. Adapting this epic for television is a daunting poposition but Andrew Davies does thrilling justice to Tolstoy’s masterpiece this lavish production. At the centre of the timeless story stands kind-hearted but awkward Pierre Bezukhov (Paul Dano), a hot-headed newcomer in Russian society, brimming with idealistic ideas but hopelessly lost as he seeks meaning in his life. His sincere good nature is a comfort to his friend handsome and gallant Andrei Bolkonsky (James Norton), a cynical prince who is sick of his stifling marriage and longs for glory on the field of battle. Both their fates are bound to the beautiful, captivating and kind-hearted Natasha Rostova (Lily James). As Napoleon’s army edges ever closer to Russia’s borders, everything they thought they knew is thrown into question in a time when Russian lives are about to change forever. The cast which also includes Jim Broadbent, Gillian Anderson, Greta Scacchi, Stephen Rea (brilliant as Prince Vassily Kuragin), Brian Cox as crusty General Mikhail Kutuzov, Tuppence Middleton, Aneurin Barnard, Ken Stott, Rebecca Front and Ade Edmondson, hamming it up as dotty Count Ilya Rostov. The ambitious series, which received good reviews and large audiences when broadcast in 2016, has now been released in this three-disc Blu-ray set as well as on DVD (BBCDVD4074) and download from BBCStore.com.
TRACEY ULLMAN’S SHOW ACORN AV3289
British comedy treasure Tracey Ullman first became a hit on television in the sketch shows A Kick Up the Eighties and Three of a Kind. After a brief singing career, she emigrated to the United States and was a hit all over again in her own network television series, The Tracey Ullman Show (in which The Simpsons were born), Tracey Takes On... and Tracey Ullman’s State of the Union. She has been a highly successful producer, director, screenwriter, author and businesswoman, becoming one of the richest actresses in the process. Despite this, she remains a good egg and it was joy to see her return to British screens in 2016 as the star of the BBC’s all-new character-driven comedy series, Tracey Ullman’s Show, her first UK sketch show in 30 years. Tracey enthusiasticaly takes on famous faces and extraordinary characters as we discover the secret life of shoplifter Dame Judi Dench and view Dame Maggie Smith’s hilarious home-filmed auditions for blockbuster films. We take an inside look at the life of Germany’s Angela Merkel, topless feminist MP Sally Preston, Hayley the obsessive zookeeper, and Dominic, the coffee-shop would-be app-entrepreneur. Not to mention Camilla Parker Bowles and Carole Middleton babysitting the smallest in line to the throne. These satirical sketches are edgy and thoughtful as well as very funny and Tracey Ullman transforms herself chameleon-like into all her characters, with guest appearances from Rupert Grint, Steve Pemberton and Michael Brandon. ‘A rollicking blend of impressions – and wonderfully silly character comedy.’ - Radio Times.
YOUNG MONTALBANO – SERIES 2 ACORN AV3248
The excellent Inspector Montalbano television series is based on the bestselling novels of acclaimed writer Andrea Camilleri. Operating within Italy’s precarious justice system, the sometimes irascible detective is immersed in a world of murder, betrayal, temptation, women and politics - the latter often proving as dangerous as any of the former. Following the huge success of this series the fiery Italian policeman returned as Young Montalbano, with all the integrity but less of the experience of his older, possibly wiser, self. Starring Michele Riondino in the title role, Young Montalbano is set in the 1990s and gives an insight into the private life and early crime-fighting career of the idiosyncratic Sicilian detective. We also meet his team, including Fazio, Domenico ‘Mimi’ Augello and the young and exceedingly eager Officer Catarella. Michele Riondino is excellent – younger and thinner than the charismatic Luca Zingaretti, and with a fine head of curly hair, he convincingly portrays Montalbano’s charm, intelligence and independence. Good food and beautiful women play a crucial role, as does the enviable seafront house in Vigata. Young Montalbano received great critical acclaim in Italy and when shown on BBC Four. Acorn has now released this three-DVD set featuring all six episodes of Series Two. In The Man Who Followed Funerals (L’Uomo Che Andava Appresso ai Funerali), Pasqualino Cutufa, who has followed every funeral procession in Vigata for years, is shot dead one night on his way home. Meanwhile, the wife of a local businessman and gambler goes missing and his stunning mistress causes palpitations all round. Montalbano deals with all this as well as the fragrant Livia, rashly taking advice on women from Mimi. Other seductively told tales include Room Number Two (Livia and Salvo visit the priest to set a date for their wedding), Death Offshore (Augello tries to persuade Montalbano to join him on a double date with two German tourists), The Transaction (the circus is in town), The Honest Thief (Montalbano realises he’s run out of wine to accompany his dinner), and An Apricot (Salvo and Livia go for a beautiful coastal trip so that he can say goodbye to his beloved Sicily). Extras include an Andrea Camilleri biography and a picture gallery. Young Montalbano gives real insights into the world of the great detective and is indispensable viewing for the great man’s many fans.
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE ACORN AV3286
To celebrate Agatha Christie’s 125th Anniversary, the BBC produced this acclaimed three-part adaptation of Christie’s dark masterpiece, which has sold more than 100 million copies, making it the world’s best-selling mystery. Suitably renamed twice, this gripping, claustrophobic thriller is set in 1939 and follows ten strangers with dubious pasts and guilty secrets who are drawn to a mysterious mansion on a remote island off the Devon coast. As the weather turns, with inevitable thunderstorms, they find themselves stranded and their hosts absent. The guests soon discover they are each accused of a terrible crime for which a price must be paid. When members of the party start to be brutally slaughtered one by one, they realise they may be harbouring the murderer among them. For if all are destined to die, who can their executioner be? Who will survive and who is the killer? The exceptional cast includes Douglas Booth, the brilliant Charles Dance, Australian Maeve Dermody as beguiling femme fatale Vera, Burn Gorman as a malevolent policeman, Anna Maxwell Martin brilliant as a timid, put-upon servant, suave Sam Neill (of Peaky Blinders and Jurassic Park fame), Miranda Richardson, the ubiquitous Toby Stephens, Noah Taylor and dashing Aidan Turner (revealing his fine torso, as in Poldark). Written by Sarah Phelps with added sex, drugs, gore and bad language, and stylishly directed by award-winning Craig Viveiros, And Then There Were None was broadcast on BBC One over the 2015 Christmas holidays and now makes its DVD debut on RLJ Entertainment’s Acorn label. Extras include a comprehensive Behind the Scenes feature with cast and crew and two photo galleries.
MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES, SERIES 3 ACORN AV3245
The Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher is a glamorous lady detective with a sleek Bob and Killer cheekbones who sashays through the back streets of 1928 Melbourne, fighting injustice with her pearl-handled pistol and her dagger-sharp wit. Leaving a trail of lovers in her wake, this very modern heroine makes sure she is always the centre of attention and relishes every one of life’s moments. Based on the bestselling novels of Kerry Greenwood, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries became a hit TV series in Australia and around the world and the stylish third series is now available on this 2-DVD set. The Honourable Miss Phryne (delectable Essie Davis) continues to solve crimes with panache and valour alongside suave Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page). Together the dynamic duo enter the magical world of the magician’s assistant; fly high at the RAAF; swim in the murky undercurrent with the Italian crime organisation the Camorra; become a little too well acquainted with the tantalising tennis crowd; and disrupt the preparations for Dot and Hugh’s big day. Phryne throws herself into investigations with a bravado many men would struggle to muster but is surprised by the unexpected arrival of her roguish father. As she looks to put old ghosts to rest Lord Fisher still manages to rile her with his outrageous behaviour. Also joining in the fun is Aunt Prudence, winningly played by the award-winning British actress Miriam Margolyes. Extras include extensive behind the scenes footage, a photo gallery, character clips and Mr Butler’s Drink of the Week. ‘Runs bad guys to ground with wit and raunch.’ - Radio Times.
DETECTORISTS, SERIES TWO RLJ ENTERTAINMENT AV3255
Best friends Andy (the excellent Mackenzie Crook) and Lance (Toby Jones) share a passion for metal detecting and spend their time scouring mostly sun-drenched English countryside, hoping for the one rare find that could change their lives forever. This warmly received second series finds Lance still lovelorn after the departure of his ex-wife, though he may be about to surprise everybody with a new and unexpected relationship. Andy and his wife Becky (Rachael Stirling) are now parents, but despite qualifying as an archaeologist Andy is still unemployed. Their shared hopes for the future look further off than ever - but Becky has a dream... Meanwhile the Danebury Metal Detecting Club find themselves on a mission to track down a long-lost WWII bomber on behalf of a young German man who suddenly arrives in their midst - followed closely by ‘Simon and Garfunkel.’ There may be new loves, new challenges and old enemies, but always there is the vision, always there is the dream of something that is waiting not too deep beneath the soil; something that will inspire the legendary Gold Dance. Written and directed by the excellent Mackenzie Crook, the series also stars delightful Aimee-Ffion Edwards as student Sophie and Diana Rigg (Rachael Stirling’s mother) as Becky’s feisty mum Veronica. Following its run on BBC Four, Series Two of this award-winning, critically acclaimed comedy makes its DVD debut. Special features include a behind the scenes feature: A Day Out With Detectorists. ‘Detectorists has struck the sort of gold that Lance and Andy spend hours sweeping the fields for.’ - The Guardian.
THE KILLING - THE COMPLETE SERIES MEDIUMRARE
The acclaimed Emmy nominated US series, The Killing, gets its first ever complete collection release on DVD and Blu-ray. Based on the Danish The Killing (Forbrydelsen), one of the original ‘Nordic Noir’ hits that put a brand new genre on the map, this slow burning, crime thriller follows the gripping murder investigations led by homicide detectives Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder. Seasons one and two chronicle the murder case of 17-year-old Rosie Larsen and season three picks up one year after the close of that investigation. It follows the detectives as they search for a runaway girl, leading them to discover a gruesome string of murders connected to a previous investigation by Linden. One of television’s most suspenseful series ever comes to a powerful, thought-provoking close in season four when Linden and Holder deal with the fallout of their actions from the previous series, while investigating the murder of a family whose only survivor is a member of an all-boys military academy. This bumper box set brings all four series together for the first time. ‘Deliciously intelligent TV…Marvelously executed’ - The Telegraph.
DOCTOR FOSTER BBC DVD4053
Doctor Gemma Foster is a woman in control. A beautiful, talented and respected family doctor at the heart of her village, she is a woman people can trust and a loving mother with an enviable life. But Doctor Foster’s life is about to explode. Finding a blonde hair and suspecting that her husband Simon (Bertie Carvel) of having an affair, she is determined to get to the truth - but how far is she prepared to go and what other betrayals might she uncover? This complex, gripping and stylish psychological drama, written by Mike Bartlett, comes from the producers of the internationally acclaimed The Honourable Woman. Gemma is an intelligent, empowered woman who suddenly discovers she has a huge battle on her hands, both personally and professionally. Her relentless investigation throws her life, and the lives of her patients and family, into chaos, as she finds herself behaving in ways she could never have imagined. In trying to regain control, could she end up losing everything she loves? Suranne Jones is mesmerising as a woman driven to extremes and reveals a streak of violence below the surface. Doctor Foster became essential viewing on BBC One in 2015 and was a major talking point in the media as the nation cheered or booed Gemma’s ruthless quest for revenge. The final episode with its dinner party from hell is sure to become a classic. The complete series of Doctor Foster is now available on this two-DVD set.
HOLDING ON SIMPLY MEDIA 139273
After a beautiful young woman is found brutally senselessly murdered, a diverse group of Londoners, connected to her in some way, are all forced to confront the way they live their lives. While some make the choice to fight injustice, others begin to sink even further into despair and degradation. Even more relevant today than it was in the 90s, Holding On is a compelling, honest portrait of London in the early 1990s, and follows the interconnected lives of more than 25 characters under the strain of drugs, corruption and racism. ‘London will chew you up and spit you out – if you give it a chance.’ Starkly contemporary, fast-paced, unsentimental, and often darkly funny, this eight-part multi-layered series from 1997 stars the excellent David Morrissey as dedicated Inland Revenue investigator Shaun and Phil Daniels as a cynical, bulimic food critic who hates eating and food. The large cast also includes Meera Syal, Sam Kelly, Ruth Sheen, Ace Bhatti, Ellen Thomas, Diane Parish, Saira Todd, Lesley Manville, and Sandra Voe in a touching performance as Annie, the mother of a volatile schizophrenic man. Persuasively written by Tony Marchant and sharply directed by Adrian Shergold, this complex, gripping and superbly acted series is now available complete in this double-DVD set. ‘A gritty crime drama that will grab you by the throat and tug at the heartstrings.’ - Sabotage Times.
CHANDLER & CO. - SERIES 1 & 2 SIMPLY MEDIA 163502
Created and co-written by Paula Milne, Chandler & Co stars Catherine Russell as Elly Chandler and charts the adventures of two rookie female private eyes. Her former sister-in-law, happily-married but bored Dee Chandler Tate, persuades her to team up to run a private detective agency that seems to specialize in runaway daughters and wayward spouses (although they refer to them as personal and marital cases). Joining them, as an unofficial advisor, is Larry Blakeston (Peter Capaldi, of Dr Who fame), who once investigated Elly’s philandering husband (and Dee’s brother) Max. Dee and Elly seem to be doing okay, despite some unwanted attention from Elly’s ex, Max, although they soon realise that the cases they take on can have unexpected repercussions. This four-DVD set includes Chandler and Co. Series 1 & 2 that originally aired from 1994 to 1995. National treasure Barbara Flynn plays Dee in the first series, succeeded by Susan Fleetwood in the second. Stylish, witty and fresh, Chandler & Co. is brilliantly acted and directed with a great supporting cast. The interplay of the two protagonists with each other and Capaldi’s exasperated Larry is a joy.
RIPPER STREET – SERIES 3 BBC BD0283
Ripper Street, set in in a superbly reconstructed Whitechapel in the East End of London after the infamous Jack the Ripper murders, first aired in 2012 on BBC One. Series Three of the exciting, atmospheric Ripper Street is set in 1894, when a spectacular train accident in Whitechapel kills fifty-five civilians. Inspector Edmund Reid (Matthew Macfadyen) returns to the seedy criminal underworld of London, hell-bent on taking back the city’s blood-stained streets. Four years have passed since Reid called for hard man Bennet Drake (the excellent Jerome Flynn) to end the life of Jedediah Shine. Four years that have seen the crime-fighting axis of Reid, Drake, and Captain Homer Jackson (Adam Rothenberg) split and isolated from one another. Drake has left London for Manchester to become the policeman - and man - he felt he could no longer be in Whitechapel, and is an Inspector himself now. Brash American Jackson has reverted to the man Reid plucked out of the Tenter Street brothel, a two-penny sawbones and a snake-oil pushing clap-doctor. And Reid has succumbed to his own shame and isolation, policing Whitechapel with a level of forensic detail and dedication that leads Chief Inspector Fred Abberline to fear for his old friend’s mental well-being. Meanwhile, the formidable Long Susan (MyAnna Buring) has made good on her threats to both swaggering Captain Jackson and the dying Silas Dugan - she has separated from her husband and taken command of Duggan’s criminal empire, turning it into a legitimate property empire of huge philanthropic ambition. But such aspirations are costly, as her loyal but scheming solicitor Ronald Capshaw knows only too well. All these resentments, fears, and ambitions are soon forgotten when two trains collide on the newly constructed bridge above Leman Street. It is a catastrophe which falls into Reid’s world and demands explanation. His pursuit reunites him with Drake and Jackson, and sets him on his own collision course with his past and with the secret crimes of Long Susan and Ronald Capshaw, whose intention is to steal US bearer bonds in order to bail out their financially stricken Obsidian Estates and to continue in their attempt to gentrify Whitechapel. ‘Explosive and haunting…this series of Ripper Street will delight audiences even more than the last.’ - The Telegraph.
19-2: COMPLETE SERIES ONE RLJ ENTERTAINMENT AV3238
This gripping Canadian police drama is a powerful character study that revolves around the day-to-day life of two unwilling squad car partners in the Montreal Police Department. Officers Nick Barron (a brooding performance by Adrian Holmes) and Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso) have been thrust into an unwilling partnership after the devastating shooting of Barron’s last partner. Nick carries the weight of that shooting with him everyday and is resentful at being paired with a ‘rookie’ country boy who is fresh to the city. Also starring Dan Petronijevic, Benz Antoine, Mylene Dinh-Robic, Conrad Pla and Laurence Leboeuf, this exciting, beautifully filmed 10-part series reveals life on the brutal and unforgiving streets of Montreal. With drug addicts, rapists, gang-members and murderers on the loose there is no safe place to hide, and when faced with danger, Nick and Ben need to know they have got each others backs. For better or worse, these unlikely companions must learn to put their differences aside as their lives intertwine professionally and personally in the sea of madness that is Precinct 19, Car 2. Special features with this double-DVD release include a Behind the Scenes documentary and a picture gallery. ‘Action from the off. Crime, corruption and crash-bang wallop moments.’ - The Guardian
EYEWITNESS (ØYEVITNE) SIMPLY MEDIA 163497
In this gripping, multilayered Norwegian crime drama, two teenagers with a secret life are caught in a web of murder, corruption and gang warfare. Old schoolfriends Philip and Henning hang out together in a workers’ cabin at a remote quarry, where they tentatively explore their mutual attraction. One night their peace is shattered when a car pulls up outside and a gun battle plays out before their eyes. They are spotted by the surviving shooter, but escape and make off with the murder weapon, which they discard in a nearby rock pool. The victims all belonged to a local motorbike gang – though one was a police informer trying to save the gunman from his captors. But who was the mysterious and ruthless killer? Philip and Henning vow to tell no one what they have witnessed, for fear that their sexual experimentation will be discovered. But since Philip’s foster mum Helen is the local sheriff investigating the murders, it won’t be easy to stay quiet. Meanwhile a runaway girl begs the killer for help, an undercover cop tries to conceal her own connection to the biker gang and their drugs ring, and the new head of Oslo’s Organised Crime Unit seems oddly intent on burying the case. Pacily directed by Jarl Emsell Larsen and produced by public broadcaster NRK, the dark atmosphere of this six-part series is superbly captured by Danish cinematographer Lars Vestergaard. Eyewitness stars Yngve Berven, Axel Bøyum, Ingjerd Egeberg, Yngvild Støen Grotmol, Per Kjerstad, Kim Sørensen, Anneke von der Lippe, and Odin Waage. ‘Beguiling... a tense and multilayered thriller’ - Moviemail.com
MAELSTROM EUREKA EKA40391
‘She inherited an Island: A legacy of Love…and Death!’. Catherine Durrell (an assured performance by Swedish-born Tusse Silberg) is made redundant, but a surprise is in store when she learns that by the inexplicable whim of a drowned man she has been left a fortune in Norway. Who was this man - and why was she chosen as beneficiary? To find the answer, Catherine travels to Ålesund (pronounced ‘Awlsun’), the beautiful capital of the Sunnmøre region, built on five islands linked by bridges. Here, against a background of contemporary Norwegian life but paralleled by myth and legend, Catherine becomes deeply involved in the affairs of the Jordahl family and, more and more, her parentage is called into question as she probes the mysterious life and background of Hjalmar Jordahl. She embarks on a passionate, stormy and potentially tragic, relationship, which places her life in even greater danger and the maelstrom into which she has been inexorably drawn threatens to engulf her. A forerunner to British television’s fascination with Nordic based dramas, Michael J. Bird’s final TV series for the BBC is a chilling tale of murder and deception. Originally broadcast on BBC1 in 1985, the series exterior shots were filmed in Ålesund in Norway. Maelstrom is Scandinavian word for ‘whirlpool’ and derives from a natural phenomenon of that name off the northwest coast of Norway. This intriguing early English/Scandinavian mini-series is skilfully written and convincingly acted, with a memorable late role for the classically beautiful Ann Todd as formidable Astrid Linderman. The complete series of Maelstrom is released for the first time in this two-DVD set.
BORN TO RUN SIMPLY MEDIA 163493
This entertaining drama series, sharply written by Debbie Horsfield (of Poldark fame), follows the trials and tribulations of the wealthy Flitch family. Father Burke (Terence Rigby) has promised his son Byron (Keith Allen) a stake in his dodgy Manchester classic car business but now insists he must work hard to earn it. The story unfolds with the turmoil of Burke’s sudden illness, cutting short his karaoke act and leading to the collapse of his marriage to Lili as well as a family squabble for control of his business. Wonderful Billie Whitelaw plays the magnificently fit and stroppy sixty-five-year-old Lili and Keith Allen is very funny as cocky Byron, losing control of his life. The excellent cast also includes Marian McLoughlin as Byron’s put-upon wife, Linda Henry as his mistress, Crissy Rock and Mary Jo Randle as his scheming sisters, John McArdle as a Buddhist mechanic, veterans Sam Kelly and Joe Melia, and the delightful Alison Lomas as songstress Tiffany De Lysle. First broadcast by the BBC in 1997, Born To Run was nominated for the Royal Television Society’s ‘Best Drama Serial’ award and all six episodes are included in this welcome double-DVD release.
ROOKIE BLUE - SEASON FIVE VOLUME ONE ENTERTAINMENT ONE EO10813D
Set in Toronto, Rookie Blue is a hit Canadian police drama television series that follows the lives of five rookie cops from fictional 15 Division who have just graduated from the academy. Training is over, life begins, and they must learn not only to deal with their duties as police officers, but also with the problems and expectation of their families and friends. They are first responders and they are about to learn that no amount of training prepares you for the job... or for real life. ‘There’s something really primal about the idea of being a rookie - it hits that horrible, eternal sense of feeling like a fraud, like a kid dressed in grown-up clothes, trying to pretend you know what you’re doing. And I thought, what if you were feeling just like that - but with a gun?’ - Tassie Cameron, Executive Producer. Under the watchful guidance of their officers, Andy McNally (Missy Peregrym) and her fellow rookies are in the real world working for one of the most elite units in the city. Rookie Blue also stars Ben Bass and Priscilla Faia as officers Sam Swarek and Chloe Price, who have been shot in the line of duty. As the shell-shocked cops at 15 Division struggle to pull the pieces of their lives back together, they realise that even making the right choices can sometimes lead to serious consequences and they can’t help but wonder if things will ever work out the way they are supposed to. The cast of this gripping 11-part series also includes Gregory Smith as Dov Epstein, Charlotte Sullivan and Enuka Okuma. Described as ‘Grey’s Anatomy with guns’ by the Los Angeles Times, Rookie Blue returns with its most exciting outing yet in Season Five, Volume One, making its UK DVD debut here as a three-disc set.
COAST - SERIES 10 ACORN AV3231
First broadcast in 2005, the BBC’s hugely successful Coast documentary series features a wide range of subjects relating to the natural and social history of the British coastline. This has led to an equally successful series of DVD releases and Series 9 has now been followed by Series 10, which continues to explore the unknown stories of our coastline as the experts travel the length and breadth of the British Isles to find out why we all like to be beside the seaside. The shoreline inspires much ingenuity, from the birth of British commercial radio to hiding our ships in plain sight during the First World War, we discover incredible bounties such as an archipelago known as ‘nature’s larder’, investigate how the Irish Sea has shaped our island story and connected our isles, learn how we overcome and work with the challenges of wild waters, and delve into the wealth of natural wonders that is our coastline’s caves and coves. This Tenth series brings new faces alongside the familiar, bringing passion, skill and knowledge to delight us with more eye-opening coastal secrets. The boyishly enthusiastic Nick Crane visits, among other places, the Faroe Islands and the magical Isle of Anglsey, Tessa Dunlop tells the story of a wonderfully eccentric radio station in France, Ruth Goodman investgates a crime, and Hermione Cockburn looks at the mystery of plankton. Other presenters include Mark Horton, Ian McMillan, Andy Torbet, Helen Arney, Brendan Walker, Dick Strawbridge, Cassie Newland and Miranda Krestovnikoff, as they discover how the coast enhances our lives and wellbeing in this diverse and very enjoyable series.
MR & MRS MURDER ACORN
This entertaining 13-part television crime comedy series from Australia follows the adventures of married couple, Nicola and Charlie Buchanan. They run an industrial cleaning business that specialises in crime scenes and use this experience to become amateur sleuths who solve murder mysteries, picking up on clues that the police have missed. Created by and starring actor and comedian Shaun Micallef and Kat Stewart, Mr & Mrs Murder is part of a tradition that goes back the the Thin Man films and was described by the Sydney Morning Herald as ‘a modern take on screwball crime-comedy’. The fun loving and flirtatious Buchanans have unique quirks and talents that help them to unpick puzzling crimes. Add Charlie’s vice-like grasp of facts and figures to Nicola’s deep sense of justice, observational skills and human empathy, and you have the best crime-cracking couple since Moonlighting. The two inevitably find evidence and other clues associated with the investigations, and are often able to close cases that have the police baffled. Working alongside them is Detective Peter Vinetti (Jonny Pasvolsky) who needs them more than they know, Nicola’s niece, the young and increasingly less naïve Jess Chalmers (Lucy Honigman), and their good friends Alan and Janine (Ben Geurens and Georgia Naid) who appear just at ease reassembling an AKS47 or baking a sponge cake. Charlie and Nicola pursue clever killers and misguided murderers in the unexpected worlds of musical theatre, the seaside elite, high fashion, modern art and more as they earn themselves a well-deserved reputation as Mr & Mrs Murder. All 13 episodes of this lighhearted, charming and funny series are included in a double DVD set. Extras include cast interviews and a picture gallery. ‘Hart to Hart in coveralls and white wellies... Wipeclean fun’ - The Guardian.
HAPPY VALLEY BBC BD0311
In this intense six-part BBC One drama, BAFTA award-winning Sarah Lancashire stars as Catherine Cawood, a strong willed police sergeant working in the bleakly beautiful Yorkshire Valleys in a small town where drunkards, drug addicts and teenage pregnancies are a way of life. Her daughter has committed suicide after a brutal rape, and Catherine finds herself trying to come to terms with this shock. As she begins to get on top of her life, she finds a suspect, psychopathic Tommy Lee Royce (chillingly played by James Norton) who she believes is responsible for her daughter’s rape and eventual suicide, and the obsession to get him in to custody begins. Catherine is the sergeant on duty when flustered and evasive accountant Kevin Weatherill (Steve Pemberton, best known for The League of Gentlemen) comes into her police station to report a crime. He is reticent about the details and loses his nerve as the crime he was his own brain-child - a plot to kidnap his boss’s daughter and keep enough of the ransom to put his children through private school. Local illegal drugs king Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong) has put the plan into action, and Weatherill’s fantasy has become a grim and dangerous reality. The kidnapping of Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy) and its fallout unfolds with escalating violence as things quickly spiral out of control. Catherine is used to picking up the pieces of everyone else’s lives, but the hunt for Ann gets under her skin. She becomes convinced that only by finding Ann alive and bringing her captors to justice can she avenge the death of her daughter. Brilliantly constructed by writer Sally Wainwright and tautly directed by her, Euros Lyn and Tim Fywell, this gripping crime thriller has shafts of dark humour and real emotional depth. The acting is superb, especially by the wonderful Sarah Lancashire, with outstanding performances too by George Costigan as rough-diamond Nevison Gallagher, Siobhan Finneran as Catherine’s caring sister Clare, and young Rhys Connah as her troubled grandson, Ryan. Extras with this two disc Blu-ray release include a Behind The Scenes documentary that has revealing interviews with Sally Wainwright and members of the cast.
TOMMY & TUPPENCE: PARTNERS IN CRIME ACORN AV3244
Agatha Christie’s fictional detectives Tommy and Tuppence first appeared in her 1922 novel, The Secret Adversary, and would go on to feature in three more novels as well as a collection of short stories called Partners in Crime. Tuppence is charismatic, impulsive and intuitive person, while Tommy is less imaginative, and less likely to be diverted from the truth. The characters have been adapted several times for films, such as French director Pascal Thomas’s excellent Partners in Crime. The first television adaptation - a feature-length version of The Secret Adversary - was followed by a series of engaging hour-long adventures. As well as the delightful Francesca Annis and James Warwick in the title roles, the starry cast list includes Peter Barkworth, Honor Blackman and Alec McCowen. This 3-CD set features all ten episodes of the original TV series, along with the feature-length prequel introducing them. The Secret Adversary finds our two intrepid amateur detectives undertaking a mission which has grave consequences for the nation, involving a secret treaty, Bolshevik uprisings, a missing young lady by the name of Jane Finn and a mysterious villain who goes by the alias of Mr Brown. In Partners in Crime, Tommy and Tuppence are newly married and turning pro as they launch their International Detective Agency. A master and mistress of disguise with a reputation amongst bellboys everywhere for being the worst tippers in town, they undertake an intriguing array of cases from missing persons and haunted houses, through smuggling, thievery, connivance, skullduggery and, of course, murder. Special Features include a gallery of The Glamorous Fashions of Tuppence and a biography of Agatha Christie. This classic series has been re-released to coincide with transmission of an all-new BBC series starring David Walliams and Jessica Raine.
RONNIE CORBETT - NO, THAT’S ME OVER HERE NETWORK 7954334
In his first leading sitcom role before he went on to triumph in the Two Ronnies and as Timothy Lumsden in Sorry!, Ronnie Corbett dons bowler hat, brolly and briefcase to play a quintessential suburban commuter on whom disaster fits more snugly than his pin-striped trousers. Created by comedy legends Barry Cryer, Eric Idle and Graham Chapman, No That’s Me Over Here sees Ronnie battling the relentless forces of time while struggling to keep his place in a ruthless suburban status race. Bewildered by office politic at an insurance company, rapidly losing the fight to retain his non-fattening centre. Constantly belittled and undermined at every opportunity by his patronising neighbour Cyril, he is the kind of chap who gets dressed up only to be unceremoniously brought down. The series also stars Rosemary Leach at her most luminous as Ronnie’s long-suffering better half, Gillian Lind as his annoying mother, Ivor Dean as the lugubrious boss Mr Robinson, and charming Jill Mai Meredith as a sexy secretary. Benny Hill Show stalwart Henry McGee plays Ronnie’s snooty workplace rival Cyril, forever frustrating his big plans. This two-CD set includes all thirteen episodes of the third series made by London Weekend Television in 1970 (the previous two series, made in black and white by Rediffusion, appear to have been lost). Special features include production paperwork and scripts as well as an image gallery.
JONATHAN STRANGE & MR NORRELL ACORN
The year is 1806. England is beleaguered by the long war with Napoleon, and centuries have passed since practical magicians faded into the nation’s past. But scholars of this glorious history discover that one remains: the reclusive Mr. Norrell, whose displays of magic send a thrill through the country. Proceeding to London, he raises a beautiful woman from the dead and summons an army of ghostly ships to terrify the French. Yet the cautious, fussy Norrell is challenged by the emergence of another magician: the brilliant novice Jonathan Strange. Young, handsome and daring, Strange is the very antithesis of Norrell. So begins a dangerous battle between the two great men. Their obsessions and secret dabblings with the dark arts will cause more trouble than they can imagine. Starring Bertie Carvel and Eddie Marsan, this seven-part adaptation by Peter Harness of Susanna Clarke’s best-selling debut novel was first broadcast on BBC One in 2015. Production values are high and this lovingly detailed recreation of the Napoleonic era sets the scene for some fine acting, especially by Eddie Marsan as the reticent Gilbert Norrell, Bertie Carvel as the brilliant Jonathan Strange. Alice Englert is excellent as sexy Lady Pole and Marc Warren is mesmerizing as the unpredictable, enigmatic Gentleman-with-the-thistledown-hair. The skilful direction is by Toby Haynes. Special features with this Blu-ray release include a ‘making of’ documentary, deleted scenes and two picture galleries.
YOUR CHEATIN’ HEART SECOND SIGHT 2NDVD3275
In this brilliant six part BBC series, John Byrne, creator of Tutti Frutti, explores the country music scene with an unsentimental portrayal of Glaswegian life and culture. Local food and wine correspondent Frank McClusky (the excellent John Gordon Sinclair) falls in love with waitress Cissie Crouch, played with cool insouciance by Tilda Swinton. Unfortunately for Frank, Cissi is the wife of a convict Dorwood Crouch (Kevin McMonagle) currently serving seven years inside for a crime he didn’t commit. As Frank’s life becomes more embroiled with Cissie’s, he goes on a mission to track down the guilty men. The outstanding cast also includes the great Ken Stott as dangerous Fraser Boyle, Katy Murphy as sparky songstress Billie McPhail, the excellent Eddi Reader, Barbara Rafferty, formidable Tom Watson, the delightful Jenny McCrindle, blues legend Maggie Bell and American veteran singer Guy Mitchell, with Helen Atkinson-Wood as ruthless reporter Tamara MacAskill. Directed with flair by Michael Whyte, Your Cheatin’ Heart features terrific dialogue, great hair, big hats and classic country music ably performed by the cast. Very funny, sharp and poignant, this series from 1990 is now finally available on DVD for the first time in this double disc set. Not to be missed.
ADRIANO OLIVETTI - THE STRENGTH OF A DREAM ODYSSEY OD595
It’s 1960. The first electronic computer transistor in the world, produced by Olivetti, is about to go into production and prepares to launch into the American market. Adriano Olivetti is in the prime of his life and at his peak of his career, but on the morning of February 27th this adventure stops abruptly. He gets on a train in Switzerland and dies of a heart attack, leaving behind a trail of questions, doubts & regrets. He also left an indelible mark in the history of social, cultural and political life. Michele Soavi directs this acclaimed Italian mini-series, which stars the excellent Luca Zingaretti (of Inspector Montalbano fame) as the radical engineer, politician and entrepreneur. Stefania Rocca plays Karen Bates, a woman with whom the married Adriano develops a complex relationship. Son of Camillo Olivetti, the founder of the world-renowned business machine empire, Adriano started working as an apprentice in his father’s typewriter factory before pursuing a multi-facetted career as an engineer, politician, publisher, writer, intellectual and industrialist. He was a controversial social reformer who believed that Olivetti’s profits should be reinvested for the benefit of both the company and the local community. Throughout his life, he pioneered new approaches to business and industry while contributing towards the economic restoration of his home country after the Second World War until his untimely death aged only 58. Luca Zingaretti gives a formidable performance in the title role in this story charting the turbulent life and remarkable achievements of the powerhouse innovator behind the global brand that bears his name. Demonstrating his struggle to go against popular opinion, Adriano Olivetti: La Forza Di Un Sogno (‘The Strength of a Dream’) is now available in this new DVD release.
POLDARK ITV STUDOS GLOBAL ENTERTAINMENT 3711536703
It’s 1783, and Ross Poldark, who everyone thought was dead, returns home from the American Revolutionary War to a country in the grip of recession. His beloved Cornwall is on its knees. In his absence, his father has died, his land and mines have gone to ruin, and his childhood sweetheart Elizabeth (Heida Reed) is engaged to his cousin Francis (American Kyle Soller). Feeling betrayed by everything he loves, the moody and magnificent Ross tries to rebuild his life with a new business venture whilst finding an unlikely new love in Demelza. However, he makes a powerful enemy in banker George Warleggan (Jack Farthing). Set against the perfect backdrop Cornwall’s wild and captivating coastline, this rousing historical saga, powerfully scripted by Debbie Horsfield, is a remake of Winston Graham’s classic story, first turned into a hit television series in the 1970s. Aidan Turner has taken the nation by storm as sexy Ross Poldark and the excellent cast also includes Eleanor Tomlinson as Demelza, Ruby Bentall as Francis’s charming sister Verity, and Warren Clarke in his last performance as wily old Charles Poldark. Phil Davies and Beatie Edney are brilliant as the hero’s bolshie servants, Jud and Prudie. The complete first series is released in this three-DVD set with extras that inlude a commentary by the cast and producers for Episode 1 and three featuretttes: Poldark The Man, Poldark Behind The Scenes and Poldark’s Women.
THE TOP SECRET LIFE OF EDGAR BRIGGS NETWORK 7953937
This impressive yet largely overlooked Cold War comedy series was created by Humphrey Barclay to showcase the emerging talents of a young David Jason, who he had discovered working in a pier theatre in Bournemouth. Written by Richard Laing and Bernard McKenna, The Top Secret Life of Edgar Briggs is a fast-paced spoof that charts the inexplicable successes of a well-meaning but clueless counter-espionage agent who inspires fear in the hearts of enemy agents, and sheer terror amongst his colleagues in S.I.S.. Somehow, the bungling Briggs has reached a position of responsibility within the Special Intelligence Service, and directs a team of sensible men and women. Despite their attempts to restrain him, he still manages to cause chaos wherever he goes. Despite this, he somehow always manages to get his man; the reason could be that, judging others by his own standards, he believes that everyone else is a fool. David Jason throws himself wholeheartedly into performing his own stunts and demonstrates his innate mastery of comic timing. The excellent supporting cast includes Barbara Angell as his indulgent wife Jennifer, Mark Eden and Michael Stainton as Briggs’ long-suffering assistants, and Elisabeth Counsell as the beautiful and much fancied Cathy Strong. Noel Coleman is excellent as The Commander with an eye for the girls, who is kidnapped in one episode leaving Briggs temporarily in charge, with predictably chaotic results. Original, entertaining and often sublimely silly, the complete series has now been released on DVD in this double-disc set from Network.
THE AVENGERS - COMPLETE SERIES 4 STUDIOCANAL OPTBD1750
The Avengers is a definitive spy-fi series and one of British television’s greatest successes. This was the longest-running espionage series produced for English-language television and reached huge audiences in 120 countries - a record that still stands to this day! The Avengers began in the early 1960s when ABC decided to revitalise a series called Police Surgeon, starring Ian Hendry as Dr David Keel, turning it into more of a lightweight thriller by introducing a shady secret agent called John Steed (Patrick Macnee). Keel was later replaced by leather-clad anthropologist Kathy Gale (Honor Blackman) and the series was transformed into a more stylish affair with outlandish plotting and tongue-in-cheek humour. When Blackman left the show in 1964 her character was replaced by beautiful karate expert Emma Peel (M(an) Appeal), knowingly played by Diana Rigg. Steed, dapper in his Cardin suits, and the lithe Mrs Peel, relishing her stunts, made the perfect double act. ‘Mrs Peel, we’re needed.’ The Avengers soon became a worldwide hit and was one of the first British series to be aired on prime-time American television. Studiocanal has now released the complete and uncut Series 4 for the first time on Blu-ray in this splendid seven-disc box set. The production budget was increased for this series of the cult classic with location shoots being favoured over the original studio setting. It was the last of the series to be shot in crisp black and white, as well as the first to be shot on film, allowing multiple camera angles. Extraordinary crimes against the people and the state continue to be avenged by agents extraordinary: insouciantly suave professional John Steed and his glamorous partner, Emma Peel. Look out for Mrs Peel’s alluring tuba playing and her fight with cool sexy villainess Jill Manson (Juliet Harmer) in The Town of No Return. The excellent casts also include such British acting stalwarts as Bernard Archard, Andre Morrell and Mervyn Johns. Over six hours of special features include audio commentaries with director Roy Ward Baker, scriptwriter/producer Brian Clemens, scriptwriters Robert Banks, Roger Marshall, and directors Gerry O’Hara and Don Leaver. There is an audio interview with Elizabeth Shepherd and Diana Rigg stars in The Hothouse, an Armchair Theatre production, alternative opening credits, ITN Newsreel footage and stills galleries. ‘Sexier than Doctor Who, wittier than The Prisoner, Classier than The Saint.’ – Empire.
FOYLE’S WAR – COMPLETE SERIES 8 ACORN AV3193
‘My name’s Foyle; I’m a police officer.’ Modest and courteous Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) is the lead character in this classy and highly-successful ITV series set in Hastings. Foyle is a widower - quiet, methodical and supremely observant. Assisted by his determined driver Samantha ‘Sam’ Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks) he attempts to catch criminals who often take advantage of the confusion created by war and its aftermath. Foyle is tenacious in seeking justice and regularly underestimated by his foes. Series creator and writer Anthony Horowitz named his detective after Foyles Bookshop in Charing Cross Road, famous for its archaic practices and formidable owner, Christina Foyle. Christopher was the nearest male name to Christina. With meticulously recreated period detail, excellent acting and intelligent plots, Foyle’s War is redolent with rich human drama subtly revealed through the lives of its main characters. In this latest series, the enigmatic Foyle continues to work for Secret British Intelligence, MI5. In the first of three feature-length stories, High Castle, he is drawn into the grim world of corrupt Nazi businessmen when a University Professor is found brutally murdered in a London park. The cast includes award-winning American actor John Mahoney, famous for playing Frasier Crane’s father. In episode two, Trespass, Foyle has the task of ensuring security at a high level Palestinian conference. With signs that a plot to bomb the conference maybe under way, he faces a race against time to uncover the truth in a tangled mystery. In the final episode, Elise, his colleague Hilda Pierce is nearly killed in an attempted assassination. Foyle must re-examine her top-secret role during the war to find out if there was a traitor at the heart of the Special Operations Executive. Extras with this three-disc set include include two picture galleries, documentaries (Meeting John Mahoney; A Day in the Life of Foyle’s War; Back in Time with Foyle’s War) and fascinating interviews with Anthony Horowitz and historian Terry Charman on the real-life history behind each episode.
PEAKY BLINDERS, SERIES TWO BBC BD0278
The Peaky Blinders were a real-life criminal gang that started in Birmingham in the late 19th century. Their name is said to derive from the practice of stitching razor blades into the front of their flat caps, which could then be used as weapons. The gang’s dark, dangerous world inspired writer Steven Knight stylish and visually stunning series first shown on BBC Television in 2013. Now, in this second series, even more is going on as the 1920s begin to roar. Business is booming for the Peaky Blinders as Birmingham crime boss Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy) starts to expand his legal and illegal operations. He has his sights set firmly on wider horizons, and the race tracks of the South are calling out for new management. Shelby’s meteoric rise brings him into contact with both the upper echelons of society and astonishing new adversaries from London’s criminal enterprises. All will test him to the core, though in very different ways. Meanwhile, Shelby’s home turf of Birmingham is beset by new challenges as members of his family react to the upturn in their fortunes, and an enemy from his past returns to the city with plans for a revenge of biblical proportions. ‘Black Country boys and Brummie boys are on the same side again.’ – ‘That’ll be the day!’ As well as the ultra-cool Cillian Murphy, Peaky Blinders features Helen McCrory in a mesmerising performance as the impressively hatted Aunt Polly, Noah Taylor, Paul Anderson as wired hardman brother Arthur, Joe Cole, Richard McCabe as a bohemian Winston Churchill, Annabelle Wallis, Sophie Rundell, Aimee-Ffion Edwards as shrewd Esme Shelby, and veteran Sam Neill as the dogged Inspector Chester Campbell. Joining them in this new series are the brilliant Tom Hardy as terryfying racist ‘baker’ Alfie Solomons, and Hardy’s wife Charlotte Riley as the rich and beautiful May Carleton,. Newcomer Finn Cole, the real life brother of Joe Cole, plays Polly’s estranged son Michael. This double disc set includes the complete second series of this enthralling epic tale of ambition, corruption, violence and desire. Extras include a ‘making of’ documentary. Peaky Blinders 2 is also available on DVD (BBC DVD3977). Highly recommended.
REMEMBER ME ITV HOME ENTERTAINMENT
When wily pensioner Tom Parfitt (Michael Palin) stages a fall in his eerie Yorkshire home in order to escape into residential care, a chilling and macabre mystery unfolds, which challenges the weary police detective (with the inevitably complicated home life) Rob Fairholme (Mark Addy) and teenage care worker Hannah Ward (a superb performance by Jodie Comer) to risk everything they hold dear to unravel the truth. A traumatic murder investigation, a ghostly haunting and a coming-of-age tale rolled into one, Remember Me takes the audience from the windswept Scarborough coast to the tragic recesses of 20th Century history. Beautifully photographed and sylishly directed by Ashley Pearce, the cast also includes veteran Sheila Hancock, Mayuri Boonham as the ghostly Isha, and Julia Sawalha as Hannah’s troubled mother. Written by Gwyneth Hughes, this three-part drama series is a dark and unforgettable voyage into the unknown. Memorably spooky and disturbing, it manages to keep the stroryline’s impausibilities to a minimum almost to the end. ‘Terrifying old fashioned ghost story with a modern twist.’ - Dark Side Magazine.
HIM & HER BBC DVD3925
BAFTA award winning sitcom Him & Her stars Sarah Solemani as Becky and Russell Tovey as Steve, a muddled, lazy twenty-something couple whose relationship shows what life in and around their bedsit is actually like, not what life on television is like. Writer and creator Stefan Golaszewski first series was broadcast in the UK on BBC Three in 2010 and was a hit from the start. The fourth (and final) series aired in 2013. Subtitled ‘The Wedding’, this tells the story of Laura and Paul’s wedding ceremony and reception. Becky is chief bridesmaid and Steve best man as each of the five episodes follows a different stage of the day - from the early morning wake-up call, through to the ceremony and the speeches, to the drunken mess of the late night disco. We watch the wedding in real time in all its glory, including Laura’s final showdown with Paul and Steve and Becky’s biggest moment yet. Embarrassing dresses, excruciating speeches, heaps of Ferrero Rocher, copious Soave, Amazing Grace, fireworks and a happy ending - all go to make this is a wedding to remember. ‘When the horses and the cows learn to love each other, the world will be a better place.’ Sweet underplaying by Sarah Solemani and Russell Tovey contrasts brilliantly with Kerry Howard’s outrageous performance as the monstrous yet ultimately vulnerable Laura, attempting to keep her disintegrating big day under control. Other memorable performances include Joe Wilkinson as the oddball neighbour Dan, Ricky Champ as the wavering Paul (‘everyone’s favourite stationery salesman’), Camille Coduri as Laura’s gentle, over-tanned friend Shelly, Ralph Brown as the bride’s crass father and Nick Blood as Becky’s jealous ex-boyfriend. Original, sharp-witted and often rude, Him & Her proves again that ‘it’s funny because it’s true’.
NEW TRICKS, SERIES 11 ACORN AV3182
First broadcast in 2004, BBC1’s hugely popular series follows the investigations and exploits of the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad (UCOS) - a team of retired police officers brought in to crack unsolved cases from the past. There have been a few changes over the years and Superintendent Sandra Pullman (the gorgeous Amanda Redman) has now been replaced by DCI Sasha Miller (Tamzin Outhwaite, of EastEnders fame) as leader of the team. The three ex-policemen are now Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman, the only original member of the cast), Steve McAllister (Denis Lawson) and Dan Griffin (Nicholas Lyndhurst, Rodney from Only Fools and Horses). They all opted for early retirement, but feel themselves pulled back to work on the force. Gerry goes back to his roots in Bermondsey when his youngest daughter decides to get married and while he’s there an old friend asks for help to find whoever murdered his grandson. Meanwhile Sasha finds it tricky working with her ex husband and fellow police officer, DAC Ned Hancock, Steve’s parenting skills are tested when his son falls foul of the law and Dan Griffin needs some cheering up from his colleagues when his daughter, Holly leaves home for university. The team investigates a wide variety of crimes from the death of a young A&E doctor to an international interpreter with a passion for chess, there’s an occult mystery that leads the team to the underground river fleet and there’s the murder of a pub landlord where Gerry and Steve end up in an English vineyard. They also have to go back in time to investigate the mysterious deaths of an anti-nuclear activist, a local bobby from the 50’s whose wife is now in a care home suffering from dementia and a schoolgirl from the 80’s whose ascetic father has a secret to hide. Throw in some Roman re-enactment, black market steroids, the death of one of Griffin’s friends and a difficult reunion between Steve and his father and you have another compelling series. New Tricks averages audiences of around eight million viewers and has sold in excess of a million DVDs.
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? - SERIES 11 ACORN AV3196
Always enthralling, often surprising, Who Do You Think You Are? has audiences over six million, its own best-selling magazine, book sales in excess of 400,000, the Who Do You Think You Are? live show at Olympia, and countless viewers inspired to research their own personal histories. The latest series of this popular BBC series follows the journeys of ten well known personalities as they explore their family trees, uncover their family history and discover fascinating and poignant facts about their ancestors that have been, until now, hidden in the annals of time. The Complete Eleventh Series has now been released on DVD by Acorn Media and features not only the 100th episode but also the Who Do You Think You Are? Anniversary Special: 10 Years, 100 Shows. In this series, the wonderful Julie Walters travels to Ireland where she discovers the revolutionary side of her family; Actor and mountaineer Brian Blessed learns of hardship and struggle as he traces the roots of his unusual name; Tamzin Outhwaite (now starring in New Tricks) journeys into a story of rags to riches from her Italian past; Brendan O’Carroll (a.k.n.as Mrs Brown) turns detective as he investigates the murder of his grandfather; Sheridan Smith, who recently triumphed in Cilla, tracks down the source of her musical talent; Bake-off’s Mary Berry stirs up illegitimacy, bankruptcy and even a baker as she delves into her father’s family; Martin Shaw sorts fact from fiction to reveal what happened to his missing grandfather; Actor Reggie Yates unravels a complex family history where Ghanaian culture and British colonialism collide; Sixties icon Twiggy unearths tough times for her mother’s family in Victorian London; and veteran comedian Billy Connolly makes an extraordinary discovery as he follows in his ancestors’ footsteps to India.
CILLA ITV STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT 3711536663
Priscilla White is a typist from a working class area of Liverpool who dreams of stardom; Bobby Willis is the chancer who ignores the city’s Protestant-Catholic divide to pursue her; Brian Epstein is the young genius who will later guide The Beatles to superstardom. ITV’s three part series Cilla tells the true story of how the lives of these three intertwine to propel Cilla to the top of the charts and beyond… but at a cost. The young Priscilla displays a ruthless streak that won’t allow anything or anyone - including Bobby - to stand in her way. Epstein is tortured by his success and his sexuality - forced to keep his homosexuality hidden in an era when to be caught with another man could mean prison. Set to an explosion of 60s music as the ‘Merseybeat’ sounds grips the country, Cilla explores the humble beginnings and little-known early years of a woman who went on to become an iconic TV star and household name. Sheridan Smith is brilliant as the famous Liverpudlian songbird and sings just as well, if not better. John Henshaw and Melanie Hill are excellent as her parents and Aneurin Barnard is touching as the likeable Bobby, though Ed Stoppard perhaps lacks charm as Brian Epstein. Directed by Paul Whittington and sharply scripted by Jeff Pope, Cilla lovingly recreates the 1960s Liverpool scene and proved a hit with both public and critics. This DVD release also includes a documentary, Cilla - Making Of An Icon.
WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? ACORN AV3143
In this series of the BBC’s popular Who Do You Think You Are? actress Una Stubbs discovers that sometimes life is a box of chocolates; upper-class actor Nigel Havers uncovers some lower class roots; the delightful Minnie Driver follows a trail that leads to unknown new relatives and a kindred spirit; Manchester-born Lesley Sharp uncovers some home truths that leads her to a charitable great-great-grandfather; football guru Gary Lineker learns how his family tree extends to both sides of the law; quizzical Nick Hewer finds out how his family’s fortunes were shaped by the English Civil War; Kenyan-born actor Nitin Ganatra travels from Africa to India in search of his family’s ancestral home; comedian Sarah Millican swims into a world of divers before heading out to Canada and the fur trade: the iconic Marianne Faithfull follows her mother back into the world of Berlin cabaret; and broadcaster John Simpson attempts to keep up with an adventurous grandmother who runs off with a Wild West Entertainer. The Complete Tenth Series of Who Do You Think You Are? was released on DVD by Acorn Media to coincide the its broadcast on BBC One.
CHASING SHADOWS ITV STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT 3711536303
Chasing Shadows is a thrilling drama set in a missing persons unit that hunts serial killers. Reece Shearsmith plays DS Sean Stone and his partner, Ruth Hattersley is played by the excellent Alex Kingston, with Noel Clarke as DI Carl Prior. Sean is troubled, intense and socially awkward, a misfit who is happier dealing with data rather than people and is at odds with his superiors (aren’t they all?). His lack of people skills and forthright honesty make him some powerful enemies in the force, and he finds himself exiled to Missing Persons. Sean’s new caseload is overwhelming – up to 300,000 people go missing in the UK each year – but his brilliant mind turns out to be perfectly adapted to his new role. Where others see a hopeless, ever-growing sea of lost faces, he spots patterns that lead to victims… and their killers. Ruth is the analyst tasked with working alongside Sean. She puts people first – a born connecter able to get on with anyone, but Sean pushes even her patience to breaking point. DI Prior has ambitions and a clear plan for rising up the ranks. But all this is jeopardised when DS Stone becomes his responsibility. Recently broadcast in on ITV, this four-part series has now been released for the first time on DVD. ‘Reece Shearsmith is mesmerising as DS Sean Stone in this gripping new thriller’ - TV Times.
THE PROFESSIONALS MK II NETWORK 7957055
Ex-Special Air Service soldier William Andrew Philip Bodie and bubble permed former detective constable Raymond Doyle need little by way of introduction. If The Professionals has escaped you since its explosive debut in 1977, their unrelenting boss George Cowley, founder and head of CI5, couldn’t put the organisation’s purpose more succinctly than in his opening gambit: ‘…anarchy, acts of terror, crimes against the public. To combat it I’ve got special men experts from the army, the police, from every service. These are The Professionals’. Fighting fire with fire, The Professionals features an outstanding ensemble cast with sexy Martin Shaw, hard-man Lewis Collins and Gordon Jackson (playing completely against type). Hugely entertaining and politically incorrect, The Professionals ran for five series between 1977 to 1983 and made a lasting impact on with its authentic 70s atmosphere, nostalgic cars and early appearances by the likes of Phil Davis, Patricia Hodge and Pamela Stephenson. Following on from THE PROFESSIONALS MK 1 (Network 7953980), this new Blu-ray box set contains all 13 episodes from the second series, first broadcast in 1978 and 1979. Painstakingly restored from the original negatives, The Professionals looks better than ever and extra features include HD photo galleries; a book and programme notes by TV historian Andrew Pixley; a new Dolby 5.1 mixes along with original as-broadcast mono and music-only tracks; out-takes and behind the scenes footage; extensive HD image galleries and the US sales trailer.
COAST SERIES NINE ACORN AV3155
This Ninth Series the BBC’s hugely hit Coast documentary series continues to uncover the secrets of our shores, through untold tales of explorers from as far apart as Cornwall and Australia; it reveals little-known gems, including a coastal walk that takes in the history of Britain; investigates the clandestine sex trade that scandalised Victorian Britain and decimated the Royal Navy; discovers how Greenwich became the global centre of sea navigation and reveals what becomes of our coast in winter. Coast also crosses the Atlantic to find out why Nova Scotia, in Canada, appealed to its Scottish settlers, and ventures to the French channel coast to unearth its connection with the birth of Britain’s Ordnance Survey maps. Indefatgable presenter Nicholas Crane (everybody’s favourite geography teacher) is joined by archaeologist and social historian Neil Oliver and other experts such as attractive newcomer Tessa Dunlop, marine archaeologist Mark Horton, Andy Torbet, Ruth Goodman (of Victorian Farm fame), Adam McIntosh, Helen Arney, zoologist Miranda Krestovnikoff and Nick Hewitt as they explore the rapport, past and present, between land and sea. This latest double-DVD set features The Channel; Secret Paths to Hidden Treasure; The Explorers’ Coast; Offshore!; Sea and the City; and Winter. Coast is engagingly presented by true enthusiasts, beautifully filmed and always full of surprises - a breath of fresh air in every way.
WEIR’S WAY - THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION DELTA HOME ENTERTAINMENT 86576
Tom Weir, younger brother of the actress Molly Weir, was born in Springburn, Glasgow. After service in the Royal Artillery during World War II, he worked as a surveyor for the Ordnance Survey before moving on to become a popular writer, photographer, broadcaster, climber and pioneering campaigner for the protection of the Scottish environment. He wrote a column for The Scots Magazine for more than 50 years and presented his charming and much-loved Scottish Television series, Weir’s Way, from 1976 to 1987. He travels around Scotland meeting the people, exploring the glorious landscape and wildlife, and uncovering the history of an extraordinary nation. He proves to be the perfect guide – gracious, warm, knowledgeable and with and profound love of the country. Tom Weir received an MBE and was named Television Personality of the Year in 1976. He died aged 91 in 2006 and this splendid box set of 12 DVDs is a fitting tribute that brings together for the first time all 52 episodes of his classic series together with a disc two hours of rarely seen extras. Weir’s Way: The Essential Collection is the perfect companion for anyone who shares the presenter’s profound passion for the beauty and splendour of Scotland.
THE TRIP & TRIP TO ITALY BBC BBCDVD3957
Two of Britain’s favourite comedians adopted roles as fictionalised versions of themselves for 2010’s BAFTA winning television series, The Trip, directed by Michael Winterbottom. In an effort to impress his gourmet girlfriend, Mischa, Steve Coogan (of Alan Partridge fame) has accepted a commission from the Observer newspaper to go on a restaurant tour of the north of England. When Mischa insists they take a break from their relationship, Coogan is forced to invite his colleague and friend Rob Brydon. Coogan has a number of one-night stands, but is unhappy both professionally and personally, despite being the bigger star. Brydon, with his young family, is more relaxed and content. The food becomes incidental to the pair’s partly improvised dialogue and constant bickering as they attempt to undermine and outdo each other. Between their uncanny impersonations of the likes of Michael Caine, Al Pacino and Sean Connery, Coogan and Brydon reveal an edgy rivalry and moments of real pathos, as when Coogan tries and fails to emulate his companion’s ‘Small Man Trapped in a Box’ routine. Coogan and Brydon exaggerate various aspects of themselves to help the comedy so that their conversations are very funny as well as sometimes uncomfortable. It all made compelling viewing and happily led to another series, Trip to Italy, recently broadcast by BBC 2. Again directed by the award-winning Michael Winterbottom, the brilliant Coogan and ‘affable’ Brydon are reunited for even more delectable food, sharp-elbowed rivalry and celebrity impersonations. Rob, tired from the responsibilities of being the father of a young child, is looking for some adventure. While Steve has been living a life of abstinence and hard work in Los Angeles but, now on a hiatus from his job, has the time to come back to Europe and wants to see his children. As the pair travel through this stunningly beautiful country they talk about life, love, work and exile, and discuss Byron and Shelley, Romantic poets whose lives were defined by their time in Italy. Both series are a joy and are included complete in this DVD box set with extra deleted scenes that show how much work goes into producing something that seems so effortlessly amusing. ‘The Trip to Italy may well be the most sustained and successful example of genuine ad-libbing that Britain has ever produced.’ - The Guardian. Both of these joyous series are also available independently or as part of a two DVD set featuring never-before-available feature length film versions (BBCDVD3947). Highly recommended.
WAR & PEACE RLJ ENTERTAINMENT AV3149
Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. In 1862 he married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847, was used for self-study and self-criticism; it served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. He died at the age of eighty-two in 1910. His powerful, epic novel War and Peace, written in 1869, tells the story of events surrounding the French invasion of Russia, and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society, as seen through the eyes of five Russian aristocratic families. Tolstoy said of War and Peace that it was ‘not a novel, even less is it a poem, and still less a historical chronicle’ since parts of the work are philosophical discussion rather than narrative. This sweeping 2007 television adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic drama was directed by Robert Dornhelm and filmed on location in and around the stunning architecture of St. Petersburg as well as in Lithuania. A small circle of aristocrats find their glittering world crumbling as Napoleon’s advancing forces threaten to overwhelm Imperial Russia. We follow the changing fortunes of brooding military hero Prince Andrej Bolkonsky, his bookish friend Pierre Bezukhov and the spirited but naïve Natasha Rostova. As Napoleon’s armies menace their privileged lives, the horrors of the battlefield reach into Russia’s most elegant ballrooms and bedrooms. The international cast includes Alessio Boni as Prince Andrej, Alexander Beyer as Pierre and Clémence Poésy as Natasha, with Malcolm McDowell, Brenda Blethyn, Ken Duken, and Scali Delpeyrat as an impressive Napoleon.
VERA, SERIES 4 ITV ENTERTAINMENT 3711536233
Inspired by the novels of crime writer Ann Cleeves and filmed against a backdrop of outstanding Northumberland landscapes, this hugely popular series stars the wonderful Brenda Blethyn as shambolic Detective Chief Inspector Vera Stanhope of the fictional Northumberland & City Police. The unorthodox DCI is obsessive about her work and driven by her own demons. If she’s lonely she doesn’t show it and faces the world with caustic wit, guile and courage, often losing her temper when emotional. In this fourth series, first broadcast in 2014 and released as a two DVD set, the indomitable Vera investigates four more challenging cases, including the mysterious death of a pensioner on a busy commuter train, a brutal murder on the sands of a seaside resort, the tragic last months of a failed novelist gunned down on a remote Northumberland moor, and the tangled life of a businessman found floating in the water under the Gateshead Millennium Bridge. Brenda Blethyn is superb as always and David Leon is excellent as her trusted and long-suffering colleague, right-hand man and surrogate son, Detective Sergeant Joe Ashworth.
INSPECTOR GEORGE GENTLY, SERIES 6 ACORN MEDIA AV3134
Set in the 1960s, this engaging BBC television series is based on the Inspector Gently novels written by Alan Hunter, changing the setting of the stories to Northumberland and County Durham from the Norfolk as portrayed in the books. It is now 1969, one year on from the harrowing shootings at Durham Cathedral that nearly claimed the lives of both Inspector George Gently and his partner, John Bacchus. Following a death in custody, Gently resolves to find the man’s identity and uncover the mystery of his existence. With a police officer in hospital, Gently’s investigation is surrounded by anger, hatred, violence and fear. In a time when police officers’ roles and attitudes towards them are rapidly changing, Gently struggles to gain the trust of either the public or the other police officers. Amidst colourful social change, Gently also investigates a murder at the Bluebird Holiday Camp, unveiling a seedy undercurrent within the more permissive of society; he is forced to dig deep within himself when entering the cloak and dagger world of military clinical trials, one which raises strong ethical questions; and he explores how the closure of the collieries can rip apart tight knit communities when a mysterious death in the mine leads to infighting and betrayal. This four disc set features the sixth series of the acclaimed BBC television programme starring Martin Shaw as the detective and Lee Ingleby as DS Bacchus, with Simon Hubbard as PC Taylor and Lisa McGrillis as WPC Rachel Coles. Guest stars include Emma Fielding, Pixie Lott, Oliver Milburn, Robert Pugh, Lisa Riley and Jemma Redgrave. Special features include Behind the Scenes footage, a ‘Making of’ documentary and an interview with Pixie Lott. Inspector George Gently is a warm and humorous series with plausible stories, lovingly recreated period detail and great chemistry between Shaw and Ingleby.
ENDEAVOUR, SERIES 2 ITV ENTERTAINMENT 3711536243
The Inspector Morse television series, based on the eponymous series of novels by Colin Dexter, starred John Thaw as the sullen policeman and ran for 33 episodes. When this much-loved series came to an end, ITV aired a two-hour prequel film, Endeavour, in 2012 that portrayed a young Morse. Set in the mid-1960s, the film led to a series starring Shaun Evans as young Detective Constable Endeavour Morse, with Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday and Anton Lesser as fussy Chief Superintendent Bright. Following the phenomenal success of this first series, Endeavour returned for four more murder mysteries in 2014, with Shaun Evans returning to duty at Oxford City Police as Colin Dexter’s cerebral detective. Morse’s partnership with DI Thursday now firmly cemented, the two men must band together to crack some dazzlingly complex cases that shake the pillars of Oxford society from top to bottom. A parade soured by a suspected suicide, a girls’ school haunted by memories past, a strangler stalking the foggy autumn twilight and conspiratorial whisperings in the corridors of power. Endeavour must risk all if he is to bring those responsible to justice, and escape with brain and body intact. In Trove, Morse investigates a suspicious suicide, a missing girl and the theft of ancient artifacts. In Nocturne, a murder takes place at a museum, almost empty save for some schoolgirls. In Sway, a housewife found strangled with a silk stocking in her own home is the third death in a month. All the women were married, alone and their wedding rings missing, and for Inspector Thursday a face from the past leads to complications in his family life and with Morse. Neverland brings the series to a satisfying conclusion with the story of a boy, with a brutal father, who is reported missing from his home. Meanwhile, the body of a disreputable journalist has been found on railway tracks in mysterious circumstances. These gripping stories are intelligently written by Russell Lewis and beautifully acted, especially by the excellent Roger Allam and Shaun Evans, who subtly suggests his character’s progression towards becoming the later Morse. The young detective already has a penchant for music (especially opera), poetry and cryptic crossword puzzles, and is fast developing a thirst for English real ale and not yet quite vintage Jaguar cars. Extras with this double DVD set include two documentaries: ‘Creating Endeavour - the next chapter of Colin Dexter’s legacy’ and ‘Spires, ashtrays, quads and pastels – shooting Endeavour’s Oxford’, which shows the attention to detail that goes into recreating the authentic 1960s style.
LINE OF DUTY, SERIES 2 ACORN AV3158
Writer Jed Mercurio’s fast-paced, hard-hitting thriller delves into the murky world of police corruption as a brutal ambush on a police convoy leaves three officers dead and a protected witness fighting for his life. AC12 - Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar), Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) and new recruit Georgia Trotman (Jessica Raine) - turn their spotlight on Lindsay Denton (Keeley Hawes) the officer who led the convoy but escaped unscathed; while AC12’s Kate Fleming (Vicky McClure) goes undercover in Denton’s Missing Persons Unit to investigate what may have really happened. What does Hastings have to lose and where was DCC Mike Dryden (Mark Bonnar) on the night a young girl was murdered? No one is above the law and no one can be trusted. The first series of Line of Duty attracted a record number of viewers and this new one is even more gripping. Recently shown on BBC Two, the new series took viewers on a roller-coaster ride of suspicion and counter-suspicion that proved a huge success. Several characters returned, including the excellent Neil Morrissey as shady DC Nigel Morton, and there are menacing reverberations from the previous drama. The acting is outstanding, especially by Keeley Hawes as the tough-nut cop Lindsay Denton, and the tautly told story will keep you wonderfully confused to the end. Extras with this DVD release include a behind the scenes feature, cast filmographies and a photo gallery.
FRANKENSTEIN: THE TRUE STORY SECOND SIGHT 2NDVD3256
Mary Shelley’s influential novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, was first published anonymously in London in 1818 (the author’s name didn’t appear until the second edition, published in France five years later). Mary Shelley was only twenty when she created her gripping story about eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein and the grotesque creature he created in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Combining the Gothic novel with science fiction, Frankenstein has influenced literature and popular culture for almost 200 years, inspiring many horror stories, films and plays. One of the most interesting versions of Shelley’s masterpiece is Frankenstein: The True Story, written by Christopher Isherwood and made in 1973. In 19th century England, Dr Victor Frankenstein (Leonard Whiting), bitter over his brother’s untimely death, voices his wish that men could have power over life and death. Following a chance encounter with Dr Henry Clerval (an intense performance by David McCallum), a surgeon experimenting in this very field, they join forces. Using suitably batty equipment, Victor achieves the impossible, the creation of life - a handsome, highly intelligent young man (Michael Sarrazin). Unforeseen problems and the involvement of evil scientist and hypnotist Dr Polidori (James Mason) then lead to shocking, unimaginable horror. The starry cast also includes the beautiful Jane Seymour, Tom Baker, Ralph Richardson, Margaret Leighton enjoying herself as a voracious Countess, John Gielgud, the excellent Agnes Moorehead and Peter Sallis. This outstanding classic horror has now been released for the first time on DVD by Second Sight.
INSPECTOR MONTALBANO, COLLECTION 6 ACORN AV3124
The excellent Inspector Montalbano television series is based on the bestselling novels of acclaimed writer Andrea Camilleri. Operating within Italy’s precarious justice system, the sometimes irascible detective is immersed in a world of murder, betrayal, temptation, women and politics - the latter often proving as dangerous as any of the former. The character of Inspector Montalbano has long dominated the publishing bestseller lists, TV ratings and more recently DVD sales. As played by actor Luca Zingaretti, the Inspector has become a much-loved icon of contemporary detective drama, with all of the thrills of Scandi-noir, but with fine food, Sicilian culture and the warmth of the Mediterranean sun. This new collection features four tense and exciting tales as the Inspector investigates a series of multiple house robberies with a darker secret at their core and a childhood legend that comes back to haunt him. He finds himself being misdirected by a purposefully confusing array of mysterious bombings, letters and one tempting – if all too obvious – seduction. A burglary at a supermarket turns out to be much more and the murder of a young girl has political implications. Women turn the tables with robbery and murder, while the Inspector and girlfriend Livia find themselves too close to a sad and deadly truth. Sicily - the breeding ground of so much art, culture, fine food and murder as criminals and criminal families solve their problems the only way they know how. Montalbano is threatened with a baseball bat, has bad dreams and almost loses his appetite, Mimi’s interrogation technique is called into question, and Angelo Russo is in excellent comic form as Catarella. Sicily has never seemed so beautiful... or so deadly, and at the end of the day, it’s more than just a job, it’s a way of life for the Commissario. Extras with this two-disc set include a rare behind the scenes feature with cast and crew interviews, a biography of Andrea Camilleri, a picture gallery and English subtitles.
TUDOR MONASTERY FARM ACORN AV3135
Following the success of Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm and Wartime Farm our favourite farmologists return to the very roots of farming history on a Tudor Monastery Farm. Narrated by Geraldine James, this series was filmed at the Weald & Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex. Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn and newcomer Tom Pinfold take the farm one stage further by attempting to recreate not just the historical context, but the spiritual context in which these abbeys functioned, in a society in which the Christian faith was at the heart of everything. Gamely dressed in the quaint yet practical clothes of the time, they take on the role of the lay-folk who did the bulk of the farming and craftwork within monastic lands, as well as exploring the monastery’s primary function – to pray and care for the spiritual welfare of all Christians, both living and dead. Under the reign of the first Tudor King, Henry VII, the country was enjoying a new dawn of peace and prosperity. And as the biggest landowner other than the King, the monasteries dominated many of the thriving crafts of the era from wine-making and cloth production to printing and bell casting. They were also places of technological innovation and improvement: farmers on monastic lands pioneered many crucial developments, from the waterwheel to sheep breeding. As well as farming, our intrepid trio sample the delights of the inn and try their hands at lead mining, weaving traps to catch eels and making a stained glass window. This two disc set contains all six one-hour episodes of the popular BBC history series which follows our experts for a full calendar year, as they use only historical tools and materials. Bonus features include a look behind the scenes which will take you places not seen on TV.
LINE OF DUTY, SERIES 1 ACORN AV3121
Jed Mercurio’s gritty, fast-paced thriller delves into the murky world of police corruption in an unnamed West Midlands town. When a counter-terrorism raid goes tragically wrong, Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston) refuses to participate in a cover-up. Ostracised by colleagues, he transfers to an anti-corruption unit, AC-12, that is in the process of investigating one of the Force’s most respected officers, Detective Chief Inspector Tony Gates (a charismatic performance by Lennie James). Not only has Gates just been awarded Officer of the Year, his squad has returned the best crime figures for three consecutive years. But can anyone really be that good? Arnott and Gates become embroiled in a game of cat-and-mouse. Every time Gates seems cornered, he finds a way to turn the tables still believing he can save himself, if only he can prove his innocence. But all the time he’s digging a bigger hole and plunging irrevocably into a moral abyss and the stakes keep getting higher. The excellent cast also includes Neil Morrissey and Vicky McClure as dogged members of the investigation team and Gina McKee as a sexy femme fatale with whom Gates is fatally involved. This is an exciting and hard-hitting series that grips from start to finish. Extras with this double DVD release include a Behind the Scenes feature, actor filmographies and a picture gallery.
THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY ACORN AV3129
These real-life events inspired Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall to write two linked films first broadcast by BBC One in December 2013. A Robber’s Tale follows the story of the people behind the crime of century, led by Bruce Reynolds, the key planner of the 1963 heist. It begins with Britain waking up to news of the biggest robbery in the country’s history after a train has been hijacked and robbed, 35 miles from its arrival in central London. The country is stunned: who could be behind it? How did they pull off such an audacious raid? This is the true story of the key protagonists, including Reynolds (a superb performance by Luke Evans), and their execution of the notorious crime. Told from the perspective of the perpetrators, it details how a group of mid-level criminals teamed together with a corrupt solicitor to pull off a major theft that baffled and frustrated the police yet thrilled the general public. Neil Maskell plays Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards, Martin Compston is getaway driver Roy James, and the late Ronnie Biggs, a bit-part player in the robbery, is portrayed by Jack Gordon. A Copper’s Tale focuses on the team of detectives assembled to bring the robbers to justice and is even more gripping than the first part. Jim Broadbent is brilliant as the dogged, obsessive DCS Tommy Butler and the film also stars Tim Pigott-Smith, James Fox and Robert Glenister, with Nick Moran as ‘Slipper of the Yard’. The story begins with a slumbering police force awakening to news of a robbery the extent of which will only become evident over the next few days. At Buckinghamshire CID, there is a frantic scramble down to the crime scene, where 65 policemen are searching for the lost engine of a train, unaware that any money has even been stolen. As the scale of the robbery becomes apparent, it’s clear that the local CID is not equipped to solve a crime of this magnitude and need help. With the clock ticking, six of the best officers from across London are assembled to form an elite investigation team. This acclaimed production has now been released on a DVD as a two disc set. Extras include cast filmographies, photo galleries and optional subtitles.
It’s the start of the tourist season in Broadchurch, Dorset and an 11-year old boy disappears. His mother, Beth, frantically searches for him while her best friend, Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman), a local police officer, arrives at work to discover that she has been passed over for the promotion she expected for an outsider with a reputation for failure, D.I. Alec Hardy (David Tennant). When the boy’s body is found beneath the picturesque cliffs that dominate the town opposites collide. News of the crime spreads through the town and a chain reaction begins which will put Broadchurch under a national spotlight, pulling the town, its residents and its secrets, apart. This gripping eight-part drama, written and created by Chris Chibnall, became a gret success with viewers and critics when it was first broadcast on ITV in 2013. Olivia Colman is particularly good and the cast also includes Andrew Buchan, Jodie Whittaker and Pauline Quirke. This Blu-ray Special Edition features deleted scenes and exclusive audio commentaries with contributions from David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Chris Chibnall, director James Strong and producer Richard Stokes. ‘This is about as good as TV drama gets’ - Radio Times.
WONDERFALLS - THE COMPLETE SERIES MEDIUMRARE ENTERTAINMENT FHED3082
This delightful, unpredictable comedy-drama, set in the Us but filmed on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls with a mostly Canadian cast, has been called ‘the best show that nobody ever watched’. The show stars Caroline Dhavernas as loner Jaye Tyler, a recent Brown University graduate with a philosophy degree who has a dead-end job as a sales clerk at a Niagara Falls gift shop. Somehow she becomes reluctantly involved in conversations with curious animal figurines, including a ‘mushed up’ wax lion, a brass monkey, a stuffed bear and a mounted fish, which encourage her to help people in need and engage in madcap adventures. Jaye finds herself in many weird and wonderful situations that lead her to question her sanity. She seeks solace in her best friend Mahandra (Tracie Thoms) and becomes friends with local bartender Eric (Tyron Leitso) who tries to help answer the questions that plague her: Is the universe conspiring against her? Should she struggle with fate or surrender to destiny? Jaye is gradually discovering that the seemingly random events in her life are actually bringing joy to those around her and are all part of something much greater. The excellent cast also includes Katie Finneran as Jaye’s elder sister Sharon (an immigration lawyer and ‘closet environmentalist’), Lee Pace as easygoing brother Aaron, William Sadler as father Darrin (‘Sweetheart, when’s the last time you had an orgasm?’) and the brilliant Diana Scarwid as overly devoted mother Karen. Despite its cancellation, Wonderfalls has many loyal fans who will welcome this long-awaited UK DVD release from Mediumrare featuring all 13 episodes of the cult series on three discs. Extras include audio commentaries, a ‘Greeting from Wonderfalls’ documentary, and a visual effects featurette.
HEARTBEAT – THE COMPLETE SIXTEENTH SERIES NETWORK 7953915
Set in rural North Yorkshire during the 1960s, the long-running Heartbeat’s combination of crime and medical storylines, charismatic regular characters and wonderfully nostalgic soundtrack made it staple Sunday-night viewing for two decades, with the series’ many prestigious awards including Best Performing Peak-Time Drama and several ITV Programme of the Year awards. Attracting a peak audience of 14 million, Heartbeat garnered a devoted following and remains prime-time viewing world-wide. Originally conceived as a vehicle for Nick Berry, around whom early stories were centred, the show saw many characters come and go over the years, Derek Fowlds as police-sergeant-turned-pub-owner Oscar Blaketon and William Simons as police constable Alf Ventress being the only main-cast actors who remained for its entire run. This sixteenth series sees Aidensfield’s police and medical staff dealing with more challenging situations – both professional and personal. PC Rob Walker (Jonathan Kerrigan) is slowly coming to terms with the death of wife Helen while a tentative romance begins to blossom between the young officer and Aidensfield’s new District Nurse, Carol Cassidy. By the series’ end, however, he is facing one of the hardest decisions of his life… Now available for the first time in a six-disc DVD set, this nostalgic and well-crafted series is thoroughly enjoyable.
INSPECTOR MONTALBANO: COLLECTION FIVE ACORN AV3069
Luca Zingaretti stars as the charismatic Commissario Salvo Montalbano as he solves more intriguing crimes in the fictional town of Vigata, Sicily, Montalbano meets many shady characters and beautiful women as he fails to resist the seductive qualities of fine Italian food. Sicily’s stunning landscapes and picturesque architecture, steeped in history and culture, look stunning in the brilliant Mediterranean light and this latest collection of this beautifully paced and superbly acted series will be welcomed by the Commissario’s many fans. In these four compelling stories, Montalbano has alarming dreams, Mimi is unfathomably irritable and Catarella reveals an impressive gift for histrionics. The Commissario is seduced by a young Lieutenant while investigating murder and smuggling in an age of doubt; he must pull out all the stops to save Fazio, who has been kidnapped by ruthless killers while he comprehends the dance of the seagull; he must save his good friend, the philandering Mimi, from himself, by guiding his misguided actions and solving the mystery of the body in the potter’s field; and he must untangle a web of clues designed to entrap him in a perilous and murderous treasure hunt. Under the warm gaze of a Mediterranean sun, pausing only for the occasional fine meal or fine company, the Inspector must battle with bureaucracy above him and the Mafia below while solving cases designed to baffle and mislead. As ever, he finds it difficult to resist good food or beautiful women but when it comes to murder, there are often many questions, but only one solution. Extras include a biography of Andrea Camilleri, a picture gallery and English subtitles. INSPECTOR MONTALBANO: COLLECTION FOUR (ACORN AV3068) features four more stylish, intelligent adventures in which the celebrated detective’s relationship with his long-time girlfriend Livia is going through a difficult patch. He is also forced to contend with murderers, criminals and errant husbands who will do everything to avoid his detection, as well as local politicians, police bureaucracy, unreliable judges, lethally argumentative mafia families, hysterical wives, psychic and psychotic sisters. From a discovered body in a long buried crime through corrupt charities saving immigrant Russian women, bafflingly kidnapped horses and dark sexual compulsions, Montalbano has a lot on his plate. In INSPECTOR MONTALBANO: COLLECTION THREE (ACORN AV3067), the commissario finds a dark world of kidnapped children, gets caught up in what appears to be a mob war between the Sinagra and Cuffaro families, investigates a suspiciously unusual kidnapping, and looks into the death of an old miser. Extras with both collections include a biography of Andrea Camilleri, picture galleries form each series, and English subtitles.
OLIVER STONE’S UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES FREMANTLEMEDIA FHED3048
This ten part documentary series by Academy Award winning writer/director Oliver Stone and co-writer historian Prof. Peter Kuznick looks back at events which at the time went under-reported but that crucially shaped America’s unique and complex history over the Twentieth Century. Topics range from President Harry Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan to the origins and reasons for the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the fierce struggle between war and peace in America’s national security complex. Exploring questions such as Did Eisenhower betray the US?, What were the real reasons by World War 1 & 2 and was Reagan one of the worst or best Presidents of all time?, the American story is told in a way that it never has been before. Oliver Stone is known as the master of controversial subjects and the portrayal of contemporary political and cultural issues. His reasoning for making the programme was that he was concerned about how history was being presented at his children’s schools and regarded this project as ‘a legacy to my children and a way to understand the times I’ve lived though. I hope it can contribute to a more global, broader insight into our history.’ A decorated Vietnam War veteran, Stone worked on the series for four years and was greatly inspired the classic ITV series, The World At War, soon to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its initial broadcast. Stone’s thought-provoking series is an exciting and bold retelling of the American story that uses fascinating, sometimes shocking, archive footage brilliantly edited to create a convincing alternative narrative. ‘Bold, personal, provoking remix of events’ - The Guardian.
PORTLANDIA, SEASON 1 & 2 FREMANTLEMEDIA FHED3059
Written, created and starring Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen and musician/singer Carrie Brownstein from bands Sleater-Kinney and Wild Flag, Portlandia is a hit US comedy series that has been lauded by critics and viewers alike. The show is driven by a series of hilarious character-based shorts all of which take place in Portlandia, the creators’ dreamy and absurd hipster rendering of Portland, Oregon - ‘where the young go to die’. Right on has gone beyond wrong as wacky 90s culture reigns supreme and political correctness is all the rage. Armisen and Brownstein play an array of colourful and unique characters and the series popu;arity can be guaged by the quality if its guest stars, including Steve Buscemi, Selma Blair, Heather Graham, Kyle MacLachan, Tim Robbins, Kristen Wiig, Gus Van Sant, Jeff Goldblum and Eddie Vedder. The series is shot entirely on location in Portland - definitely not Seattle - and co-created by Jonathan Krisel and executive produced by the renowned creator of Saturday Night Live Lorne Michaels. The first two series of this sharp, witty and ofeten surreal satire can be found on this bumper three-disc DVD set. Go Portland! ‘It’s funny because it’s true’ - Time Out.
MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES, SERIES 1 ACORN AV3100
On this 4-DVD set, the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher (the delectable Essie Davis) returns to Melbourne after many years abroad but before her Aunt Prudence (Miriam Margolyes) can drag her off to attend her first soiree, she finds herself embroiled in a murder and befriends the most unlikely of murder suspects – an innocent Catholic girl, Dot Williams. As she delves deeper into the murky world of murder, Phryne crosses paths with the local constabulary, befriending handsome Detective Inspector Jack Robinson (Nathan Page) who cannot help be drawn to the formidable Phyne’s charms. Manifesting all the stylish wit and charm of the series, this release includes all 13 episodes from the first series and a host of extras filmed on location with cast and crew. ‘Runs bad guys to ground with wit and raunch.’ – Radio Times.
FOYLE’S WAR – SERIES 7 ACORN AV3110
‘My name’s Foyle; I’m a police officer.’ Modest and courteous Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle finds himself a new role working for Secret British Intelligence. This is the beginning of the Cold War and he finds himself drawn into complex webs of security and counter security where the loyalties of even those closest to him are brought into question. The excellent Michael Kitchen stars alongside Honeysuckle Weeks in three exciting tales: The Eternity Ring (MI5 suspects that a Russian spy network is at work in the heart of London), The Cage (Foyle’s investigates the death of a nameless Russian) and Sunflower (Professor Peter Van Haren, gives a lecture to a group of students which ends in tragedy). Special features with this three-DVD set include The Making of Foyle’s War (behind the scenes, background to the series old and new) and The Styling of Foyle’s War (Honeysuckle Weeks on hair, make-up, fashion and home design for the series).
THE BEST OF NEW TRICKS ACORN AV3111
After a hostage rescue goes wrong, Superintendent Sandra Pullman (the gorgeous Amanda Redman) is put in charge of unsolved crimes. With little resources and no back-up she decides to recruit three ex policeman. However times have changed, unlike her new recruits. Jack Halford (played by James Bolam) who is yet to get over the death of his wife in a hit-and-run accident, Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong), an ex-alcoholic who has a perfect memory for facts and dates, and Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman), who has many ex-wives but is not quite the ladies man he used to be. They all have plenty of experience but it’s not like the old days. Not only are they chasing criminals, but they are having to deal with a new police force which does not always appreciate their old style policing. This DVD set features five of the best episodes of this highly entertaining BBC TV programme, as selected by fans. The episodes include God’s Waiting Room, co-starring Sheila Hancock and June Whitfield; Death of a Timeshare Salesman, When a former escort girl finds God and confesses her sins; Dead Man Talking, where the team are called into action when a psychic tells a dead man’s daughter that she needs to resolve some unfinished business; Old Fossils, which reopens a murder case at the Natural History Museum; The Girl Who Lived, when the DNA of a missing girl is found at the scene of a robbery. First broadcast in 2004, New Tricks continues to attract audiences in excess of 8.5 million viewers.
QUINCY, M.E. - COMPLETE SERIES 3 ACORN AV3089
When Jack Klugman passed away at the age of 90 over Christmas, the TV news ran clips of him repeatedly in one of his most famous starring roles as Quincy, M.E., loosely based on real-life Los Angeles’ ‘Coroner to the Stars’ Thomas Noguchi. Acorn Media have now released all 20 episodes of the third series of this classic crime-scene drama on a six disc DVD set capturing some of the stalwart character actor’s best performances. He plays the strong willed, principled Quincy, independent-minded medical examiner for the Los Angeles Country Coronor’s Office. When dead bodies arrive, Quincy must determine the cause of death but if he suspects foul play he must tread the line between pathologist and detective until he knows the full story. His uncompromising pursuit of the truth frequently creates conflict with the boss, Dr Robert Asten (John S Ragin) and LAPD Homicide Lieutenant Frank Monahan (Garry Walberg), but he is always backed up by his faithful lab assistant Sam Fujiyama (Robert Ito). Tenacious, sometimes truculent and with an eye for the women, Quincy is an engaging character in this expertly made and always entertaining show.
SICILY UNPACKED ACORN AV3074
In this exemplary series, art historian Andrew Graham-Dixon and Michelin-starred chef Giorgio Locatelli get along famously as they take us on a delightful journey around their beloved Sicily. We accompany the likeable duo to the heart of the island as they introduce each other to the things they love most - art, architecture, history, food and people. Exploring the island through each other’s eyes and hearts, they reveal how the many influences have created a unique blend of art and architecture. As well as the pleasures of an intense and vibrant culture, they experience the sadness the island has come through and the strength of the Sicilian people as they rose up and challenged the Mafia. Together they document how the various conquering forces and the rich variety of different heritages have helped to shape both the no-nonsense food and the rich culture of one of the most fascinating and multi-layered places in the world. Locatelli and Graham-Dixon are the perfect guides - enthusiastic, knowledgeable and passionate - and this inspired series puts most other television travelogues to shame. Highly recommended.
INSPECTOR MONTALBANO: COLLECTION THREE ACORN AV3067
Based on the bestselling novels of acclaimed writer Andrea Camilleri, this gripping Italian TV series features Luca Zingaretti as cool, shrewd and unorthodox Commissario Salvo Montalbano. Operating within Italy’s precarious justice system, the sometimes irascible detective is immersed in a world of murder, betrayal, temptation and politics - the latter proving as dangerous as any of the former. As he solves crimes in the fictional town of Vigata, Sicily, Montalbano meets many shady characters and beautiful women as he fails to resist the seductive qualities of fine Italian food, not to mention the occasional raw egg. Sicily’s stunning landscapes and picturesque architecture, steeped in history and culture, look stunning in the brilliant Mediterranean light and this beautifully paced series will be welcomed by those who miss the sadly short-lived BBC’s Zen stories, based on the books of Michael Didbin. This third collection of well-crafted Inspector Montalbano mysteries, broadcast on BBC Four in the UK, features four more stylish, intelligent adventures in which the celebrated detective investigates a dark world of kidnapped children, gets caught up in what appears to be a mob war between the Sinagra and Cuffaro families, investigates a suspiciously unusual kidnapping, and looks into the death of an old miser. Extras include a biography of Andrea Camilleri, a picture gallery and English subtitles.
WARTIME FARM ACORN AV3028
This latest BBC series is another successful outing featuring engaging archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn and domestic historian Ruth Goodman, following their previous adventures in series such as Edwardian Farm and Victorian Farm. This time the trio of intrepid enthusiasts, plus Henry the scene-stealing sheepdog, experience farm life during the Second World War as we follow them through particularly challenging year. Exceptionally wet weather makes life even more difficult as the experts restrict themselves only to historical tools and materials. The wartime period saw something of a revolution in British farming, more like Soviet-style collectivisation than anything else seen before, and those changes have influenced farming in this country ever since. The resourcefulness of the population is both heartening and touching, and Wartime Farm explores honestly aspects of the war effort that have been forgotten or remain secret to this day. This is an attractive blend of war history, survival creativity and endurance. The three disc box set contains all eight episodes of the series, narrated by Stephen Noonan and written and directed by Stuart Elliott and Naomi Benson. Special features include a photo gallery and ‘Wartime Farm in Conversation’, in which the principals talk about the wartime experience as well as the fascination that drew them to this form of historic exploration.
VICTORIAN FARM ACORN AV9699
In this enjoyable and painlessly informative series, a historian and two archaeologists are transported back to 19th-century rural England for a year. From planting and harvesting crops to animal husbandry; from building pigsties to bee-keeping; tree-felling to driving steam engines and operating period machinery, the hardy group - in search of the authentic experience - live it all, wearing period costumes and using only tools and materials available at the turn of the century. An initially daunting task, the team had to look after and breed animals ranging from heavy horses and bulls to pigs and turkeys; rotate, plough, harrow, sow and harvest crops and also repair damage to their own property, stretching their carpentry, stone masonry and plastering skills to the limit. Ruth, Alex and Peter, are an admirably game trio of protagonists, whether struggling red-faced with a mammoth laundry load, slicing mangel wurzels or enthusing over the back end of a ram. Some distance from Lark Rise to Candleford, this is a fascinating series that turns the clock back a hundred years to a time without flushing toilets, running water, street-lights, gas, electricity or motor vehicles, when people had to pull together in order to survive.
THE SWEENEY – COMPLETE FIRST SERIES 7957037 & 79538
They are the Sweeney, son. And they haven’t had any dinner… This gritty 1970s British television crime series focuses on two members of the Flying Squad, a branch of the Metropolitan Police specialising in tackling armed robbery and violent crime in London. The title derives from Sweeney Todd - Cockney rhyming slang for New Scotland Yard’s infamous ‘Flying Squad’ - and the series was shot on 16mm film by Thames Television’s Euston Films division. The Sweeney was created by writer Ian Kennedy Martin, brother of the better-known Troy Kennedy Martin, who also contributed several episodes and wrote the second of two spin-off feature films. The series was based on a drama, entitled Regan, which Ian Kennedy Martin wrote for Thames Television’s Armchair Cinema in 1974. The part of irascible Detective Inspector Jack Regan was specifically written for his friend John Thaw, and Dennis Waterman is his faithful partner Detective Sergeant George Carter. Mixing with London’s seedy underworld they tackle the crimes to hard to handle for your everyday police officer. Tough, sharply written and politically incorrect, The Sweeney became one of the successful television series of all time, now available on Blu-ray in this new 4-disc set. The High Definition restored transfer is accompanied by a Dolby 5.1 soundtrack as well as the original as-broadcast Mono. Extras include a commemorative booklet by Archive TV historian Andrew Pixley, an interview with Ian Kennedy-Martin, and introductions to some of the episodes by Tony Selby, John Forgeham, Prunella Gee, Dudley Sutton, Warren Mitchell and Wanda Ventham.
ACCUSED ACORN AV9815
Award-winning writer Jimmy McGovern’s intense and gritty BBC drama series tells compelling tales about ordinary people pushed to the edge of breakdown by fate and faced desperate choices. These unflinching crime and punishment stories consist of gripping hypothetical situations, moral dilemmas and intriguing, believable characters. Each of these tense dramas ends with someone becoming the Accused in the dock. These people are mostly weak or desperate rather than wicked, so are they innocent, guilty or somewhere in between? In the first story Christopher Eccleston stars as a decent man caught up in the turmoil of events that force him to reassess his relationship with his wife, played by the excellent Pooky Quesnel. Mackenzie Crook is the sadistic Corporal Buckley in a story of two friends who join the army and discover not obeying orders can lead to deadly consequences. Juliet Stevenson and Peter Capaldi play distraught parents whose son is fatally injured an unexplained accident at work. Andy Serkis is a cab driver, addicted to gambling, who seeks to escape the drudgery of his life via a fatal obsession with a woman. Marc Warren stars as a father who acts impetuously and against his better judgment when his young daughter is attacked. The brilliant Naomie Harris and Warren Brown are a married couple whose fall out leads to jealousy and murder. Special features with this two-DVD set, released to coincide with the new series, include an exclusive documentary about the making of the series. ‘A moving and powerful piece of television.’ - The Telegraph.
THE VIRGINIAN SIX-SHOOTER COLLECTION ACORN AV9582
The rustle of sagebrush on the prairie: pounding cattle hooves and rifle-shot echo. In a time when the West was still wild, a man came to Medicine Bow, Wyoming and they called him The Virginian. This two-disc DVD set, called The Six-Shooter Collection, includes the first six episodes ever broadcast of one of television’s most memorable Western series. Each feature length episode sees our hero encounter villains such as rustlers, land-grabbers, escaped convicts, conmen, corrupt railroaders and more. The Virginian was fair-minded, fast-drawing and not afraid to stand up for his friends in a place where a disagreement could mean sudden death. Based on Owen Wister’s famous novel about the American West the series was filmed in colour and first shown in America in 1962 then on BBC TV in 1967. The cinematography is impressive and music is by Percy Faith and Ennio Morricone, no less. James Drury is excellent as the lead, along with Lee J.Cobb, Doug McClure, Gary Clarke and Roberta Shore. High calibre guest stars include George C Scott, Colleen Dewhurst, Jack Warden and Ricardo Montalban. ‘Sensational storytelling from one of television’s most iconic Westerns.’ - Dvdtalk.
LOST EMPIRES ACORN AV3010
Based on J.B. Priestley’s classic novel, this 1986 ITV drama series has an outstanding cast that includes a very young Colin Firth and Sir Laurence Olivier in one of his final performances. Adrift in the world, aspiring painter Richard Herncastle (Firth) leaves his humdrum office job to travel with an Edwardian theatre company in the years leading up to the First World War. He is taken on by his formidable Uncle Nick, a top-of-the-bill magician working under the ‘exotic’ name of Ganga Dun, and soon finds himself immersed in the dusty glamour of life onstage as he is introduced to comedians, dancers, musicians, jugglers, singers… and beautiful, talented, tempting women. Laurence Olivier is superb as a comic past his prime, reminiscent of Archie Rice and Chaplin in Limelight, and John Castle is riveting as Richard’s saturnine uncle. There are great performances too by Carmen du Sautoy as a seductive actress, Brian Glover as an exuberant, obnoxious comedian, and the charming Beattie Edney as Richard’s true love. Gillian Bevan is touching as Ganga Dun’s glamorous assistant and Pamela Stephenson plays a beautiful, decadent siren. Handsomely photographed and scored, with authentic, lovingly created acts, Lost Empires brilliantly captures the fading magic and constant upheaval of a raffish life on the road, before film and television swept like a tidal wave over the theatrical circuit. All this and steam trains too. Extras with this double DVD release include a text feature, ‘Lost Empires, Found Treasures’, by British Music Hall Archivist Max Tyler. Highly recommended.
THE SNOWMAN UNIVERSAL 8279240
Author Raymond Briggs’ much-loved book, The Snowman, was adapted by director Dianne Jackson into this utterly charming 26-minute animated film, first shown on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve in 1982. One winter morning a little boy named James wakes up to find that everything outside has turned snow white. Overjoyed, he rushes downstairs and out into the garden where he begins to build a snowman. That night James cannot sleep and at midnight he wakes up and decides to check on his snowman. He opens the back door leading into the garden and can’t believe his eyes …. the snowman has come to life! James finds himself face-to-face with the smiling snowman who with a polite doff of his hat introduces himself and signals the beginning of a magical friendship and a marvelous adventure. Nominated for the Academy Award for Animated Short Film, The Snowman was an immediate success has become an integral part of Christmas in many countries throughout the world. The Snowman is enchanting, funny and poignant, with first rate animation and a delightful musical score featuring choirboy Peter Auty singing ‘Walking in the Air’. In recognition of The Snowman’s huge and loyal following, Universal Pictures has released this Special Edition DVD complete with a Christmas Colouring Fun book and a sticker set of classic scenes from the film. Extras include a Snow Business documentary - The Story Of The Snowman; Storyboards; an alternative introduction by David Bowie; optional audio narration by Mel Smith. Universal is also re-releasing another Raymond Briggs children’s classic, FATHER CHRISTMAS (UNIVERSAL 8259399). After a hard night’s work Father Christmas decides to go on holiday. He turns his sledge into a caravan and heads for France, Scotland and Las Vegas before returning home and settling down to answer his mail, wrap up the gifts, deliver them and then ensure that he gets to the annual Snowmens’ party on time. The only trouble is …he’s forgotten something!
THE AVENGERS - COMPLETE SERIES 5 OPTIMUM OPTD1751
The Avengers, the definitive spy-fi series, is one of British television’s greatest successes and the longest running espionage series produced for English-language television, reaching audiences in 120 countries. To celebrate 50 years of a show, Optimum Home Entertainment has released The Complete Series 5 in this splendid seven-DVD box set featuring shady secret agent John Steed (Patrick Macnee) and Emma Peel, played by Diana Rigg. Originally broadcast in 1966, this was the first Avengers series to be shot on 35mm colour film and featured futuristic storylines of an increasingly sci-fi bent. In ‘The Hidden Tiger’, pet cats are electrically altered into ferocious and lethal miniature tigers and ‘Escape in Time’ features a villain with a time machine, though The Avengers take no time at all to show him the ‘era’ of his ways. ‘Winged Avenger’ has a marvelous performance by the great Jack MacGowran and ‘The Living Dead’ features the sexy Pamela Ann Duffy. The Avengers series is in its prime here - witty and inventive with oddball villains, sublimely daft plots and great cars, all looking gorgeous here in restored colour. Extras include a documentary, stills gallery, archive newsreel footage, and audio commentaries by scriptwriter/producer Brian Clemens, rambling guest star Peter Wyngarde, scriptwriter Richard Harris and Diana Rigg’s stunt double, Cyd Child. An archive German TV interview shows Macnee and Rigg increasingly baffled and amused as the interviewer frequently breaks off to repeat their answers in German.
WOOD AND WALTERS: THE COMPLETE SERIES NETWORK 7952915
On their way to becoming national treasures, Victoria Wood and Julie Walters drew on their long friendship to create this BAFTA-nominated series, made for Granada and originally transmitted between 1981 and 1982. Wood and Walters featured sketches, Wood’s trademark songs, weekly guidance from Walters’ fearsome agony aunt Dorothea Chubb (‘Dotty’s Slot’), and guests including Rik Mayall, John Dowie, long-term associate Duncan Preston and the hilarious Jill Summers, later to find fame as Coronation Street’s Phyllis Pearce. Showcasing the individual strengths of both performers, Wood and Walters confirmed Victoria Wood as a leading comedy writer and brought her subtle, sharply observed humour to the attention of the wider viewing public. This complete series features all seven shows plus the pilot - Two Creatures Great and Small. Highlights include The Woman With 740 Children, for which Granada hired 70 babies, and the immortal ‘Northerners’, a song parodying stereotypes of Northern England. Wood and Walters was clever, innovative and very funny, and contains many of the elements that would reach a wider audience five years later with Victoria Wood As Seen On TV. Network has also released a DVD of VICTORIA WOOD: THE SCREENPLAYS (NETWORK 7953223). This features three television plays written by Wood and originally transmitted between 1979 and 1981. The plays provided an early showcase for the bittersweet, distinctly Northern humour and mastery of dourly comic, sometimes poignant dialogue that has made her one of Britain’s best-loved and most consistently successful performers. Included is the highly acclaimed Talent, commissioned in 1978 by the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and the play which first brought Victoria Wood to the attention of Granada Television. Julie, a young woman seeking an escape from the encroaching drudgery of domestic life, and Maureen, her frumpish friend, prepare for a talent show at a seedy club. In Nearly a Happy Ending, in which Jill Summers again appears, Maureen has been faithfully attending the slimmers’ club for months. Now the weeks of endless crispbreads have paid off - but is her optimism misplaced? Happy Since I Met You features Frances, who is 28, single and happy, despite ritual interrogations from her family as to why she’s not married. Then she meets Jim, and finds she has decisions to make... These productions reunited Wood with long-time friend Julie Walters and marked the beginning of their phenomenally successful television partnership. Duncan Preston appears in all three plays, and there are turns from Tracey Ullman, George Costigan and stand-up veteran Jim Bowen.
KANE & ABEL MEDIUMRARE ENTERTAINMENT FHED2772
Starring Sam Neill and Peter Strauss, this BBC miniseries was based on Jeffrey Archer’s best-selling novel, Kane and Abel. The title is a play on the Biblical brothers, Cain and Abel, and this is the story two men born worlds apart. They have nothing in common except the same date of birth (April 18, 1906) and a zeal to succeed in life. William Lowell Kane (Neill) is a wealthy and powerful Boston Brahmin who grows up to be a banker on Wall Street. Abel Rosnovski (Strauss) is a Pole born into desperate poverty who spends many years in Siberian prison camps before escaping and eventually emigrating to the United States, where he creates one of the world’s largest hotel chains. These two men, both striving for power and success, clash when the Great Depression of 1929 occurs and Kane’s bank forecloses on the hotel’s loan on the hotel. Double-dealings, back stabbing and intrigue follow and Archer throws in some skillful twists that show him to be a remarkable storyteller. The complete series is now available here for the first time on DVD, together with a new Jeffrey Archer interview.
DARK SKIES - THE COMPLETE SERIES MEDIUMRARE FHED2775
It’s the Twentieth Century but not as we know it. Dark Skies, broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK, was one the most imaginative US television sci-fi series of the 1990s - an unusual and often scary blend of fact informed speculations and high drama. The excellent feature length pilot episode, The Awakening, was directed by Tobe Hooper, best known for Texas Chain Saw Massacre. This sets the scene as John Loengard (Eric Close) and his girlfriend Kim Sayers (Megan Ward) arrive in Washington DC to start their new jobs as a congressional aide and an assistant to Jackie Kennedy. They soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous world of UFOs, conspiracies and a navy captain by the name of Frank Bache, brilliantly played by J.T. Walsh. It seems that the mysterious incident at Roswell in New Mexico resulted in a government agency trying to cover up the facts, even from the President himself, and much of the history of the last sixty years has been very different from the official version. Dark Skies is a genuinely alarming and ingenious series that will delight fans of Alien, The X-Files and conspiracy theorists everywhere. This DVD release includes all 18 full length episodes on 6 discs as well as behind the scenes interviews, audio commentary and a stills gallery.
THE WORLD AT WAR FREMANTLEMEDIA FHEDWAR 2 (DVD) & FHEBWAR 2 (BLU-RAY)
Produced by Thames Television over four years and originally broadcast in, this record-breaking 26-part documentary series 1973 and narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier interviewed important members of the Allied and Axis campaigns, civilian eyewitnesses, enlisted men, officers and politicians, making use of the rare colour film footage to create a definitive history of the Second World War. In the years since its first broadcast, this award-winning series has had many imitators but remains one of the most revered documentaries ever made. Fremantle Media has undertaken a painstaking renovation project in which each frame was restored individually and the audio reconfigured and upgraded - more than 3.6 million fixes across the entire series. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, The World At War will be released on 20th September as an 11 DVD box set release and on 9 Blue-ray discs. Extras include 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio and 2.0 Stereo sound, and enhanced picture in 16:9 aspect ratio. ‘Restoring The World at War’, a new feature narrated by the original series producer, Jeremy Isaacs, shows the entire restoration process and includes interviews with the team involved.
WYCLIFFE, SERIES 3 NETWORK 7953349
Set amid the windswept beauty of Cornwall, this popular and acclaimed series based on W. J. Burley’s novels follows Detective Superintendent Charles Wycliffe as he investigates the region’s most serious and challenging cases. While the storylines often highlight the social and economic difficulties faced by the local community, the conscientious Wycliffe offers something of a contrast to the classic ‘maverick detective’; a family man with a fastidious, tolerant approach, he tackles each investigation with a calm determination and a resolutely open mind, and his incisive style of questioning never fails to cut through to the heart of the mystery. Jack Shepherd is quietly charismatic in the title role, and the series also stars Jimmy Yuill and Helen Masters as Detective Inspectors Doug Kersey and Lucy Lane – Wycliffe’s dependable but very human colleagues. The series’ haunting title music, composed by Nigel Hess, received the Royal Television Society’s award for the best television theme, and Wycliffe remained a top-rated drama throughout its five-year run. This two-disc set features the complete third series, originally transmitted in 1996. Realistic, gritty and tense, the series is beautifully photographed on location and intelligently scripted. Highlights among the eight episodes are Number of the Beast (Wycliffe and his team are called in to investigate the ‘Beast of Bodmin Moor’, Faith (creepy locals are involved with paganism) and Last Judgement (a magistrate’s body is found hanged in woods but Wycliffe’s instincts tell him that it wasn’t suicide). Jack Shepherd is perfect as the dogged Wycliffe, and Helen Masters and Jimmy Yuill provide great support.
RAILWAY WALKS WITH JULIA BRADBURY ACORN BLU-RAY AB2001
Julia Bradbury makes a fine guide as she dons her backpack and walking boots in a series of walks that resulted from the infamous Beeching Axe of the 1960s. Britain’s lost rail empire left behind hundreds of miles of disused lines across England, Scotland and Wales, and many of these have been turned into marvelous walks. Julia Bradbury explores some of these old tracks, overgrown cuttings and ancient viaducts as she travels through stunning landscapes and urban backstreets. Each walk has a unique story to tell, providing insights into industrial Britain and how the rise and fall of the railways has altered lives and localities across the country. The six programmes in this very popular BBC series feature The Monsal Trail, The Mawddach Trail, Cornwall’s Mineral Tramways, The Strathspey Railway, The Rodwell Trail & Portland, and Callender to Loch Tay. Beautifully photographed and effortlessly informative, this was such a great idea for a series that it’s a wonder no one thought of it before. Julia Bradbury is a delightful presenter, taking a real interest in the things and people she meets along the way (including her father, who turns out to have enough natural charm to hold down a presenter’s job himself). The scenery looks even more beautiful in this Blu-ray release and Julia Bradbury is perkier than ever. Railway Walks are a welcome breath of fresh air. Acorn has also released the latest four disc box set of another popular BBC series, WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? (AV9812). The complete sixth series sees Rory Bremner discover wartime heroes; Fiona Bruce reveal the secret life of a seaside photographer; Rick Stein find a China connection; Zoë Wanamaker follow a journey from Russia to America; Kevin Whately find himself immersed in very corporate interests; Davina McCall discover her family ties to the Dreyfus Case; Chris Moyles follow a medal to Ypres; Kate Humble dig into The Great Escape; David Mitchell uncover his Gaelic roots; Kim Cattrall follow the painful trail of a scandalous grandfather; and Martin Freeman find an extended family that keeps on extending.
EAST OF EDEN ACORN AV9791
John Steinbeck’s most ambitious novel, East of Eden, published in September 1952, tells the tumultuous interwoven stories of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons. Apparently based on the real-life family of Samuel Hamilton, Steinbeck’s maternal grandfather, the novel was addressed to the author’s young sons, for whom he wanted to describe the sights, sounds and colours of the Salinas Valley. Steinbeck considered this to be his greatest novel, stating that ‘It has everything in it I have been able to learn about my craft or profession in all these years...everything else I have written has been, in a sense, practice for this.’ East of Eden explores the nature of good and evil, the origin of sin and the hope of reconciliation, and was memorably adapted for the cinema in Elia Kazan’s 1955 film starring James Dean. In 1981, this television series, more faithful to the novel, appeared. At more than six hours, the sumptuous production has time to do full justice to the scale of Steinbeck’s bestseller. Warren Oates plays Trask family patriarch Cyrus, with his feuding sons, Adam and Charles (Timothy Bottoms and Bruce Boxleitner) and quarrelsome grandsons, Aron and Cal (Hart Bochner and Sam Bottoms). Through these men’s lives slithers Cathy (superbly played by Jane Seymour) - a she-serpent who holds their love and enmity. The cast also includes Lloyd Bridges, Howard Duff, Anne Baxter and Karen Allen. In its ambitious themes, pervasive Biblical allusions, and abiding reverence for the land, East of Eden stands as a timeless American epic. Special features include an interview with Jane Seymour, a biography of John Steinbeck and cast filmographies..