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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Best Brit TV on DVD - Original Prime Suspect and Shows with Brenda Blethyn, James Nesbitt, Richard Griffiths, and David Suchet

“Acorn Media, chief curators of the best Brit TV” –TIME Magazine

Leading British TV on DVD specialist Acorn Media (Upstairs, Downstairs: 40th Anniversary Edition) continues to bring some of the best series in all of television to home video, including the U.S. debut of  VERA, a new mystery series starring two-time Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn; coinciding with NBC’s remake Helen Mirren’s PRIME SUSPECT, SERIES 1 in an individual season set featuring guest stars Ralph Fiennes and Tom Wilkinson; Agatha Christie’s POIROT, featuring new adaptations starring David Suchet; GARROW’S LAW SERIES 2, called “BBC period drama at its very best”; REGGIE PERRIN, a hilarious update of the beloved British comedy; MURPHY’S LAW Complete Collection starring James Nesbitt (The Hobbit) as an undercover cop; DOC MARTIN: THE MOVIES, featuring the TV movies that inspired the current hit dramedy; among others listed in the detailed Acorn Media/Athena release calendar below.

Acorn Media (British TV) and Athena (Best Documentaries) DVD Release Calendar

July 12:

Agatha Christie’s Poirot: The Movie Collection, Set 6 (Blu-ray and DVD debut) - PBS’s most-watched Masterpiece Mystery! series returns in three all new mysteries starring David Suchet. The DVD release includes all three lavishly produced mysteries premiering on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery! on June 19, June 26, and July 3. ITV Studios’ Poirot has aired on ITV1 in the U.K. since 1989 and on PBS and A&E in the U.S. BAFTA nominee David Suchet returns as Hercule Poirot—Agatha Christie’s elegant Belgian sleuth of unsurpassed deductive powers and peerless viewer appeal— in three baffling new cases based on her classic novels. Guest stars include Zoë Wanamaker (My Family) and Martin Shaw (George Gently). Episodes: Three Act Tragedy, The Clocks, and Hallowe’en Party.

July 19:

Reggie Perrin (DVD debut) - Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) stars in the hilarious, must-see update of the beloved British comedy. Featuring sharp, satirical writing and outstanding supporting casts, this riotous Britcom is produced by the BBC and broadcast in 2011 on public television. This modern reimagining of the classic British comedy was co-written by the original series creator, David Nobbs (The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin), and Simon Nye, the writer behind Men Behaving Badly. Clunes stars as a bored, frustrated middle manager who might be losing his mind. Set 1 includes the complete Series 1 and 2.

Bill Moyers: God & Politics - Called “Profoundly insightful…splendid” by the Los Angeles Times, the newest release from Bill Moyers’ acclaimed library features thought-provoking discussions about an age-old controversy, plus more than two hours of bonus material. Moyers takes on the two subjects we are often told to avoid in polite company: politics and religion. From the halls of congress to missionary work in Central America, private faith is hugely influential on public policy. Emmy® and Peabody Award-winning journalist, Bill Moyers (PBS, NBC, CBS, Newsday) interviews a variety of Christian leaders in this three-part series and offers an illuminating analysis of the interaction between church and state. Broadcast in the late 1980s, this engaging release includes a bonus disc with hours of extras, including a full-length documentary: Is God Green? and interviews with esteemed religious leaders, psychologists, etc.

July 26:

The Bretts: The Complete Collection - Side-splitting Masterpiece Theatre drama about a dysfunctional family of actors is now available as value-priced complete collection. Brimming with wit and Roaring Twenties flair, this Masterpiece Theatre hit was broadcast on PBS and ITV in the late 1980s. Co-created by Upstairs, Downstairs writer Rosemary Anne Sisson, it follows Britain’s leading theatrical family as they navigate their complicated personal and professional lives. Hilarity, tragedy, and slapstick comedy ensue as the family attempts to adapt to their rapidly changing world. Norman Rodway (Reilly: Ace of Spies), Barbara Murray (The Pallisers), and David Yelland (David Copperfield) provide pitch-perfect performances.

Wish Me Luck, Series 3 (DVD debut) - Conclusion to the gripping WWII drama about British heroines tasked with spying on the Nazis in occupied France. Seen on public television. Based on the true story, the series comes to a thrilling close in these eight final episodes starring Kate Buffery (Trial and Retribution), Jane Asher (A Voyage Round My Father, Brideshead Revisited), Michael J. Jackson (Doctors), and Jane Snowden (All Passion Spent). Filmed on location in Britain and France, it features strong female characters, historical authenticity, and spectacular scenery.

August 2:

Garrow’s Law, Series 2 (DVD debut) - Called “BBC period drama at its very best” by British Heritage Magazine, this set features the second series of the excellent BBC courtroom drama ripped from the pages of history. Seen on BBC and PBS, this award-winning series follows upright, fiery barrister William Garrow (Andrew Buchan, Cranford, The Fixer) as he battles the injustices of the 18th century English legal system. Winner of a Royal Television Society award for best history program, the series features compelling plots, lavish sets and costumes, and an outstanding cast featuring Alun Armstrong (Little Dorrit, New Tricks), Rupert Graves (Sherlock, The Forsyte Saga, V for Vendetta) and Lyndsey Marshal (Rome, Being Human, The Hours). The series premiered on BBC in 2009 and has since broadcast on PBS. A third season has recently been commissioned.

Pie in the Sky, Series 5 (DVD Debut) – Called “Witty and incredibly entertaining” (, Series 5 features the final helping of the culinary detective series starring Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter). Griffiths returns as the long-suffering DI Henry Crabbe—a semi-retired detective who prefers experimenting in the kitchen to catching criminals. Seen on public television, Pie in the Sky debuted on BBC1 in the U.K. in March 1994 and aired for five series. Series 5 co-stars Maggie Steed (Shine on Harvey Moon) and Malcom Sinclair (Casino Royale)

August 23:

Prime Suspect, Series 1 and Series 2 - Starring Oscar® winner Helen Mirren in her iconic television role. The first and second series of the Emmy®-winning, groundbreaking  police drama are now available in individual season sets. Guest stars in Series 1 include Ralph Fiennes and Tom Wilkinson. The series aired on PBS to universal acclaim with more than 20 major international awards, including seven Emmys® ("Outstanding Miniseries" and "Outstanding Actress"), eight BAFTAs, and a Peabody. A new American version starring Maria Bello (A History of Violence) is set to air in fall 2011 on NBC. Acorn Media previously released Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection in Sept. 2010.

August 30:

Vera (U.S. Debut) - Two-time Oscar® nominee Brenda Blethyn (Pride & Prejudice, Secrets & Lies) leads fantastic ensemble cast in a new, suspenseful British mystery series. Premiering in May 2011 to rave reviews in the U.K. and already commissioned for a second series, Vera is available to U.S. audiences for the first time with its DVD release. Based on the award-winning novels by Ann Cleeves, the ITV series stars Blethyn as a solitary, obsessed, cantankerous investigator—who happens to be pure genius at her job. The four feature-length mysteries were filmed in the Northumberland villages of the original books. Always proficient but occasionally cruel, DCI Vera Stanhope solves unthinkable crimes aided by her long-suffering team.

Murphy’s Law Complete Collection - Complete collection of BBC’s hit undercover cop series. A gritty and compelling character study of a man with nothing left to lose, this contemporary series stars acclaimed, award-winning actor James Nesbitt (Waking Ned Devine, Bloody Sunday, Match Point, and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit in 2012) as an undercover cop driven to the brink of self-destruction. The Guardian calls Nesbitt “a law unto himself” in the role created especially for him by novelist Colin Bateman. The series ran for five seasons until October 2007 and aired on BBC America in the U.S. Murphy’s Law Series 4 + 5 (DVD Debut) is also being released on August 30th as a DVD 2-volume boxed set.

Doc Martin: The Movies - Featuring the two full-length TV movies that inspired the huge hit dramedy currently airing on PBS stations across the U.S. Proving there’s more than one way to tell a good story, BAFTA-winner Martin Clunes (Men Behaving Badly, Shakespeare in Love, Dirty Tricks, Reggie Perrin) stars as the kinder, gentler— but still slightly grouchy—Dr. Martin Bamford in the made-for-TV movies that introduced the misanthropic doctor and the picturesque Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac before the television series’ launch in 2004. The 2-disc boxed set includes Doc Martin and Doc Martin and the Legend of the Cloutie.

Coming up in September: The Battle for Marjah from HBO; Midsomer Murders, Set 18; Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal, Visions of Europe (Blu-ray); Bill Moyers: The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith; The Red Green Show: The Geezer Years; Art of the Western World; Lost Empires; New Tricks, Season 5; and Queer as Folk: The Complete U.K. Collection.

Acorn Media Highlights from Jan-June, 2011:

Upstairs, Downstairs Complete Series: 40th Anniversary Edition, the most popular and successful British drama series in television history in a 21-disc collection with 25+ hours of never-before-seen extras; Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Pale Horse (DVD debut) and Agatha Christie’s Marple: Complete Series 5 (Blu-ray debut) starring Julia McKenzie; New Tricks Season 4 (DVD debut); Robin of Sherwood, Set 1 (Blu-ray debut); Wired (U.S. Debut), an edge-of-your-seat financial thriller; Under the Hammer (U.S. debut) written by beloved author John Mortimer; George Gently Series 3 (Blu-ray and DVD, U.S. debuts), The Far Pavilions (re-issue); Doc Martin Collection: Series 1-4 (Must-see recommendation) starring BAFTA winner Martin Clunes; Identity (U.S. Debut), Keeley Hawes (Upstairs, Downstairs, Ashes to Ashes) and Aidan Gillen (The Wire, Queer as Folk UK) star in a slick, high-tech crime procedural being remade by ABC; Murdoch Mysteries Season 3 (DVD and Blu-ray) Sherlock Holmes meets CSI; Discovering Hamlet featuring Kenneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi; Garrow’s Law, Series 1 (U.S. Debut), a riveting new courtroom drama series seen on BBC; Single-Handed, Set 1 (U.S. Debut), a lone cop fights crime and corruption in rural Ireland; Blue Murder: The Complete Collection, called “The most fascinating British female cop since Jane Tennison”; Midsomer Murders Set 17 (U.S. Debut); The Norman Conquests (DVD Debut); and Who Do You Think You Are? Season 1 (DVD Debut), NBC and Lisa Kudrow’s star-studded family history series.

From Athena, The Making of the President, Emmy® award-winning, landmark campaign documentaries making their home video debut; Weapons Races (DVD debut); The Genius of Design (DVD Debut), fun, fast-paced and informative BBC documentary; The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide (U.S. Debut), captivating BBC documentary series; Bill Moyers: The Language of Life (DVD Debut); and Genius of Britain: The Scientists Who Changed the World (U.S. Debut)

Select 2010 Releases: Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection, Oscar® and Emmy® winner Helen Mirren in her iconic, groundbreaking TV role; Life on Mars: The Complete UK Collection, the award-winning, original U.K. police drama; Slings & Arrows: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray).

About Acorn Media:
Headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., Acorn Media U.S. distributes distinctive home video releases to the North American market with a special focus on the best of British television. 2011 releases include Upstairs, Downstairs: 40th Anniversary Edition; U.S. debuts of must-see new series Vera, Garrow’s Law, Reggie Perrin, Wired, Identity, and Single-Handed; more episodes from New Tricks, Doc Martin, Murphy’s Law, Marple, Poirot, George Gently, Murdoch Mysteries, Midsomer Murders; as well as the Blu-ray of Brideshead Revisited: 30th Anniversary Edition.

Athena releases provide an authoritative and entertaining learning experience through high quality, informative, non-fiction programming. Athena’s 2011 releases include The Genius of Design, Discovering Hamlet, Genius of Britain, The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide, Weapons Races, The Making of the President, HBO’s The Battle of Marjah, Art of the Western World, Joseph Campbell: Mythos III, The Windsors, and several acclaimed programs from Bill Moyers and Mike Wallace. Clips are available at

Acorn’s and Athena’s DVD sets are available from select retailers, catalog companies, and direct from Acorn Media at (888) 870-8047 or and For the complete press releases, please visit:

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