HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Best British TV on DVD - I, Claudius, J.R.R. Tolkien, Virginia Woolf, Sigmund Freud, Prime Suspect creator

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

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

*Acorn Media on Facebook and Twitter

January 31

AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT, Series 1 and 2 (Blu-ray debuts, DVD) – The first and second series of Agatha Christie’s beloved Belgian detective starring David Suchet. Blu-ray debut and DVDs are newly remastered and restored to their original U.K. broadcast order. 

POLDARK: The Complete Collection (Value-priced collection) – “The BBC production seduces us completely” (The New York Times). A must-see for costume drama fans, Poldark is now available in a value-priced complete collection. Hailed as a British Gone with the Wind, the classic miniseries debuted on PBS in May 1977, was featured on “The Best of Masterpiece Theatre” special, and voted one of the 10 most popular shows in the series’ history in a recent PBS poll. The Emmy®-nominated miniseries tells the story of a dashing 18th century English army officer (Robin Ellis), who finds the trials and travails at home every bit as perilous as what he faced in war. INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY: Lead Actor Robin Ellis

February 7

NORTHERN LIGHTS: The Complete Collection (Home Video Debut) – Robson Green (Being Human, Wire in the Blood, Touching Evil, Reckless) and Mark Benton (Career Girls, Waterloo Road, Murphy’s Law) star in the lighthearted buddy Britcom. Broadcast on BBC America and produced from 2004-2008, the ITV series follows lifelong friends and rivals Colin Armstrong (Green) and Howard Scott (Benton) on a hilarious series of misadventures. Features all 12 episodes and two movies plus a 46 min. behind-the-scenes bonus feature.

NEW TRICKS, Season 6 (DVD Debut) – Retired cops solve cold cases in this smash hit, ongoing BBC series seen on public television. Combining compelling stories, likeable characters, and a top-notch cast, this long-running series stars Amanda Redman (Sexy Beast), Dennis Waterman (The Sweeney, Circles of Deceit), Alun Armstrong (Garrow’s Law, Patriot Games), and James Bolam (The Beiderbecke Affair) as a team of semi-retired and somewhat curmudgeonly detectives investigating cold cases. New Tricks has run on the BBC for eight seasons and has already been renewed for a ninth and tenth season.

THE BRONTES OF HAWORTH– This literary family biopic stars Michael Kitchen (Foyle’s War, My Week with Marilyn) in one of his early roles. This finely crafted portrait explores the soaring artistic achievements and personal tragedies of England’s most accomplished literary family (Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights). Featuring a stellar ensemble cast (Alfred Burke, Barbara Leigh-Hunt) and an outstanding script, this acclaimed period drama is a sensitive exploration of the Brontës’ tender and tragic family history. The miniseries aired in the U.K. in 1973 but has not aired on U.S. television.

February 14

BATTLEFIELD DETECTIVES (Athena, DVD Debut) – Seen on the History Channel, the series features new scientific insight into history’s greatest battles. Investigators re-create the conditions of history’s major battles using 3-D computer models, maps, artifacts, original footage, and dramatic reenactments. From the muddy fields at Hastings to the sweltering jungles of Vietnam, a variety of experts offer compelling new evidence on the wars that shaped the modern world. Produced in 2003.

ROBIN OF SHERWOOD, Set 2 (Blu-ray debut) – The conclusion to the definitive retelling of the Robin Hood legend with breakthrough roles for Jason Connery and Ray Winstone (Indiana Jones, The Departed, Sexy Beast). Presented in stunning high-definition, the Blu-ray 3-disc/DVD bonus disc set includes 13 episodes and more than nine hours of special features, including several now on the 2007 DVD release.

SHADES (DVD Debut) – “A quirky romantic comedy of life after death” (The Times), this poignant drama stars Dervla Kirwan (Ballykissangel) and Stephen Tompkinson (Wild at Heart). They meet in London under unusual circumstances…both are recently deceased. The two mismatched souls find themselves still in this world, thrown together in a weird and wonderful afterlife. This touching and gently humorous British drama explores what it means to have a chance to help—or hinder—those left behind. Produced in 2000.

February 28

MIDSOMER MURDERS, Set 19 (U.S. debut, DVD, Blu-ray debut of series) – Acorn’s best-selling series debuts on Blu-ray. John Nettles stars as the unflappable DCI Tom Barnaby, with Jason Hughes (This Life) as his earnest, efficient protégé. Guest stars include James Wilby, Kenneth Cranham, and Neil Dudgeon in his first appearance as DCI John Barnaby. These episodes were produced in 2009 and have not aired in the U.S. The Mysteries: The Made-to-Measure Murders, The Sword of Guillaume, Blood on the Saddle, and The Silent Land. PaperMag says about the series, “Phenomenally enjoyable… this show has only gotten better and better through the years…A sumptuous feast for mystery lovers.”

FRENCH FIELDS Complete Collection (DVD Debut) – The sequel to Fresh Fields offers a classic domestic comedy in the tradition of I Love Lucy. William Fields (Anton Rodgers, May to December, Lillie) and his wife, Hester (Julia McKenzie, Agatha Christie’s Marple) move to France. The complete collection includes all three series (1990-93).

THE BRIEF Complete Collection (DVD Debut) – From the creators of Inspector Morse, Alan Davies (Jonathan Creek) stars in the seriocomic misadventures of clever criminal law barrister, whose every day is a juggling act between surviving his messy personal life and pleading cases only he can win. Produced in 2004-05 and syndicated on public TV.

March 6

ABOVE SUSPICION, Set 1 (U.S. Debut) - A riveting new detective series from the creator of Prime Suspect. This ongoing, hit British police drama is a “younger, sassier successor to Prime Suspect” (The Telegraph). Rising star Kelly Reilly (Sherlock Holmes feature films) plays a rookie detective trying to prove herself in what is still mostly a man’s world. Acclaimed actor Ciarán Hinds (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter, There Will Be Blood) co-stars as Anna's mentor. Includes two-feature length mysteries and behind-the-scenes segments.

AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT Series 3 (Blu-ray debut, DVD) - Newly remastered and restored to their original U.K. broadcast order, the impeccable Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) is back on the case in these 11 mysteries from the hit series. Series 3 previously aired in 1991. As seen on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery!

March 13

IN THEIR OWN WORDS (Athena, U.S. Debut) - Fascinating documentary with archival footage of great thinkers and novelists including J. R.R. Tolkien, Sigmund Freud, George Orwell, Jane Goodall, Salman Rushdie, Evelyn Waugh, Margaret Mead, and the only surviving voice recording of Virginia Woolf. Available to U.S. Audiences for the First Time with this release, this remarkable set gathers archival footage from BBC interviews, documentaries and films—much of it available for the first time since its original airing—with two programs British Novelists and Great Thinkers. The landmark programs were produced in 2010-11 but have yet to air in the U.S. With such rarities as J.R.R. Tolkien reading in his invented Elvish language and Jane Goodall discovering behavioral links between humans and chimpanzees, In Their Own Words serves as a real-life compilation of historic moments. As an overview of the social and political forces of the 20th century, it’s beyond comparison as compelling viewing and an exceptional glimpse of the geniuses who have shaped the modern world.

OUT (U.S. Debut) - Hard-edged BAFTA-winning crime drama makes its U.S. debut starring Tom Bell (Prime Suspect) in a BAFTA-nominated performance and Brian Cox. After an eight-year prison stint for a failed bank heist, Frank Ross returns to his old gangland haunts to find the snitch who sent him to jail. Available to U.S. audiences for the first time, the series aired in the U.K. in 1978 but never aired in the U.S.

March 27

I, CLAUDIUS: 35th Anniversary Edition (bonus packed with many previously unavailable extras) – Called “A true masterpiece” (San Francisco Chronicle) and rated one of the “100 Best TV Shows of All Time” by Time magazine, this epic BBC series spans the history of the Roman Empire from Augustus through Claudius, a stuttering scholar who learns early to play the fool and stay alive. Based on the novels by Robert Graves, it stars Derek Jacobi (The King’s Speech, Cadfael) in a career-defining role. Winner of an Emmy® and numerous other awards, this riveting tale of ambition, debauchery, and intrigue remains one of the most popular and acclaimed dramas in Masterpiece Theatre history. Siân Phillips (The Age of Innocence), John Hurt (The Elephant Man),  George Baker (The Ruth Rendell Mysteries), Margaret Tyzack (Cousin Bette), James Faulkner (The Bank Job), and Patrick Stewart (X-Men) also star. BONUS Extended original versions of episodes 1 and 2; “I, Claudius”: A Television Epic, a behind-the-scenes look at the series (74 min.); The Epic That Never Was, a documentary recounting the failed 1937 film adaptation (71 min.); NEW Derek Jacobi interview (12 min.); favorite scenes of the cast and director (36 min.); and more.

SINGLE-HANDED, Set 2 (U.S. Debut) - A lone cop fights crime and corruption in rural Ireland in a new, ongoing detective series. His position as local Garda sergeant puts Jack Driscoll (Owen McDonnell, Wild Decembers) at the heart of his community—and often at odds with it. Filmed against the spectacular and foreboding backdrop of Connemara, this second set contains three new feature-length crime dramas.

MURDER INVESTIGATION TEAM, Series Two (DVD Debut) - Called “The U.K.’s answer to our CSI” and seen on A&E, the series authentically profiles the gritty realities faced by the Special Crimes Unit of London’s Metropolitan Police. From the creators of The Bill, this critically acclaimed police thriller follows an intense team of investigators led by DC Rosie MacManus (Lindsey Coulson, EastEnders) and DS Trevor Hands (Michael McKell, Emmerdale Farm). Claire Higgins (Hellraiser), Kenneth Cranham (Rome), and Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) guest star in these final episodes.

Coming up in April 2012: The Commander Set 2, Secret War, Bill Moyers: Capitol Crimes, Agatha Christie’s Poirot Series 4, Monroe starring James Nesbitt, and the debut of the original Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy on Blu-ray.

Early January Releases: The Windsors: From George to Kate (U.S. Debut, Athena), an absorbing 2011 documentary tracing the recent history of the British monarchy from the real King George VI (portrayed in The King’s Speech) through Prince William’s recent wedding; Man in a Suitcase, Set 2 (DVD Debut), the conclusion to the thrilling 1960s spy series features a candid and unfiltered, 69-minute bonus interview with star Richard Bradford (The Untouchables, Cagney & Lacey); Dr. Willoughby (DVD Debut), a hilarious behind-the-scenes television satire starring Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous); Bill Moyers: Amazing Grace (DVD Debut), an inspiring, Emmy-winning PBS documentary tracing the history of the beloved hymn; and George Gently, Series 1 (Blu-ray debut), likened to Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders, Martin Shaw (Judge John Deed, The Professionals) stars as the principled detective George Gently during the tumultuous 1960s.


No comments: