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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Acorn's Best Brit TV on DVD/Blu-ray - Featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, Liam Neeson, Anthony Hopkins, Alec Guinness, Martin Clunes, Jason Robards

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

April 17

SECRET WAR (DVD Debut) - “Incredible tales of top-secret espionage missions”(The Times) - From the producers of Churchill’s Bodyguard and Hitler’s Bodyguard, this riveting 13-part series tells the story of the spies who went behind enemy lines to conduct intelligence-gathering, sabotage, and assassination during World War II. Premiered on Discovery’s Military Channel in Jan. 2012. Includes a 20-page viewer’s guide with a chronology of World War II, articles on Winston Churchill, Fortress Europe, resistance movements, the SAS, and MI6.

BILL MOYERS: CAPITOL CRIMES - Hard-hitting examination of the Abramoff lobbying scandal. Seen on PBS. DVD features more than three hours of bonus materials, including 83-minute Buying the War bonus. A tale of politics, greed, and the buying and selling of influence at the highest levels of power. Moyers explores how “super lobbyist” Jack Abramoff rode a wave of corruption to enrich himself and promote his causes – from Indian casinos in Louisiana to the Moscow offices of Russia’s new oligarchs – taking down other Washington heavyweights in the process.

MURDOCH MYSTERIES, Season 1 (Now on Blu-ray) - Award-winning period detective drama features forensic sleuthing in the age of invention. The first season of the acclaimed Canadian series won two Geminis® and was nominated for 12 more, including Best Dramatic Series. The hit, ongoing series is now in production on its fifth season. Season 1 was released on DVD in 2009 and is now on Blu-ray.

April 24

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (Now on Blu-ray) - “The greatest spy show ever made” —NPR’s Fresh Air from WHYY. Alec Guinness stars in John le Carré’s classic Cold War spy drama. Blu-ray debut includes an exclusive new 29-minute interview with the director and deleted scenes. In the 1979 BBC miniseries, Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia) leads an all-star ensemble cast with the performance of a lifetime in his BAFTA-winning role as George Smiley, a retired spymaster recruited to find a mole in the British intelligence service. Release coincides with the recent DVD release of the two-time Oscar nominated feature film starring Gary Oldman.

AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT, Series 4 (Blu-ray debut, DVD) - Fourth series of Agatha Christie’s beloved mysteries debuts on Blu-ray, newly remastered and in original U.K broadcast order. The endearingly eccentric detective Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) is back on the case in these three mysteries from the hit series.  Brimming with beguiling 1930s period details and pitch-perfect performances, these lavish adaptations look better than ever in this remastered edition.

May 1

Barbara Taylor Bradford’s A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE TRILOGY - New edition of the star-studded miniseries. Casts include Liam Neeson, Deborah Kerr, Jenny Seagrove, and Anthony Hopkins. Trilogy brings to vivid life two of Barbara Taylor Bradford’s most unforgettable heroines from her bestselling trilogy. Nominated for an Emmy® in 1985 for outstanding limited series and broadcast in the 1980s and ‘90s. Bradford’s books have sold over 82 million copies in 40 languages. Includes the three complete miniseries: A Woman of Substance, Hold the Dream, and To Be the Best, plus bonus interviews with Bradford (59 min). The trilogy that begins with Emma Harte’s remarkable rise from servant girl to international retailing magnate comes full circle when Emma’s granddaughter must struggle against powerful enemies to keep the family’s corporate empire from collapsing.

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Season 2 (DVD Debut) – The second season of NBC and Lisa Kudrow’s celebrity family history series features Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Vanessa Williams, Rosie O’Donnell, Kim Cattrall, Steve Buscemi, Lionel Richie, and Ashley Judd. Working alongside genealogists, researchers and historians, the stars excavates stories from their families’ past. The fascinating series paints an intimate portrait of how a journey through history can change everything – including one’s idea of self. Season 3 premiered on NBC in Feb. 2012.

May 15

TIME TEAM: UNEARTHING THE ROMAN INVASION (U.S. Debut) - The popular British science-reality series presented by Blackadder’s Tony Robinson makes its U.S. debut. Go along as archaeologists dig up the past in this long-running U.K. hit. Accompanied by an eclectic band of historians and experts, Robinson travels across Britain to unearth secrets from the era of the Roman occupation. With just three days at each site to complete their excavations, they race against time to reveal Britain’s buried history. Includes 12 collected episodes about Britain’s Roman past from Series 2-18 (1995-2011), plus a 16-page viewer’s guide.

TREASURE HOUSES OF BRITAIN (DVD Debut) - New documentary offers intimate tours of England’s most magnificent homes. Accompanied by their owners, distinguished journalist Selina Scott (BBC, ITV, CBS, NBC) explores the properties, learning their history and examining the architectural wonders, paintings, furniture, tapestries, and sculptures accumulated over the centuries. Broadcast on DirecTV and public television in 2011, the program features intimate tours of Burghley House, Chatsworth, Blenheim Palace, Holkham Hall, and Boughton House.

May 29

MONROE, Series 1 (U. S. Debut) - James Nesbitt (Murphy’s Law, Woody Allen’s Match Point, and the upcoming Hobbit films) stars in new medical drama described as a dose of House’s dark humor mixed with an infusion of humanity and warmth. Nesbitt stars as Dr. Monroe, a neurosurgical genius with a quick wit and a heart to match his titanic ego. Following no rules but his own, Monroe infuriates colleagues and terrifies interns with his glib repartee and arrogant self-regard. Series 1 premiered on ITV in March 2011; a second season has been commissioned. Monroe made its U.S. debut on Acorn’s streaming service, Acorn TV, earlier this year but has not aired on U.S. television. Co-stars Jenny Bremner (Sarah Parish, The Pillars of the Earth) and Tom Riley (Lost in Austen).

MURDOCH MYSTERIES, Season 4 (U.S. Debut, DVD/Blu-ray) - Forensic sleuthing in the Age of Invention with the charming period mystery available to U.S. audiences for the first time. Based on the characters from award-winning author Maureen Jennings’ Detective Murdoch novels, the acclaimed Canadian series has garnered 25 Gemini® nominations to its credit, including Best Writing and Best Dramatic Series. Set in Victorian-era Toronto, this smart, compelling series follows Yannick Bisson as Detective William Murdoch as he pushes the boundaries of criminal science to solve the city’s most baffling murders. A fifth season has already been produced, and a sixth season begins production in spring 2012. Season 4 guest stars include: Victor Garber (Alias, Titanic), Simon Williams (Upstairs, Downstairs), Peter Keleghan (The Red Green Show), and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper in a cameo.

June 5

DOC MARTIN, Series 5 (DVD Debut) - “Sweet, stirring, and completely addictive” (Slate) - Smash-hit British dramedy currently airs on public television. Akin to House and Northern Exposure, BAFTA Winner Martin Clunes (Men Behaving Badly, Shakespeare in Love, Reggie Perrin) stars in the series as a misanthropic, socially maladjusted doctor forced to relocate to a rustic seaside village, where he immediately clashes with the town’s eccentric citizens. Emmy® winner Eileen Atkins (Cranford, co-creator of Upstairs, Downstairs) joins the cast in Series 5. The DVD 2-disc set includes eight episodes, plus 62-minutes of behind-the-scenes segments. Doc Martin is a huge hit in the U.K. with 10 million viewers, and its gaining momentum on public television; it’s the highest-rated program on KCET/Los Angeles. A sixth season will begin production in 2013.

WASHINGTON: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS (Home Video Debut) –Star-studded, Emmy-winning political drama seen on ABC in 1977. Showcasing high-stakes political intrigue at its best, the miniseries inspired by the Nixon presidency, makes its long-awaited home video debut. Based on the post-Watergate novel, The Company, by former Nixon advisor John Ehrlichman, the seven-time Emmy® nominated program stars Cliff Robertson (Falcon Crest, Spider-Man, and Best Actor Academy Award for Charly), two-time Oscar winner Jason Robards (All the President’s Men), two-time Emmy nominee Stefanie Powers (Hart to Hart), and Robert Vaughn (The Magnificent Seven), who won for outstanding supporting actor. Co-stars Andy Griffith and John Houseman (The Paper Chase). Against the backdrop of a war in Southeast Asia and antiwar protests at home, this political drama tells the story of an increasingly paranoid president, an administration under siege, and a reckless group of White House aides desperate to hold on to power.

NEW TRICKS, Season 7 (DVD Debut) - One of the most-watched shows on British television. Seen on BBC and PBS. Featuring strong writing and wry humor, the long-running, award-winning series stars Amanda Redman (Sexy Beast), Dennis Waterman (The Sweeney, Circles of Deceit), Alun Armstrong (Garrow’s Law, Bleak House, 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 since 2003 and has already been renewed for a ninth and tenth season. The series has enjoyed ongoing broadcast exposure in North America on public television. Guest stars include Rupert Graves (Death at a Funeral), Paul Rhys (Chaplin), Samantha Bond (Downton Abbey), and Siân Phillips (I, Claudius).

Coming in June/July

From Acorn - The Best of Foyle’s War, Love in a Cold Climate, George Gently Series 4, Trial & Retribution Set 5, Casting the Runes, The Kent Chronicles, The Story of Costume Drama, and John Nettles final episodes with Midsomer Murders, Set 20. From Athena - This is Civilization, The Code, James May’s 20th Century, and Bill Moyers on Addiction.

January – April 3, 2012 DVDs:

I, CLAUDIUS: 35th Anniversary Edition (bonus packed with many previously unavailable extras); IN THEIR OWN WORDS (Athena, U.S. Debut) includes 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; SINGLE-HANDED, Set 2 (U.S. Debut); THE COMMANDER, Set 2 (DVD Debut); ABOVE SUSPICION, Set 1 (U.S. Debut), from the creator of Prime Suspect and starring Ciarán Hinds (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Harry Potter); AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT Series 1-3 (Blu-ray debut, DVD); MIDSOMER MURDERS, Set 19 (U.S. debut, DVD, Blu-ray debut of series); BATTLEFIELD DETECTIVES (Athena, DVD Debut); THE WINDSORS (U.S. Debut, Athena); and POLDARK: The Complete Collection (Value-priced collection), a must-see for costume drama fans.

Acorn TV, the first British TV focused streaming service, offers a full season of 10 critically acclaimed, classic and contemporary British series to watch online for just $24.99 a year. The first episode of each series is free. For press access to the full 70+ hours of programming, please contact me. Streaming now are Upstairs, Downstairs, Cracker, Doc Martin, and Brideshead Revisited, among several others. Site:

About Acorn:

Headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., Acorn Media U.S. releases the best of British television on DVD/Blu-ray. 2011 releases featured Upstairs, Downstairs: 40th Anniversary, Case Histories, and Brideshead Revisited: 30th Anniversary. 2012 releases include a bonus packed collector’s edition of I, Claudius; the Blu-ray debuts for the original Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the first six series of Agatha Christie’s Poirot; the U.S. debuts of Lynda La Plante’s Above Suspicion and Monroe starring James Nesbitt; Love in a Cold Climate; The Best of Foyle’s War; The Story of Costume Drama; Damian Lewis in The Forsyte Saga; and more episodes from Midsomer Murders, Murdoch Mysteries, Doc Martin, George Gently, Garrow’s Law, and NBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?. Select series are available for streaming at Acorn TV,

Athena releases provide an authoritative and entertaining learning experience through high quality, informative, non-fiction programming. 2011 Athena releases included: The Making of the President: The 1960s, Discovering Hamlet, The Battle for Marjah, Joseph Campbell: Mythos III, and Art of the Western World. Early 2012 releases include The Windsors: From George to Kate, Bill Moyers: Amazing Grace and Capital Crimes, Battlefield Detectives, and In Their Own Words. 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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