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Friday, June 8, 2012

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

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

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) stars in the series as a misanthropic, socially maladjusted doctor. Emmy® winner Eileen Atkins (Cranford, co-creator of Upstairs, Downstairs) joins the cast in Series 5. 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.

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 (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.

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), 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 since 2003 and has already been renewed for a ninth and tenth season.

June 19

THE CODE (U.S. Debut) – Called “A remarkable achievement” (The Times), this engaging BBC documentary about the power of numbers is the follow up to the hugely successful documentary, The Story of Math. Setting out to solve the world’s mathematical mysteries, author, TV presenter, and Oxford University Professor Marcus du Sautoy travels from Chartres Cathedral to Grand Central Station in search of the mysterious hidden code that can unlock the very laws of the universe. Available to U.S. audiences for the first time, The Code, offers a deft blend of entertainment and education, exploring the power of numbers. Bonus: three “Math Shorts”

THIS IS CIVILIZATION (DVD Debut) – Called “Entirely riveting” (The Observer), this new documentary offers a globe-trotting tour of art and culture. Artist and broadcaster Matthew Collings travels from London to Beijing in this sweeping four-part series and contemporary update of the BBC’s landmark 1969 series Civilization, with an expanded focus on non-Western art. The program was shot on location in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, China, Turkey, Egypt, and the U.S. and aired on the Ovation Channel.

TRIAL & RETRIBUTION, Set 5 (U.S. Debut) - Called “Great crime series” by NPR, this crime-to-courtroom suspense series is from the creator of Prime Suspect, Lynda La Plante. This long-running, hit British crime series displays the same gritty realism and penetrating drama that made Prime Suspect a television landmark. Available to U.S. audiences for the first time with its DVD release, Set 5 features four feature-length mysteries. Akin to Law & Order, Trial & Retribution takes viewers from the crime scene to the forensics laboratory and from police headquarters to the courtroom.

June 26

LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE (Long-awaited DVD Debut) - Oscar® winner Judi Dench (Iris, Casino Royale, Shakespeare in Love) and Michael Williams (A Fine Romance)  star in an acclaimed adaptation of the British literary classic. Propelled by star-studded casts and a brilliant blend of period romance and social satire, akin to the works of Evelyn Waugh, Love in a Cold Climate is based on bestselling author Nancy Mitford’s wickedly witty novels. This eight-part series is set against a backdrop of the English nobility’s golden age—and a looming world war. Broadcast on Masterpiece Theatre in the 1980s, the series co-stars Michael Aldridge (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Vivian Pickles (Harold and Maude), and Anthony Stewart Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

THE BEST OF FOYLE’S WAR - Called “Like a gift from the gods.” (The New York Times) and “A triumph from start to finish” (The Wall Street Journal), Foyle’s War is Acorn’s best-selling and most acclaimed series. This discounted collection features Michael Kitchen’s favorite episodes from the first four years of playing detective chief inspector Christopher Foyle. These six feature-length episodes feature fan favorites Honeysuckle Weeks and Anthony Howell as well as guest stars Rosamund Pike (Pride & Prejudice), Edward Fox (Gandhi), and James McAvoy (Atonement, X-Men: First Class, Wanted). A new series of Foyle’s War is currently in development and is scheduled to air in 2013. See press release here.

Agatha Christie’s POIROT, Series 5 (Blu-ray and DVD) - Newly remastered and in original U.K. broadcast order, the fifth series stars David Suchet as Agatha Christie’s peerless Poirot in these eight mysteries from the hit PBS series. Series 5 previously aired in 1993 with guest stars Anna Chancellor (BBC’s The Hour, Four Weddings and a Funeral), Hermione Norris (MI-5, Cold Feet), and Jeremy Northam (Emma, The Tudors).

July 3

MIDSOMER MURDERS, Set 20 (U.S. Debut, Blu-ray and DVD) – John Nettles’ final episodes of the series. For more than a decade, DCI Tom Barnaby has policed the murderous county of Midsomer, winning Nettles legions of fans— including the queen of England herself. In these four feature-length episodes, Barnaby investigates his final cases, leaving Midsomer to his capable replacement: DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon, Life of Riley). Episodes featured are the second half of Series 13. Midsomer has already aired a 14th series in the U.K. and 15th series is in production.

GEORGE GENTLY, Series 4 (U.S. Debut, Blu-ray and DVD) – Called “Great, bordering on brilliant” ( and compared to Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders, award-winning actor Martin Shaw (Death in Holy Orders) is back as Inspector George Gently in these two feature-length mysteries set in the North East of England during the social upheaval of the 1960s. Series airs on public television. Fifth series has been commissioned.

July 17:

JAMES MAY’S 20th CENTURY (U.S. debut) – “Infectiously enjoyable” (London Evening Standard) – The Top Gear host explores the innovations that made the modern era, plus 180 min. bonus program, James May’s Big Ideas. With his trademark curiosity, insight, and wit, James May travels from continent to continent, as well as back in time, to learn how new technologies have revolutionized every aspect of modern life, from medical advancements to space travel.

M.R. James’s CASTING THE RUNES (DVD Debut) – A classic tale of mystery and the supernatural from the father of the modern ghost story makes its North American DVD debut with more than an hour of bonus materials. A chilling tale of an innocent woman battling a satanic spell drawn from one of M.R. James’s most frightening tales. Commissioned for broadcast in 1979 as part of ITV Playhouse. Bonus: the M.R. James adaptation Mr. Humphreys and His Inheritance and the documentary A Pleasant Terror: The Life & Ghosts of M.R. James.

BILL MOYERS ON ADDICTION: CLOSE TO HOME – Called “TV’s most comprehensive look ever at addiction and recovery” (San Francisco Chronicle), this acclaimed PBS documentary explores the many issues of addiction and recovery. The 1998-PBS-broadcast documentary features interviews with recovering addicts, scientists, and treatment professionals.

July 31:

THE STORY OF THE COSTUME DRAMA (U.S. Debut) – Required viewing for any fan of British television, this captivating new documentary tells the stories behind iconic productions with stars and scenes from Brideshead Revisited; I, Claudius; Upstairs, Downstairs; Pride and Prejudice; The Jewel in the Crown; Poldark; Doctor Zhivago; and many more. The first episode aired on PBS stations in spring 2012; however, Acorn is releasing the complete five-episode series on DVD. Narrated by star Keeley Hawes (Ashes to Ashes; Upstairs Downstairs), these five episodes give an inside look beyond the ornate clothing, sprawling manors, and addictive story lines that have riveted millions of television viewers for decades.

THE COSTUME DRAMA CLASSIC COLLECTION – Representing the finest of the captivating costume drama genre with sumptuous costumes, lavish sets, and addictive plots, this set features four celebrated, star-studded Masterpiece Theatre period dramas, plus DVD debut of new making-of documentary, The Story of the Costume Drama. Value-priced 15-disc collection includes more than 36 hours of star-studded programming, including Doctor Zhivago, the 2002 adaptation starring Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean, Atonement); Lillie, the BAFTA-winning 1978 drama with Francesca Annis (Wives and Daughters, Cranford); Lost Empires, starring Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Laurence Olivier in a coming-of-age story from 1986; and Upstairs, Downstairs, Series 1, the iconic British drama’s original 1971-1972 series. Coupled with a new, bonus making-of program, The Story of the Costume Drama, a rare behind-the-scenes peek at even more of these beloved productions. (15-disc, $99.99)

THE KENT CHRONICLES (DVD Debut) – Three historical miniseries (The Bastard, The Rebels, and The Seekers) based on John Jakes’s bestselling novels, featuring William Shatner, Kim Cattrall, Don Johnson, Patricia Neal, George Hamilton, Delta Burke, and Tom Bosley. Chronicling the saga of the Kent family in early America, the star-studded Revolution-era romp based on the bestselling novels by John Jakes (North and South), the “godfather of the historical novel.” These three miniseries follow the fortunes of a young Frenchman (Andrew Stevens, Dallas) as he immigrates to America during the Revolutionary War and crosses paths with historical heavyweights including Paul Revere (William Shatner, Star Trek), Benjamin Franklin (Tom Bosley, Happy Days), Samuel Adams (William Daniels, St. Elsewhere), and George Washington (Peter Graves, Mission: Impossible). Nominated for two Emmys® and a Golden Globe® and broadcast in the late 1970s.

August 7:

THE SINKING OF THE LACONIA (DVD Debut) – “The best bit of drama on the BBC in 20 years”(The Independent) – New, gripping WWII tale with an outstanding cast offers a harrowing true story of heroism, heartbreak, and unexpected humanity during the midst of World War II. Broadcast on Ovation in the spring of 2012, the miniseries features Ken Duken (Inglourious Basterds), Andrew Buchan (Garrow’s Law), Franka Potente (The Bourne Identity, Run Lola Run), Lindsay Duncan (Rome) and Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy). In September 1942 at the height of the battle for the Atlantic, a German U-boat torpedoed the RMS Laconia, sinking the British ship without knowing that it carried more than 2,000 passengers, many of them civilians. BONUS: Documentary featurette, “The Sinking of the Laconia: Survivors’ Stories” (29 min.)

GARROW’S LAW, SERIES 3 (U.S. Debut) – “BBC period drama at its very best” (British Heritage) – Conclusion of the acclaimed British legal drama ripped from the pages of history. Seen on BBC and PBS. Award-winning series stars Andrew Buchan (The Sinking of the Laconia, Cranford) as virtuous barrister William Garrow, a man unafraid to confront the injustices of the 18th century English legal system. Winner of a Royal Television Society award for best history program, the series also stars Alun Armstrong (Little Dorrit, New Tricks), Rupert Graves (Sherlock, The Forsyte Saga) and Lyndsey Marshal (Rome, Being Human, The Hours).

Coming up in Aug.-Sept.:

From Acorn - Damian Lewis (Homeland) in The Forsyte Saga Collection, Agatha Christie’s Poirot Series 6, Injustice, Cloudstreet, Holy Flying Circus, Young James Herriot, New Tricks Season 8, Special Branch Set 1, and The Crimson Petal and the White.

From Athena – Joseph Campbell Mythos – The Complete Series, Understanding Art: Impressionism, Megacities and Crisis at the Castle.

January – May 29, 2012 DVDs:

From Acorn: MONROE, Series 1 (U. S. Debut); MURDOCH MYSTERIES, Season 4 (U.S. Debut, DVD/Blu-ray); I, CLAUDIUS: 35th Anniversary Edition (bonus packed with many previously unavailable extras); BBC’s TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY (Now on Blu-ray); Barbara Taylor Bradford’s A WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE TRILOGY; NBC’s WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? Season 2 (DVD Debut); SINGLE-HANDED, Set 2 (U.S. Debut); ABOVE SUSPICION, Set 1 (U.S. Debut), from the creator of Prime Suspect and starring Ciarán Hinds (Harry Potter); AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT Series 1-4 (Blu-ray debut, DVD); and POLDARK: The Complete Collection (Value-priced collection), a must-see for costume drama fans.

From Athena: TIME TEAM: UNEARTHING THE ROMAN INVASION (U.S. Debut); TREASURE HOUSES OF BRITAIN (DVD Debut); 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; SECRET WAR (DVD Debut); BATTLEFIELD DETECTIVES (Athena, DVD Debut); BILL MOYERS: CAPITOL CRIMES; THE WINDSORS (U.S. Debut, Athena);


About Acorn Media:
Headquartered in suburban Washington, D.C., Acorn Media U.S. releases the best of British television on DVD/Blu-ray. 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; DVD debut of Judi Dench in Love in a Cold Climate; The Best of Foyle’s War; The Story of Costume Drama; Damian Lewis in The Forsyte Saga Collection; and more episodes from Midsomer Murders, Murdoch Mysteries, Doc Martin, George Gently, and Garrow’s Law.

Athena releases provide an authoritative and entertaining learning experience through high quality, informative, non-fiction programming. 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

On April 2, 2012, RLJ Acquisition, Inc. (OTCQB: RLJAU; RLJA; RLJAW) entered into agreements to acquire each of Image Entertainment, Inc. (OTCQB:DISK) and Acorn Media Group, Inc., two highly complementary media businesses to create one of the largest independent distributors of digital and video content globally. The new combined company will be named RLJ Entertainment, Inc.

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

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