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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Prime Suspect, Smiley’s People Debut on Blu-ray, Tales of the City: 20th Anniv. DVD – Acorn Release Calendar

"Acorn Media, chief curators of the best Brit TV" --TIME Magazine

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

The upcoming July and August releases from British TV specialist Acorn, an RLJ Entertainment brand, feature the Blu-ray debuts of two iconic series - Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection and Alex Guinness in Smiley’s People (w/deleted scenes) as well as the star-studded Tales of the City: 20th Anniversary Edition on DVD.

Additionally, Acorn has the U.S. debuts of several highly anticipated series that offer a perfect alternative to summer reruns. U.S. debuts include: Midsomer Murders Set 22, featuring the newest episodes of our top-selling series; Falcón starring Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings) in new cinematic detective thriller set in Spain; the long-overdue U.S. and home video debut of North & South, starring Patrick Stewart (X-Men, I, Claudius) in a classic BBC period drama; Jack Taylor starring Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey) in an Irish detective drama; and Honest, a British dramedy.

Acorn also has another season of Britain’s highest-rated TV drama with New Tricks, Season 9; a value-priced complete collection of Lynda La Plante’s Trial & Retribution courtroom drama series, and individual season sets of its top-selling series, Midsomer Murders with Series 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

Documentary specialist Athena has several fascinating releases, including Time Team: The Team’s Favorite Digs, Missions That Changes the War: Germany’s Last Ace, Bill Moyers: On the Hudson, Bill Moyers: Faith & Reason Collection, and Joanna Lumley’s Nile.

Acorn (British TV) and Athena (Documentaries) DVD Release Calendar:

June 25:

Jack Taylor Set 1 (U.S. Debut) – Iain Glen (Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey) stars in the gritty Irish detective drama based on the bestselling crime fiction by Ken Bruen. A noir thriller in the vein of Case Histories and Single-Handed and filmed on location against the rugged backdrop of western Ireland, the program follows a forty-something ex-cop trying to earn a living as a private detective in his native Galway. Self-destructive, pig-headed, and overly fond of the bottle, Taylor has burned a lot of bridges, but he still has a knack for uncovering ugly truths. Broadcast on in the U.K. in 2013 with new episodes in production (DVD 3-Disc Set, 3 mysteries).

New Tricks Season 9 (DVD Debut) – Retired cops solve cold cases in Britain’s highest-rated TV drama. The series has enjoyed ongoing broadcast exposure in North America on PBS; however the DVD set features the unedited UK edition. For eight years, the old dogs of the Unsolved Crime and Open Case Squad—veteran detectives Jack Halford (James Bolam), Brian Lane (Alun Armstrong, Garrow’s Law), and Gerry Standing (Dennis Waterman, The Sweeney)—have been a close-knit team led by Amanda Redman. Then Jack drops a bombshell: he’s retiring. Before long, they find a replacement in retired detective Steve McAndrew (Emmy® nominee Denis Lawson, Bleak House, Star Wars). (DVD 3-Disc Set)

Honest (U.S. Debut) – Featuring sharp scripts, an outstanding cast, and a deft mix of comedy and drama, this critically acclaimed British dramedy follows the fortunes of the criminally minded Carter family after their patriarch is sentenced to four years in jail for robbery. Amanda Redman (New Tricks) stars as the beleaguered mother determined to keep her family out of trouble. The compelling cast also includes Danny Webb (The Bill), Sean Pertwee (Cold Feet), Matthew McNulty (The Syndicate), and Laura Haddock (Upstairs Downstairs). Honest aired in the U.K. on ITV in 2008, but never aired in the U.S (DVD 2-Disc Set, 6 episodes).

July 2:

Falcón (U.S. Debut) – Marton Csokas (The Lord of the Rings) and Hayley Atwell (Captain America) star in new cinematic crime thriller making its U.S. debut. Featuring compelling characters, an outstanding ensemble cast, and complex, haunting mysteries, the critically acclaimed new crime series is based on the bestselling novels by Robert Wilson. Set in the magnificent Spanish city of Seville, Falcón follows a smart, intuitive detective bent on exposing hard truths and corruption. The British production features a seductive beauty and sinister undercurrent all to its own, along with stunning cinematography and stylish direction. The series co-stars Emilia Fox, Santiago Cabrera, Charlie Creed-Miles, and Kerry Fox with guest stars Bernard Hill, Robert Lindsay, Bill Paterson, and Rosie Perez. The two feature-length mysteries premiered in the UK in Nov. 2012 but have not aired in the U.S. (DVD 2-Disc).

Patrick Stewart in North & South (U.S. and Home Video Debut) – The classic BBC miniseries makes its long-awaited home video and U.S. debut. The outstanding BBC period drama stars Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek, I, Claudius) in a classic British romance in the vein of Pride and Prejudice and Middlemarch. This popular program is based on the celebrated novel by Elizabeth Gaskell (Cranford, Wives and Daughters) and depicts the tensions of the Victorian era, as traditional society clashed with the coming of the modern world. Both a slow-burn romance and a clear-eyed view of the Industrial Revolution, North & South captivates with a magnetic performance from future star Patrick Stewart. Though broadcast on the BBC in 1975, the series likely never aired in the U.S., so this release is the first opportunity for U.S. audiences to see the miniseries (DVD 2-Disc, 4 episodes).

July 16:

Joanna Lumley’s Nile (DVD Debut) – A fascinating four-part documentary hosted by the witty and enthusiastic Joanna Lumley, half of the iconic duo from Absolutely Fabulous. Traveling by fishing boat, ferry, cruise ship, plane, train, car, and Zapcat, Joanna follows the world’s longest river from mouth of the river in the Mediterranean Sea to its source in Sudan. Along the way, Joanna visits five African nations and some of the most inhospitable landscapes on Earth. The ideal travel companion, she’s game for almost anything—from sleeping on a crowded deck to slogging through mud and judging an “Ancient Egypt Night” contest. Featuring a deft mix of education and entertainment, the program premiered in 2010 on ITV and has since aired on public television in the U.S. (DVD 2-Disc Set, 4 episodes).

Bill Moyers: On the Hudson – America’s First River (DVD Debut) – Called “Surprising and delightful” (The New York Times), this fascinating PBS documentary explores the history of the mighty Hudson River. Legendary journalist Bill Moyers discusses the river’s 315-mile course from its source in the Adirondack Mountains to its outlet at New York harbor—and its impact on much of the nation’s history, literature, and art. On the Hudson debuted on PBS in 2002 and is Athena’s sixteenth release from Moyers’ acclaimed library of programs (DVD 2-Disc Set).

July 30:

Midsomer Murders Series 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in individual season sets – Now in original U.K. broadcast order, the first five series of the beloved, star-studded mystery series are available in collectible, repackaged individual series sets with SDH subtitles ($59.99 each set). The English village mystery gets a contemporary spin in this hit British television series that has earned a worldwide following. Bucolic settings harbor macabre crimes and eccentric characters that are no match for nice-guy detective Tom Barnaby (John Nettles, Bergerac) and his eager assistant, Sergeant Troy (Daniel Casey). Continually among Acorn’s best-selling series, Midsomer Murders premiered in the U.K. in 1997 and more than ninety feature-length episodes have aired with new episodes still in production. The first five series have featured a wide array of famous faces, including Orlando Bloom, Emily Mortimer, Honeysuckle Weeks, Toby Jones, Imelda Staunton, Trudie Styler, James Bolam, Samantha Bond, Anthony Bate, Kenneth Colley, Celia Imrie, and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey). (DVD 2 or 3-Disc Sets)

August 6:

Smiley’s People (Blu-ray Debut) – The “marvelously riveting” (The New York Times) sequel to Tinker Tailor Solider Spy - John le Carré’s classic Cold War spy drama now with more than an hour of new bonus features. Oscar® winner Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia) reprises his BAFTA-winning role that the San Francisco Chronicle called “the crowning role of the great actor’s long career” as retired spymaster George Smiley for the 1982 sequel. Filmed on location in London, Paris, Hamburg, and Berne, Smiley’s People co-stars Patrick Stewart, Siân Phillips (Dune), Eileen Atkins (Upstairs, Downstairs), and Bill Paterson (Traffik). The Blu-ray 2-disc set includes six episodes, along with the new addition of 62 min. of deleted/extended scenes as well as a 20-min. interview with John le Carré, production notes, book list, and more. Celebrated for its literate scripts and intricate plotting, the series was nominated for three Emmys® in 1983--including director, actor, and miniseries—and won four BAFTAs in 1982.

Midsomer Murders Set 22 (U.S. Debut, Blu-ray and DVD) – Acorn’s top-selling, smash-hit series returns with four new stand-alone mysteries, plus bonus 34-min. Midsomer Murders in Conversation segment. Set in England’s picture-perfect but perilous Midsomer County, Set 22’s episodes have not aired on U.S. television. Inspired by the novels of Caroline Graham, modern master of the English village mystery, the series stars Neil Dudgeon as the capable Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby, with Jason Hughes as his earnest, efficient partner, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones. The Mysteries: The Sleeper under the Hill, The Night of the Stag, A Sacred Trust, and A Rare Bird. (Blu-ray 2-Disc Set, DVD 4-Vol. Boxed Set)

August 13:

Time Team: The Team’s Favorite Digs (U.S. Debut) – More digs from the hit British science-reality series. Go along for a fun, fast-paced ride as archeologists dig up the past. Tony Robinson (Blackadder) is back as the leader of Time Team, a band of archaeologists, historians, surveyors, geophysicists, and other assorted experts determined to unearth mysteries concealed by topsoil and time. For these eight episodes, the team members have selected their favorite digs, ranging from Iron Age, Roman, and Saxon Britain to a World War II crash site in France and a sugar plantation in the Caribbean. (DVD 3-Disc set)

Bill Moyers: Faith & Reason Collection – Three PBS programs explore religion, the search for truth, and a beloved hymn in a value-priced collection hosted by legendary journalist Bill Moyers. Shows feature Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Huston Smith, Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash, among many others. The DVD 6-Disc boxed set includes the previously released full-length programs, On Faith & Reason, The Wisdom of Faith with Huston Smith, and Amazing Grace, along with bonus program Pure Pete Seeger (54 min.)

Trial & Retribution: Complete Collection – “So damn addictive” ( and “Great crime series” (NPR) – All 22 feature-length mysteries of the gritty British drama in a value-priced collection from the creator of Prime Suspect, Lynda La Plante. Teeming with the same hard-bitten sensibility and emotional resonance that made Prime Suspect a television landmark, Trial & Retribution takes viewers from the crime scene to the forensics laboratory and from police headquarters to the courtroom. David Hayman (Sid and Nancy) stars as DCS Mike Walker, with Kate Buffery (Wish Me Luck) and Victoria Smurfit (About a Boy) as his partners. Guest stars include Hugh Dancy (Black Hawk Down), Iain Glen (Downton Abbey), and Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds, X-Men). (DVD 18-disc set)

August 27:

Tales of the City: 20th Anniversary Collection – “One of the 10 best miniseries” (Entertainment Weekly) and “Uncommonly fine television” (The New York Times) – The influential PBS miniseries returns with SDH subtitles, exclusive footage, and more. Deftly chronicling the quest for love and connection across a spectrum of sexual experiences, the Peabody Award-winning miniseries features a star-studded cast including Oscar® winner Olympia Dukakis (Moonstruck), Oscar® nominee Laura Linney (The Big C, John Adams, The Savages), Gemini winner Paul Gross (Slings & Arrows), Billy Campbell (Once and Again), and Thomas Gibson (Dharma & Greg). Based on the groundbreaking novel by Armistead Maupin, Tales of the City follows a colorful cast of characters living at 28 Barbary Lane in anything-goes 1970s San Francisco. The series received universal acclaim when it debuted in 1994, hailed as “a brilliant evocation of a time and place” (Los Angeles Times), and remains a television landmark. (DVD 2-disc set)

Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray Debut) – “A perfect marriage of astoundingly talented actress and brilliantly conceived character” (USA Today) – Blu-ray debut of the iconic, universally acclaimed police drama starring Oscar® winner Helen Mirren in her iconic, Emmy®-winning role. Mirren stars as Detective Jane Tennison, “one of the great character creations of our time” (The Washington Post), in this revolutionary police drama broadcast on PBS to universal acclaim and more than 20 major international awards, including seven Emmys® (three-time winner of "Outstanding Miniseries"), eight BAFTAs, and a Peabody. Guest stars include: Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient), Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton), and Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary). The Blu-ray 7-Disc set includes nine feature-length mysteries in high-definition as well as a 50-minute behind-the-scenes special, featurette, and more.

Missions that Changed the War: German’s Last Ace (Athena, DVD Debut) – Narrated by Gary Sinise (Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, CSI: NY), the compelling documentary explores the downfall of Nazi Germany. Seen on the Military Channel, the riveting documentary series tells the story of three fighter pilots who played decisive roles in the aerial battles over Germany. Through original footage, expert military analyses, and never-before-seen interviews with the participants, Germany’s Last Ace revisits the events of May 12, 1944, which Nazi armaments minister Albert Speer considered the day that Germany lost the war. (DVD 2-disc set)

Coming in September:

Foyle’s War, Set 7 (DVD and Blu-ray debut of three new episodes airing on PBS beginning 9/15), P.G. Wodehouse’s Blandings, Series 1 (U.S. debut), Brainwave (Athena), Agatha Christie’s Poirot Series 7 & 8 (DVD/Blu-ray), War and Peace, and New Tricks Collection: Seasons 1-5


Earlier 2013 Releases Still Available

From Acorn: The Syndicate Series 1 (U.S. Debut, adapted as Lucky 7 by ABC), George Gently, Series 5 (U.S. Debut), George Gently Collection: Series 1-4, Vexed Series 2 (U.S. Debut), The First Churchills, The Politician’s Wife, Springhill Series 1 (U.S. Debut), The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries: Complete Collection, Doc Martin Special Collection: Series 1-5 + The Movies, A Fine Romance: Complete Collection, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series 1 (U.S. Debut, DVD/Blu-ray), new, glamorous “lady detective” series; Midsomer Murders: Tom Barnaby’s Last Cases; Dirk Gently (U.S. Debut), based on the novels by beloved author Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy); Sugartown (U.S. Debut), charming BBC comedy; Foyle’s War: The Home Front Files, Sets 1-6, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Long-awaited DVD Debut) starring Geraldine McEwan (Agatha Christie’s Marple), Garrow’s Law: The Complete Collection, Maigret Complete Collection starring Michael Gambon, Murdoch Mysteries Collection: Seasons 1-4 (Blu-ray and DVD), Murdoch Mysteries, Season 5 (U.S. Debut, Blu-ray, DVD), Murdoch Mysteries, Season 2 (Blu-ray debut), No Job for a Lady: The Complete Collection (DVD Debut), Chance in a Million Complete Collection, A Mind to Kill Complete Collection, Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime: The Tommy & Tuppence Mysteries, Agatha Christie’s Poirot & Marple Fan Favorites Collection, Wodehouse Playhouse Complete, Above Suspicion Set 2 (U.S. debut) starring Kelly Reilly and Ciaran Hinds, Testimony of Two Men (DVD Debut), Doctor Zhivago starring Keira Knightley, Trial & Retribution, Set 6 (U.S. Debut), Lillie starring Francesca Annis, and Midsomer Murders Set 21 (U.S. Debut, Blu-ray and DVD).

From Athena Documentaries:

Understanding Art: Hidden Lives of Masterpieces (U.S. Debut), Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy (DVD Debut), Bill Moyers: Beyond Hate, Shakespeare: The King's Man (U.S. Debut, Athena), a captivating 2012 BBC documentary exploring Shakespeare’s later plays; Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers – 25th Anniversary Edition, Missions That Changed the War: The Doolittle Raid (DVD Debut) narrated by Gary Sinise, She-Wolves: England’s Early Queens (DVD debut), The Story of Math Collection, and Bill Moyers: Becoming American.

Best British TV streaming service Acorn TV is featuring a free 30-day trial for complete access to the 18 different series plus marathons. Thereafter, a subscription is just $2.99/mth or $29.99/yr. Each week three new seasons are added and three are removed. The press login/password for complete access is readily available upon request. Acorn TV adds the U.S. Premieres of four more feature-length mysteries from its top selling series with MIDSOMER MURDERS, SET 22 and favorite episodes of the hit UK reality series TIME TEAM; the universally acclaimed miniseries TALES OF THE CITY: 20th Anniversary, starring Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Billy Campbell, Paul Gross, and Thomas Gibson; the complete FORSYTE SAGA starring Emmy-winner® Damian Lewis (Homeland), as well as marathons of 2012 public TV sensation DOC MARTIN (38 episodes plus two movies) starring Martin Clunes, and anthology mystery series THE RUTH RENDELL MYSTERIES (17 feature-length mysteries) featuring stars Colin Firth, Honeysuckle Weeks and Amanda Redman; and international kidnapping thriller KIDNAP & RANSOM; among many others. Press access readily available upon request.

An RLJ Entertainment, Inc. brand (NASDAQ: RLJE), Athena releases provide an authoritative and entertaining learning experience through high quality, informative, non-fiction programming. Athena’s 2013 releases include: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth: 25th Anniversary Edition, She-Wolves: England’s Early Queens, Missions That Changed the War: The Doolittle Raid, Shakespeare: The King’s Man, The Story of Math Collection, and Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy.

An RLJ Entertainment, Inc. brand (NASDAQ: RLJE), Acorn specializes in the best of British television on DVD/Blu-ray. 2013 releases include: Jack Irish starring Guy Pearce, BBC’s The Syndicate, The Fall starring Gillian Anderson, North & South starring Patrick Stewart, Falcón starring Marton Csokas, Jack Taylor starring Iain Glen, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, Doc Martin Special Collection, Helen Mirren’s Prime Suspect and Smiley’s People on Blu-ray, Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently, star-studded Tales of the City: 20th Anniversary Edition, and more episodes from Foyle’s War, George Gently, New Tricks, Murdoch Mysteries, Midsomer Murders and Vera.

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 Select series are streaming at Acorn TV, the first British TV-focused streaming service, at

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