Television Heaven Recommends - On The Box.
Callan: This Man Alone - Out Now.
Nearly ten years in the making, This Man Alone is a brand-new feature-length documentary on one of television's highest-rated series. Featuring a remarkable central performance by Edward Woodward, Callan grew from a cult favourite into one of Britain's favourite shows, and this documentary tells the story of its creation and development, its success on television and extended life in film and books. Narrated by Peter Woodward, This Man Alone features contributions from Peter Mitchell, Reginald Collin, Mike Vardy, James Goddard, Piers Haggard, Patrick Mower, Trevor Preston and more. It also contains a wealth of special features. This 3-disc DVD set includes a brand-new, feature-length documentary, improved transfers of two previously released episodes, the complete recording block for the episode The Worst Soldier I Ever Saw and The Edward Woodward Hour - a Thames TV light entertainment special starring Edward Woodward, previously unreleased on DVD in the UK.
Smith - Out Now.
Meet Smith - a London street urchin and apprentice highwayman. Hunted, hounded and homeless, he is on the run from the law with a mysterious document which, he senses, is of great value. Smith lives in constant fear of the hangman of Tyburn, and is in mortal danger from other, secret, enemies...This 1970 Thames Television adventures series, adapted from the Phoenix Award-winning children’s novel by Leon Garfi eld and directed by Michael Currer-Briggs, offers a vivid depiction of the precarious, marginal existence of the eighteenth-century highwayman.
Knight Errant - Out Now
“Knight Errant ’59. Quests undertaken, dragons defeated, damsels rescued. Anything, anywhere, for anyone, so long as it helps. Fees according to means.” Adam Knight is a young man who, having tried several jobs, decides to set up an agency, ‘Knight Errant ’59’, to solve other people’s problems – whatever they may be. There’s plenty of scope and, assisted by former reporter Liz and idealistic young writer Peter, the latter-day Sir Lancelot is kept busy with a variety of curious and exciting cases. John Turner starred in this memorable Granada series with, for the first two series, Canadian-born Kay Callard and Richard Carpenter (who later made the transition from actor to writer and is best known as the creator of Catweazle); in the series’ later incarnation, Knight Errant Limited, Hugh David filled the role of the benevolent trouble-shooter with Wendy Williams as his secretary.
Although 75 episodes were made, only two still exist; this set presents these remaining two episodes from Knight Errant ’59 and Knight Errant Limited.
The Intruder - Out 4 April 2016
Uncanny, unsettling and enigmatic, The Intruder is a mystery series originally aimed at a teenage audience, yet its theme of a disturbing loss of identity – personified in the character of an isolated teenage boy – makes for compelling viewing at any age. Adapted from John Rowe Townsend’s multi-award-winning children’s novel and produced by BAFTA winner Peter Plummer, whose credits include the highly acclaimed The Owl Service, this intriguing, atmospheric series is made available here for the first time in its entirety. It has been transferred from its original film materials specifically for this release. Arnold Haithwaite is a pilot – a sand pilot. He pursues his strange and solitary profession on the sands of Cumbria, beside the Irish Sea. A sand pilot, like a sea pilot, must know his way about; he must have a strong sense of locality and identity. But now another figure haunts this strange landscape: a sinister intruder who claims to be the real Arnold Haithwaite...
Timeslip: The Complete Series - Available 27 June 2016
This groundbreaking ATV children's drama memorably blends hard science and fantasy in its tale of two teenagers who discover the existence of a 'time barrier' enabling them to travel to different periods and locations – from World War Two to the Antarctica of the future. Devised by The Tomorrow People's Ruth Boswell, Timeslip was unabashedly intelligent and often prescient in its theme of the use and abuse of science. Well remembered to this day as a benchmark of 1970s drama, this set contains all 26 episodes. Three children have vanished from the tiny Midlands village of St Oswald. First to disappear is local girl Sarah, then Simon Randall and Liz Skinner, who are on holiday with Liz's parents. Only Commander Traynor, an apparent stranger to the area, can offer some idea of where they are – and that idea is so incredible and horrifying that the Skinners cannot believe it...
Pick of the Best: ITV 60 - Five Star Boxset from Network.
ITV first came to our television screens at 7.15pm on Thursday 22 September 1955, with, not as one might expect, a drama, a comedy or a sitcom, but with short self-promotional film and a grand ceremony from the Guildhall in the City of London. From this inauspicious start (170,000 TV sets were equipped to pick up Channel 9 in the London area and of these only 100,000 tuned in), ITV soon became known as 'The Entertainment Channel' or 'The People's Channel' and has since produced 60 years of superb dramas, hilarious comedies, award winning light entertainment and thought-provoking documentaries. Now, to celebrate this landmark, Network has released an impressive box set comprising 60 iconic TV shows on twelve discs containing a staggering 40 hours of programming that represents many of the channels finest productions. A mixture of classics and rarities (including some programmes thought lost forever), this set contains previously unreleased episodes of Crossroads, Rainbow, Tiswas, Coronation Street, World in Action, The Bill and Whicker's World - together with some exceptionally rare items from the Associated Rediffusion archive: No Hiding Place, Mystery Bag, Crane and Our Man at St. Mark's.
Each disc is set out as an evening's worth of classic entertainment. Disc one kicks off with that opening night promotional film before launching into the first Thunderbirds story, and episodes of The Army Game, Man About The House, Robin of Sherwood and The Prisoner. Personally I'd like to have seen each disc set out so the shows appeared in chronological order, but the mixture of early black and white and later colour broadcasts works surprisingly well. And to get a better flavour of each decade a few classic commercials might have been nice and maybe some continuity announcements. Nevertheless, this is an excellent collection of shows that will keep classic television fans entertained for days or possibly months on end. Doctor Who fans will be pleased to see an episode of Pathfinders In Space, Sydney Newman's science fiction teenage drama series that was a forerunner to Doctor Who and it's also fun spotting the stars before they were, such as Michael Caine playing a house burglar in a comedy sketch with Arthur Haynes. The boxset also contains some ground-breaking documentaries such as John Pilger's Year Zero: The Silent Death Of Cambodia, 21-the third part of the classic Michael Apted series which started by interviewing seven-year olds on their hopes and dreams for the future and then revisited them every seven years, and an episode of the exceptional series The World At War, narrated by Sir Laurence Olivier.
It's interesting that a box-set that is supposed to represent six decades of ITV television has missed out on the last two, especially when you consider shows like Downton Abbey and Prime Suspect. But these are minor quibbles and on the whole, if you're a fan of classic television and want to spend a night in television heaven, this is the best place to find it.
DISC ONE: ITV Opening Night Preview | Thunderbirds | The Army Game | Man About the House | Robin of Sherwood | The Prisoner - DISC TWO: Pathfinders in Space | The Larkins | Sunday Night at the London Palladium | The World at War | Callan - DISC THREE: Catweazle | The Arthur Haynes Show | The Avengers | Public Eye | An Audience with Dame Edna - DISC FOUR: Crossroads | On the Buses | The Saint | The Tommy Cooper Hour | Auf Wiedershen Pet - DISC FIVE: Rainbow | Pipkins | Doctor in the House | The Power Game - DISC SIX: Magpie | Shut That Door! | Space 1999 | No Hiding Place | The Sweeney - DISC SEVEN: Tiswas | Four Feather Falls | The Stanley Baxter Moving Picture Show | Gideon's Way | Tales of the Unexpected - DISC EIGHT: The Adventures of Robin Hood | Nearest and Dearest | Rising Damp | Mystery Bag | Upstairs Downstairs | Year Zero: The Silent Death of Cambodia - DISC NINE: Ace of Wands | Coronation Street | Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) | Crane | Soldier Soldier - DISC TEN: A Fine Romance | World in Action | The Professionals | Inspector Morse - DISC ELEVEN: George and Mildred | Jason King | The Main Chance | Justice | Strange World of Gurney Slade - DISC TWELVE: Our Man at St Mark's | The Bill | Man at the Top | Whicker's World Aboard The Orient Express | Armchair Theatre
Television Heaven Recommends - Off The Box.
A round up of the latest non-TV related DVD releases.
|The Teckman Mystery: Oscar nominee Margaret Leighton, John Justin, Roland Culver and Michael Medwin star in this Brit-noir Cold War thriller involving another intriguing case for Philip Chance, the fictional crime writer created by phenomenally successful novelist and Paul Temple creator Francis Durbridge. Co-scripted by Durbridge and directed by the award-winning Wendy Toye, The Teckman Mystery is featured here in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements, with its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio. Crime novelist Philip Chance is commissioned by his publisher to write the biography of Martin Teckman, a young airman who crashed and died whilst testing a new plane. From the moment he arrives home, however, Chance is beset by a series of 'accidents' leaving him in no doubt that there are people who do not want Teckman's past investigated...|
|Chain of Events: A taut crime melodrama, Chain of Events features noted actor and film-maker Kenneth Griffith as a bank clerk whose attempt to dodge a fare has devastating consequences; a powerful cast includes Rank "Charm School" starlet Susan Shaw and future Richard the Lionheart lead Dermot Walsh. Adapted from a radio play written by inimitable character actor Leo McKern and directed by Carry On legend Gerald Thomas, Chain of Events is featured here in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio. John Clarke, an uninspiring sort of fellow, one day boards a bus on his way home from work and foolishly forgets to pay his fare. He is caught by an inspector, but instead of owning up to it, gives the name and address of one of the bank's clients, setting in motion a violent chain of events involving blackmail, robbery and death...|
|The Amorous Prawn: With a cast featuring British film icons Dennis Price, Ian Carmichael and Cecil Parker, screenplay and direction by Anthony Kimmins and a score by legendary composer John Barry, The Amorous Prawn is a stellar feature in every respect. Starring Joan Greenwood as a general's wife whose moneyspinning manoeuvre causes ructions in their Highlands HQ, this entertainingly boisterous comedy adapting Kimmins' long-running West-End stage hit is featured here in a brand-new transfer from the original film elements in its original theatrical aspect ratio. When General Fitzadam receives his final posting in the remote Scottish Highlands, his wife decides to turn their residence into a hotel for wealthy Americans. Unfortunately Lady Fitzadam declines to brief the General on 'Operation Lolly' an attempt to raise the cash needed to buy their dream cottage and smouldering confusion explodes into a full-scale riot when he makes an unexpected return to find amorous advances among the flower beds, suspicious shenanigans in the greenhouse and blatant bribery on the salmon lake!|