Saturday, 5 May 2018

The Mad Death: DVD Review


Packed full of tension, The Mad Death is a chilling, disturbing watch and, after watching it, one that ensures you'll never stroke a dog in the same way again. Not seen on British TV screens since the mid 1980s, The Mad Death is finally available on DVD for the first time through Simply Media.

First transmitted in July 1983 on BBC1, The Mad Death was a three-part drama series which examined the impact of a rabies outbreak in Britain. Based on Nigel Slater's novel of the same name, The Mad Death tapped into a contemporary fear of rabies. Despite Britain being declared rabies free since 1922, the ominous threat of the disease still hung heavy in the air due to the risk posed by animals imported from the continent. Helping to instill fear into the hearts of millions, numerous public information films were released throughout the 1970s and 80s to warn about the horrors of rabies.  

The Mad Death, however, manages to trump all of these with a disturbing ease.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Price: DVD Review


A thrilling game of cat and mouse, The Price is a drama which grasps political ideologies, romantic discord and the pursuit of happiness close to its chest. Unrelenting in its analysis of relationships and the seismic impact of wealth upon British society, 1985's The Price radiates with a vitality and thrust that many a mini-series has failed to maintain. And, as luck would have it, this gripping narrative has finally received a commercial release on DVD through Simply Media.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Archive Tape Digging: April 2018


I haven't been digging through too many tapes over the last few months, but I've still managed to work my way through several hundred metres worth of magnetic tape. And, with it being such a harmless pursuit, who would possibly want to break a butterfly on a wheel? So, that's why I've managed to gather together a few curiosities for you to gaze upon and get terribly nostalgic over.

Monday, 2 April 2018

John Lennon: A Journey in the Life


Ever since The Beatles first burst into the public's consciousness in 1962, there has been an enduring interest in John, Paul, George and Ringo thanks to the the manner in which they redefined modern culture and conveyed a sense of togetherness to millions. John Lennon, as anyone who's ever listened to a note of music knows, departed the stage far earlier than anyone would wish, but his legacy lives on as the finest encore imaginable. John Lennon: A Journey in the Life may not add anything new to Lennon's legend, but it maintains the absorbing appeal of the man and is a must watch for any fan.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Threads: Remastered DVD Review


Threads is one of the most fantastic slices of British television ever transmitted, but it's also one that will bring you to your knees and leave your soul battered and bruised for days afterwards.

Originally broadcast in September 1984 on BBC2, Threads is a drama-documentary which presents a disturbing look at the effects of a nuclear attack on Britain. Taking its title from the threads which hold society together, Threads examines the catastrophic events that unfold as these threads are ripped to pieces.

Focussing on the fortunes (or rather devastating misfortunes) of Ruth Beckett (Karen Meagher), Threads tells Ruth's tale as she stumbles first from unplanned pregnancy to the crippling ordeal of a nuclear winter. Providing a broader analysis on the impact of nuclear weapons falling on the UK, Threads uses a mixture of onscreen updates and statistics alongside the dulcet, yet academic tones of Paul Vaughan's narration.

And, now, after undergoing a 2K restoration from the original 16mm prints, Threads has been remastered for DVD by Simply Media in a two-disc release. Whereas previous DVD releases have, in terms of features, been as stark as the content within Threads, this new release is everything that fans have been waiting for. Comprising interviews, cast and crew commentaries along with original Radio Times articles and letters, it's an exhaustive run through the film's history.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Benny


I’ve only been able to track down two episodes of Benny, but those two episodes contain a measure of violence and terror which are in stark contrast to its beautiful Cambridge surroundings.

Monday, 5 February 2018

The Loner


Les Dawson may be synonymous with mother-in-law jokes, Blankety Blank and his performances with Roy Barraclough as Cissie and Ada, but, what he's less well known for, is his involvement in a narrative which examined corporate greed, gangland crime and a doomed romance which starts with congealed custard. Don't believe me? Well, let's take a look at The Loner.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Pygmalion Smith


If irrefutable proof was ever required that genius is not a guarantee of delivering a hilarious sitcom then Pygmalion Smith is a damning piece of evidence. And Pygmalion Smith is blessed with genius on two fronts: Roy Clarke on writing duties and Leonard Rossiter in front of the camera. Whilst Pygmalion Smith certainly isn’t bad enough to leave you weeping at the waste of talent, it won’t leave you laughing either.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Moondial


Moondial is a children's TV show which may leave you rather baffled as questions with no answers rain down on you like a summer storm, but you can rest assured that this irked puzzlement will take place from behind the sofa. You see, from the cold opening sequence with its cacophony of haunted, otherworldly tones to the creepy Halloween finale, Moondial is real horrorshow. Founding its narrative in a good old fashioned ghost story, Moondial taps into that area of the brain which operates purely on instinct and won't rest until every square inch of your body is covered in goosebumps.