This series was originally shown on BBC TV in 1974, just as I was becoming interested in this particular period of history. I was spellbound by it when it went out, and thirty years later on DVD it remains just as compelling.
In a sequence of plays, not strictly inter-connected, it looks at the closing years of the German Hohenzollerns, the Austrian Habsburgs, and the Russian Romanovs. The acting is first-rate, and the attention to historical detail is very accurate on the whole.
Barry Foster makes an amazingly lifelike Kaiser Wilhelm, Laurence Naismith (the elder Emperor Franz Josef), Charles Kay (Tsar Nicholas II) are just as good, and there are equally fine performances from Diane Keen as the young Empress Elisabeth, and Gemma Jones as 'Vicky', the ill-fated Empress Frederick.
Michael Hordern's narrative introductions set the scene nicely for each without being intrusive, there are various bonus interviews on the last disc, and a booklet full of useful background information as well as notes on each episode and on the major cast.