The Village - Series 1 2013 CC


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The Village is an epic drama series for BBC One starring Maxine Peake and John Simm, charting the life and turbulent times of one English village across the whole of the 20th century, written by Bafta-winning writer Peter Moffat. The Village charts the life and turbulent times on one English village throughout the twentieth century with the life and memories of one man, Bert Middleton, providing the backbone to the story as he lives across the entire hundred years. From boyhood to extreme old age Bert witnesses births and deaths, love and betrayal and the great political events and social upheaval that shaped and made Britain and his village what it is today.

Maxine Peake, John Simm
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Product Details

  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 5 hours 54 minutes
Starring Maxine Peake, John Simm, Rupert Evans, Juliet Stevenson
Director Antonia Bird, Gillies Mackinnon
Genres Drama
Studio E1 Entertainment
Rental release 8 July 2013
Main languages English
Subtitles English
Hearing impaired subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By SS on 14 Aug 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed The Village. The acting was top notch, the period setting well researched and executed, storylines authentic, the production values slick. The idea, I believe, is to chart the history of an unnamed village through the whole of the twentieth century through the eyes of one of its inhabitants - an epic undertaking which, I hope, runs its course.

The first series is set during the period 1913 - 1920, the same time period as Downton Abbey. Be warned though, for those of you expecting another pretty, well made, soap opera love fest between the classes in a period setting, The Village is as far removed from that as possible. This series is about harsh reality and imperfect people. And boy, is it harsh.

The Village is unrelentingly grim and heart-wrenching. I challenge even the most hard-hearted to not tear up at least once. No one in this village seems to smile. Everyone lives under a cloud of misery and drudgery - physical, emotional or both, regardless of whether they are the lords of the manor, the middle class villagers or the dirt poor farmers.

And that, really, is the one criticism I have of this show. I am well aware that life in those times was very difficult and it was often a struggle to stay alive and have enough to eat, but surely people found some happiness some time. Surely they still smiled and laughed on occasion; had some joy in their lives, however small.

It is for this reason that I have given this show 4 instead of 5 stars. If the idea is to show life the way it really was at the start of the last century, then the makers should show all facets of life, not just the grimness and misery. Everyone has problems, but we manage to find something to be happy about.

My verdict - I would definitely recommend it, but would also recommend to the makers that the second series lightens up a bit.
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By ACB (swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER on 27 May 2013
Format: DVD
Peter Moffatt has written a drama beginning in 1914 and ending in 1920 set in a single Peak District village without filming out of the location. The ambitious project aims to take the small community through the entire 20th century. Each episode starts with the present day recollections of 110 year old Bert Middleton. It then reverts to the story of the 11 year old Bert living on the Middleton Farm in 1914 with his long-suffering mother, Grace (Maxine Peake),father John (John Simm) and older brother Joe (Nico Mirallegro). The older Bert (David Ryall) is the link but he, as young Bert (Bill Jones), is also the story. The opening is of a failing farm and family hunger. Domestic violence follows with Bert bearing the brunt of his father's frustration and bitterness fuelled by alcohol. Prospects appear bleak and grim.

As the series develops, so do the lives and circumstances of the Middletons and the rest of the village change, particularly with the outbreak of World War One. Even the well-off in the local manor house are drawn into events. Joe enlists, John wanders out sucking beer slops off a brush while Bert amuses (and abuses) himself.

Enough said except the action continues with powerful scenes, impressive acting and dialogue. It is not without comical moments either nor emotional and dramatic incidents, some quite intense. Fortunes change one way or another largely war-related. All this is set against the scenic Derbyshire countryside. Series One may not be to everyones' taste, but what is? I found it absorbing and compelling viewing, eager for the next development. I hope the series continues.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hopjumpskip on 16 Dec 2013
Format: DVD
I didn't think they made tv like this anymore. After all the shallow, meaningless nonsense you find flicking through hundreds of channels, I really needed something like this. Something that reflected life as I found it (I come from a very dysfunctional family), the good, bad, ambiguous, weird, hilarious (yes there are funny bits too!) and everything inbetween.

This won't be popular I'm sure, it's not Downton Abbey (I like that show too for different reasons). It has some very difficult characters, but I found these the most interesting, particularly John Simms character John Middleton. His violence and frustration; the way he tries to explain to young Bert what the farm and the land mean and its connection to his family, not in any intellectual way, but in the only way he knows: physically, through the dip in the floor worn away by Middletons past. There is one scene where John shouts out into the wind 'we have nothing!', older Bert goes to him and says 'we have our name'. Maxine Peake as Grace Middleton is equally amazing, the rock of the family. When Joe (Berts older brother) announces his intentions to go to enlist, John isn't having it. Joe walks out, Grace runs after him and says 'I can't bear it if you're not free, what am I if I can't give this to you? I want you to go". I found all of this completely moving.

It touches on a lot of things, quite subtly: nationalism, duty, war, P.T.S.D (post traumatic stress disorder - shell shock), poverty, the class system, religion, morality, guilt, forgiveness, conscious, politics, socialism...and much more. Some of it is placed in its time, but a lot is as timeless as ever. This may be why I found it resonated with me so personally. The best thing I've seen this year. Thanks to everyone involved in making this remarkable drama!
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