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Mr P. D. Kinnear "Paul Kinnear" (Wirral, Cheshire United Kingdom)
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Space - Above and Beyond - Collector's Edition [DVD] (Includes Pilot Episode)
Space - Above and Beyond - Collector's Edition [DVD] (Includes Pilot Episode)
Dvd ~ Morgan Weisser
Price: 21.44

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well it's ABOUT TIME!, 17 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Got this on Region 1 a while back, but the quality was poor, the discs are two-sided (I HATE THOSE) and there are zero extras. About time this criminally underated show made it to Region 2.

I raved about this series in 1995, but I seemed to be in a minority as genre mags slated it and some sci-fi snobs dismissed it as 'jingoistic' (Hey, if we want shows about non-US people saving the world, maybe we should actually MAKE ONE rather han whinge about the yanks doing it!).

They rather missed the intent of SPACE: ABOVE & BEYOND. It's more a war series set in space as opposed to a full-on science fiction show, and it's primarily about how that war affects the people trapped within it rather than the gung-ho flag-waving some accused it of. A great cast settle into their roles quickly (Rodney Rowland as Hawkes is the standout) and slog their way through 23 grimy, gritty and realistic episodes 10 years before the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA remake even got off the ground. Nobody is safe in SAAB, as the shocking events of the final episode demonstrate, and humans are ultimately portrayed as being culpable for the events we see througout the season. The enemy Chigs are kept deliberately ambiguous for much of the run so that the emphasis is totally from the perspective of the 'good guys', but there are few 'good guys' here.

But, falling ratings and the cost of the then revolutionary visual effects scuppered any chance of a second season, making the downbeat finale all the more difficult to watch (in a good way). SAAB became an almost forgotten footnote in sci-fi TV history, with only die-hard fans (like me) clinging onto their fuzzy off-air Sky recordings. Maybe now it's gone digital it'll get the audience it deserves.

I do urge anyone curious enough to want to 'sample' the show NOT to just try the pilot that's being given a standalone release. It doesn't show the series at it's best... better to dive in and give this set a go and appreciate how strong the season-long arc was.
Best episode? WHO MONITOR'S THE BIRDS... possibly one of the best episodes of sci-fi telly I've seen.

Oh, and special mention for the epic score by the late Shirley Walker. If you enjoy the show, try to track down the 3-CD limited edition of the complete soundtrack... well worth it for fans.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 13, 2012 9:21 AM BST


Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet: Complete Series 2 [DVD]
Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet: Complete Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Captain Scarlet

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There truly is no justice any more...., 27 July 2007
That NEW CAPTAIN SCARLET flounders in virtual obscurity while the embarassingly juvenile & camp nonesense of the new DR WHO is heaped with accolades is just so frustrating! The work that's gone into making it so good deserves far better than the treatment it received, and that the show is now officially 'dead' after just 26 stunning episodes leaves me rather bitter.
Season 2 of this ground-breaking series really does improve on the already excellent first batch of episodes: The animation has been polished for a start, with better lighting effects and softening of edges to make things seem more 'real', while the scripts continue to grow in maturity and concept.
The cast has expanded too, making SPECTRUM seem more of the vast organisation it really is - Captain's MAGENTA and OCHRE add a more human element while the remaining Angels get their chance to shine. Stories are fascinating (and remarkably violent at times!), with STORM AT THE END OF THE WORLD, TOUCH OF THE REAPER and ENIGMA coming across almost as mini-movies as opposed to 21-minute television adventures. There isn't a bad episode present here, and to see them being screened at 9.00 AM week days to a disinterested audience has me seething....

If I have to criticise NEW CAPTAIN SCARLET it's to say that the episodes are too short! I could easily sit through hour-long adventures, these stories are so good - There really should have been more 2-parters here! With one instalment not even featuring the Mysterons at all, the show was starting to branch out into some great directions and there were surely many stories still to be told.

I have nothing but praise for Gerry Anderson and the team behind NCS - It was a truly remarkable achievement and they can be proud of creating something special - The potential was incredible (we never learned enough about the renegade Mysteron faction for example) and we should be in the fourth season of the series by now. That we're not... Like I said, no justice. I can only hope the show becomes a sleeper hit somehow and we get a TV movie or two in the future... What? I can dream can't I?


The Champions: The Complete Series (Special Edition) [DVD] [1968]
The Champions: The Complete Series (Special Edition) [DVD] [1968]
Dvd ~ Stuart Damon

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My "Quality TV" collection grows, BUT...., 4 Aug 2006
It's my goal to collect all of the ITC action series on DVD - NETWORK have been invaluable in providing quality television remastered and presented with the care a fan such as myself expects and I'm forever grateful to them. To see THE CHAMPIONS again after such an absence (for me) is a delight, as it's another of those wonders screened during school holidays in the 80's where it first made an impression on me.

The plot is, of course, outlandish. Three secret agents lost and dying in Tibet are bestowed with superpowers by an ancient, benign civillisation. The three "CHAMPIONS" then continue to use their powers to help them in their fight against evil while trying to keep their secret from wiley boss TREMAYNE (An avuncular yet authoratitive performance from Anthony Nicholls). Despite all this potential 'nonesense' we believe absolutely and without question, as within the wonderful ITC universe anything goes. It's just so warm & timeless, and with two good looking guys in cool 60's suits accompanied by a stunning & elegant lady, what's not to like about this series?

THE CHAMPIONS is perfectly cast - Stuart Damon and William Gaunt are both excellent, and we really do get the impression that the two men are close friends who have known each other a long time. Throw the stunning Alexandra Bastedo into the mix and the chemsitry between the trio is always winning & watchable.

The documentary on this set has the trio of stars meeting up for the first time in three decades and it made me go all misty eyed. It's clear these people liked each other very much and explains that onscreen chemistry perfectly.

Now for that "BUT...": At least one episode on each disc I've watched so far (I'm on disc #5 of a total of 9 at the moment) has a sound fault, with the music track warbling to a distracting degree. This really upset me as I know thatexchanging the set for another won't make a difference (Such faults are mastered into the disc). I was going to knock a star off for this fault but the series is so good I can't do it.

It's possible that my sound system or television is to blame, but I thought it needed mentioning. With yet another essential part of my childhood returned I can't dismiss this set over a few "warbles" - Should have been spotted & dealt with though.


The Saint - The Complete Colour Series (14 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
The Saint - The Complete Colour Series (14 Disc Box Set) [DVD]
Dvd ~ Roger Moore
Price: 41.00

100 of 103 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Show the modern rubbish how it's done, Simon!, 27 July 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Anybody who cares to read my other reviews will notice that I'm a BIG fan of "old" television. It isn't "nostalgia" (These programmes were repeats when even I saw them the first time) and it's not a case of "rose-tinted spectacles" (I have the shows right here to watch now) - I just love how much more interest there was in telling a good story and how the main objective was for the audience to have fun. I can think of nothing on television now that delivers in the way the 'classics' did - Literally nothing. Sad, isn't it?

Here we have my favourite ITC series - Roger Moore's mere presence in something automatically elevates that film or show to "watchable" status, in my opinion. His charisma, warmth and wit shine through any role he adopts and the SAINT is no exception. His interpretation of SIMON TEMPLER is different to the character of the novels, but for me he will always be the definitve SAINT. Stories range from intruiging to insane (The infamous HOUSE ON DRAGON'S ROCK does perhaps go too far in concept but is still, ultimately, fun!) but even the most outlandish instalments have you glued to the adventures of a genuine hero fighting for what's right. Add to that some of the most beautiful female guests to tangle with the SAINT (Kate O'Mara, Veronica Carlson, Anette Andre and Pauline Monroe are my favourtie "Saint girls") and this series becomes a delight!

To be honest, I do prefer the black and white stories - The monochrome adds to the atmosphere and that period was also more reliant on the actual stories of Leslie Charteris. Still, it was perfectly logical for NETWORK to release the colour episodes first as most casual buyers consider black & white productions worthless (How silly!). Initially, this set seems expensive, but don't forget that you're getting 47 episodes as well as two feature film compilations (And if you do think this is too expensive, wait until the black & white box set comes out, especially to those of us who bought the CARLTON set!) - Also, these episodes have a high "rewatchability" factor so you'll probably find yourself dipping into this set quite often.

The extras are as impressive as we've come to expect from NETWORK - There are commentaries for several episodes from members of the crew, with Roger Moore chipping in now and then (Although his words appear to have been recorded seperately), original trailers for every single episode (A great idea) and a witty 45 minute documentary looking at various aspects of the show (including less than favourable comments from Leslie Charteris himself) - This documentary could actually have been longer and that's the only complaint I can bring against this set. The packaging is beautiful, the presentation a delight (Even the Network logo adopts a "halo" when the DVD starts up) and it's clear that the staff at NETWORK love the subject as much as I do. With my CHAMPIONS boxset in the post (Can't wait!) this really is a golden age for collectors of classic television and I really recommend this set.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 23, 2011 6:36 PM GMT


The Adventurer - The Complete Series [DVD] [1972]
The Adventurer - The Complete Series [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Gene Barry
Price: 28.11

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the classic that I remembered...:(, 24 July 2006
Let me first say that I find all ITC action series at the very least "watchable" - There's always a sense of frivolous fun and non-threatening danger that harkens back to the old cliffhangers of the 1940's. My personal favourite is THE SAINT, but THE BARON, THE PERSUADERS and THE CHAMPIONS all give me fond memories of school holidays in the 1980's (Oh for the days of no onscreen graphics and only two commercial breaks per hour again!)

THE ADVENTURER used to do the same and I snapped up this set, but in the cold light of day I found the series rather souless,bland and ultimately disappointing. Even before watching the interviews in this set I thought the problem stemmed from Gene Barry - He often doesn't seem interested in what he's doing and the notion that this aging ham with a face like an old boot can attract some of the most gorgeous female stars of the era (Stephanie Beecham, Judy Geeson and Catherine Schell among others) and have placard-waving teenage groupies following him around beggers belief.

The poor quality 16mm filmstock used doesn't help either, making the series look cheap, tatty and rather grimy. Gerry Anderson's THE PROTECTORS was also shot on 16mm but the DVD boxset of that (far more enjoyable) series has been cleaned up superbly and looks great.

On the plus side we have BARRY MORSE as good as ever as "MISTER PARMINTER", and it's to the actors credit that, even though he himself wasn't too enamoured with the series, he made the character likeable and rounded. In fact, the best episodes (in my opinion) tend to be the few where GENE BARRY takes a back seat to leave BARRY MORSE, CATHERINE SCHELL and GARRICK HOGAN to carry the story along.

Then we have the behaviour of the "star" - Never a huge name, Gene Barry obviously saw THE ADVENTURER as a change to promote himself and get the treatment he thought he deserved, not seeming to care who he upset along the way. The treatment meted out to likeable & talented STUART DAMON was a disgrace (It's upsetting when Stuart recounts the negative effects this had on him and his career), and when even beautiful CATHERINE SCHELL was ousted the series suffered. Contrast this with ROGER MOORE in THE SAINT, an actor who by all accounts went out of his way to welcome guest stars, get to know the technicians and make the atmosphere of the shoot an enjoyable experience for all. Apparantly on THE ADVENTURER, Barry Morse had to direct some episodes as several of the scheduled directors wouldn't work with the lead!

Knowing this, it's difficult to watch Gene Barry pretending to get on with people and still enjoy the series as I once did, but there is some fun to be had here and the theme tune is as cool as ever (another John Barry masterpiece!). Ironic that many years later STUART DAMON is now going from strength to strength in the US series GENERAL HOSPITAL while Gene Barry has disappeared from sight... Karma?


Danger UXB: The Complete Series Special Edition [DVD] [1979]
Danger UXB: The Complete Series Special Edition [DVD] [1979]
Dvd ~ Anthony Andrews
Price: 14.25

184 of 188 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of tension & character, 21 Jun 2006
Ah! Remember the days when television drama relied on well written scripts and quality acting to maintain interest as opposed to flashy editing & bombastic music? Seems so long ago now, doesn't it? With DANGER UXB we have a perfect example of just how good drama on a television budget can be. It's the sort of programme where you really are interested in everything being said & done on screen - How people waited a whole week for the next episode is beyond me!

Of course, those not in the know may wonder how the subject of "World War Two bomb disposal" can maintain a series of this length - The answer: Very easily. No two episodes are alike and the characters easily maintain the viewers interest. The direction is also superb and creates palpable tension: When BRIAN ASH defuses his first bomb in episode 1 I knew he was going to survive. Despite this knowledge my heart was racing as he did his work. I really did marvel at how those brave men did the job for real back in those days and my (already considerable) respect for them became even greater.

This is a quality series - 13 episodes charting the career of Lieutenant Ash and 347 section bomb disposal throughout the war. Anthony Andrews is perfect in the lead, moving from a newcomer utterly out of his depth to a weary veteran by series end. Excellent (And I mean REALLY excellent) support is provided by Maurice Reoves, George Innes, Kenneth Granham & Ken Kitson (and many more!) - I can't emphasize enough how well the cast draw us into their world.

What is so riveting is the fact that several regular cast members are killed off during the series (I won't say who!) and so we are really drawn into the "live every day like it's your last" philosophy that people HAD to adopt back then. The episode BUTTERFLY WINTER, as well as being educational, features the death of one of the most likable regulars and I was shocked & upset by it.

An excellent series and a superb DVD set, packing all 13 episodes onto 4 discs along with an interesting documentary that features many of the cast & crew. Anthony Andrews is interesting to listen both here and on the audio commentary for episode 1: He knows his stuff and says the things you want to hear. Add to that the fact that he appears to have a painting of himself in the attic that keeps changing - He hardly appears to have aged at all these past 25 years.

A highly recommended glimpse at an often overlooked aspect of the Second World War.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 13, 2010 1:25 AM GMT


Dempsey And Makepeace - The Complete First Series [1985] [DVD]
Dempsey And Makepeace - The Complete First Series [1985] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Brandon
Offered by rebeccathackray
Price: 15.97

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Hurrah of the British Action Series!, 6 May 2006
As a spotty teenager I had a few "TV crushes" in the 1980's: Jane Badler (The evil lizard woman from "V"), Debbie Shore (Children's ITV presenter!) and GLYNIS BARBER from DEMPSEY & MAKEPEACE. Now I can re-evaluate this Anglo-American co-production from a more 'mature' perspective *blush*

DEMPSEY & MAKEPEACE was pretty much the end of an era that began decades earlier with classic ITC series such as THE SAINT, DANGER MAN and other such gems (Evolving via THE SWEENEY and THE PROFESSIONALS along the way). Subsequent to this show, attempts to create a similar format were always ruined with the introduction of borderline soap-antics (when the definition of "characterisation" came to mean "boring domestic angst").

I certainly won't insist that DEMSPEY & MAKEPEACE was "quality television", but I will say it was always a lot of fun to watch. Snobby critics hated it of course, but the show was still a huge hit with the viewers. This is mainly thanks to the personalities of the two leads - Michael Brandon slips into the shoes of a NYPD cop with ease - It's a clichéd role that should fall flat, but thanks to Mr. Brandon's performance we do actually find ourselves liking the character.

Glynis Barber is of course the "glam" role, but despite the scripts playing off her (considerable) good looks a little too often (Getting her stripped to her undies or ogled/groped while undercover) she carries it off well. Despite being there "for the lads", it's to her credit that the character is as memorable - When MAKEPEACE has to land a pilotless plane in one episode I actually started to share her panic, so convincing was Glynis' performance!

I have to mention Ray Smith as "Spikings", their chief. Once again a potentially clichéd role is given extra dimension in the hands of a good actor. Gordon Spikings is a "Guv'Nor" for this series in every sense of the word.

This series has pace, excitement and some crazy plot notions, but all of these fit into the old "action thriller" universe with surprising ease (With the exception of the worst female impersonator ever apparently fooling Dempsey in the episode MAKE PEACE NOT WAR!) - It's never meant to be profound or world-changing, just enjoyable and glossy, something television doesn't really do anymore.

If I have to criticise the show it's purely for the fashions. 80's clothes had the uncanny ability to make the most attractive people look amazingly tacky (The normally lovely & classy Catriona MaColl in HORS DE COMBAT looks awful thanks to the clothes she's forced to wear!) but that isn't a complaint specific to this series. Having said that, Glynis Barber transcends her wardrobe and looks stunning in just about anything they put her in (But then I'm biased!)

Apart from this stumbling block, DEMPSEY & MAKEPEACE stands up pretty well and is just as much fun today (More so perhaps, thanks to the lack of anything similar on screens now!).

This boxset is good value, with all ten season 1 episodes on three discs. The quality is a little grainy compared to modern standards of film, but I find that adds to the atmosphere.

There isn't much in the way of extras, but a nice 15 minute interview with the two stars (Still married after 20 years!) demostrates that they both had a lot of fun making it and Glynis Barber still looks great!


A Warning to the Curious [1972] [DVD] (Tv-Film)
A Warning to the Curious [1972] [DVD] (Tv-Film)
Dvd ~ Peter Vaughan
Offered by indigogirl18
Price: 11.81

57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterclass in subtlety, 16 April 2006
What's more scary? A slavering monster in outer space or the disquieting notion that you may not be alone in a dark room? I'd go for the latter any day, and that's the power of plays such as this one where atmosphere triumphs over gloss and CGI.

A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS has a simple plot, but it's the encroaching isolation and emptiness of the setting that make it so effective. It's the still morning mists which may conceal more than you see, and the hints of something just beyond your perceptions that make it "scary".

The "ghost" of this story makes several appearances, all of them being chilling in a way that's difficult to explain. From a simple, indistinct figure watching you from a distance to a stark white face peering at you from the woods at night, all place you ill-at-ease and make you long for the warmth of something tangible & familiar. The ultimate appearance in a blacked-out bedroom made my stomach dip - There's no technical trickery of sudden "BOO" editing - It's the awful dread of sharing this terror with the main character and realising how, as children, we've all seen a "bogeyman" in the shadows of our own homes.

The cast are excellent - We never think Peter Vaugn's likeable amateur archeologist deserves his fate, and the finalé (which I won't share) seems logical yet unjust. These people could be us. We may do the same as them and reap a similar "haunting", and that's what brings the fear closer to home.

I wish more of the MR JAMES plays had been released, as there's really nothing like them on television now. This DVD also has an atmospheric reading of the original story and is equally worth your time.


Ghostwatch [1992] [DVD]
Ghostwatch [1992] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael Parkinson
Offered by Films and Figures
Price: 18.90

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very important moment in British television..., 16 April 2006
This review is from: Ghostwatch [1992] [DVD] (DVD)
After GHOSTWATCH, too many producers and directers decided to back-pedal and play it safe - This play really does mark the end of a period when televsion dared to be different. It even split my own household, with some of us declaring GHOSTWATCH brave and original while others called it "irresponsible". I was firmly in the former camp, but the pattern was repeated across the country and while only a minority contacted the BBC to complain, they once again won through by shouting the loudest.

I always used to get rather fed up when I heard snobbish British critics pouring scorn on the Americans of the 1930's for "falling" for Orson Welles' WAR OF THE WORLDS radio dramatisation. "It could never happen here" they all used to say - Well, it did with GHOSTWATCH. Once again we had the BBC trying to appease the minority and placing an embargo on this play so it would NEVER be seen again. I think stories of people being "traumatised" by GHOSTWATCH, even if true, point to some individuals who had a lot of problems long before this play was screened.

On the production itself, I found it professional, credible (within the obviously fictional context) and genuinely creepy, and I was 22 when it was screened! Some reviewers are giving it one star and calling it rubbish, then admiting to being "scared" when they first saw it. Weird contradiction that. Obviously it succeeded in what it set out to do as a one-off Halloween drama.

No wonder modern televsion is so banal and inoffensive (In a very dumb, offensive way!) - As soon as someone tried to use the medium creatively they were stamped on by the establishment and told "don't do it again". Thank goodness for DVD, as it's the ONLY way you'll be watching GHOSTWATCH from now on.


Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks [DVD] [1975]
Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks [DVD] [1975]
Dvd ~ Tom Baker
Price: 6.30

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DR WHO at it's best.., 27 Mar 2006
My favourite period of DR WHO is the Pertwee era, but irony demands that two of my top stories come from just after: PLANET OF EVIL is one, and GENESIS OF THE DALEKS is another. Anyone who says that the RTD update of DR WHO has matured the show is either a new viewer or has conveniently forgotten just how good stories from this period were. Here we have all the elements that make compelling drama - A rich & intelligent script, ernest performances and interesting characterisation.
For the entire six episodes the DOCTOR is cut off from the TARDIS (it isn't in this story at all) and we really do feel that he and companions SARAH & HARRY are in genuine peril. The tension is sustained for the full running time and the sheer power of this tale serves to remind me just how rotten the new series is with it's camp soap-opera antics & stapled-on politics (Sorry - HAD to slip that in!).
Although the Daleks themselves appear quite briefly in comparison to their other adventures, the Dalek/fascist parallel comes to an obvious conclusion as we see pre-Dalek Kaleds in psuedo-Nazi uniforms spouting their aryan ideology. Amazing stuff for a "kid's" show, and it led to the inevitable complaints from the National Viwers & Listeners brigade (Who, once again, utterly missed the point!)
A highly recommended story of DR WHO, let down by the fact that the BBC should have included the directly linked SONTARAN EXPERIMENT as part of the package. With THE ARK IN SPACE already available, this means the Beeb plan on releasing THE SONTARAN EXPERIMENT on a measly 2-episode disc at some point in the future - They'll probably charge full whack too!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 29, 2008 5:28 PM GMT


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