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John A. Atkins "jaatkins" (Lancaster)
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Hine - The Complete Series [DVD]
Hine - The Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Barrie Ingham
Offered by A2ZSupplies
Price: £16.43

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A More Obscure Title from ITV's Drama Archive, 31 July 2013
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Hine is one of the lesser known titles to be resurrected by Network but it did grab attention in its day (1971) on the grounds of its examination of the ethics of the arms trade. The moral issues involved were integral to the series - one memorable episode centres on a clash of ideology between Joe Hine and a old friend (the excellent David Burke,) who is a Labour MP with a zero tolerance of those who profiteer from conflict. No second series was commissioned.

The pace and style of the series works well, and Barry Ingham's performance as Hine is compelling - he is a driven, dynamic, arrogant character. He's flawed but revels in being the underdog. He doesn't always close the deal either - success is not a foregone conclusion. In many respects, Hine resembles the more celebrated Power Game of a couple years earlier. It is all about competitive business practices and how contracts are won (usually with bribes). Hine is pragmatist in an unstable, violent world - yet he has a semblance of conscience, and a hint of Northern grit (class war was very much a staple of the times, and it is here just as strongly as Man At The Top or contemporary drama by Ken Loach or Trevor Griffiths).

One might also expect Hine to dally with a string of adoring women through the series, but this aspect is refreshingly played down compared with other dramas of the era with powerful male protagonists. Hine is estranged from his wife and resists the attentions of his secretary, who blows hot and cold.

Unfortunately, Hine has not survived in its original state - the picture quality is generally very good but only 3 episodes remain in colour. The quality of the production is such that this is no great impediment to our latterday enjoyment. Hine wouldn't get made today - not a detective or vicious murder in sight! And that is good reason to watch and enjoy it.


Adam Smith - The Complete Series 1 [DVD] [1972]
Adam Smith - The Complete Series 1 [DVD] [1972]
Dvd ~ Andrew Keir
Offered by NextDayEntertainment
Price: £12.41

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior Drama that Deserves a New Audience, 30 July 2012
Now largely forgotten, Adam Smith is a wonderful drama from the 1970s about a minister searching for a purpose following the death of his wife. Imagine a Left-wing Dr. Finlay's Casebook, playing like a soap opera (30 minute per episode)set in a Scottish village. The series concerns big, relevant issues: industrial relations, student protest, infidelity, alcoholism, and a perpetual battle between the hands-on humanity of Adam (Andrew Keir) and the alternate approach of the young village doctor steeped in R.D.Laing (Tom Conti). Religion hardly gets a look in until Smith's anti-capitalist sermon alienates a rich concregation and forfeits him a plum job. Hope series 2 follows soon.


British Battleships 1919-1945
British Battleships 1919-1945
by R. A. Burt
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £29.25

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, confusing title..., 18 Mar. 2012
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The original edition of this brilliant book gave the timeline as 1919-1939, and thus excluded HMS Vanguard and the Lion class (building of which had, after all, commenced in the early 1940s). By amending the title to 1919-1945, there is an implication that these ships would be included in this revised edition. They are not. So why extend the dateline in the title? Misleading and a bit frustrating. Burt's exhaustive histories have covered every battleship since the 1880s. Why omit Vanguard?


Bill Brand - The Complete Series [DVD]
Bill Brand - The Complete Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jack Shepherd
Offered by A2ZSupplies
Price: £12.53

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unglamourous Life of an Under-animated Policitican, 16 Feb. 2012
A good old videotape drama from an era when television wasn't afraid to be radical or challenging, and certainly not dumbed down.

TV drama in the 1970s now seems very odd in its obsession with left-wing politics (see also many of the Plays for Today, Days of Hope from the same year as this one, 1976) - this was a time when dramatists clearly believed that the Labour Party and trades unions actually mattered - it seems very quaint now, and slightly misguided.

However, there is much to enjoy here but one central problem: Brand (as played by the wonderful Jack Shepherd) is so sullen, so vague, so lacking in charisma that it is almost impossible to imagine him ever getting elected in the first place. He doesn't smile once - not even on becoming elected, and even when he's having sex, he wants to get it over with in order to light a cigarette and grimly reflect on some pressing dilemma. In the House of Commons he's pretty handy with his fists for an enemic-looking academic...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2012 6:16 PM GMT


No Love For Johnnie [DVD]
No Love For Johnnie [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Finch
Offered by HarriBella.UK.Ltd
Price: £7.07

8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor DVD Presentation, 20 Oct. 2011
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This review is from: No Love For Johnnie [DVD] (DVD)
This is a fascinating film that is let down by poor picture quality. The aspect ratio is badly flawed, with a letterboxing that leaves about 40% of the screen blank around all four edges. The only way to see anything is by zooming in, and this merely reveals the very average quality of the print used. Very disappointing.


Head On
Head On
Price: £7.10

4.0 out of 5 stars The Best BTO Album, 8 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Head On (Audio CD)
BTO were never cool or fashionable. They hit a peak with "Not Fragile" in 1974 and under record company pressure released a going-through-the-motions follow up "Four Wheel Drive" that is too formulaic to stand up today. Unfortunately they never really recovered their credibility despite the strength of "Head On". Randy Bachman and Fred Turner both brought great material to the studio for this effort. The essence of BTO is tough, stomping rock and roll with great hooks - Fred Turner's vocals are raucous, Randy Bachman's more reflective. The balance works really well. "Head On" failed to make much commercial headway, especially in the UK, but for anyone who loved "BTO II" or "Not Fragile" this album should not be overlooked.


The Lost Orwell
The Lost Orwell
by George Orwell
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Barrel Scrapings, 3 Jun. 2010
This review is from: The Lost Orwell (Hardcover)
If you have the paperback editions of the Complete Works you will find precious little here that is 'new' or 'lost'. This volume is clearly aimed at purchasers of the hardback versions of the above series in order to capture the additions and corrections that the paperbacks incorporated. In reality there is very little of any substance in this volume. Avoid.


The Peel Sessions: A story of teenage dreams and one man's love of new music
The Peel Sessions: A story of teenage dreams and one man's love of new music
by Ken Garner
Edition: Paperback

11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite the whole story..., 12 Nov. 2007
This book is generally authoritive and fascinating. However, without wishing to question Ken Garner's dedicated and skillful authorship I would like to state a few facts that are somehow not properly reflected in the text:

(1) Peel was almost singlehandedly giving airtime to dozens of acts who were part of the roots reggae movement during its heyday of the mid-to-late 1970s. This was a significant musical force that was almost contemporary with the punk revolution. Peel loved reggae much more than many of the dour indie bands he featured.

(2) Peel's favourite album of this era was Misty In Roots "Live At The Counter Eurovision" - this was featured heavily on the Peel show, and reflected the man's real love far more than the more retro trendy Joy Division's and Smiths...

(3) Almost written out of the Radio One story of this era was the much less hip Alan Freeman. Yet Freeman too played the early punk on his Saturday afternoon show, and was equally enthusiastic by the new sounds - I first heard the Ramones and the Damned in 1976 from Freeman, not Peel. There was a real synergy between Peel and Freeman; they shared sessions and in-jokes through this period. Point is, Peel was not quite the lone voice in Radio One that is suggested.

These three points are hardly, if at all, given any reference in the book, yet they are vital to an understanding of the true significance of the Peel show. I accept that the emphasis has been placed on the sessions, and reggae artists were less available, but the main overview history of the Peel show in the firtst part of Garner's text could have brought more balance in this way.


Henry V [DVD] [1944]
Henry V [DVD] [1944]
Dvd ~ Laurence Olivier
Price: £4.00

25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 5 star film but 2 star DVD transfer, 15 Mar. 2006
This review is from: Henry V [DVD] [1944] (DVD)
I recorded this off BBC2 in the 1980s on VHS. I expected the Carlton DVD to do better but it really doesn't. The print used makes the film look flat and bleached of the rich colours of the production. OK, so the DVD is very cheap but other Carlton releases have been excellent at the same price. This film really deserves a better presentation.


Let No Man Steal Your Thyme
Let No Man Steal Your Thyme

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars songs of sad beauty, 5 Mar. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Whilst the title of this collection might suggest a collection of traditional folk songs, this is stunning original material from McDonald - in many ways the equal of Joni Mitchell, and very similar to Fairport Convention (without the dodgy Dylan covers!)The songs are passionate and delicate folk-rock with some lovely piano and organ arrangements, all sounding lush, fresh and confident.
Also don't be discouraged by this 2 CD set being filled out with outtakes and demos. The unreleased stuff like "The Road To Paradise" are as superb as her two official albums. In short this CD is essential material...


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