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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The steamy underbelly of 18th Century London
So far this Channel 4 drama has proved to be a fascinating insight into the professional life of Henry Fielding - the author of Tom Jones and creator of the Bow Street Runners- an early version of the police force. According to Channel 4's site, for once this is not a dramatisation of a particular book, but a drama created from the contemporary records. Drawing on...
Published on 2 Feb 2008 by Julie Cutler

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the authentic Paddington Frisk
If I watch a historical reconstruction, I usually find myself with some detailed knowledge of some aspect of the history but ignorant of the rest. Thus I am apt to use what I know to judge what I don't know.
In the case of "City of Vice", the two things I do know something about - hangings at Tyburn and the practice of the Church of England - were very badly...
Published 5 months ago by BM COOK


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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The steamy underbelly of 18th Century London, 2 Feb 2008
By 
Julie Cutler - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
So far this Channel 4 drama has proved to be a fascinating insight into the professional life of Henry Fielding - the author of Tom Jones and creator of the Bow Street Runners- an early version of the police force. According to Channel 4's site, for once this is not a dramatisation of a particular book, but a drama created from the contemporary records. Drawing on information such as Harris' Lists- a guidebook to the whores of London.

Ian McDiarmid displays his usual consummate acting (well from someone who ranges from the evil emperor in Star Wars to the butler in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels- what would you expect?) Iain Glen ably supports as his blind brother John. What is so fascinating is how totally out of their depth they are when faced with murderers and scary Irish gang leaders. I really like the touch of using a 3D map of the contemporary city to set the changes of scene in context. Worthy historical drama.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dark Underbelly of London, 19 Feb 2008
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This series first shown on Channel 4 is a real delight for anyone interested in history, the police force or gritty crime dramas. For once an historical crime series has been made that has the grittiness of more modern programmes. The acting is excellent and the storylines are strong.

Welcome to the dark underbelly of London where crime is rife and only the City's watchmen exist. Enter the Fielding brothers who created the Bow Street Runners, the precursor to todays CID. This series, created by using accounts from the time show that the Fieldings had enough trouble to keep getting a budget as they did fighting the criminals of the day. In an age where to even mention a police force in London would have been seen by the Mob to be despotism, this series shows the fine line that had to be trod by the Bow Street Runners just to solve a case, let alone bring someone to the Tyburn Tree.

Let us hope that another series wil be made, as this is really a gem, and the kind of series that has kept myself and others enthralled.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this series, 23 Feb 2008
By 
P. A. Gordon "the topdragon" (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
The best historical TV series for years !
Ian and Iain are marvellous as the Fieldings.
I hope there's another series soon.
So glad it's available on DVD
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars London at its best and worst, 4 Feb 2008
By 
Dr.Stuart "I am a retired teacher. I speciali... (Rickmansworth, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
This is a superb series. No praise can be too high for the combination of outstanding acting and fascinating plot lines. The descriptions and acoount of the 'molly houses' of London and gay weddings is historically absolutely accurate.Nigel Harman shows just how good an actor he is playing the submissive 'Miss Kitty'. Also, harris and his list, again, beyond reproach in historical accuracy. No only a pioneering history drama, as far from twee Jane Austen adaptations as you can get, but a real insight into the horrors of Old London.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'London needed a police force', 13 May 2008
This review is from: City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Im a sucker for 18th Century history. The politics - the culture - the economics. Its the raw energy that is beginning to unleashed as society was changing - changes that brought both good and ill. Nothing illustrates this more than City of Vice.

Vivid and colourful - each episodes bring to life the darker side of 18th Century London. Intermixed with the solving of the cases - there are marvelous graphics that take you through the streets London. The effects themselves are almost like watching an old map rise up in front of you.

The cast are on top form. Watching the Fielding brothers is like reading a Sherlock Holmes book. Brothers standing between 'proper society' and the darkness that lurks around the alley ways and slums of old London. The criminals they encounter are not your garden variety bad guys. Very often the Fieldings despite being repulsed by what they see - are powerless to actually do something. This is vividly illustrated in an episode that looks at the exploitation of children in London. It becomes apparent that many of those who claim to uphold the law - are the first one's to break it.

Those of you have watched the TV series London by Peter Ackroyd will have seen the life that London has pulsed with for most of its history. City of Vice takes you back to the darker side of that same London. You can't help but wonder how much of that darkness remains to the present day.

City of Vice. Its visually brilliant and so atmospheric that at points you could find yourself almost smelling the London air.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Unhand the lady and **** off back to Clerkenwell!", 26 Jun 2009
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
City of Vice has a great true-life pitch - the efforts of brothers Henry and John Fielding (the author of Tom Jones and a celebrated blind magistrate, played by Ian McDiarmid and Iain Glen respectively) to form England's first police force amid the squalor and near-apocalyptic lawlessness of a London already bursting at the seams in 1753. With the massive growth of cities (especially London) and a nationwide addiction to gin that makes modern problems with drugs look almost quaint, the 17-18th century was perhaps the most violent era in British history (though, despite dealing with murder, child prostitution, rape and sundry perversions, the series is not nearly so violent), yet the brothers still faced hostility from an aristocracy who could afford private protection to what they saw as an instrument of tyranny more suited to foreigners than free Englishmen. While the show sometimes downplays the casual violence, the brothers' morality, though seen from a 20th century perspective, is distinctly 18th century - they are not above ruining the odd reputation or contriving a robbery on a recalcitrant would-be patron to secure the Bow Street Runners' future. Nor does it turn them into glowing examples of police work. They're an almost fumbling band of detectives - as the first in their field, they're unsure even of how to investigate a murder ("How is it done?" "Ask questions?") - and often they uphold the principle of the law with disastrous consequences to the victims of crimes.

The series too feels like it's still feeling its way along and doesn't always have the full confidence of its backers at Channel 4 - the metropolis a little underpopulated at times, the budgetary limitations apparent in the less-than-bustling streets and the nighttime hangings that fail to hide the lack of crowds. Yet often it manages to paper over the cracks with surprising style, using animated street maps of London to link scenes and adding scaffolding to sets they can't afford to build in their entirety to give an impression of a city at once sprouting up and falling down (literally in one scene of a slum collapsing, tenants and all). It's convincingly foul mouthed ("The Devil **** you, Mr Fielding!" is one of the more minor terms of abuse), with McDiarmid deserving special praise for his tireless efforts to restore the word `****ster' to the common modern-day vocabulary. Despite the grim material it's not without moments of wit - Henry's wife, a former maid, cannot help herself from doing the housework - and if it's at times overly reliant on narration to fill the audience in on details, at least it's genuinely informative. The formidable John Fielding's abilities sometimes tend to get short shrift - he tends to get typed as the stern, unyielding one - and some of the guest stars are surprisingly awkward - Juliet Aubrey's strange inflection and Gary Lewis' often inaudible insular distemperate delivery make the lack of subtitles particularly problematic, but despite its problems the six episodes are compelling and intriguing enough to leave you hoping for a more fully realised second series.

The only extra is a brief making of featurette.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well acted, 19 Jan 2009
By 
H. Lacroix (France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
A little gem of a series with excellent dialogues, tremendous actors, good plotlines and although dealing in the sordid, a delicate and unvoyeuristic approach many should emulate.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally COOL!, 31 Dec 2008
By 
Cathy Jones "Wales Forever" (Crewe, Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Wow... Now what can I say about this little gem... anyone know when series 2 is on!?

I loved this series and it is worth every penny. It is a series of different tales of different crimes that the new formed "Bow Street Runners" are trying to solve. They have just been established and trying to prove that they are worth funding with their leaders, the two brothers fieldings (henry and John) One is blind but can guess over three hundred criminals just by their voices.

As the stories go on we visit a Brothel where a poor woman has been brutally raped and stabbed but miraculously survives but refuses to say who did it then dies. (typical.) so off the lads go, tracking down the clues and you feel like you are right there with them trying to help them figure it out as well it is that good. Like cluedo only without communication. :-)

You get to see Sarah Smart as a hooker (from Sparkhouse and at home with the Braithweightes... not sure how you spell that.) and the gorgeous Nigel Hartman from Eastenders (Dennis Rickman) only unfortunately he is gay but what a laugh. It is extremely funny seeing him in what those days called a "molly house" a gay club basically.. pretending to give birth. Trouble is he is in love and in a relationship with one of the bow street runners.. but which one? you will have to buy the boxset and find out! Its not nice for poor nicky though as in them days being gay mean't being hanged.. but as I said it is up to you to buy it and find out if he does.

There are lots of other mysteries and adventures and each episode gets better than the last with great scenery and spot on costume and background.

It is terrible, wrechid 18th century london with laughs and action mixed in at all points and turns. It's a definate DO NOT MISS! YOU GOT TO BUY! sort of boxset.

I'm still waiting for my series 2!!??...... (cry. :-( )
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 4 Jan 2010
By 
Bagpuss (Aberdeen, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
If you have read previous reviews, then there is no need to recap. However, I will say that this series is incredible. A stellar cast headed by Ian McDiarmid and Iain Glen. But the best bit is this isn't a Sunday afternoon Jane Austen drama.
This is realistic, gritty, down to earth. Life as it was. The streets are filthy. The people are coarse and hard, all wrapped up in excellent story lines.
Compulsive viewing!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Realism in Costume Drama., 20 Mar 2008
This review is from: City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] (DVD)
Thank goodness that AT LAST costume drama is getting away from the unwatchable, wimpish simpering-ness of the 'Catherine Cookson' type, and is being treated with proper seriousness and historical accuracy - yet as here, in City of Vice, still managing to enlighten us with a fantastic and atmospheric series of stories.
There still isn't enough 'intelligent' costume drama. The production budgets are usually so slim that production companies are compelled to thin it down to appeal to the largest - e.g. the 'Eastenders/Brookside' contingent - audience, whose idea of history and costume drama perhaps gets no further than 'Colin Firth, mob-caps, waistcoats-and-knotted-hankies'...
All we can do now is wait and hope there will be another series (or several) of this suberb City of Vice.
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City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008]
City of Vice - Series 1 [2007] [DVD] [2008] by Ian McDiarmid (DVD - 2008)
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