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Customer Review

44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great DVD release from Network, 19 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Heartbeat - The Complete First Series [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
It is excellent to see that this popular Yorkshire TV series from 1992 has finally been released on DVD. The early Heartbeats are particularly good, with fuller characterisation and believable scenarios, touching on many of the social changes of the 1960s - the pill, the role of women, CND and so forth. Nick Berry and Niamh Cusack have an excellent onscreen chemistry, with Kate Rowan being particularly well-drawn. Blaketon, played by Derek Fowlds, is also enjoyably stern and sarcastic in these early episodes. I was also pleased that in series 1, Greengrass is not a particularly major character (he became somewhat over-used in later series).

It's a good, solid release; no subtitles or scene selection, but the menus are fairly self-explanatory and easy to navigate, and the picture quality is sharp and in its original 4:3 ratio. Unlike the ITV3 broadcasts, they are also uncut - more about that later. It looks to me like these were transferred from the original VT masters. Network have luckily also left in the original Yorkshire end credits and advert break slides for good measure, as they always do - I'd forgotten Berry originally sung the theme tune!

The release also features a short "making of" featurette that probably derives from the early 90s VHS releases which has a relaxed interview with Nick Berry and some behind-the-scenes shots.

Despite a little warning note on the packaging, so far I haven't noticed any episodes that have had the 1960s pop music overdubbed, but I imagine this may be because the early series used quite a lot of original compositions as its soundtrack in addition to the songs. (The copyrights over the pop songs were the primary stumbling block in releasing the series until now - I'm guessing that the Beatles, etc, may have had to be removed.) So far, though, the memorable 1960s soundtrack appears to be intact, and its great to hear The Kinks and Millie Small, et al accompanying Rowan's motorcycle trips over the moors.

I was interested to read some of the above reviews taking about the series' "family" nature. While this is undoubtedly true of the later series, one thing to note about this first season in particular is that it is a little more "adult" than viewers of the later programmes may be used to - more mild swearing and a little bit of nudity in a few places, for example!

Obviously, this is nothing for adults to be shocked about, but note that ITV3 cut them slightly for their daytime broadcasts and that this was originally a post-watershed programme. There are a few (well-presented) themes about contraception, suicide and domestic violence in the early series, and the 12 certificate is probably deserved in this case.

Overall - well done Network, it's great to see this uncut on DVD, and at £15 for three discs excellent value. Bring on series 2!
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Feb 2011 17:00:44 GMT
M. Rey says:
Thanks for this comment. So, this is the unedited versions. complete with swearing etc. ?
The torrent downloads on the box are just recent recordings of the edited ones and they are really hard to download. Regards, Mat.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Feb 2011 18:02:30 GMT
RobW says:
Yes, these are the full "sweary" versions! To my knowledge, the only edits on this edition are the dubbed songs by The Beatles, which have been replaced with covers (to hide the original versions, the volume on these dubbed tracks is higher). That's due to rights issues rather than censoring, though.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Feb 2011 19:01:39 GMT
M. Rey says:
Thanks very much for the reply. Do you think that they will eventually get TV Quality DVD versions of the unedited ones with rights to the music? Regards.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Feb 2011 22:42:09 GMT
RobW says:
Difficult to say, I'm only a viewer (!), but I shouldn't think so - it's a matter of the prohibitive cost of obtaining the rights to songs by The Beatles. A similar thing has happened in the recent box set of "Just Good Friends", where they have had to remove the soundtrack and subtitle whole scene due to it having a Rolling Stones track playing in the background.
So, I should think these are the 'definitive' DVD versions, at least for a while. The covers aren't amazing, but there aren't that many luckily, and these original broadcast editions are definitely preferable to the bowdlerised ITV3 versions.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Feb 2011 23:21:49 GMT
M. Rey says:
Thanks. So, not all the songs are covered (sung by others)? - some are original then?
ITV can afford to buy at least temp rights to the songs ... ?
Regards.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Feb 2011 00:15:34 GMT
RobW says:
It's only the Beatles that are covers, the rest of the songs are the originals.
I gather it's cheaper to use music on television than it is to release it on a home video format, as the royalties only need to be paid once - I think there are quite a few DVD series that have either been held up or severely edited down by rights problems.
Even something like Top Gear - notice how the DVDs do no feature the same soundtracks as the television programme.

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Feb 2011 09:09:28 GMT
M. Rey says:
Oh right. thanks very much. The Beatles' songs were owned by Michael Jackson at one point. I thought his passing away would have made things easier. Funny how the other songs are ok tho. Regards.
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