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Edge Of Darkness - The Complete Series  [DVD]
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This futuristic chiller features music by Michael Kamen and Eric Clapton. Escorting his daughter home from college, Detective Inspector Craven watches helplessly as she is gunned down in cold blood. Hell-bent on revenge, his search for her killer leads him on a terrifying one-way trip to the heart of the nuclear state.
Running Time: 330 minutes + 71 minutes approx.
Groundbreaking environmental-espionage shocker Edge of Darkness (1985) begins routinely enough but then ratchets the suspense to levels that would have turned Hitchcock green with envy. Emma Craven (Joanne Whalley in her first starring role) is a young environmental activist killed in mysterious circumstances. Emma's father Ron Craven (Bob Peck in a star-making performance) will not be silenced and, as a police detective, is uniquely positioned to pursue his own unofficial investigation. He moves from grief to a determination to find the truth, all the while advised and comforted by Emma, but is she a ghost or a manifestation of his haunted psyche? Craven digs deeper, uncovering labyrinthine conspiracy in the nuclear industry and, as the body-count rises, encounters the garrulous CIA agent Darius Jedburgh (a superb Joe Don Baker) with a mysterious agenda of his own. Accompanied by a haunting musical score by Michael Kamen and Eric Clapton, Edge of Darkness builds on the legacy of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People to become quite simply the best television thriller ever.
On the DVD: Edge of Darkness is presented on a two-disc set with the original six episodes complete and unedited (unlike the previous DVD release). The picture and sound has been improved, too, though the 4:3 image still suffers from the graininess of having been shot on 16 mm film and the sound is still unspectacular mono. The main extra is an excellent new 35-minute documentary, "Magnox: the Secrets of Edge of Darkness", with input from producer Michael Wearing, writer Troy Kennedy-Martin, composer Michael Kamen, stars John Woodvine, Charles Kay and Ian McNeice and archive footage with Bob Peck and Joe Don Baker. A notable bonus for fans of Eric Clapton and Kamen's highly atmospheric score is an isolated music track, unfortunately in mono. Less significant are a routine photo gallery, an alternative edit of the final end title and promotional segments from Breakfast Time and Pebble Mill. A BAFTA Award feature (the series won six) is more engaging, as is a roundtable review from Did You See?. --Gary S. Dalkin
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Top Customer Reviews
The action is often deliberately slow-paced, but the shocking start hooks you in to events and watching the jigsaw pieces fit slowly into place to join past, present and future is compulsive. Bob Peck's performance is spellbinding, Joanne Whalley is captivating and Jo Don Baker's larger than life Texan, Jedburg, steals every scene. This series contends with "The Forsythe Saga" and "I, Claudius" as the best drama the BBC ever produced; it undoubtedly remains the best thriller. At last we have edge-of-the-seat, must-watch TV converted (third time lucky) into must-own DVD.
For those who don't know about this political mini-series, the plot concerns a police detective who is drawn into a web of political mire by the murder of his daughter Emma who was a member of an anti-nuclear lobby (GAIA) and stumbles on the clandestine manufacture and storage of weapons-grade plutonium in an abandoned mine in Northmoor, and has to endure the subsequent political "fall-out" that results.
I only have one small criticsm: and that is that to begin with, the viewer feels very much an intruder into a very private death and subsequent period of grief. But stick with it, because underneath the plot simmers menacingly for a long time (rather like milk heating up in a saucepan on the stove) and then suddenly boils up... and does so with a-vengeance! As I hinted at earlier, the section where Craven & Jedburgh enter the mine and locate the plutonium is just gripping! And the music provided by Eric Clapton & Michael Kamen (now sadly passed away) very much enhances the sinister atmosphere.
There are some worthwhile extras on the two DVDs which have been adequately covered in other reviews. The six episodes have been transcribed just as they were broadcast - complete with beginning & ending titles.
If you like political thrillers, just buy this - you won't regret it! I'd give it more than five stars, but that's all we're allowed in an Amazon review!!
The cast is a beauty. Bob Peck is near-faultless in the central role of a police officer whose environmental activist daughter - a radiant, excellent Joanne Whalley - is shot to death in his arms, and who gets caught up in very dubious practices centred around the nuclear waste industry in the UK. He`s aided and abetted in his investigations by an American official played to glorious perfection by Joe Don Baker. They form a droll double-act, a kind of conspiratorial Laurel & Hardy.
The late Bob Peck`s acting style, deadpan yet affable, reminds me of Alan Bates at his most beguiling, while other aparts are taken by actors of the calibre of the terminally underrated Charles Kay, brilliant as Pendleton, a cheerfully shady government official, louche, portly Ian McNeice in an early role as his sidekick (another double-act), solid, bluff John Woodvine as Peck`s boss, and Zoe Wanamaker as the enigmatic Clemmie. (I`d watch Zoe W in anything; a wonderful actress.)
Eric Clapton and Michael Kamen`s music is just perfect, all nerve-jangling guitar and moody synths.
The Thatcher years, almost by definition, produced quite a few TV series and films of this kind - remember Defence of the Realm, Dead Head, King of the Ghetto? But Edge of Darkness was one of the very best, a cliffhanging drama with enough twists and suspicious characters to engross the most jaded viewer.
This two-disc set has some valuable Extras, including interviews with several of the cast, Peck being one of them. Everyone concerned sounds like they were proud of their invlovement in one of the finest TV series of that tortured, paranoid decade.
So they should be.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
"Edge of Darkness" is a dark and superbly written 80s drama with solid acting throughout. The atmosphere of tension is expertly maintained all the way to the end. Read morePublished 9 days ago by MonkeyMan
a classic series well worth having in any collection. its one of those you can go back to time and again and still find something you missed.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
A brilliant TV series which I remember watching as a youngster, this DVD is brilliant. Starring the much lamented late Bob Peck and with some great extras this is a must buy.Published 2 months ago by Jackdaw 101
Bob Peckham is sadly missed, he is a fantastic actor