The Lakes: Complete BBC Series 1 [DVD] 
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The entire first series of this BBC drama. Danny (John Simm) is a young Liverpudlian with a taste for gambling and women, who escapes life on the dole in Liverpool to become a kitchen porter in a Lake District hotel. The sleepy town seems to be one long string of affairs and Danny is soon caught up in the lust himself. When a tragedy shakes the whole community a scapegoat is needed and Danny finds himself in the firing line.
The Lakes brought writer Jimmy McGovern and actor John Simm a great deal of critical praise in 1997. Following a particularly dry period for British TV drama, the show's realistic characterisations and their painfully honest decisions hit audiences hard. Simm is a twentysomething trapped in a life of compulsive gambling, theft and being on the dole in Liverpool. On a whim he heads north to the Lake District. He expects to find the countryside quietude where his hidden poetical leanings might find a home, but instead gets caught up in a community like any other. Lies, temptation and tragedy beset every household just as much as the big city.
The focus of Series 1 is Danny's relationship with Emma (Emma Cunniffe) and the consequences of having a child. As time races by, his link to the Lakes becomes an exercise in torment when the eyes of blame fall easily upon him after the accidental deaths of four schoolgirls. Stoking the flames of a series of secondary explosions in waiting are a pair of affairs, one adulterous, the other complicated by religion.
On the DVD: The Lakes Series 1 comes with two separate commentary tracks for the very first episode. In interviews, John Simm fondly recalls how cold the lake water was and director David Blair recalls putting him in it. It's a shame the two weren't recorded together. It's also a shame that's all there is in this package. Even a few cast biographies would have been welcome. Picture is 4:3 and stereo sound is as you'd expect from 1990s UK TV. --Paul Tonks
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Top Customer Reviews
It shows a 'dark' side to the Lake District, unveiling the claustrophobic tensions of living in a small community in the midst of beauty. Some of the scenes are shocking and heart rending. One scene involving an accident on the lake will have you on the very edge of your seat. The writing is superb, the performances are all excellent - with John Simm utterly believable as Danny, just trying to do his best(and sometimes doing his worst) in difficult circumstances. He's a multi-layered flawed but immensely likeable character. I'd go so far as to say that The Lakes is my favourite contemporary drama ever.
Then the last episode arrived - WOW! Talk about denouement. Suddenly everything came together in the most satisfying way imaginable - valediction here, comeuppance there, so that I was filled with gratitude for the way Jimmy McGovern brought it all together, having deliberately built up the horridness in order to deliver a massively satisfying climax. All power to you, McGovern, you clever, skilful devil.
Now for the second series - I've just GOT to find out what happens next...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Drama at it's best. John Simm is outstanding in this Series.Published on 5 July 2014 by Amazon Customer
Recently Holidayed innthe Lake district, and fell in love with it. I then decided it was about time I watched the Series made, and John Simm being in it means this is no Ganble,... Read morePublished on 22 Jan. 2014 by Mr. R. J. Myers
Excellent storytelling. Just as I remembered it and seemed even better second time around.
I shall be purchasing Series 2 now (although it has less favourable reviews).
Liverpool-born Danny Kavanagh escapes the city and ends up in the supposedly tranquil rural Lake District. Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 2012 by Mikey