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Suspicions are aroused when a British trawler goes missing...
Tom Wilkinson leads the astonishing BBC Cold War drama inspired by real events.
Enter a nightmarish world of political cover-ups of international consequence in the last decade of the Cold War in this six-part BBC drama.
When an ordinary British fishing vessel and its 36-man crew mysteriously disappears off the coast of Norway, journalist Martin Taylor (Tom Wilkinson) is determined to find out why. His father was on board, and is now missing. His investigations soon lead him to run up against the twin barriers of Royal Navy stonewalling and an impenetrable Soviet Politburo. The notorious finale shocked audiences when it was first aired in 1983. The haunting theme 'A Cold Wind', sung by June Tabor, was so popular it was released as a single.
Spyship is based on the fictional novel by Brian Haynes and Tom Keene, former reporters who researched the real life sinking of the FV Gaul in 1974 which was shrouded in mystery.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, please be aware that the DVD seems to be afflicted with a similar problem that affected the recent release of Softly Softly in that the studio VT sequences for some episodes appear to have been 'filmised' which leaves such scenes with a smeary, unsharp finish.
Also, when playing episode 1 using the 'Play Episode' function on a DVD player a chapter is skipped entirely resulting in the episode appearing to only run for 40 minutes. Selecting 'Play All' lets you see the full 52-minute episode.
Simply have said that they are recalling and reissuing a corrected version of the disc with the Episode 1 fault, but haven't said if the apparent filmising of the episodes will be rectified.
EDITED TO ADD: Simply have been in contact with me and are rectifying the error on this DVD release. Thanks for listening Simply.
The six part drama is fairly slow moving, which gives the characters time to develop and the focus is very much on them for right from the start the viewer knows the rough circumstances of the sinking, that a cover-up is happening and who is involved in it. The plot does noticeably speed up in the final episode, and it's a shame that some of the final internal bureaucratic politics and unlikely collaboration between nominal enemies did not feature earlier in the series and so play out in more detail.
Even so, it makes for a satisfyingly dramatic final episode (though I was a little distracted by discovering that one key scene was filmed at the home of a school friend) and a poignant finale which matches the great piece of tragic singing used in the titles sequence.
The finale was shocking at the time and still rounds off the series in a powerful way even if some of the shock has been dulled by (without giving away any spoilers) the ending being of a type which has appeared in several other espionage thrillers since.
A small point about the quality of the DVD: the subtitles were put together by someone with a fairly random approach to the use of capital letters. At least the aggrivation caused by the repeated errors does not hinder understanding as otherwise the subtitles are competent.
The rather grainy picture is no problem (goes with the period - this is how television used to look) but my discs were distractingly out of sync so it was like watching a badly dubbed foreign film. Some mistake surely?
My thoughts: This is very watchable. Like many 70s/80s dramas, it makes room for dialogue and exposition and doesn't bore the viewer with too much mindless action, although there are some terrific and very tense action scenes. There's a likeable hero, a very scary villain and plenty of intrigue. The setting of early '80s Hull is also very evocative. It's perhaps a tad predictable at times but if you like dramas from this period, you'll certainly like Spyship.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would recommend this to any person who loves a good spy Film. A very unexpected ending but you do wonder how much truth is involved.? Read morePublished 1 month ago by marree
I saw Spyship a very longtime ago. At the time it was for me just an other exciting series. Now after about 40 years I found it very impressive.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Abysmal 1980s BBC TV attempt to make a suspense thriller as effectively and persuasively as 1960s US film makers managed with ease. Read more
I suspect back in it's time I would have enjoyed this film. As a tv show but no more than this. Now however I found it almost unwatchable. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Paul Barrett
A first class spy thriller from 1984 and very good true story. The only criticism perhaps it was slightly too longPublished 15 months ago by An Old Greybeard