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DTdh (Brit in Southern Ireland)

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Britain's Ten Most Wanted
Britain's Ten Most Wanted
by Vanessa Howard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, tragic at the same time, 31 Mar. 2015
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I've returned to this book a couple of times in the few years since buying and it still draws me in for the writing style, and senseless tragedy of all of the stories told.

Vanessa goes through all of the available and known evidence with the reader, and at the time of going to print, that being where the answers end, she follows with speculation and assumptions of possible reasons and motives, drawing on other similiar cases and how they were solved, often years later. In the few years since, thankfully, some of these featured have been solved, including most recently the "World's End" murders of Helen Scott and Christine Eadie, and that of Lt. Colonel Robert "Riley" Workman in 2012 - though the identity of the 999 caller still remains a mystery.

I think she made a good choice with the ten selected cases she chose. I'd never heard the stories of Sandra Phillips, Janet Brown, Harry and Megan Tooze and Janine Downes - even though in Janine's case, Wolverhampton was pretty local to me in my youth. Mixing these with the well known like 'Adam', Suzy Lamplugh and Jill Dando, along with Kate Bushell, could have even helped a couple of the lesser known crimes get the publicity they deserved and may not have got in recent years, or at all.

One is just left to hope that the remaining unsolved cases do see justice in some form one day, as it no doubt adds further anguish and pain to the families left behind, having lost someone they love in the first place.

Lords of London [DVD]
Lords of London [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ray Winstone
Offered by JCJ Internet Savers
Price: £3.65

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good film let down by bad marketing, 7 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Lords of London [DVD] (DVD)
Re confusion: If you were eagle-eyed enough to spot early on the newspaper date of 1953 as Tony is wondering the town then the mystery comes to you quicker, but for anyone left wondering how Tony is running around covered in his own blood with a bullet hole in his chest that isn't bothering him - **Spoiler follows** A poster on the cinemachords.com movie review of the film gave the best explanation I have found - "The thing is - Terry and Margaritha are Tony's parents in 1953 and he can make a difference that will mean true unselfishness. =he never existed".

Among Lords of London's scenes you find yourself looking away from on first time viewing (the wire and wood in the mouth torture scene), there are some moments to make you smile. Christopher Hatherall's Young Terry educating Margarita (Serena Iansiti) on West Ham's "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles". It was a nice touch too to have Glen Murphy's grandson playing the five-year-old Tony, a great way to maybe start out his path in the acting business. Plus when you read the credits a lot of Glen/Terence Murphy produced films seem to be a family affair.

The subtitle mistakes (and there were only a couple) didn't bother me when I stopped to think about it. Maybe the budget wasn't there to hire whoever would normally type out the subtitles in the most highly polished of films. Maybe somebody already on the production had to do it because the money to hire wasn't there?

Some others have echoed that maybe the name change of the film wasn't the best idea, though it should be pointed out it wasn't the producers' decision. Terence Murphy said it was down to the sales company wanting the name changed to Lords of London. It seems this decision also resulted in the film's cover poster featuring, rather out of place, a full shot of Terry Lord (Ray Winstone) against a tiny London background. If you look on Glen Murphy's imdb page you can see the poster for the film as "Lost in Italy" and how it is more detailed and relevant to the story. It just makes me think "Why did they go out of the way to do this when it's going to do damage to what's seen on screen?". A great shame and is the only real disappointment of the film as it lets down a lot of people's hard work.

Tracing Cowboys [DVD] [1997] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Tracing Cowboys [DVD] [1997] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Price: £15.50

5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem and fitting tribute only through tragedy, 30 Jan. 2014
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Publicity-wise, Tracing Cowboys should have been so much bigger than it was. Thankfully it did well around the various festivals it was screened at and won some top titles.

Sacha Grunpeter, alongside director Jason Wulfsohn, was the co-writer and co-Producer, but also the lead actor. Sadly, in his home country of Britain, Sacha remains largely unknown even today. His passing was largely unknown until a chance online discovery two years after the event, although maybe it's reporting in the UK was lost due to it occurring (Los Angeles time) July 6th 2005, and 7/7 was propelled from then onwards. In fact, he is best remembered by his stage name, Tom Redhill, with affection for those who saw him in the small amount of roles he had - sitcom "Agony Again", film "Beginners Luck" and, of course, as the cool-cat French footballer Didier Baptiste in drama "Dream Team".

In Tracing Cowboys, Grunpeter's character Ethan, speaks with a Southern-Amercan drawl, you would believe he had been born and raised there. Until half-way through the film that is, when an encounter with a menacing looking law enforcement reveals his (and Grunpeter's) English accent. Even knowing Sacha was English, it's still a nice surprise as deep into the film, you still don't know this about Ethan.

There are some sweet moments in the film which make you smile; Debbie: "What's your favourite food?" Ethan: "Cheese sandwitches." Also Ethan finding his love with Debbie like in his favourite film "The Searchers" and another Ethan and Debbie there.

It may take a second watch of the film to match all the points together, as is often the case with in-depth storytelling - there's always something you miss and only notice the second time round! The film was not supposed to be Sacha's last ever project, but it became it and through that an unintended tribute was created. It's a lovely one though and something to be very proud he, prematurely, ended on.

Children's Ward - The Complete First Series [DVD]
Children's Ward - The Complete First Series [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ian McCulloch
Price: £13.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good opening series from a first time viewer, 19 April 2013
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It's hard to believe, with it's memory in such high regard, stories highly praised, and the amount of future talent that featured both in front of and behind the camera, that Children's Ward had not seen the light of day in repeats since (or even before) the last series ended in 2000. Thankfully it's now a part of Network DVD's catalogue, so all those who saw the show originally and the first time viewers like myself can see the show at last.

Children's Ward's stories are slow-burners, clearly planned out from the beginning of the series' first episode to the last, of thirteen in this series. Fiona Brett's (Rebecca Sowden) hit-and-run features concurrently here, with the mystery of the driver coming, to me, as a great revelation I did not see coming. There are several clever clues pointing to this, only noticed when you watch the series back a second time. Again, great writing by the script department.

Keeley's (Jenny Luckcraft) story is also handled well, with many layers until it's finally revealed what her true illness is. It's easy to see how Keeley becomes such a well-remembered and liked character as people look back on CW, and from reading ahead on where her character is taken, it's a really nice journey. Tim Vincent as Billy is also retained like Keeley, and it's easy to forget for everything else he's done since that T.V was first an actor.

I read how Paul Abbott originally planned for the show to have a children's home setting, but I'm assuming a late 80's-carried stigma prevented this from happening. It's a shame really, as I wonder if the hospital setting made it harder for the writers to keep certain characters in show for long, particularly the children as patients. There are some characters, here and in the two further series so far released, who could easily have lasted longer than the one series they were only a part of. This, and seeing how much more has been got out of characters today in the various Tracey Beaker series'.

As the series goes on, the number of episodes were whittled down from thirteen to as little as ten half-hours for several of the show's run, only getting back up to thirteen in the last couple of years. Just hope the stories were able to be as informative and entertaining for the less time they would have had to tell them as here in Series 1-3.

Children's Ward - The Complete Series 4 [DVD]
Children's Ward - The Complete Series 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Matthew Marsh
Price: £19.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is that the final artwork?, 3 Feb. 2013
If so, it's a bit... odd. The top main image is the Fiona Brett story from Series 1 (a character that only featured in Series 1) ditto the two nurses beside her. Dr. Woods I can't remember if she was still around for Series 4, according to imdb Carol Harvey left in 1991, the year of some Series 3 and 4. I also thought Lee (Kieran O'Brien, also pictured second from top) didn't appear after Series 3.

Oh well, I guess it could be an early edition as it isn't out until June. Still, good to see they are continuing with releasing the series a year and a half after the last release.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 1, 2013 8:09 PM BST

Martin Allen is Missing
Martin Allen is Missing
by Anton Gill
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling account of a truly heartbreaking case, 10 Dec. 2012
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I had never heard of Martin's case until his parents made their most recent public appeal, shortly after the thirtieth anniversary of his abduction in 2009. It struck a cord with me, it wasn't fifteen years ago I was doing what Martin innocently was, travelling home from school on cold winter afternoons with basically no daylight, totally alone and only now as an adult realising how vulnerable I was. Every teenaged boy and girl has to do it. Luckily, I didn't find myself in a situation like Martin's, or one his family was so cruelly thrown into.

Anton Gill's writing gives you a huge insight of this tragic, and terrifying true story. You are taken through the full detail of how the tube journey Martin had made home from school dozens of times collided with that of a man who represents every parents worst nightmare. The ensuing police investigation, and how the lives of Martin's family were turned upside down as they were left with no answers.

In many ways, the book is a tribute to Martin, as you learn so much about who he was, as is often overlooked in missing persons cases, he was a fifteen-year-old boy with an entire life, not someone who only came about the day he disappeared.

As for the abductor, I truly hope that he, if still alive, is incarcerated for another crime, and has been for the proportion of the last thirty-three years. Either that or he is burning in hell for what he did to Martin and his family. The thought of him still being out there and free is a frightening one which I hope isn't the case.

Although the book was published in 1984 and police procedures have changed greatly since then, it is a sad fact that a lot of the information in this book remains today as it was not just then, but in 1979; Martin still being missing, his abductor's identity still unknown, the Allen family (I see Martin's brother Kevin posted above, hope your doing well) having no justice, still no conclusion. It is a testament to their strength upon reading of their most recent status (2009) that they have managed to rebuild their lives in truly appalling circumstances. Even as much as your heart goes out to them while reading of the details of Martin's abduction, you still will never know how it feels unless it's happened to you.

My copy bought here on Amazon's Marketplace features a written dedication at the start from a Lisa to her mother.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 21, 2015 1:25 AM BST

From ATVLand in Colour [DVD]
From ATVLand in Colour [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Raven
Price: £20.63

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved seeing the 238 bus on the titles too!, 13 Mar. 2012
This review is from: From ATVLand in Colour [DVD] (DVD)
This caught my attention having spent 18 years (1986-2004) growing up six miles from Birmingham, although I'd missed the 'glory days' of ATV and mostly remember the Central Rainbow-Pie ident, then the introduction of Carlton with the nationalisation of ITV in 2001 I believe. But because I'd missed all of the ATV period this DVD became more of an education for me, as I expect it would be to those who weren't born, compared to the viewers who were present to see ATV's run.

Coming from the Midlands, I was surprised I had actually no idea 'Bullseye' and 'Spitting Image' had been produced at ATV/Central (again, I was just a kid!), and now see how rich the programming coming out of the Midlands was during this period. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say something special that the Midlands held with these locally made programmes went away approximately at the dawn of the Millennium.

They really were ahead in all of the other ITV regions too, showing what an impressive impact ITV's Midlands input had - and not to mention how (under Central) they got through Prisoner: Cell Block H's run before any other ITV network from 1987-1991.

One thing I found baffling with ATVL-IC was how they didn't seem to have the legal requirements to show footage from actual episodes of Crossroads broadcast, despite it being an ATV produced show. Or maybe it was just the matter of royalties that would have been required to use real scenes. When Jane Rossington is describing her last (1981) scenes with Noele Gordon, the scene of the two is captured in still form, when I, and I'm sure everyone who's heard about those scenes even if (like me) wasn't born at the time, were eagerly waiting for the shot of Meg waving to Jill from the QE2. It was just a shame that scene never made the DVD, as it's widely believed to be one of Crossroads' most iconic scenes. Of course, by that time in 1981, ATV was about to change and those at the top were no longer proud of the show, as Jane touches upon in her interviews.

As many others here have said, ATVLand In Colour is an informative, and generally lovely look-back-to-the-past so thankyou to the Media Archive of Central England and ATVLand.Productions for giving us a beautiful piece of work.

Soap Box - Volume One [DVD]
Soap Box - Volume One [DVD]
Dvd ~ Julie Goodyear
Offered by WonderwoodsTreasures
Price: £11.56

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth it, 8 Dec. 2011
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This review is from: Soap Box - Volume One [DVD] (DVD)
This was a very good idea from Network DVD, a company that specialise in (slowly) giving us the chance to see many shows that haven't been repeated or seen in years. Here, they've rounded up probably every soap ITV created since 1961 and given us a taster of each, most likely to test how well the lesser (non-Corrie, Emmerdale, Crossroads #1) successful/short lived ones would sell as their own box-sets. In fact the only ones I can see missing are the much underrated Crossroads revamp (2001-2002, which there was nothing wrong with and didn't deserve the 2003 version *shudders*) and Night & Day, which was cancelled at the same time.

I admit, the main reason I bought was because the (again, massively underrated) gripping afternoon delight that was Families was included. Seeing the first episode again has reminded me what a missed opportunity it was, literally a hidden gem as it was tucked away in a 3:25pm slot in most regions, only viewable to those at home with young children or in the student/part time world of work at the time. Even in 2011 the concept still sounds awesome - a soap in two countries, although the English side might have been a bit too upper class for viewers to identify with. And don't forget Jude Law!

It's hopeful for the Families fans to see that London Bridge and Revelations have since received their own box sets, London Bridge in particular, as to my knowledge that only went out to London in itself, while Families was broadcast in (again I think) all regions. We can hope... if not Families on it's own please more on the next Soapbox special - possibly the Andrew/Amanda clifftop suicide pact from March 1992? Or Louise being revealed as Jackie's daughter (December 1991 - ten years before Kat/Zoe in EastEnders).

The Bill - Volume 5 [DVD]
The Bill - Volume 5 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Graham Cole
Price: £13.99

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the wait..., 4 Aug. 2011
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This review is from: The Bill - Volume 5 [DVD] (DVD)
This is surely a release many of The Bill's DVD buying fans will be glad finally came. We can only hope we don't have to wait another year and a half for the next 13!

It's much easier to follow the story through the DVD's than trawling the various internet video sites, then to find one or many episodes are missing there. And great to see which famous faces will crop during the earlier days of their acting careers. Including here, appearances from Stella Gonet (The Chain of Command) and Michael Melia - an actor who's had some great roles but you hardly see on TV anymore (Hothead).

Good to see the UK releases are continuing - keep it up! It's only now that the show is gone (a full year later this month) that you appreciate it more, as with many other axed shows.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 9, 2012 1:52 PM BST

Tangled / O.S.T.
Tangled / O.S.T.
Price: £15.70

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With a line-up like this, you couldn't be disappointed!, 30 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Tangled / O.S.T. (Audio CD)
It was my admiration for Mandy Moore that led me to the soundtrack for Tangled, so much so that without the film even being realised to the UK yet, the soundtrack was already a must have of mine. On top of that, the songwriting and score expectations couldn't be higher coming from the man seen as the Andrew Lloyd Webber of Disney animated scores, Alan Menken.

And I was happy to know my hopes wouldn't be dashed. The songs are strong, the score is beautiful, and it's always interesting to hear what actors who aren't particularly famed for their singing (Zachary Levi and Brad Garrett mainly) sound like in song. The duet between Levi and Moore "I See The Light" has now been nominated for a Golden Globe.

It was a plesant surprise to see the soundtrack available (through Amazon) to the UK upon it's official release, and over two months before we are getting the film (January 28).

With Tangled being the most expensive-made animated film of all time, second most expensive after Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, it was surprising that they didn't recruit a top artist to sing a theme song that would do any Disney film before it, or even James Bond movie justice. Maybe they felt enough had been done with signing both Mandy Moore and Alan Menken to the same project, so chose a lesser known artist in Grace Potter for what I'm guessing was the theme. Who knows - what with Celine Dion doing the theme for another one of Alan's scores in "Beauty and the Beast" in the early stages of her career, maybe Grace could be heading in the same direction.

All in all a great music list for what looks to be a beautifully produced movie!

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