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Shaw Has the Chops to Carry It with Warmth and Humour,
This review is from: Inspector George Gently - Series 3 [DVD] (DVD)
GEORGE GENTLY, Series 3. This is a British television series that debuted in 2007 on the BBC. The crime/drama/British mystery production has aired on PBS stations in the United States. The show centers on Chief Inspector George Gently, an old school copper, once one of the few good men at Scotland Yard. On the eve of his retirement, the world-weary cop decides to pursue one final murder case, suspecting that it was committed by a gangster who's already gotten away with the murder of Gently's own wife. So, as played by the sixty-something Tony® nominated Martin Shaw, Gently relocates to Northumberland, in the North East of England, tucked in just below Hadrian's Wall, a relic of the Roman occupation of Britain a millennium or so ago. Gently takes on headstrong sidekick John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby, NICHOLAS NICKLEBY); starts solving murders in a time of profound change: the 1960s. The series is based on Alan Hunter's novels. In DVD format, there is a 2-disc boxed set, running approximately 176 minutes, widescreen format. The entertainment is also available screened. And, praises be, thanks to RLJ Entertainment/Acorn, subtitles. Or how else would anyone on this side of the pond understand a word of that local dialect?
The episodes are:
Gently and Bachus are called to a crime scene at a working-class boarding house, where they find a young woman brutally beaten to death. But her eyes have been discreetly covered with a white handkerchief. The victim, a ‘good time girl’ semi-prostitute, carried her daughter’s birth certificate in her purse. The name of the child’s father was crossed out and "Satan" penciled in. As they follow this lead, Gently and Bacchus probe the awful secrets of a family that seems to suffer from, and harbor, pure evil. Features Ruth McCabe, (MY LEFT FOOT), Daniel Casey, (MIDSOMER MURDERS).
Peace & Love
Young peace protesters from Durham University clash with the police when it is rumored that nuclear submarines will be docking at the local naval base. The next morning, the demonstrators’ fiery leader, the womanizing faculty member Fraser Barratt, is found dead at dockside. The investigation takes Gently and Bacchus on campus, where big changes in the social, political, and sexual spheres have left little peace in the normally placid groves of academia. Features Sarah Lancashire (LAST TANGO IN HALIFAX, THE PARADISE) as another young academic, and Warren Clarke (DALZIEL AND PASCO) as the campus security chief.
The first episode is particularly powerful and engrossing, coming to an unexpected conclusion. The second, though it too reaches an unexpected conclusion, and is powerful and memorable, does feel like it is based on slightly dated original material. Distinguished casts give us uniformly fine acting. Shaw, whom many viewers consider to be the best actor ever to play Adam Dalgleish in the televised versions of P.D. James' crime novels, has the chops and the gravitas to play Gently, and to carry the show. He and Ingleby play off each other with warmth and humour. Author Hunter set his work in East Anglia, around Norfolk, where he grew up; however, the television series has been set in more northerly latitude, filmed around Durham and in Ireland. The 1960s were, as any survivor can tell you, an energetically eventful era: the tense political climate of the Cold War; then, attitudes and values begin to change as the Swinging Sixties belatedly hit the North East, a process the scripts show in fine detail. The series is shot in high definition; scripts are witty and ingenious, direction is stylish. Rural Britain - or is it Ireland?--provides a beautiful backdrop for the action. The production, which has been compared to FOYLES WAR and MIDSOMER MURDERS, is fully-fleshed out, and fully involving.