Valentine's shopping list – British drama edition
Not to worry, British drama fans. Didn’t leave you out of the Valentine’s shopping mix. Took care of the comedy folks yesterday, time for the top five all-time favorite drama DVD sets that will be great additions to DVD libraries across the land. Don’t forget that if you click the link below which takes you to Amazon and actually purchase something, KERA gets a small percentage of that purchase to support British comedy programming.
Again, all you have to do now is remember the flower/dinner part of the equation.
To this day, this 13-part series, starring Sir Derek Jacobi, John Hurt and Brian Blessed, is still pure greatness and consistently ranks in every poll every done as one of the best in BBC history. In addition to the series, in the true sense of “DVD extras” you also get a documentary feature, The Epic That Never Was which is a behind-the-scenes look at the ill-fated 1937 screen adaptation of I, Claudius, starring Merle Oberon and Charles Laughton.
Given the age of this series, not much in the way of “DVD extras”, but it’s still recognized as one of the all-time favorites both on the BBC and on PBS as part of the Masterpiece Theatre series. The New York Times originally wrote that Poldark, starring Robin Ellis, was a “romantic adventure, complete with raging ambition, terrible betrayals, frustrated loves, daring deeds, and a marvelously dashing hero”. How can you go wrong with that? Anyone remember Robin Ellis in the Fawlty Towers “Touch of Class” episode?
Upstairs Downstairs – The Complete Megaset
Definition of “megaset”? Easy. 68 episodes, 20 DVD’s. Also includes shows not aired during the original broadcast and an hour-long retrospective Upstairs Downstairs Remembered: The 25th Anniversary Special. Have to think the Bellamy family exploits at 165 Eaton Place and their servants below made up the first reality series ever on television….and, the best.
Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Granada Television Series
We already know where I stand in the whole “Jeremy Brett vs. Robert Downey Jr” issue so how could I not include this in my top five. I know, I need to let this go, but it’s still one of the greats of all time in the early days of the PBS series, Mystery, when you had Poirot, Miss Marple and Rumpole of the Bailey to look forward to along with Sherlock Holmes. Along with the 41 episodes on 12 discs, you also get promos, commentary tracks, an exclusive interview with Edward Hardwicke, who played Dr. Watson, an interview with Adrian Conan Doyle and more.
Brideshead Revisited – 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition
Last, but certainly not least, another classic from Great Performances starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. If Upstairs/Downstairs was early, early reality television, Brideshead Revisited was definitely appointment television in those days along with Dallas and, later, Tales of the City. Again, given the age of the series, not much in the way of “extras”, but you do get the full 11-hour series, a retrospective documentary, Revisiting Brideshead, outtakes, a companion guide with director’s introduction, episode descriptions, an Evelyn Waugh biography, photo gallery, production notes and cast filmographies.
My work here is done. The rest is up to you for Valentines Day. Anyone else have a different top-five to help out?