Director Neil Jordan's gothic outing is a unique excursion into horror.
Tom Brown's Schooldays, based on the classic novel set in the Victorian era. In this five-episode miniseries broadcast on BBC 1 young Tom Brown (Anthony Murphy) leaves home for Rugby, a well-respected school in decline. His arrival coincides with the appointment of a new headmaster, Dr. Arnold (Iain Cuthbertson), who aspires to reform the school by stamping out bullying, drunkenness, and bigotry. Tom's struggle is more personal: Before his arrival, he offended a wealthy but corrupt man who commissions his equally dissolute son Gerald (Richard Morant), a senior student at Rugby, to make Tom's life miserable. Gerald schemes with relish, finally catching Tom in a trap that threatens to break the forthright boy's spirit. The story could be pure melodrama were it not for the vivid details of life in a boarding school. As the plot moves this way and that, it's always kept real by the hardships of the time (boys sleep five to a bed, younger boys act as servants to older ones), making Tom Brown's Schooldays a keen social critique as well as an engaging story. There are some inspired performances; Too often a virtuous hero is a recipe for blandness, but the insightful script makes Tom clever but fallible and he refuses to mistreat those less privileged out of conscious choice, not because of some immutable goodness--the character (and the story) is more compelling as a result.
Connie: The Complete Series (4 Discs)
It's tough trying to beat the 1934 version of the popular adventure-romance story, starring Leslie Howard as the 18th-century British hero who poses as a fop in London society but runs a secret mission to rescue the doomed in Robespierre's Paris. But this 1982 television version, starring Anthony Andrews (Sebastian Flyte in Brideshead Revisited) as the Pimpernel and Jane Seymour as his beloved but estranged wife, is quite a treat. Andrews and Seymour expertly capture the essence of a relationship suffering from misunderstandings and elusive passion, and there is plenty of crackle to the action sequences. Clive Donner (What's New, Pussycat?) brings some strong cinematic qualities to this television presentation. --Tom Keogh
Captain Robert Falcon Scott of England and Roald Amundsen of Norway race the elements and each other to be the first to plant a flag at the world's South Pole. Despite the perception that the British were sure to beat the Norwegians Scott's expedition led to disaster and death in the middle of the icy wilderness. A docudrama in seven episodes: 1. Poles Apart 2. Minor Diversions 3. Leading Men 4. Gentlemen and Players 5. The Glories of the Race 6. Forgone Conclusion 7. Rejoice
Paris 1792. Each day scores of the French nobility feed the guillotine. They are trapped in the capital: there is no escape. But rumours whisper of a league of young English gentlemen of unparalleled daring who risk their lives to spirit aristocrats across the Channel. They leave no trace behind them except a note from the ""Scarlett Pimpernel"" (Anthony Andrews). The ruthless spy master Chauvelin (Ian McKellen) is determined to stop the rescuers by fair means or foul - and desperately outnumbered the Scarlet Pimpernel and his men must use all their wits to evade capture and stay alive. With a dazzling all-British cast this glorious production of Baroness Orczy's classic adventure novel is one of the largest single television productions ever made - winning critical acclaim on its release and wowing generations of viewers for over two decades. Nominated for three Academy awards and winner of an Emmy award for Outstanding Costume Design.
The Agatha Christie Hour is a collection of ten hour-long dramas based on short stories by the most popular novelist in history. Some were romances some had supernatural themes and a couple were adventures. The common link was that all came from the talented pen of Agatha Christie all were entertaining and each drama was carefully crafted and well cast with many of Britain's best known actors of the time represented. Episodes Comprise: The Case of the Middle-Aged Wife: When Mrs Packington whose husband is paying more attention to his young secretary answers an ad in the papers reading ARE YOU HAPPY? IF NOT CONSULT MR PARKER PYNE she soon finds herself being dazzled and swept off her feet by the handsome Claude Luttrell. In A Glass Darkly: Matthew Armitage is startled by a vision in his mirror: he sees a man with a scarred neck strangling a beautiful blonde. He later meets the woman in his vision Sylvia and notes her fiance's scarred neck. Mathew tells Sylvia of his premonition and the engagement is broken off. But is that all there is to it? The Case of the Discontented Soldier: The recently retired Major Wilbraham is bored and unhappy so he answers Parker Pyne's newspaper ad. Before long the Major finds himself rescuing Freda Clegg from two burly attackers; with Freda in tow he embarks on a daring adventure to find treasure in the wilds of Africa! Another charming love story of an autumn romance. Magnolia Blossom: Theodora Darrell is running away with her lover - and business associate of her husband - Vincent Easton when she learns her husband Richard is facing financial ruin. Old loyalties resurface and she returns home to see if she can fix the situation. The Mystery of the Blue Jar: Playing golf early one morning Jack Harrington hears a cry Murder! Help! from a nearby cottage. He runs up to find a beautiful French girl Felise placidly weeding the garden oblivious to any disturbance. When the Jack hears the same cries for many days he begins to think he might be mad. But are more sinister forces at work? The Red Signal: Dermot West is invited to dinner at the home of Jack and Claire Trent. The first is his best friend the second the woman he loves. During the evening the conversation turns to the supernatural; Dermot admits he frequently gets what he calls 'the red signal' to warn him of impending danger. He neglects to mention that he is getting the signal strongly that night! Jane in Search of a Job: Jane Cleveland lands a sought-after job as double for the Grand Duchess of Ostrova during the latter's state visit to England. An attempt is feared on the Duchess' life and when Jane is framed for a theft events become ever more complicated. Can she clear her name and who is trying to kill the Duchess? The Manhood of Edward Robinson: Prim and proper yet a romantic dreamer Edward Robinson leads a rather dull life with his domineering girlfriend and uninspiring job. His quiet dull life ends when he wins some money in a newspaper contest and he embarks on an adventure that even he never dreamed of. The Girl in The Train: George Rowland a bored playboy disowned for the seventh time by his wealthy uncle is on the train to London. When a beautiful girl bursts into his compartment frantically begging to be hidden his life changes dramatically. The Fourth Man: A canon a lawyer and a psychiatrist find themselves together on a train bound for Newcastle. There is a fourth man in the compartment who apparently pays no attention to his companions' animated conversation.
Edward Petherbridge stars as Lord Peter Wimsey. Harriet Vane decides it is time to take a break and heads to North Devon. On a walking tour the peace is shattered when she finds the body of a man on the beach with his throat slit.
Welcome to Cornwall England's westernmost county. The year is 1780 and the political and social atmosphere is as stormy as the sea that pounds the rocky shores. Into this landscape Captain Ross Poldark (Robin Ellis) returns from the American war to take up his inheritance and take up with his beloved Elizabeth (Jill Townsend). But with false reports of his death having reached Cornwall ahead of him what will he find? First broadcast in 1975 this release features the second ha
Edward Petherbridge stars as Lord Peter Wimsey in this classic adaptation of the novel by Dorothy L. Sayers. Harriet Vane is invited to return to Shrewsbury College but someone is terrorising the faculty and the students of the college by sending vicious anonymous letters.
Edward Petherbridge stars as the aristocratic detective Lord Peter Wimsey in this who-dun-nit from the pen of Dorothy L. Sayers. Mystery writer Harriet Vane is on trial for the murder of her lover. The evidence seems pretty conclusive. Not an hour after leaving her flat Philip Boyles was found dead in the back of a taxi cab - from arsenic posioning. Wimsey attends the trial and becomes beguiled by the writer. He also becomes convinced of her innocence of the crime. When the jury
This classic BBC adaptation of Thomas Hughes' novel is set amongst the class rooms playing fields and dormitories of Rugby school. Tom (Anthony Murphy) is initially overjoyed to find out that he has a place at the prestigious Rugby school. An altercation with Sir Richard Flashman whose son is the resident bully ensures that Tom is in for a rough ride...
Based on the true story of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's love affair. Set against some of the greatest music ever written this film offers a definitive insight into the lives of two of the most iconic figures in popular music. John and Yoko is the true story of two incredibly talented artists who touched the lives of millions.
Episodes Comprise: The Mystery of the Blue Jar: Playing golf early one morning Jack Harrington hears a cry Murder! Help! from a nearby cottage. He runs up to find a beautiful French girl Felise placidly weeding the garden oblivious to any disturbance. When the Jack hears the same cries for many days he begins to think he might be mad. But are more sinister forces at work? The Red Signal: Dermot West is invited to dinner at the home of Jack and Claire Trent. The first is his best friend the second the woman he loves. During the evening the conversation turns to the supernatural; Dermot admits he frequently gets what he calls 'the red signal' to warn him of impending danger. He neglects to mention that he is getting the signal strongly that night!
Based on the series of novels written by Dorothy L Sayers in the 1920s and 30s, Lord Peter Wimsey was dramatised for TV by the BBC between 1972-5. Ian Carmichael, veteran of British film comedy, played the genial, aristocratic sleuth; Glyn Houston was his manservant Bunter. The pair are similar to PG Wodehouse's Jeeves and Bertie Wooster (whom Carmichael played in an earlier TV adaptation) though here the duo are equal in intelligence, breezing about the country together in Wimsey's Bentley and stumbling with morbid regularity upon baffling murder mysteries to test their wits. Those for whom this series forms hazy memories of childhood might be surprised at its somewhat stagy, lingering interior shots, the spartan paucity of music, the miserly attitude towards locations, especially foreign ones, and the rather genteel, leisurely pace of these programmes, besides which Inspector Morse seems like Quentin Tarantino in comparison. It seems that initially the BBC was reluctant to commission the series and ventured on production with a wary eye on the budget. The Britain depicted by Sayers is, by and large, populated by either the upper classes or heavily accented, rum-do-and-no-mistake lower orders, which some might find consoling. However, the acting is generally excellent and the murder mysteries are sophisticated parlour games, the televisual equivalent of a good, absorbing jigsaw puzzle. There were five feature-length adaptations in all. "Clouds of Witness" sees Wimsey investigate the death of his brother the Duke of Denver's fiancée. --David Stubbs
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