Simply Media continues to be one of the few companies to mine the BBC archives and they’ll be adding another four releases to their increasing range of BBC DVDs next month.
The Ginger Tree, Charters and Caldicott, Next of Kin and Nature Boy are four very different series which should offer something for most tastes. I have to confess that I’m most looking forward to Charters and Caldicott, thanks to the wonderful combination of Robin Bailey and Michael Aldridge (although the supporting cast, including Tessa Peake-Jones and Caroline Blakiston, is very decent as well).
All four DVDs are due to be released on the 25th of April 2016 and below are some more details on each of them.
The Ginger Tree, broadcast in 1989, is a historical drama set in 1903. It stars Samantha Bond as a young Scottish woman, Mary MacKenzie, who travels to Manchuria to marry a British army officer. But she grows disenchanted and begins an affair with a married Japanese nobleman, Count Kentaro Kurihama (Daisuke Ryu). After bearing his child, she finds herself ostracised by Japanese society. DVD Review.
Title: The Ginger Tree. Certificate: 12
Release Date: 25 April 2016. Cat No: 166312
Running Time: 240 mins approx. RRP: £19.99
Robin Bailey and Michael Aldridge star as Charters and Caldicott. The characters first appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s film adaptation of The Lady Vanishes, although this serial finds them living in the modern (1985) world. After a young girl is found murdered in Caldicott’s flat, the pair turn detective to solve what turns out to be a complex mystery. DVD Review.
Title: Charters and Caldicott. Certificate: 12
Release Date: 25 April 2016. Cat No: 166313
Running Time: 300 mins approx. RRP: £24.99
Sitcom stalwarts Penelope Keith and William Gaunt take the lead roles in Next of Kin which ran for three series during 1995 and 1997 (all the episodes are included on this DVD). Maggie and Andrew Prentice are forced to put their plans for an early retirement on hold when they reluctantly find themselves – following the death of their son – the guardians of their grandchildren. Gaunt was no stranger to the family sitcom (having starred in No Place Like Home) but the unusual theme of this series makes it worth a look. Although it managed three series (not unusual for even middling sitcoms back then) it seems to have disappeared without trace since, so it’ll be interesting to see how it stands up today. DVD Review.
Title: Next of Kin: The Complete Collection Series 1-3). Certificate: 12
Release Date: 25 April 2016. Cat No: 166314
Running Time: 660 mins approx. RRP: £39.99
David (Lee Ingleby) only has vague memories of his father (played by Paul McGann) who left home when he was a young child. Now seventeen, David (endowed with a love of nature thanks to his father’s influence) vows to track him down. Along the way he finds love, pain and a new life as an environmental campaigner. Nature Boy, broadcast in 2000, won the Royal Television Society Award for Best Drama in 2001. DVD Review.
Title: Nature Boy. Certificate: 15
Release Date: 25 April 2016. Cat No: 166412
Running Time: 240 mins approx. RRP: £24.99