ARCHIVED NEWS - 6th to 12th OCTOBER 2003

12th October 

The Zoltan - Hound of Dracula disc has appeared. It's a bare-bones disc (not even a trailer), but at least it has an anamorphic widescreen transfer (at about 1.61:1). Click here to see the menu screens.

Fans of period drama might want to catch the first part of Henry VIII tonight on ITV at 9pm. VCI is releasing the two-part series on DVD on the 27th of October, and it looks like the disc will include a lot of bonus material, including interviews and behind the scenes footage. 

VCI has changed the release date of the Upstairs Downstairs - Series 1-5 box set, and it is now due to appear a week later than originally scheduled, on the 3rd of November.

11th October

Today is Zeta Minor's first birthday. I'll say no more, other than to offer thanks to the various DVD companies and their PR agencies who have offered their support; to friends, family and work colleagues for their encouragement and understanding; and to all the site's visitors. Sincerely.

Columbia Tristar has penciled in their lineup for January 2004. There are no specifications available yet, so here's the skinny...

On the 12th of January they'll release the classic 1971 Richard Attenborough serial killer movie 10 Rillington Place; John Cusack's recent sleeper hit Identity; family drama Big Girls Don't Cry; Ving Rhames' straight-to-video cop revenge thriller Sin; flyweight comedy There's A Girl In My Soup, which stars Peter Sellers and Goldie Hawn; and a double-bill of tear-jerking wildlife dramas Born Free and Living Free

A week later, on the 19th Columbia are releasing a trilogy of martial-arts films: Double Vision (a.k.a. Shuang tong), about two mis-matched cops who team up to hunt a serial killer in Taiwan; So Close (a.k.a. Chik yeung tin sai), a high-octane thriller directed by The Enforcer's Corey Yuen; and Returner, a science-fiction action movie about an assassin.

The 26th of January will see the release of Vincent Gallo's critically- acclaimed kidnap drama Buffalo '66 and heist thriller The Code (aka La Montale). Columbia will also take their fourth crack at Jim Henson's whimsical fantasy epic The Dark Crystal (already available in a regular edition and Superbit versions, it will also soon be available as a two-film set with Labyrinth). There are no details yet, other than its description as a "Collector's Edition". There's more from the late Jim Henson with the third volume of The Best of The Muppets, and a disc of the fondly-remembered 1980s children's series Fraggle Rock (hopefully featuring material from the early series, featuring Fulton Mackay as the Captain). Another disc of the Phil Cornwall and John Sessions comedy Stella Street is also due on the 26th.

The BBC has an impressive lineup for November - something for everyone. Once again, most of the news has been leaked out in one form or another, so here are the highlights, with details from the source.

Heading the release are two classic comedy releases: Red Dwarf - The Original Third Series and I'm Alan Partridge - Series 2

The two-disc Red Dwarf set contains the six episodes of the revitalised third season, originally shown in 1988 (Backwards, Marooned, Polymorph, Bodyswap, Timeslides and The Last Day), and comes with more than three hours of bonus materials, not including the cast commentary tracks (by Chris Barrie, Craig Charles, Danny John-Jules, Robert Llewellyn and Hattie Hayridge). Other bonus features include: All Change (a new, eighty-minute documentary); twenty minutes of deleted scenes; Smeg Ups (outtakes); Hattie's DJ Diary (an hour-long document of a 2003 Red Dwarf fan convention); Building a Better Universe (a tribute to Red Dwarf's production designer, Mel Bibby); Food featurette (about killer kebabs and curry monsters); Backwards Forwards (the in-reverse episode, played backwards); Trailers; raw special effects footage; isolated music cues; extracts from the talking book adaptations (read by Chris Barrie); photo gallery; and Easter eggs. RRP is £19.99. Red Dwarf - The Original Fourth Series will be released in February.

I'm Alan Partridge - Series 2 finds Alan bouncing back from the humiliations piled on him in the first series. He's living in a caravan alongside the building site where his new home is under construction, with a much-younger Ukrainian girlfriend (Coronation Street's Amelia Bullmore), and a regular slot on Radio Norwich. The two-disc set contains all six episodes (The Talented Mr Alan, The Colour of Alan, Brave Alan, Never Say Alan Again, I Know What Alan Did Last Summer and Alan Wide Shut), and a good selection of bonus material: Anglian Lives (a thirty minute documentary); Unused Alan deleted scenes; cast and production commentary (sadly without Steve Coogan, who was committed to other projects); Add On Alan (10m of bonus footage); Alan Aid (highlights of the 1991 and 2001 Comic Relief shows); Audio Alan (jingles) and Still Alan photo' gallery. The disc, due on November the 10th, has an RRP of £19.99. 

Strangers on the Shore, the second part of the lamentable final Only Fools and Horses trilogy, which was shown on Christmas Day last year, will be  released on November the 17th, with an RRP of £17.99.

A new three-disc set of Fawlty Towers will be released on November the 3rd, with a whopping RRP of £37.99. The set will feature all twelve episodes ("all completely digitised and restored"), and will be packaged with a limited-edition Corgi model of Basil's red Austin 1300, and a scale figure of Basil about to beat the car with a branch.

Bonus features include interviews with John Cleese, Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs; commentary by producer John Howard Davies (series 1) and director Bob Spiers (series 2); Torquay Tourist Guide (a mini-documentary about the Gleneagles Hotel, which inspired the series); artist and charactor profiles; a 1979 Not The Nine O'clock News trailer introduced by Cleese and an illustrated book.

The Fast Show Farewell Tour is released on the 24th of November, with an RRP of £15.99. The 110-minute programme is complemented by a 45 minute bonus documentary, The Limp Was My Idea, which includes behind the scenes material and tour bus footage, which has a filmed commentary by stars Paul Whitehouse, Charlie Higson and Simon Day.

There's more Steve Coogan than you can shake a stick at in the Paul and Pauline Calf's Cheese and Ham Sandwich DVD, which is due on November the 17th, with an RRP of £15.99. The disc features a stage performance recorded at the Neptune Theatre in Liverpool, marking Paul and Pauline's return to the stage after an eight-year absence. The DVD will also feature an exclusive fly-on-the-wall documentary, Making A Cheese and Ham Sandwich, and all of Paul and Pauline's appearances on Jonathan Ross's variety show Saturday Zoo

Other November releases include Play Like Champions: The Official Manchester United Training and Skills Programme and Doctor Who - The Three Doctors (which was included in the News entry for the 4th of October).

Finally, the release of Futurama - Season 4 set has been postponed by a week, and will now be released on November the 24th. (For more details, see the News entry for the 23rd of September, and the pack-shot, below).

10th October

Paramount will release the fifth season of Sex And The City on November the 17th. The season was only eight episodes long (to accommodate Sarah Jessica Parker's pregnancy), making the set under four hours long, for a rather outrageous RRP of £29.99. 

Blue Underground has issued a statement about the faulty copies of Circus of Fear discs, which was mentioned in the News yesterday (below):

Blue Underground has researched the Circus of Fear playability issue and determined that there is in fact a replication problem. We are in discussions with our manufacturer WAMO to decide the best plan to replace customers'  defective discs. Since this is the first time we've encountered any manufacturing problems with our discs we need a few days to sort this situation. We will issue a statement regarding the exchange program early next week on our website ( and to all the major DVD forums.

Please be assured that this is an unusual situation since we quality check all our DVD check discs at an outside facility on over 50 randomly selected players as well as doing our own in-house check. This defect seems to have occurred during the manufacturing of the commercial product.

We appreciate your patience and ongoing support of Blue Underground.

You can join in the discussion about the Christopher Lee Collection in this thread over at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

MGM has sent out a very swanky CD-Rom press kit which announces some of their key titles for the rest of the year. Most of the information has already leaked out in one shape or another, so there's not much here that would qualify as news, but here is the hard info, straight from the source.

It's funny how you can have misconceptions about a film's success. For example, Legally Blonde, the bubbly comedy about a sorority queen (Reese Witherspoon) who becomes a lawyer, made quite an impression. It was an $18m movie that grossed more than $100m. It seemed to me that the film's sequel, Legally Blonde 2 - Bigger, Bolder and Blonder (Reese's character becomes a congresswoman's aide) sunk without trace, but looking at the box office figures, it made almost as much money as the first film (unfortunately it cost more than twice as much to make!)

Legally Blonde 2 will be released on the 1st of December, with an RRP of £19.99. The disc will come with a booklet offering discount coupons for various girly stuff, and will be packed with bonus material (more than the Region 1 version, by the looks of things) :

  • Audio Commentary with Jennifer Coolidge, Alanna Ubach and Jessica Cauffiel 

  • Outtakes

  • Deleted Scenes

  • 2 x Easter Eggs

  • Gag Reel

  • We Can by LeAnn Rimes: Music Video followed by soundtrack spot

  • Welcome to Delta Nu: Interactive Quiz

  • Feature Length Trivia Track

  • Photo Gallery 

  • Theatrical Trailer 

  • SIMS 2 Preview 

  • Five Featurettes:

    Blonde Ambition: Production 

    Pretty in Pink: Design and Art 

    Stars and Stripes? Never!: Costumes 

    Hair Apparent: Hair and Make-Up

    Elle’s Anthem: Music and Score 

MGM will release a collection of five of the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies on the 10th of November. 

The six-disc set contains The Pink Panther, A Shot In The Dark, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther and Trail of the Pink Panther. The sixth disc will feature three hours of bonus materials, including:

  • Inside The Pink Panther - New documentary

  • That’s Panthertainment - Vintage 1978 special – includes outtakes and deleted scenes

  • Behind the Feline: Cartoon Phenomenon – New documentary focusing on the cartoon creation

  • Six of the best Pink Panther cartoons including Academy Award Winner The Pink Phink

  • The Unknown Peter Sellers – 60 minute documentary

  • The Commercial Peter Sellers - with Making Of

  • Exclusive highly collectible eight page booklet

  • Shots in the Dark - photo gallery

The set will also include a commentary track, by director Blake Edwards, on The Pink Panther, which will also feature a trivia track. Trailers for the films will also be included. As is usually the case with MGM, no technical spec's have been announced. There's a discussion thread about this set over at Roobarb's DVD Forum, which you can find here.

The set has an RRP of £59.99, and comes in a fold out digipak designed by "hip artist of the moment" (okay, if you say so!) Shag. The set does look very nice though, as you can see from this picture...

By odd coincidence I was watching A Muppet Christmas Carol this morning - don't ask! - and now here's MGM's announcement of It's A Very Muppet Christmas Movie, which will be released on November the 24th, with an RRP of £12.99. 

The TV movie's another Muppet musical, this time parodying several Christmas movies, like The Grinch and It's A Wonderful Life. The plot involves the Muppets trying to save their theatre from a developer (Joan Cusack) who wants to turn it into a nightclub. 

Other guest stars include Whoopi Goldberg, David Arquette, Matthew Lillard, William H. Macy, the cast of the medical sitcom Scrubs and a certain wizened green Jedi. The disc will contain deleted scenes and a trailer. There's no mention on the press release of the Inside Pepe's Studio featurette, the Easter Eggs or the other less useful extras that are included on the US disc.

It looks like MGM's earlier announcement of Agent Cody Banks (see News entry for the 27th of August) was a little premature.

The release has now been upgraded to Collector's Edition status, and the sleeve art (left) has now been updated accordingly. 

The UK disc will now feature most of the bonus materials that are on the Region 1 version, which was released in August. Despite this it looks like the UK disc is still inferior to the US version, which contains a second commentary track, by the film's writers, that's apparently not on the UK Region 2 release.

[The durations are taken from the BBFC website]

  • Audio Commentary with Frankie Muniz, Angie Harmon and director Harald Zwart

  • 6 Deleted Scenes 

  • Outtakes [3m]

  • 2 x Easter Eggs

  • Mini Featurettes:

  • Creating Cody’s World  [set tour]

  • Developing Agent Cody Banks [5m, pre-production featurette]

  • Posting Cody Banks [music and special effects featurette]

  • Director’s Diary  [13m]

  • Frankie Muniz Going Big

  • Agent Action  [7m, stunts featurette]

  • How to Talk to Girls [2m]

  • Cool Make-Up Tricks from Hilary Duff [2m]

  • Storyboard to Film Comparisons [8m]

  • Multi-Camera Sequences 

  • Theatrical Trailer 

  • Agent Cody Banks 2 teaser trailer

 8th October

Universal will release the recent Australian comedy The Man Who Sued God on the 1st of December, just over three months after it's modest theatrical release. No technical spec's have been announced.

The film stars Billy Connolly as a former lawyer who battles against an insurance company who refuse to pay for his fishing boat, after it's struck by lightning, claiming it to be "an act of God". So, taking the only logical course of action, he decides to sue God, which puts the church is something of a quandary: if they deny liability, they effectively admit that God does not exist, and if they pay the claim, it will open the floodgates for thousands of similar claims. The film also stars the estimable Judy Davis, as a journalist covering the case.

A couple of consumer alerts, based on reports filtering in from various sources:

Some copies of Doctor Who - The Curse of Fenric have two copies of one of the discs, so if you're picking one up over the counter it's best to check before you leave with it.

Several people are reporting problems with the Circus of Fear disc in Blue Underground's Christopher Lee Collection box set. My copy was fine, but others are locking up during playback.

6th October

Here's a look at the box artwork for the fourth Futurama box set, which is being released on the 17th of November. The set will feature commentary tracks, deleted scenes, trailers and Easter Eggs. The four-disc set has an RRP of £39.99. See the News entry for the 23rd of September for more details.

Last week's News entries can be found by following the link below...  


29th September-5th October 2003

22nd-28th September 2003

15th-21st September 2003

8-14th September 2003

1st-7th September 2003

August 2003

July 2003




Unless explicitly stated, DVD screen captures used in the reviews are for illustrative purposes only, and are not intended to be accurate representations of the DVD image.   While screen captures are generally in their correct aspect ratio, there will often have been changes made to the resolution, contrast, hue and sharpness, to optimise them for web display.

Site content copyright © J.A.Knott - 2002-2004