31st March

Robbie Coltrane returns to our TV screens tonight at 9pm, in a new two-part drama series called The Planman. He plays a successful, brilliant Glaswegian QC who idly kills time by planning the perfect crime, but is horrified to discover that one of his colleagues, a former DC (Vincent Regan), has been paying close attention... 

It's great to have Coltrane back, and in something that he's really able to get his teeth into. This is his first major role since Cracker. The series' other delights include the great Graham Crowden playing a judge, Lord Belford, who has a courtroom run-in with Coltrane's character in the first episode. Carlton will be releasing the series on DVD on May 12th.

The second box set of the ITC action series The Protectors is currently scheduled for release on May 12th. More details as I get them...

The HowlingThe US division of MGM have announced a new batch of classic horror movies that will be released in August. 

They are: a double-bill of two early 70s Hammer movies, starring Ingrid Pitt, The Vampire Lovers and Countess Dracula. Both films will be presented in widescreen format (1.66:1 for Countess Dracula, 1.85:1 for Vampire Lovers), and will apparently be uncut (Vampire Lovers will contain all the restored footage from MGM's VHS edition, plus a full-frontal nude shot of Pitt emerging from her bathtub). A day-for-night scene that was accidentally left unfiltered in MGM's previous VHS release has also been corrected. Countess Dracula will have a commentary track by director Peter Sasdy, writer Jeremy Paul and star Ingrid Pitt. The Vampire Lovers will have a commentary track by director Roy Ward Baker, scriptwriter Tudor Gates and star Ingrid Pitt.

There are two Roger Corman / Edgar Allen Poe releases for fans to add to their collections. The first contains the sublime Comedy of Terrors and The Raven, both in new 16:9-enhanced 2.35:1 transfers. The disc will contain interviews with writer Richard Matheson and director Roger Corman, and a presentation of a rare flexi-disc LP used to promote The Raven. The second disc will contain a new 16:9, 2.35:1 transfer of The Tomb of Ligeia and Vincent Price's 1972 TV special An Evening With Edgar Allen Poe. The Tomb of Ligeia will have two commentary tracks, one by Roger Corman, the other by British star Elizabeth Shepherd and film historian David Del Valle (which previously appeared on the laserdisc release). 

MGM promised last year that if their bare-bones release of Joe Dante's sly 1981 werewolf movie The Howling was a success they'd consider releasing a Special Edition version. Well, in August they're honouring that pledge by releasing a disc containing a 16:9-enhanced 1.85:1 transfer of the film with 5.1 audio. Extras include a great commentary track (by Dante and stars Dee Wallace-Stone, Robert Picardo and the late Christopher Stone, ported over from the old laserdisc version), deleted scenes, outtakes and a brand new 48-minute documentary.

The 1923 Boris Karloff film The Ghoul has never had a decent home video release, something that MGM's 70th Anniversary Restored Edition will hopefully rectify. The disc will contain a new transfer made from elements held by the BFI, and subjected to extensive digital restoration. 

Other titles in the new batch include an uncut version of Raw Meat (perhaps better known here as Deathline); an uncut, widescreen Squirm, with commentary by director Jeff Lieberman; Burnt Offerings, with commentary by director Dan Curtis, scriptwriter William F. Nolan and star Karen Black; the controversial 1988 Victor Salva flick Clownhouse; a widescreen I. Madman (aka Hardcover); the Jim Carrey, Lauren Hutton vampire movie Once Bitten; a Poltergeist II: The Other Side and Poltergeist III double-bill (presenting The Other Side in it's original 2.35:1 ratio) and two fun double-bill discs containing Ghoulies and Ghoulies 2 and Troll and Troll 2.

Here's a look at the sleeves for a new Norman Wisdom DVD collection, coming from Carlton. They are, from left to right: The Bulldog Breed / One Good Turn, On The Beat / Man of the Moment, The Square Peg / Follow A Star, Trouble in Store / Up In The World, A Stitch in Time / Just My Luck and The Early Bird / Press For Time. These double-bill discs will be released in May (tentatively May 12th). Four of the films (The Early Bird, A Stitch In Time, On The Beat and Trouble In Store) will feature commentary from Wisdom himself. There'll also be a box set containing all six discs. Click on the image for a larger version.

I've updated the My Little Eye review. Early test discs were a bit buggy (something I noted in the review), but I'm happy to report that Momentum seems to have ironed out the glitches for the finished discs. I've also been able to replace the review's pictures, now that I'm able to access the movie disc.

Fans of Rutger Hauer's The Hitcher might like to know that a Region 2 special edition disc is being prepared at the moment, and is tentatively penciled in for release on July 14th.  A week later Momentum will release the UK version of the Terminator 2: Extreme Edition DVD set.

Here's a tip for owners of Momentum's existing Region 2 Manhunter disc, who are planning to upgrade when the two-disc edition is released (see 27th and 28th March, below). The first disc in the two-disc set is going to be exactly the same as the current single-disc version, so if you were contemplating getting rid of your current copy (but were worried that it would contain something that wouldn't be on the new version) you're safe to do so.

Finally, today's your last chance to enter our three current competitions. We've got copies of Cube 2: Hypercube, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Signs to give away!  There'll be a new competition tomorrow! 

28th March

All sorts of goodies for you today, starting with a look a look at the new Manhunter DVD (announced  yesterday)...

The BFI have three terrific titles lined up for April 21st. We featured the sleeve for the 1966 BBC adaptation of Alice In Wonderland earlier this week (on March 24th, below), but now the disc's bonus features have been formally announced. They are: a commentary track by director Jonathan Miller (which should be fascinating, whether he remembers much about the production or not!); eight minutes of footage of Percy Stow's 1903 version of Alice In Wonderland; a stills gallery, and biography of Jonathan Miller (where, no doubt, the BFI will be taking the opportunity to plug their wonderful Whistle and I'll Come To You DVD).

Nigel Kneale's prescient 1968 play The Year of the Sex Olympics (which features a vision of the future where Big Brother-style reality TV shows are used to sedate the libidos and appetites of the masses) will arrive on disc with an introduction by the estimable Kim Newman, a full-length commentary by Manhunter star Brian Cox - hey! synergy! - a ROM version of Kneale's original script, and a biography of director Michael Elliott. Here's the sleeve:

Click here to see some of the Year of the Sex Olympics menu screens.

Jean-Luc Godard's fabulous 1964 hard-boiled pulp thriller Bande à Part is being released by the BFI in full-frame (1.33:1) ratio, in French with English subtitles. Bonus features include a "comprehensive A-Z guide including a specially commissioned video interview with Anna Karina, Quentin Tarantino on the dance sequence, clips, stills, on-set footage and commentary by Dr Roland-François Lack, lecturer in the Department of French at University College London". The disc also features an interview with cinematographer Raoul Coutard, the film's original theatrical trailer and a Godard biography.  Here's the sleeve image:

RRP for each of the three BFI discs is £19.99.

Danny Boyle's post-apocalyptic zombie horror flick 28 Days Later will be released by 20th Century Fox on disc on 19th May. The disc will feature the film in its original 1.85:1 ratio, with anamorphic enhancement, and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Bonus features will include a full-length commentary track (by director Danny Boyle and author Alex Garland); the storyboards for an alternate ending; eight deleted scenes with optional commentary; the Pure Rage making of... documentary; Jacknife Lee's Taxi: Ave Maria music video; a stills gallery (45 images); a Polaroid gallery with commentary (95 images); animated storyboards and theatrical trailers. The disc will have an RRP of £19.99. 

Here's a peek at the sleeves for four forthcoming Superbit titles, coming from Columbia Tristar during May...

Finally, I've been notified by the BBC Worldwide press office that the next Doctor Who DVD, the Tom Baker story The Talons of Weng-Chiang will be released on April 28th, as previously scheduled. 

26th March

Momentum are releasing a special edition of Michael Mann's stylish 1986 thriller Manhunter. The new two-disc set will be sharing shelf space alongside its remake, Red Dragon (the title of Thomas Harris' novel, which was the source for both films) on May 19th,  when both are released. The new set will feature the theatrical version of the film on the first disc, supported by two "in depth" documentaries (it's likely that these will be the same featurettes (totaling 27m) that feature on the current disc). The second disc features a new Director's Cut of the film, running 119'06" - more than two minutes longer than the longest version previously certificated by the BBFC). The Director's Cut has been sourced from a new, colour-corrected, hi-definition master, approved by director Michael Mann, and "including missing scenes from the theatrical version" (I think that means "scenes missing from the theatrical version"!) The disc features a commentary track from the notoriously tight-lipped Mann, which will certainly give the director's fans an added incentive to upgrade from one of the previous releases. I've had a cursory skim through a copy of the Director's Cut disc, and it looks very promising indeed. One small concern is the lack of 5.1 audio, which will probably feature on the forthcoming Anchor Bay Region 1 version, due later this year. The Director's Cut has 2.0 Dolby Digital, (at 224kbps). RRP for the new set is £19.99. Check back in a couple of days for a review, but in the meantime, have a look at the groovy new disc menus.

The BBFC have added an impressive list of bonus materials for the forthcoming William Hartnell Doctor Who DVD release, The Dalek Invasion of Earth (which hasn't even been officially announced yet). Here's the breakdown of what amounts to more than two hours of bonus material (not including the expected commentary track and production subtitles). 

The figures on the left refer to hours:minutes:seconds:frames for each individual segment.

00:00:35:23 | TRAILERS - DR. WHO
00:01:03:08 | TRAILERS - DOCTOR WHO
00:01:10:15 | CGI FEATURETTE
00:01:03:20 | CGI SEQUENCE A
00:01:49:12 | CGI SEQUENCE B
00:00:57:13 | CGI SEQUENCE C
00:01:38:01 | CGI SEQUENCE D
00:00:25:24 | EASTER EGG 1
00:00:46:02 | EASTER EGG 2
00:00:30:01 | EASTER EGG 3
00:07:51:20 | BLUE PETER
00:14:03:22 | WAYNE & SHUSTER
00:10:28:05 | TALKING DALEKS
00:00:22:22 | EXTRAS DISC INTRO
00:06:57:05 | NOW AND THEN
00:45:21:00 | FUTURE MEMORIES
00:17:46:18 | FUTURE VISIONS
00:06:01:10 | SCRIPT TO SCREEN
00:01:41:07 | REHEARSAL FILM
00:03:44:01 | PHOTO GALLERY

24th March

Here's the sleeve for the BFI's forthcoming Alice In Wonderland DVD, which is being released on April 21st. The disc contains Jonathan Miller's terrific adaptation of Carroll's novel, which was originally broadcast by the BBC on December 28th, 1966. 

The play features a starry cast, including Peter Cook (as the Mad Hatter), Michael Gough (as the March Hare), Peter Sellers (as the King of Hearts) and John Gielgud (as the Mock Turtle). Anne-Marie Mallik played Alice, in what seems to have been her only TV acting role.




22nd March

ClearVision mark the halfway point in their series of Minder releases, when they release The Complete Series Six on May 5th. The set will contain all six episodes on two discs, including creator Leon Griffith's final contribution to the series, Waiting For Goddard. The other episodes are Give Us This Day Arthur Daley's Bread, Life in the Fast Food Lane, The Return of the Invincible Man, Arthur Is Dead, Long Love Arthur and From Fulham With Love. A host of familiar faces appear in the series, including Blake's 7's David Jackson, George and Mildred's Norman Eshley, Jan Francis, Rula Lenska, Ronald Fraser and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) star Kenneth Cope.  The set will include trailers for season seven, a Primetime magazine interview with Leon Griffiths (who died in 1992), and a guide to the season extracted from Brian Hawkins' book The Phenomenon That Was Minder.  RRP for the set is £24.99.  Here's a look at the sleeve for the set, and a shot of one of the menus. I think you'll agree that the sleeve looks much better with the photo' the right way round...

Amazon have this picture of the Cinema Club Sherlock Holmes series box set. Dull. Thanks to 'Ade R' over at Roobarb's DVD Forum for the pointer. 

19th March

Although the plots never vary much, I've always been a sucker for Mummy movies (and yes, that includes the two recent Stephen Somers blockbusters!) What you might not know is that those two movies have also spawned a spin-off animated TV series, also called The Mummy (hey, if it ain't broke....) Universal is releasing a feature-length DVD compilation of the first three episodes of the series on April 7th, subtitled The Quest For The Lost Scrolls. The series' animation is crude, and the scripts are thin, but if it gets kids interested in the great Universal Mummy movies of the 'thirties and 'forties, I'm all for it. 

The disc will come with a free gift (a LEGO Orient Expedition product, whatever that is - sounds groovy, though!), and an array of child-friendly bonus features, namely a Trivia Challenge game, Egyptology text information, character files and The Mummy Animated trailer.

Recent submissions to the BBFC include bonus material destined for the Ghost Ship DVD (a featurette on prosthetics and a "club reel"); more than an hour's worth of stuff for Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can disc; twenty minutes of extras for David Twohy's neglected supernatural thriller set on board a submarine, Below; a couple of minutes of deleted scenes from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; almost forty episodes of the Richard Greene ITC series The Adventures of Robin Hood; a quarter of an hour of deleted scenes and a forty-minute documentary about the making of Red Dragon, titled A Director's Journey; eighty minutes of material for a MGM's forthcoming A Bridge Too Far Special Edition DVD; a quarter of an hour's worth of introductions to episodes of Law & Order from creator Dick Wolf; twenty minutes of deleted scenes and a forty-five minute documentary for the Star Trek: Nemesis disc; Val Guest interviews for DD Video's delayed Quatermass Experiment, Quatermass II and The Abominable Snowman discs; episodes of The West Wing and ER (possibly destined for VHS, of course); an audio commentary for Paul Schrader's fabulous version of Cat People; an hour-long Posthumerous Tribute to Peter Cook; the John Lithgow and Bob Hoskins TV movie version of Don Quixote (inexplicably twenty minutes longer than expected) and Fox's Cinemascope epic Journey To The Center of the Earth

Silva Screen Records are re-releasing the soundtracks for the first three Hellraiser movies in a classy-looking CD digipack, which folds out in the shape of a cruciform. The discs themselves have artwork showing aspects of the Lament Configuration box. 

Christopher Young's richly orchestral music for the first two films (Hellraiser and Hellbound - Hellraiser II) is widely regarded as some of the best music ever written for horror movies. Collectors should note that the Hellbound - Hellraiser II disc no longer contains music from Young's 1984 movie Highpoint. The three-disc set will be limited to 3000 copies, and is released on April 22nd. RRP is likely to be about £20.

18th March

Well, there's no news of any significance, but we do have the promised review of Pathé's Region 2 Resident Evil disc for you today. There's perhaps been more speculation about this title than any other recent release, so the question is, is the UK version an improvement on the Region 1 release?  Read the review to find out!

17th March

There's another competition for you to enter today, where you can win one of three copies of Mosaic's excellent Cube 2: Hypercube DVD (which I reviewed here). The disc is now available to rent, and will be released to buy on April 21st, (when it will be exclusive to Virgin Megastores and branches of Virgin Express).

Check back in tomorrow for a review of the UK version of Resident Evil, and a substantial news update.

15th March

A small update to Thursday's Buffy The Vampire Slayer news (below). DVD Times has got hold of the official press release, and this has tipped me off about two additional Easter Egg features on the  Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Season 6 DVD Collection (stop reading now if you want to find them for yourself!) On disc two there's a short (1'50") report on Joss Whedon, Michelle Trachtenberg and Amber Benson signing copies of the Once More With Feeling CD at a branch of Tower records. You can find it in Once More With Feeling's audio setup menu. The other Egg is on disc four, and is a reproduction of a call sheet for Normal Again. This is a DVD-Rom feature, and I couldn't find a way of accessing it from the menus (OK, so I gave up after a couple of minutes... anyone would think that Fox wants you poking around in their VOB and IFO files...)

13th March

Well, I'm shocked - a press release has lied to me! I've just received the Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Once More With Feeling disc, and - surprise, surprise - it does not have a 5.1 remix. 

The good news is that Fox has finally fixed a picture glitch that's been in every previous version (in the scene where the demon's messenger delivers the message that his master has kidnapped Dawn). Before you ask, yes, it is the extended forty-eight minute version, and, yes, it is in anamorphic widescreen! 

I've also received the discs, but no notes, on the Buffy The Vampire Slayer - Season 6 DVD Collection. I've had a trawl through the discs, and this is what you're gonna get...

[Twenty-two episodes, with anamorphic (1.78:1) transfers and Dolby Digtal 2.0 audio, at 192kbps. There are subtitles in English for the hard of hearing, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.]

Commentary tracks on: Bargaining (Parts 1 and 2) (by writers Marti Noxon and David Fury); Once More With Feeling (by writer / director Joss Whedon, "This is pornography!"); Smashed (by Drew Z. Greenberg); Hell's Bells (by director David Solomon and writer Rebecca Rand Kirshner); Normal Again (by director Rick Rosenthal and writer Diego Gutierrez); and on Grave (by director James A. Contner and writer David Fury).

Buffy Goes To Work (5'03") - a documentary to accompany Doublemeat Palace, this features interviews with cast and crew members who recollect some of the jobs they had before embarking on their chosen careers.

David Fury's Behind The Scenes of Once More With Feeling (28'17") - a terrific documentary that does what it says on the tin. Spend half an hour watching the cast rehearse their dance moves, record their vocals, and generally having a blast. This is the best bonus feature on any of the Buffy sets so far - although, shamefully it still doesn't have any tangible contribution from Dame Sarah Michelle of Gellar.

"This Is My Verse, Hello!" - Buffy Karaoke - three songs from Once More With Feeling, with on-screen lyrics so you can sing along at home. [The original soundtrack is intact, so it's not 'proper' karaoke. The three songs are I've Got A Theory / Bunnies / We're Together, I'll Never Tell and Walk Through The Fire. See the picture of Anya for an example of what the karaoke feature looks like]. Not just for nerds with no real life, oh no.

Trailers - well, try as I might, the only trailer I could find here was the one for the Kristy Swanson movie. Sure, there were loads of adverts here for other Buffy and Angel DVD box sets, but no other trailers...

American TV Arts and Science Panel Discussion (59'30") - a lengthy Q&A session with several key cast and crew members, including Joss Whedon, Alyson Hannigan, Nicholas Brendan and Michelle Trachtenberg. It's very dark and murky, but no doubt this will be a triumph of content over presentation, and was definitely worth including.

Life Is The Big Bad - Season Six Overview  (30'23") - the usual retrospective blend of clips and yapping heads.

Outtakes - much better presented than the ones that have appeared on the other recent sets, but still sanitized, and, at less than three minutes long, definitely something that leaves you hungry for more.

TV With A Bite (43'06") - an A&E documentary about the series, probably broadcast in the US between the sixth and seventh seasons. Lots of clips, plenty of  interviews, including contributions from - gasp - Sarah her good self.

Oh, incidentally, Bargaining is presented as one eighty-five minute episode. [According to one of my correspondents, the two-part version of the Bargaining omits some footage, including a scene at the parent-teacher day where Buffy (ahem) is looking at the city of the future model. This scene is definitely on the DVD. There's been no attempt to fix an awkward edit in the scene where (SLIGHT SPOILER) Willow kills the deer]. 

The version of Once More With Feeling is the same as the one that's on the standalone disc. [Two To Go and Grave, which were originally transmitted as a single episode, are presented separately.]

All in all, this looks like a very, very solid set. Fans will get a real buzz from David Fury's Once More With Feeling documentary, which takes viewers behind the scenes with unprecedented frankness.

[RRP for the set is £79.99. The release date is the 12th May.]

[Note that I've updated this since it was first uploaded, to answer a couple of frequently asked questions.]

Click here to see some screen-grabs and menu screens from the Buffy... discs.

Fox has also announced that they're to release a couple of classic TV series on DVD in the UK: M*A*S*H and NYPD Blue.

The first series of M*A*S*H will be released on May 19th, on a three disc set featuring all twenty-four episodes of the 1972-73 season. The episodes will be presented in their original 4:3 format, and, according to the press release (see above) they'll have "4.0 Surround" audio tracks. The discs will have a choice of sound mixes, with or without the God-awful laugh track. The RRP is £29.99 (almost twice the price of the Region 1 set from a retailer like

The groundbreaking first season of NYPD Blue is also being released on May 19th. The six-disc set will feature all twenty-two episodes from the 1992-93 season, and will carry an RRP of £44.99. The episodes will be in 4:3 ratio, and will have surround sound audio (the press release says "4.0", but I'd be surprised if it's not simple 2.0 surround). 

The set will also contain a number of bonus features, including commentary tracks on True Confessions, Personal Foul, Oscar, Meyer, Weiner, Steroid Roy, Black Man Can Jump and Guns N' Rosaries

There's also an hour-long Making of Season One documentary, a Love on NYPD Blue featurette (12m), a short documentary on the casting process, Cast Blotter (11m), cast and crew biographies and script extracts from four scenes from the Pilot episode (with an option to play the scene concerned). 

12th March

We've got another great competition for you today: we have three copies of Tobe Hooper's seminal slasher flick The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to give away. I haven't had a chance to examine the new disc yet, but, from what I've read, it sounds like an essential purchase (it contains a brand new feature-length documentary). Look out for a full review later this week, but, in the meantime, click on the banner above to enter the competition.

The Steven Spielberg-produced aliens-are-among-us mini-series Taken is being released on DVD on May the 5th. The six-disc box set will contain all ten episodes of the £26m, Golden Globe-nominated series, and exclusive interviews with the cast and crew. The series will be released here before it is in the US, with an RRP of £49.99.

Cinema Club has moved the release date of the first batch of Sherlock Holmes DVDs (including the 23-disc box set) back to April 28th.

The version of Oliver Twist being released by Cinema Club on May 12th is not, as previously reported, the 1999 Renny Rye version: it's the 1982 adaptation starring George C. Scott as Fagin, and the estimable Tim Curry as Bill Sikes.

Cinema Club's press release for their second quarter titles doesn't list technical details of any description, but I can report that their version of Brimstone and Treacle features a new anamorphic transfer with stereo audio that promises to be a significant improvement on the previous UK discs, from Arrow and Prism. 

Here's a selection of sleeves for forthcoming Cinema Club discs:

10th March

I don't plan on making a habit of propagating unsubstantiated rumours, but this report comes from a reliable source. I hear that the forthcoming Region 2 release of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (you did know it was coming, didn't you?) might well be subject to the same BBFC-enforced edits as the original 1984 tape. 

The BBFC has recently allowed many, many titles with minor cuts to be re-certificated, and released intact (including former so-called "video nasties"), so this stubbornness seems uncharacteristically petty. I wonder if the BBFC has offered to reinstate the missing 1'06" (shots from the barbaric human sacrifice sequence) if Paramount will agree to an upgraded "12" certificate, and that it's Paramount who is unwilling to compromise. Would Paramount gain more sales from being able to promote the film as "finally uncut" than they would lose by making sure only those over 12 are able to buy a copy? Presumably they'll also have to factor in all the sales they'd lose from well-informed customers boycotting a cut UK release in favour of an unedited version from another region...

Staying with the BBFC, thirty-one minutes of "Production Material" has been certificated for the BBC's forthcoming remastered Edge of Darkness DVD, along with a fifty-minute documentary for a new Monty Python's Life of Brian disc, and almost two hours of stuff for CSI - Season 2:

00:34:34:03 | WELCOME TO MIAMI

8th March

Well, here's a surprise, a horror film that's not afraid to carry an 18-certificate! My Little Eye is an entertaining horror flick, about a small group of young adults who are competing to win a million dollars by staying in a house monitored by dozens of cameras, broadcasting to the internet. Momentum's DVD version, due on April 21st, has really gone to town with the film's premise, to create an elaborately interactive two-disc set. Read our review of the disc here.

The sleeves for the four Warner Home Video double-bill discs (see our news item for February 27th) are now available:

7th March

Okay, here's a review that I know a lot of you have been waiting for! (The rest of you will just have to wait another day or two for something new, sorry...)  

Here's our review of ClearVision's Quatermass box set. For those of you who haven't been playing along at home, this set, due on April 7th, presents the four part 1979 mini-series Quatermass, as well as the cut-down theatrical version, titled The Quatermass Conclusion

Here's an astonishing list from Network Video, of TV series that they intend to release in the next year or so, taken from an apparently bona fide posting at The Mausoleum Club's Available Archive Stuff thread.

Edward the Seventh  (ATV)
The Goodies   (BBC)
The Sweeney  (Thames/Euston)
A Very Peculiar Practice   (BBC)
The High Life   (BBC)
Michael Bentine's Potty Time  (Thames)
Till Death Us Do Part   (BBC)
Sykes   (BBC)
Brand - World Theatre    (BBC)
Ace of Wands   (Thames)
Special Branch    (Thames/Euston)
Public Eye  (Thames)
The Adventures of Robin Hood - 39 series one episodes (ITC)
Space Patrol
Ever Decreasing Circles - Series three and four (BBC)
Hazell    (Thames)
Ripping Yarns   (BBC)
Strange Report    (ITC)
Star Maidens    (Portman)
Soldier, Soldier   (Central)
The Life and Loves of a She Devil   (BBC)
Star Cops    (BBC)
Chancer - Series 1 (Central)
Press Gang   (Central)

Well, that's like having all your Christmases at once, aint it? A few of these have been rumoured for a while (The Sweeney, for example), or have already been listed by retailers (The High Life and The Goodies), but many are genuine surprises. The range of companies Network has licensed material from is impressive, especially when you consider what doors that might open (the ITC archive, which Carlton now seems intent on ignoring, for example). 

While it's disappointing that a couple of series that Network released on VHS don't seem to be scheduled for DVD release (hello, Catweazle?), there are some great series there, many of which seemed destined to languish in the vaults forever. There are a couple there that I've not seen, but am very keen to catch up with (everyone raves about Press Gang and Ace of Wands). Terrific news... if only my bank manager was as keen on archive television as I am!

6th March

Official details of Fox's Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Once More With Feeling disc have been announced. The disc, due on 14th April, with an RRP of £15.99, will contain three featurettes: Buffy: Inside The Music (13m), Angel Season 1 Overview (11m?), Dark Angel Interview with Jessica Alba (4m), trailers for all six seasons of Buffy, the three seasons of Angel, and for Dark Angel season one. 

The episode itself will be presented in anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio, and, according to the press release, with have 5.1 Dolby Digital sound!  (Frankly, Fox's press releases have so often been wrong about the sound format in the past, that I won't believe it until I hear it!)

4th March

Warner Home Video will release the second season of Babylon 5 - The Coming of Shadows, on 19th May. The set will include all twenty-two episodes, and will also contain a new introduction by series creator J. Michael Straczynski, two documentaries (Building Babylon - Blueprint of an Episode and Shadows and Dreams - Honours of Babylon), and The Universe of Babylon 5 Audiovisual Archive (which allows access to Data Files, Personnel Files, Tech Files, Historical Timelines and Episode Previews).. There will be commentary tracks on three episodes (two from Straczynski, and another by three of the series' stars). As before the episodes will be presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The RRP is £54.99. 

Warner Home Video is also releasing the 1986 Little Shop of Horrors remake, on May 26th, but fans will be very disappointed to hear that the UK disc will merely mirror the currently-available US disc, which no longer includes the fabled alternative ending, which appeared on the original American release (the disc was withdrawn shortly after it was released, and re-issued without the footage, making the original version one of the most sought-after DVDs among collectors).  The UK disc will feature an commentary track by director Frank Oz, an isolated score track, outtakes, a making-of featurette, the theatrical trailer and two TV spots (Fearless Hero and Cast/Revised). The film will be presented in 1.85:1 ratiom with anamorphic enhancement, and will have Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. RRP for the disc is £12.99.

MGM's April schedule is shaping up nicely, headlined by the long-awaited Fargo Special Edition DVD, on 21st April. The company is also releasing four interesting World Cinema titles, Fellini's Roma and Satyricon, Ken Loach's 1990 political thriller Hidden Agenda and Jim Jarmusch's Mystery Train, on April 28th. Aside from theatrical trailers, there are no additional features. 

The Stargate SG-1 Season 5 box set is released on the 28th of April, gathering together the existing six discs, which contain the twenty-two episodes, and all the attendant goodies that MGM habitually stuff the Stargate SG-1 discs with. RRP is £59.99. 

Stargate SG-1 Volume 27 is being released on 28th April, too, and will contain the next four episodes of the seventh season: Nightwalkers (marking the return of you-know-who), Abyss, Shadow Play (which features a guest role for Quantum Leap's Dean Stockwell) and The Other Guys (which features Enterprise's John Billingsley). Bonus materials include commentary tracks, two further Director Series featurettes (on Shadow Play and The Other Guys), a Season 6 stills gallery, promo' trailers, and a fan spot (I'm sure that's not going to be as disgusting as it sounds!) 


3rd March

We're starting the month with a clean slate (last month's news is archived here), and with a brand new competition. 

This time we're offering you the chance to win one of five copies of M. Knight Shyamalan's remarkable blockbuster Signs, courtesy of Buena Vista Home Entertainment, who would, no doubt, like me to remind you that the film is being released on March 31st (see the news column for 27th February). The film may not have had quite the impact of The Sixth Sense, but it does contain several textbook suspense scenes, and one of the most chilling moments seen in recent years. The competition ends on 31st March.

We also have a new review for you, of Lost in La Mancha, the heart-breaking documentary about the making and unmaking of Terry Gilliam's long-cherished movie The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which was abandoned after less than a week of filming, and is currently languishing in a tangle of red tape. The disc is from a relative newcomer to DVD, Optimum Releasing, so check out the review to discover whether they're a company to keep an eye on, or another fly-by-night hack outfit in search of a quick buck.

Finally, congratulations to Chris Arnsby, Pat Lennox and Rob Hunter - you've just won a copy of Dog Soldiers, courtesy of Pathé. Sean Pertwee was the son of Doctor Who star Jon Pertwee. Our Dark Angel competition was won by P. Montague. The series was set in Seattle. 


February 2003

January 2003

December 2002

October and November 2002
















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