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ARCHIVED NEWS - 12th to 18th JANUARY 2004

January 17th 2004

Universal Playback's website is now listing a DVD of the 1987 BBC sitcom Filthy Rich and Catflap, which was an unrelated, and largely unloved, follow-up to The Young Ones. The series, about a minor celebrity with an inflated ego, pampered by his sleazy agent, featured Rik Mayall (who also wrote the bulk of the scripts), Adrian Edmondson (who co-wrote, un-credited) and Nigel Planer. Universal Playback have it listed for release on the 8th of March. My thanks to Derek Newton for that news.

Incidentally, on a slightly related subject, the second series of Channel 4 comedy series Black Books looks like it will finally get a UK DVD release soon. The series has been available in Australia since July, but patient fans are likely to be rewarded by some bonus materials which are being added to the UK release...

High Fliers will release the acclaimed documentary film Spellbound, about the young contestants in a National Spelling Bee competition, on March the 29th.

The disc will include "Where are they now?" updates on the eight featured competitors, unseen footage of three other competitors, an audio commentary by the filmmakers, the trailer, a spelling game, information from the National Literacy Association, an Educational Guide (The History of the Spellling Bee, Word of the Day, The Eight Parts of Speech, How To Host Your Own Spelling Bee, Link Pages, Frequently Misspelled Words), and a Hangman game. The disc will feature English subtitles. The RRP is £19.99.

If you haven't seen decent copies of the three DD Video Hammer sleeves yet (they were released on Monday, but I suspect their distribution will be patchy), I've added them to the Hammer competition page, which you can find by clicking on this link, or on the banner, above.

The press release for The Matrix Revolutions arrived here a couple of days late, so it's hardly worth mentioning, but just in case you haven't heard, here's the skinny: the two-disc set will feature the film in anamorphic 2.40:1 ratio, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Bonus features include Revolutions Re-calibrated (behind the scenes overview); CG Revolution (special effects featurette); Super Burly Brawl (multi-angle analysis of fight scene); Follow the White Rabbit mode (branching to behind the scenes featurettes); Neo Realism: the Evolution of Bullet Time; Super Big Mini Models (model effects); Double Agent Smith (how they cloned Hugo Weaving); Mind Over Matter: The Physicality of The Matrix (a look at the stunts); Future Gamer - The Matrix Online (introduction to the multi-player online game); 3-D Evolution (comparing concept art with storyboards, pre-visualisations and finished footage); Before The Revolution (3D timeline of events in the various films and spin-offs); the theatrical trailer and weblinks. The disc will include English and English HoH subtitles. The sleeve image shown was labeled "subject to change" incidentally. 

RRP for the disc is £22.99. Release date is the 2nd of April. That's four days before the disc is released in the US (which means it will be released here about a week after import copies start arriving from US mail-order retailers... he he he!) 

January 15th 2004

There's some fantastic news for Doctor Who fans today!  Here's the official BBC press release...

Barely a fortnight in, 2004 already looks as though it might turn out to be a very good year for Doctor Who fans.  As if the thought of the new series gearing up to start production in a few month’s time wasn’t exciting enough, fans the world over will be delighted to learn of the recovery of one of the 109 missing episodes from the show’s early years.

Day of Armageddon is the second episode of the epic twelve-part story The Daleks’ Master Plan, transmitted over three months in the winter of 1965/66 as part of the series’ third season. Until this week, only parts five and ten were known to exist, having themselves been discovered in a junkpile in the mid-eighties. The episode stars William Hartnell, the original Doctor Who, with companions Steven (Peter Purves) and Katerina (Adrienne Hill), along with Space Special Security agent Bret Vyon, played by Nicholas Courtney, who would later return to the series in the regular role of Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart.

Doctor Who episodes have a history of being returned from slightly strange places and in the past they have been found in such diverse locations as a church basement, a car boot sale and even a jumble sale in New Zealand! The latest find is no exception, as the episode is literally a gift from the opposition – in this instance from Francis Watson, Head of Engineering at Yorkshire Television in Leeds.

As a young engineer working for the BBC in the early seventies, Watson had been given the task of clearing out a room full of junk at the Corporation’s Television Film Studios in Ealing. Among the rubbish were two 16mm cans marked Doctor Who, which Watson saved from destruction so that he could watch them on the projector at his local film club. For over thirty years and through two house moves, he kept the films safe and now feels that the time has come to return them to the BBC. Watson says that he has always felt slightly embarrassed about “borrowing” the films, but he can be assured that, thirty years on, both the BBC and fans of the series will be only too happy about it, for his minor indiscretion as a junior engineer undoubtedly ensured the episode’s survival.

The second of Watson’s film cans contained a poor-quality episode of The Expedition, an episode of the very first Dalek adventure, of which the BBC already has a master copy. Day of Armageddon is a great find however, as it is a crucial episode which helped to set up the ambitious twelve part story, a classic space-opera romp through space and time which sees the Doctor and his companions try to thwart the traitorous ‘Guardian of the Solar System’, Mavic Chen, and his Dalek allies - culminating in the destruction of time itself! Importantly for both fans and historians alike, this second episode contains scenes with several characters for which very little visual reference material still exists – in fact only a single, blurry photograph of the alien leader Celation is known to have survived in a private photograph collection.

This latest find was returned to the BBC via the Doctor Who Restoration Team, a group of Doctor Who fans from within the television industry who for over a decade have been restoring and re-mastering episodes of the series for BBC transmission and commercial video / DVD release. Day of Armageddon came to light almost exactly five years after the previous missing episode, The Lion, was recovered from a film collector in New Zealand, and returned to the BBC via the Restoration Team.  Those who worked on the restoration of that episode are looking forward to seeing – and working on – Day of Armageddon, and hope that it won’t be long before the public are given a chance to enjoy this episode once again.

Now, all the BBC has to do is figure out what to do with it...

Australian label Umbrella Entertainment is releasing an impressive collection of ITV sitcoms on March the 10th.

Their Britcom collection marks the DVD debut of the first and second series of Father Dear Father (in a typically deceitful ploy, the UK DVD from ClearVision, which is promoted as being "Series 1", actually contains episodes from series 3, the first colour episodes). Umbrella's Father Dear Father - Series 1 disc contains six episodes: The Proposal, Pussies Galore, The Return of the Mummy, Publish and Be Damned, It Won't Be A Stylish Marriage, I Should Have Danced All Night and Lost Weekend. Series 2 contains The Unhappy Birthday, We Can't Afford A Change, Show Me The Way To Go Home, Thinner Than Water, Baby Won't You Please Come Home and Divorce English Style.

The second season of Bless This House, originally broadcast in 1972, will be split across two discs, each containing six half-hour episodes. Bless This House - Complete Series 2 - Part 1 includes the episodes Two Heads Are Better Than One, Love Me Love My Tree, It's All In The Mind, Another Lost Weekend, Parents Should Be Seen and Not Heard and Strangers In The Night. Bless This House - Complete Series 2 - Part 2 contains Get Me To The Match On Time, Wives and Lovers, Never Again On Sunday, People In Glass Houses, A Rolls By Any Other Name and A Touch of the Unknown.

Six 1974 episodes of the Richard O'Sullivan flat-sharing comedy Man About The House feature on Man About The House - Complete Series 2: While The Cat's Away, Colour Me Yellow, Did You Ever Meet Rommel?, Two Foot Two, Eyes of Blue, In Praise of Older Men and Carry Me Back to Old Southampton. The disc will feature exclusive "commentaries" with stars Sally Thomsett (who played Jo) and Brian Murphy (who played their slimy landlord, George Roper). 

The George and Mildred - Complete Series 2 DVD contains six 1977 episodes (Jumble Pie, All Around The Clock, The Traveling Man, The Unkindest Cut of All, The Right Way To Travel and The Dorothy Letters), and the 1977 Christmas special, No Business Like Showbusiness. The disc will also feature exclusive "commentaries" by star Brian Murphy.

Finally, Umbrella has the Complete Series 2 of controversial Thames Television sitcom Love Thy Neighbour, originally broadcast in 1972. The disc will contain six half-hour episodes.

Specifications for the discs aren't finalised, and additional bonus features may be added. As is customary for Umbrella, these titles will be uncut, and will retain the original advert bumpers. RRP for the discs is AU$29.99 (about £12.70).

You can discuss these releases in this thread at Roobarb's DVD Forum.

Here's a look at the artwork...

In addition to the remake of The Italian Job (see below) and Star Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country (see the News entry for the 7th of January) Paramount will be releasing a number of catalogue titles during March. 

These are Mommie Dearest (1st March, 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio); Peter Bogdanovich's directorial debut Targets (1st March, 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer, 5.1 Dolby Digital audio, and apparently lacking the introduction and commentary track that's on the Region 1 disc, which is available for less than a fiver); Garry Marshall's light comedy Dear God (starring Greg Kinnear and Roseanne's Laurie Metcalf, due 8th March, £15.99, with a 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer and 5.1 audio); Roman Polanski's terrific psychological horror film The Tenant (8th March, £15.99, 1.78:1 anamorphic, 5.1 audio, which is also available for about £5 from the US); the 1973 animated adaptation of Charlotte's Web (8th March, £15.99, 2.35:1 anamorphic, 5.1 audio - the US disc is mono, so this may be an upgrade, or the press release may be in error); and the recent theatrical hit Rugrats Go Wild (8th March, £15.99, 2.35:1 anamorphic, 5.1 audio, with Big Bad Cat behind-the-scenes featurette, with interviews with Bruce Willis and Chrissie Hynde, three deleted songs, a deleted scene / outtake, and an alternate ending).

Other Paramount releases for March include Talent for the Game (1st March, £15.99, 1.78:1 anamorphic, 5.1 audio), Andrei Konchalovsky's award-winning hospital drama House of Fools (8th March, £15.99, 2.35:1 anamorphic, 5.1 audio); and disaster movie spoof The Big Bus (8th March, £15.99, 2.35:1 anamorphic, 5.1 audio).

Finally, MGM has submitted more than ninety minutes of bonus material to the BBFC, for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Special Edition DVD, which has listed for release on the 26th of April. Here's the breakdown (timings are in hours, minutes, seconds and frames):

00:19:53:14 | The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - Leone's West
00:23:46:22 | The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - The Leone Style
00:11:07:00 | Reconstructing The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

00:07:46:21 | Il Maestro Ennio Morricone and TGTB&TU

00:03:00:22 | The Socorro Sequence - A Reconstruction
00:14:21:21 | The Man Who Lost The Civil War
00:03:29:10 | Le Bon La Brute Le Truano

00:07:13:17 | The Extended Tuco Torture Scene
00:00:39:07 | Easter Egg 1
00:00:42:19 | Easter Egg 2
00:00:08:14 | Easter Egg 3
00:00:58:04 | Easter Egg 4

January 14th 2004

Paramount will release the recent remake of The Italian Job on March the 8th, on a disc that apparently includes more than three hours of additional features. 

The film, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton and Buffy The Vampire Slayer's Seth Green, was remarkably well-received, considering that the original is practically a national institution. Even stalwart fans of the original have admitted that the remake is a terrific film in its own right!

Special features on the disc are Pedal To The Metal - The Making of The Italian Job (18m), Putting The Words On The Page for The Italian Job (6m); The Italian Job Driving School; The Mighty Minis (6m); High Octane - Stunts of the Italian Job (7m); six deleted scenes (8m); Easter Egg gag reel (6m) and theatrical trailer. 

The film will be presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic format, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The RRP is £19.99. A two film box set containing the original film and the remake is also being released. RRP for this is believed to be £26.99. ( have it listed for a very reasonable £17.99!)

Max, the controversial film about Hitler's formative years as a struggling artist, is being released by Pathé Distribution on March the 1st. The film, which stars Noah Taylor as Hitler, and John Cusack as the owner of the gallery, who encourages Hitler's meagre talents. 

The DVD will be accompanied by a commentary track by Oscar-nominated director Menno Meyjes, and will also contain a gallery of modernist paintings and the theatrical trailer. 

The film will be presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic ratio, and will have Dolby 2.0 surround audio. The disc will contain optional English HoH subtitles. RRP is £17.99. 

Buena Vista Home Entertainment has outlined their release plans for the first half of 2004.

 Buena Vista are one of the few companies not routinely releasing titles simultaneously for rental and retail. They also release rental discs that do not contain bonus features from the retail versions. Most of their key kids titles (the big Disney films like Finding Nemo, for example) usually go straight to retail. 

Getting more detailed information out of BVHE's PR companies in a timely manner is very difficult, so some of this information may be old news... 

January 26th: 

Veronica Guerin (retail and rental); The Conversation (retail)

February 2nd: 

Hope Springs (retail)

February 9th: 

Calendar Girls (rental and retail)

February 16th: 

The 25th Hour (retail); Frida (retail); A View From The Top (retail and rental); The Lion King 3 - Hakuna Matata (retail)

February 23rd: 

Seabiscuit (rental and retail)

February 27th:

Finding Nemo (retail and rental)

March 15th:

The Hot Chick (retail); Spy Kids 3-D:Game Over (retail and rental)

March 22nd:

Holes (retail ?)

May 3rd:

Walt Disney Treasures - Mickey in Living Colour (retail); Walt Disney Treasures - Silly Symphonies (retail)

May 10th:

Brother Bear (retail)

January 12th 2004

A few housekeeping bits and pieces to get out of the way before I hand you over to Ceri for his weekly roundup of news and retailer offers.

There are a few cosmetic changes to the site today. Give yourself a cub scout badge if you already noticed the new, slightly smaller page headers! Nothing substantial has been changed, so the site should function as usual.

And now, take it away, Ceri...

Hi everyone, another substantial update this week, with a shedload of additions to the Incoming page and some bargain pre-order prices added to the Offers page. First up, the highlights from the Incoming update.

This year TV is really going to make its mark on DVD, and the box sets they keep a-coming! Babylon 5 - Season 4 and The West Wing - Complete Season 3 are both listed for 29th March from Warner with an RRP each of £54.99. The extras for the Bayblon 5 box will be an introduction to Season 4 by J. Michael Straczynski; two commentaries by Straczynski, one including director Mike Vehar; a commentary by cast members Bruce Boxleitner, Jerry Doyle, Peter Jurasik and Patricia Tallman; a Celestial Sounds featurette about series composer Christopher Franke and the making of the series’ music; No Surrender, No Retreat DVD Suite - original music composed exclusively for the DVD; The Universe of Babylon 5: Personnel Files, Data Files and Gag Reel; and Episode Previews. That leaves Season 5 and then the touted Crusade and Movies box sets.

Twentieth Century Fox will release two highly-anticipated box sets: one on April the 5th containing Joss Whedon’s Firefly – Complete Series, which will contain all the episodes of the series, which was cancelled after twelve of the fifteen episodes had aired; the other containing Roswell – Complete Series 1, on 19th April. Music rights problems with Roswell have, unfortunately, resulted in some of the original music being replaced. The Firefly box set has a listed RRP of £34.99, Roswell is £49.99.

Cheers – Series 2 and Frasier – Series 2 from Paramount are listed for 10th May with an RRP of £34.99 each. The official word from Paramount is that Star Trek: Voyager – Complete Series 1 will be released on 24th May, but HMV are now listing it for the 10th May date. So, either the date has been revised or HMV have got it wrong. Anyway, HMV has a price of £59.99 listed (though I suspect this is their pre-order price). Extras recently cleared by the BBFC which are probably destined for the first Voyager set are Braving the Unknown -  Season One; Voyager Time Capsule - Kathryn Janeway; The First Captain Bujold; Cast Reflections -  Season One; On Location with the Kazons; Red Alert -  Visual Effects Season One; Launching Voyager on the web; Real Science with Andre Bormans; The Lost Transmission; Lost Transmission 02; Lost Transmission 03; Lost Transmission 04.

As a follow-up to Julian’s news item last week about some of Network’s forthcoming titles, there are some additional bits of information for their releases. The extras for Till Death Do Us Part - The First Colour Series, A Very Peculiar Practice, and Sykes - The First Colour Series have been confirmed. Till Death Do Us Part, to be released 19th January, will have the 1972 Christmas Special, which also stars the cast of the then stage version of Jesus Christ Superstar. The extras for A Very Peculiar Practice, now to be released on January the 26th, are the same as previously listed, but the commentaries have been confirmed for the episodes Wives of Great Men and Contact Tracer. The extras for Sykes, for the 16th February, are also the same as previously listed, but with the addition of a new interview with Eric Sykes, filmed last year, and a featurette covering the superb restoration of these episodes. There are also some unconfirmed extras being listed by some of the retailers. Special Branch – Complete Series 3 has the very first episode of the series, Troika, from 1969, starring Derren Nesbitt and Fulton Mackay, and an interview with star of Series 3, George Sewell. Hazell – The Complete First Series also has an interview with (star) Nicholas Ball and (creator) Terry Venables. The Sweeney – Complete Series 2, like Series 1, will be digitally restored, contain episode introductions by some of the guest stars, music-only tracks and an original as-broadcast mono soundtrack (which presumably means there’ll be a 5.1 mix as well). And finally, Every Decreasing Circles – Series 4, will also be digitally restored, have a 1989 Wogan interview with Peter Egan, Penelope Wilton, Geraldine Newman and Stanley Lebor, a Did You See…? report about the final episode and it's place in sitcom history, and a bonus disc with the eighty-minute final episode, New Horizons, from 1989.

Last week we listed some information about Contender’s new Dungeons and Dragons releases, following this they were kind enough to let us have information on their other new releases through to June. The second volume of Dungeons and Dragons has a date of 7th June. There’s more 1980s animation with three more volumes of He-Man & the Masters of the Universe: Volume 2 on the 9th February, Volume 3 on the 12 April and Volume 4 on the 14th June. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 3 will be released on the 16th of February, Volume 4 on 5th April and Volume 5 on 31st May. 2DTV, the satirical animated series that styles itself as a Spitting Image for the new millennium, will see a release of its third series on 15th March. Moving onto Contender’s live-action series, there’s a box set of Farscape - Complete Season 3 lined up for 22nd March, and the first three volumes of Andromeda series 3: Volume 3.1 on the 29th of March¸ Volume 3.2 on the 3rd of May and Volume 3.3 on the 7th of June. Finally from Contender, there are three British drama series: seasons 2 of both Footballers' Wives and Cutting It, and season 5 of Bad Girls. Footballers' Wives - Season 2 has a date of 9th February, and, according to some of the retailers, will contain A Day On The Set With Tanya featurette with actress Zoe Lucker; Outtakes; The Ultimate Footballers' Wives Makeover featurette; and an exclusive trailer. The release date for Cutting It – Complete Season 2 is 3rd May. Bad Girls - Complete Season 5 is due on the 7th of June. No word on any extras for these two, though.

As a final TV round-up: Dirty Sanchez, the MTV UK rip-off of Jackass, sees a release of it’s Series 1: Rear End on the 23rd of February from Revelation, with previously-unseen footage / out-takes, a compendium of the top ten scariest stunts, and cast and crew biogs listed as extras. Series 2 of Channel 5’s horror anthology series Urban Gothic is listed from Stax Entertainment for the 23rd of February.

Right, onto the film releases.

The ultimate clash of two of the horror genre’s finest makes its way onto DVD in a couple of weeks, when Entertainment In Video release Freddy Vs Jason, on January 26th. Extras include a commentary from the director and the film’s two stars; deleted and alternative scenes (including the original opening and ending) with optional commentary; behind the scenes and visual effects featurettes; a music video; storyboards and galleries; TV spots; theatrical trailer; and a special menu option where you can Jump To A Death. Its RRP is £19.99.

Kevin Smith’s Mallrats, his follow-up to Clerks, finally gets the Region 2 special edition treatment from Universal, on the 26th of January. There’s a commentary by Smith with actors Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Scott Mosier and Vincent Pereira; deleted scenes; Askew's Look At Mallrats featurette; Build Me Up Buttercup music video; an Easter Egg; and trailer all listed as extras, with an expected RRP of £15.99.

Three new releases from Anchor Bay have appeared. A Mirror Mirror Box Set of the four films: Mirror Mirror, Mirror Mirror 2 - Raven Dance, Mirror Mirror 3 - The Voyeur and Mirror Mirror 4 – Reflection for the 16th February. Also, for the 16th February is a Werner Herzog Box Set, including Aguirre: Wrath Of God, Nosferatu, Woyzeck, Fitzcarraldo, Cobra Verde and My Best Friend. Both have an RRP of £39.99. Finally, Wes Craven’s Summer Of Fear (a.k.a. Stranger In Our House) on the 23rd February, with a commentary from the director; talent biographies; and photo gallery as extras. RRP is £19.99.

John Carpenter’s student film, Dark Star, gets a re-release by Fabulous Films as a 30th Anniversary Collector's Edition, with a listed date of 1st March. No word on extras yet.

Several other special editions are being listed: Universal is expected to finally release Schindler's List on the 8th of March, with no extras listed yet; The Fabulous Baker Boys is coming from Carlton on 15th March, with a trailer, featurette, 30 minutes of cast interviews, and a look behind the scenes listed as extras; and The Wild Geese is due on 5th April from Warner, again there is no information on the extras.

Three more titles from Warner are David Hemmings’ 1966 film Blow Up and two Dirk Bogarde films directed by Luchino Visconti, 1969’s The Damned and 1971’s Death In Venice. All are listed for April the 12th, with an RRP of £12.99

In addition to last weeks animation titles are two more – Max Fleischer's full-length adaptation of Gulliver's Travels from 1939 is listed for 16th February from Delta, with an RRP of £5.99 and the first volume of Tom And Jerry's Classic Capers 1 from Warner, with a £15.99 RRP, again on the 16th February. These releases are probably cashing-in their status as public domain titles, so don’t expect anything special.

And a final round-up for the film releases… The 1980s disaster movie spoof about an out of control nuclear-powered bus, the imaginatively titled The Big Bus, is released by Paramount on March the 8th. The BFI releases Peter Greenway’s A Zed And Two Noughts on February the 23rd. The Spencer Tracy and Ingrid Bergman version of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, from 1941, is listed for 29th April from MGM. It’s worth noting that the recent Region 1 version of this disc also features the Frederic March version as a bonus. Finally, the first listing of the film version of The Singing Detective starring Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson, has it down for April the 26th.

As I said, it’s mainly pre-order stuff that’s been added to the Offers page. Amazon is now listing Network’s Hazell – The Complete First Series and The Sweeney – Series 2, both with a pre-order price of £29.98 (£10.01 off). There’s an Anchor Bay sale at Blackstar, which I’ve added, along with good pre-order prices for another Network title, Two in Clover – ­The Complete Series, which is at £17.99 (£7.00 off - Play also have it at this price as well), and Cadfael – Series 1 at £10.99. There seems to be some confusion at the moment amongst the retailers about what the actual RRP of the Cadfael release is – some are saying £29.99, others £14.99. Blackstar are saying £12.99, hence their pre-order price, so it’ll be a good idea to snap up this excellent series at this bargain price, in case the RRP does turn out to be much higher. [Not that there’s any guarantee that anyone will honour their pre-order prices – JK]  There are more good pre-order prices at the two-disc Finding Nemo at £14.99 (£8.00 off), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2 – The Cradle of Life at £12.99, Red Dwarf – Series 4 at £12.99, and Kill Bill – Volume 1 at £12.99 (all £7.00 off). Tempting HMV pre-orders include Firefly – Complete Series for £25.99 (£9.00 off), MASH – Series 3 for £21.99 (£8.00 off), and Star Trek: Voyager – Season 1 at the £59.99 price I’ve already mentioned. And finally, WH Smith are offering their recent Rising Damp – Complete Series Box Set exclusive for £14.99 (£20.00 off). This is in store only – if you can find it!

Previous News entries can viewed be by following this link.



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