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Category:    Home > Reviews > Mystery > Detective > Drama > Action > Crime > Police > Court > Swords > Arrows > Myths > Comedy > Teens > Literat > Dalziel & Pascoe – Season 2 (1997) + Judge John Deed – Season 2 (2002) + Robin Hood – Season Three (2009) + Skins – Volume 3 + Sherlock Holmes (1964/Douglas Wilmer/BBC DVD Sets)

Dalziel & Pascoe – Season 2 (1997) + Judge John Deed – Season 2 (2002) + Robin Hood – Season Three (2009) + Skins – Volume 3 + Sherlock Holmes (1964/Douglas Wilmer/BBC DVD Sets)


Picture: C+ (Holmes: C)     Sound: C+ (Holmes: C)     Extras: D/D/C+/C+/D     Episodes: B- (Hood & Skins: C+)



The BBC has made more good TV shows than U.S. viewers may even realize and though some of the more obscure series (Counterstrike, Moonbase 3, Adam Adamant Lives!) have yet to hit the U.S. market (even when they are available overseas), some shows that deserve a larger audience.  We have grouped five of those shows together so if you happened to be looking up one of them, you’d hear about the others.  We have covered four of them before, so links are included as we talk about the latest releases.


Warren Clarke continued to do very well for himself in the sometimes hilarious police drama Dalziel & Pascoe, now out in a Season 2 set.  Here is our coverage of the debut show:




You will recognize Clarke from his work going back to Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange to the recent Red Riding Trilogy.  Four more telefilms were produced for this run and with character development in place at this point, the show moves more briskly.  Colin Buchanan holds his own and you can start with this set and still enjoy the show.  I am surprised this was not a more successful import at the time of its original release.


The Martin Shaw series Judge John Deed also continued to be a decent show that was at least the equal of many U.S. made series, even better as so many courtroom dramas from the time are not remembered as much today.  The Season 2 set also has for more telefilm episodes and we covered the debut season here:




Fans should know that some music was removed and/or replaced, but these are smart shows that are more enjoyable than you might expect and you can even start with this set, but the arc works better if you begin with the first set.


We have had more than our share of Robin Hood lately, including the disappointing Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe feature film.  The latest BBC series has impressed some, but I was not as enthused.  Robin Hood – Season Three (2009) is only being issued on DVD, but one of our writers covered the debut season on Blu-ray and more at this link:




That includes a link to another review by another big fan, but I find the show too contemporary in feel, Jonas Armstrong is mixed in the title role, the show can be too comical (like the Scott film) and even Toby Stephens showing up cannot make this more interesting.  Anyone interested should start with the First Season, though.  Extras include Video Diaries, Character Profiles and three making-of featurettes, including one on costumes.


Skins did not have the following beyond the U.K. (and especially in the U.S.) some may have expected, but I can see improvements in the shows included in Volume 3 that were not present in the first releases.  I briefly addressed them in their releases at these links:







The shortness of the coverage should speak of my disappointment with the show, comical and sometimes effective, it might make stars of some of the cast whenever it folds, but it is still a soap opera of sorts, but at least it is not as phony as the latest 90210 revival or the like.  It is just not as smart as it could have been either and could have still been the hit it is now without taking the slightly safer route.  Start at the beginning on this one if you are interested.  Extras continue the pattern set by the previous DVDs including Bonus Skins stories, behind the scenes pieces and the like.


That leaves the 1964 Sherlock Holmes that produced 13 hour-long episodes, 11 of which survive and are part of this set.  The series had the remarkably successful actor Douglas Wilmer (Olivier’s Richard III, El Cid, Christopher Lee Fu Manchu films, Bond film Octopussy) giving an interesting performance as the great detective that is better than Jeremy Brett’s and not bad throughout.  The following list of episodes in broadcast order, including key guest stars (where applicable) and noting which two are missing:


The Speckled Band

The Illustrious Client (Peter Wyngarde (Department S, Jason King), Jennie Linden

The Devil's Foot

The Copper Beeches (Patrick Wymark, Suzanne Neve (U.F.O.))

The Red-Headed League (David Andrews, Christopher Greatorex)

The Abbey Grange (EPISODE COULD NOT BE FOUND FOR THIS SET/Nyree Dawn Porter guest starred)

The Six Napoleons (Desmond Cullum-Jones, Donald Hewlett, Arthur Hewlett)

The Man With The Twisted Lip (Anton Rodgers (Zodiac), Olaf Pooley, Norman Pitt)

The Beryl Coronet (David Burke, Suzan Farmer, Sandra Hampton, Leonard Sachs)

The Bruce-Partington Plans (EPISODE COULD NOT BE FOUND FOR THIS SET/Derek Francis played Mycroft Holmes)

Charles Augustus Milverton (Barry Jones, Penelope Horner, Stephanie Bidmead)

The Retired Colourman (Maurice Denham, Paul A. Martin, William Wilde)

The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax (Ronald Radd (Callan), Ivor Salter)



Nigel Stock played Dr. Watson, Enid Lindsey played Mrs. Hudson and Peter Madden (Doctor Zhivago, From Russia With Love) played Inspector Lestrade in several episodes.  Made in black and white on PAL videotape with some 16mm shooting, the picture and sound are the poorest of the five sets, yet the 1.33 X 1 image throughout the episodes tend to have as much character as the newer shows which survive as kinescopes or on videotape.  The Speckled Band is a particularly rough copy, but once you adjust to the quality, it is very enjoyable and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is not bad for its age, but can be compressed and even warped and distorted in parts.


The rest of the sets offer Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and Robin has a 5.1 mix that is not very strong, has a limited soundfield and is stretching out sound a bit further at times than it should.  Picture quality on all the other shows I previously covered are of the same playback quality.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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