Jemima Shore Investigates – The Complete Series (1983/Region 2 PAL/Network U.K. DVD Set)
C Sound: C Extras: D Episodes: C+
PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set is only available
in the U.K. from our friends
at Network U.K.
and can be ordered from them at the website address links provided below at the
end of the review or
at finer retailers. This is a Region Two
PAL DVD Set and will only play on machines that can handle that version of the
end of the last great period of British TV, several shows did not make it to
despite being interesting and key productions.
One such show is Jemima Shore
Investigates, a short-lived 1983 series with Patricia Hodge as the title
character, a TV journalist who finds herself solving actual mysteries on the
side. I had heard of the show before,
running across it here and there, but seeing it (along with The Gentle Touch (reviewed elsewhere on
this site), another U.K.
groundbreaker for women at the time) were considered steps ahead for women on
only lasted for 12 hour-long episodes, but it was important enough in its time
and holds up decently, even if the actual mysteries are not that strong
overall. Part of the problem is that
these supposedly groundbreaking “new British women” were in the Margaret
Thatcher mode and what was also referred to as post-feminist, meaning they had
overcome and it was time to go on from there.
The forerunner of all of them seems to have been Joanna Lumley’s Purdey
on The New Avengers (also reviewed
elsewhere on this site), for which a quote about her said at the time that she
was so liberated, she could put her bra back on.
that followed did this and more, seeming to be a step forward in one way and a
step back to a new kind of conformity in another. Based on a series of novels by Antonia
Frazer, the world seems like a much less sleazy version of the Britain of
Jackie Collins on one hand and stuff new high society in another, but that may
be oversimplifying things. Hodge is actually
quite good in the role and my guess is that this was all the material they
decided to make in this case.
has a feel for the time and in its own right, but U.S. viewers may be expecting
a laugh track as the way it is produced (videotape (PAL notwithstanding) always
signified sitcoms even at this point and even the use of some outdoor 16mm
filming does not change that) that it might take some adjusting to realize this
is not Benny Hill, Faulty Towers, Black Adder or even Mr.
Belvedere. When you finally do
adjust, you see an ambitious show that is worth a look and includes guest turns
by some great actors like Ian Hendry, Tom Baker, Bill Nighy, Brian Cox, Don
Henderson, Lysette Anthony, Donald Burton and Patrick Newell, it deserves a DVD
release and now you can see for yourself.
Anyone who has only read any of the books will be particularly
X 1 color image is soft with aliasing errors and other flaws that hold the
picture back, which is a little odd for a production its age, but I liked the
look and feel just the same and it is also very 1980s. The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is also a few
generations down, so be careful of volume switching. There are no extras.
above, you can order this PAL DVD import set exclusively from Network U.K. at:
- Nicholas Sheffo