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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Crime > Thriller > Telefilm > British TV > Armchair Cinema: The Collection (1973 – 1975/Network U.K./Region Two/2/PAL DVD)

Armchair Cinema: The Collection (1973 – 1975/Network U.K./Region Two/2/PAL DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C     Extras: D     Episodes: B



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD set can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Two/2/PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Network U.K. at the website address provided at the end of the review or at finer retailers.



A spin-off of Armchair Theater and later revived as Armchair Thriller (reviewed elsewhere on this site), Armchair Cinema is yet another high quality British mystery series that has been out of circulation for too long.  Each installment is a telefilm and was the beginning of Euston Films subsidiary of Thames Television.  A new, realistic style was set up and it eventually changed all of British TV in its last Golden Age.  The ten installments over five DVDs include:


Disc One (featuring films by writer/producer/director Mike Hodges)
Rumour starring Michael Coles and Vivienne Chandler
Suspect starring Rachel Kempson, Bryan Marshall and George Sewell

Disc Two
The Prison starring James Laurenson, Philip Madoc and Diane Keen
Regan starring John Thaw, Dennis Waterman and Garfield Morgan, inspiring the realist British police drama classic The Sweeney.

Disc Three
Sea Song starring Tom Bell and Kika Markham
When Day Is Done starring Edward Woodward and Rosemary Leach

Disc Four
The Sailor’s Return starring Tom Bell, Clive Swift and Ray Smith
Tully starring Anthony Valentine, Kevin Miles and Henry Szeps

Disc Five
Charlie Muffin starring David Hemmings, Ian Richardson and Ralph Richardson
In Sickness and In Health starring Patrick Mower and Prunella Ransome



The Hodges films are among his best work, what served as a pilot to The Sweeney (whose first season just came out in the U.S. recently before the releasing company folded, putting it out of print), Madoc is a plus in the decent The Prison, the late Edward Woodward is amazing as a Classical Music lover who is getting old and still dreams of recording music and being part of the industry in When Day is Done, his Callan co-star Anthony Valentine helps make Tully work, The Sailor’s Return has surreal moments that will remind one of Nicolas Roeg and Peter Watkins and the last two films seem to be intended as TV pilots of some sort for shows that never materialized.  All in all, a very interesting set worth going out of your way for.


The 1.33 X 1 image was shot mostly on 16mm film, though these are sadly older PAL masters that can be outright rough.  Hope the film materials survived so these can be restored and issued in Blu-ray and High Definition down the line.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is good for its age with some expected distortion, but the audio is down as many generations as the image and be careful of playback levels and audio switching.  There are no extras.



For more on the follow-up series Armchair Thriller, read more at this link:






As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import exclusively from Network U.K. at:









-   Nicholas Sheffo


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