Monday, June 30, 2008

Celebrity Stalkers

Following on from the last post it does seem at times like I'm being stalked by actors who show up in more than one program within a few days. Watching the 1992 Morse series 6 we had quite a few.

A young Sean Bean as a crook in Absolute Conviction a day after seeing him in an episode of Sharpe.

Alum Armstrong who we have been following in New Tricks showed up as another policeman in Happy Families.

The real winner though was Michael Kitchen. We are used to him as Foyle in Foyle's War but over a few days we had him as crook in the Morse episode The Death of Self, again as a crook in the very first, 1994, Pie in the Sky and in a Agatha Christie radio play.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Young Faces

I enjoy seeing known faces pop up in programs before they really found fame. Two recently were Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) in a 1992 Morse episode called Happy Families. Now I begin to see the resemblance between him and Boris Johnson - in fact I wondering if he is playing that role as well.

The second was even more unlikely. Peter Sallis is in the 1971 4th episode of Budgie series 1. He is even wearing the same clothes as he did later in Last of the Summer Wine, and he is playing a Northerner. (In fact according to Wikipedia he is a Londoner.)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

If it seems too good to be true then...

Like many I use Amazon's "save for later" button in the shopping cart. It means if I'm in a hurry I can go through about 15 programs I keep there and pull a couple out, put them back into the cart and check out. Here in Thailand I know there is a good chance the customs will tax them if the value goes over £30 or so.

I have some DVD sets that are above this magic number so I will leave them until I know someone is coming out from the UK. Amazon tells you when you log into your shopping cart if anything has changed in price so it was a pleasant surprise to see the 15 DVD collection of Sharpe drop from £35 to under £18. I checked out with this last night, pleased with myself.

This morning I had an email from Amazon saying it was a mistake and as per their policy the order was now cancelled. Ah well, that's life, but I would have thought it would do their customer relationship no harm at all if they let these go through. I would have been a fan for sure. Below is their email.

Dear Customer,

We are writing to inform you that the price for 'Sharpe - The Complete Series (15 Disc Box Set)'(ASIN B000A2U5GW) was displayed incorrectly at the time you placed the above referenced order.

Despite our best efforts, with the millions of items available on our website, pricing errors can occasionally occur. In our Pricing and Availability Policy (see, we state that where an item's correct price is higher than our stated price, we will cancel the order and notify you of that cancellation.

All affected orders have now been cancelled. If you still wish to purchase this item, please place a new order online which will be charged at the correct price, when we dispatch it to you. Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused by this error, and rest assured that we will continue to make every effort to maintain the accuracy of all prices on our site.

We look forward to serving you again in the future.
Warmest regards,
Customer Service Department

Please note: This e-mail was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this message.

Through the Ages

I am buying and watching UK TV programs from the early seventies to the present day and at times when I look at the Amazon catalogue I worry that a program will be too dated. So far I have got away with it. I did worry that the latest one, Hazell, would show its age and not be enjoyable but that wasn't the case.

What does show is the further back you go the lower the budget. Some of them like the Sandbaggers and Strangers are almost stage plays with the sets they use. Another problem can be the print quality which can get pretty grainy. Today even a cheap show's budget allows good outside film location work. Once you accept these constraints on the earlier programs you can just sit back and enjoy the acting and story. I'm happy so far although showing off Nicholas Ball's backside in Hazell was a very seventies 'Get Carter' copy;-)

Mind you, I haven't built up enough confidence to go back to some of the sixties black and white material yet. I do remember 'Public Eye' and 'Callan' with fondness.

Bird of Prey

Bird of Prey Series 1 & 2

There were two series of this political thriller serial, the first in 1982 and the second in 1984. Although primarily a vehicle to show of the acting skills of Richard Griffiths (History Boys) it has a very strong supporting cast. You should not expect fantastic location shots as it wasn't big budget so it's mainly on set scenes.

My review : (3 stars) It does show its age and budget, but the acting is good especially in the first series. Richard Griffiths is one of those men who can carry his fatness very well and at times does look light on his feet. The story lines are pretty good but being at the very early days of personal computers it does again seem dated. Having said that I wasn't about to not to watch the whole thing pretty well through at one episode a night.

Details : 1982 & 1984 political thriller serial made for the BBC. A total of eight 50 minute episodes.

Episodes : 1-4 1982 Bird of Prey 1 and 5-8 1984 Bird of Prey 2

Features : No
Print quality : Fair
Sub-titles : Yes
Discs : 2