Friday, July 25, 2008

A Very British Coup

A Very British Coup - 1988

If you like political thrillers you will like this. In America they would call it a made for TV movie but that makes it sound cheap and nasty. Let's go with Wikipedia's "television adaption of Chris Mullin's 1982 novel" instead. Amazon has the time as 148 minutes so get comfortable before you start. It's a bit expensive on Amazon for the amount of TV you are buying but this is a case of "never mind the width, feel the quality".

My review : (5 stars) Great performances from Ray McAnally playing the working class left wing prime minister and Alec MacNaughton playing the upper class security chief determined to undermine him. I guess it is at times a working class hero fantasy, but why not enjoy it as we can't seem to get that from today's Labour Party. Look out for the very beautiful Kika Markham.

Details : 1988 political thriller made for the Channel 4 and 148 minutes long.

Features : No

Print quality : Good

Discs : 1

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Murphy's Law - A Cult Classic?

Murphy's Law Series 1 to 5

I suspect that Murphy's Law has the makings of cult classic like Callan or The Prisoner. It didn't last as long as it should have and through the various series we see the main character's personality change. It was dropped by BBC because it wasn't competing well enough with ITV's Doc Martin which had the same time slot. Surely a wiser answer would have been to find a different time slot. My one complaint is that Murphy must have been the UK's best know undercover cop which leaves a hole in the story line as best known and undercover don't really go together;-) Something that does confuse me is how come this BBC show is published in DVD format by ITV Video? BTW keep an eye on the Amazon price for the complete five series as I have seen it down at around £20 in the past although as I write thie it is up over £30.

My review : (5 stars) James Nesbitt plays the role of Tommy Murphy very well. The character changes from the first two series to the last three quite a bit. In the beginning he has a certain lovable rogue about him, telling jokes and even singing. The later series are far more gritty and on par some of the more psychological thrillers like Wire in the Blood. How much this was to do with the stiff competition it was facing on ITV I don't know. The pilot was shown in 2001 and the series were screened from 2003 through to 2007.

From Series 2 onwards the programs have been edited from 60 to 50 minutes. I never saw the originals but this editing doesn't seem to have done any harm.

Details : 2001-2007 police drama series made for the BBC. 5 Series were made altogether.

Series 1: 4 x 90 minute episodes plus the pilot.
Series 2: 6 x 50 minute episodes.
Series 3: 6 x 50 minute episodes.
Series 4: 3 x 50 minute episodes in a serial format.
Series 4: 3 x 50 minute episodes in a serial format.

Features : No

Print quality : Very Good

Sub-titles : Yes

Discs : 9