BBC in June

BBC Worldwide have sent through details on their June 2004 UK Region 2 line-up...

7th June 2004, £15.99 RRP

On 6th June 1944 the world held its breath as the Allies invaded Europe. Would Hitler's empire crumble? Would the plan succeed? Was final victory possible? D Day is the story of the genius, love, tragedy and courage of the ordinary people behind the most extraordinary military operation in history.

It tells the epic story of the events leading up to June 6th 1944, from all sides of the conflict. From the story of the defence of the Western Front by the forces of the German Empire to the complex and deadly secret war fought by the men and women of France and mainland Europe.

The planning for the Allied operation cost thousands of lives. It involved a deception of breathtaking audacity, relying on the absolute discretion of many and the genius and nerve of a few.

Filming in England and France, D Day brings to life the dramatic and astounding tales of courage and sacrifice, revealing the intricate jigsaw from all sides seeing events through the eyes of the men and women who were there.

D Day is an ambitious feature combining documentary techniques with dramatic narrative, compelling archive photography, film and sound footage. Official government documents, only recently released for public scrutiny, provide background, explanation and understanding of a defining moment in world history.

The DVD special features include a 'Making Of' documentary, original eye witness testimonies, fact riles and the original score.

Full Circle With Michael Palin
7th June 2004, £19.99 RRP

From Michael Palin and the team that brought you Around the World in 80 Days and Pole to Pole comes the most ambitious journey ever undertaken for a television series. Full Circle is a 50,000 mile adventure around the 18 countries bordering the Pacific Ocean, in which Michael spends his year long travels amusing and enthralling his viewers amid some of the world's most spectacular scenery.

As he zig zags his way through four hemispheres, Michael has more time than usual to savour the character of the remarkable countries he visits. Using local transport, he begins by travelling south from the Russian Far East to the tip of New Zealand's South Island via Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, The Philippines, Borneo and Australia. Michael must then travel back up from Cape Horn to the Bering Strait via Chile, Bolivia, Colombia and California, with a host of adventures along the way.

Throughout his epic journey, Michael's irrepressible charm and good humour manage to remain afloat as he follows the Yangtze and Amazon, scales a smoking volcano, negotiates mountains and gorges, crosses glaciers and dodges icebergs. Talking on film with over 270 people and witnessing an array of bizarre local customs, Michael's invites us to join him pig¬spearing in Borneo, eating maggots in Mexico, landing a plane at Seattle, taking part in a lumberjack competition and much more!

Written by Michael Palin, Produced by Clem Vallance, who also Directed with Roger Mills, Full Circle was first screened in 1998 to enormous popular and critical acclaim. The program was voted Most Popular Documentary Series at the National Television Awards and received over 8 million viewers. The DVD also comes with an exclusive interview with Michael Palin, recorded especially for the DVD release, and over 60 minutes of deleted scenes.

Marion & Geoff Series 2
14th June 2004, £17.99 RRP

Since the first series of Marion & Geoff, eternal optimist Keith Barret (Rob Brydon, Directors Commentary, Human Remains, Cruise of the Gods) has been promoted from mini cab driver to the role of chauffeur for a lonely American heiress and her brattish son. It's been two years, 6 months and 3 days since Keith last saw his "two little smashers" but with a supervised visit at a motorway service station approaching, things are looking up.

Written by Hugo Blick (Up in Town, Operation Good Guys) and Rob Brydon, Marion & Geoff Series 2 sees each episode extended from the ten minutes of Series 1, to a full thirty minutes, allowing the viewer an even greater insight into the trials and tribulations of Keith's life since his wife Marion left him for Geoff. As the series progresses, Keith fills us in on what has happened to him in the last two years, including the "unfortunate incident that resulted in his wife being given sole custody of their children. We also learn more about Keith's demanding employer Mrs Trapaulin, her spoilt son Fisher and her sleazy film producer husband, and the lengths to which Keith will go to keep them happy.

Marion & Geoff Series 2 features all six bittersweet, painfully comic episodes from the series. Included on the disc as a special extra is an extended Director's cut of "A Small Summer Party", a stand alone episode featuring the fateful barbecue when Keith finally realised that Marion (Tracey Ann Oberman) was having an affair with Geoff (played by Steve Coogan).

Sherlock Holmes on DVD
21st June 2004

In 1968 the BBC produced the most popular television series ever to feature Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, with film legend Peter Cushing donning the deerstalker, assisted by Nigel Stock as Doctor Watson.

One of the very first series to be shot in colour, the show featured a stellar supporting cast and achieved the highest ratings ever for a Sherlock Holmes anthology series, instantly becoming must see' television and attracting audiences of over 15 million. Aside from The Hound of the Baskervilles, they have never before been released on video or DVD, remaining unseen in this country since 1970, until now.

With an outstanding central performance from Cushing, five classic episodes from this critically acclaimed series will be released to buy on DVD on June 21st 2004 from BBC Worldwide, spread across three individual DVDs, priced at £9.99 each. These three DVDs will also be available to buy together in a special Peter Cushing Box set, priced at £24.99.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

In the most famous Sherlock Holmes story of them all, the Great Detective travels to Dartmoor to unravel murder, the mystery of a savage, spectral hound, and an evil that has haunted the Baskerville family for centuries.

The first dramatisation to be shot at the actual location of the novel, this ranks amongst the most faithful adaptations of one of literature's greatest gothic thrillers. The Hound of the Baskervilles is the series' sole two part adventure.

Study in Scarlet & The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Study in Scarlet - Based on the very first Sherlock Holmes story, this is a real spine tingler involving a string of victims found dead with the word Rache German for 'revenge' scrawled in blood above their lifeless bodies. Holmes must track down a relentless killer whilst fending off interference from Inspectors Lestrade and Gregson, who are, in Holmes words, 'as jealous as a pair of professional beauties'. His investigation takes him from Baker Street, through the dark dangerous streets of London to the atmospheric world of the Victorian intisic hall. A gripping story with a wonderful twist.

The Boscombe Valley Mystery - A young man is found over the dying body of his father, an aggressive, odious bully who has been brutally beaten. When the son is arrested over the killing, Holmes is called in to ensure that the innocent man is not hung for the crime, uncovering a hidden history of highwaymen, bigamy, blackmail and of course, murder.

The Sign of Four & The Blue Carbuncle

The Sign of Four - One of the most exotic tales in the Sherlock Holmes collection, this story features lost treasure, a murderous pigmy, a beautiful, wronged woman with whom Watson falls in love, a mad and mysterious pair of twins and a thrilling, deadly chase along the Thames. These elements have made the mystery a real favourite amongst Holmes aficionados and this episode stands as a faithful but fast paced adaptation of a much loved novel.

The Blue Carbuncle - This represents one of the series' most engaging and unashamedly enjoyable stories concerning a mystery memorably described by Holmes as ' of those whimsical little incidents which will happen when you have 4 million human beings all jostling each other within the space of a few square miles'. Although Holmes holds the key to an innocent man's liberty, the story brims with humorous touches and sees Watson and his friend in fine festive form, joking and laughing their way through a wild goose chase, encountering comic characters and Dickensian crooks.

This was the final episode of the series and something of a Christmas special, broadcast 23rd December, 1968.

Smiley's People
28th June 2004, £15.99 RRP

An acting tour de force, Sir Alee Guinness' performance is recognised by critics as one, of his finest. This riveting drama features star performances from the crème de la crème of British acting talent in some of their most memorable television roles, including Sian Phillips, Maureen Lipman, Bill Paterson, Beryl Reid and Michael Elphick.

Following on from the highly acclaimed 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy', Smiley's People finds George Smiley once again called out of retirement to trace an enemy infiltrator in the department where he was once the prize employee. The shy and retiring master of espionage moves forwards to investigate and finds himself going back over some very old ground.

On his return to the department he continues his battle with his arch enemy Karla and now seeks vengeance and a final showdown across Europe when a Soviet double agent is mysteriously killed.

This fascinating classic drama is an absolute must for DVD collectors. It features extra value added material including an interview with author John Le Carre and producer John Irvin from the 'Arena' programme special on Sir Alec Guinness, focusing on his role as George Smiley, plus a selection of photo stills from the series.

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