The BBC's August line-up

The BBC have kindly sent through the details on their August Region 2 DVD releases...

4th August 2003:

Doctor Who: Earthshock - Peter Davison’s incarnation of the Doctor faces classic foes the Cybermen in this 40th Anniversary release. The Doctor and companions arrive in a cave full of fossils on 26th century Earth. Suspected of being behind the disappearance of scientists, they are attacked by androids. The title and plot were devised to create genuine surprise in the revelation that the Cybermen are behind the android attacks.

Originally transmitted as four 25-minute episodes between 8/3/82 and 16/3/82 you will find them here fully remastered with the following features on DVD...

  • Putting the Shock into Earthshock - a brand-new thirty minute documentary by Ed Stradling, featuring interviews with the cast and fans of the series and examining the impact of the return of the Cybermen and the death of a companion...
  • Film Sequences - the complete film sequences for Part One, including previously unseen shots and dialogue
  • Alternate CGI Effects
  • 'Did You See...?' - a ten minute item on Doctor Who monsters from 1981, presented by Gavin Scott
  • Audio Commentary with the full TARDIS crew - Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse
  • Isolated Music
  • Photo Gallery
  • Pop-Up Production Notes
  • Easter Eggs
Fans of the series are advised to check out the DVD Release section of The Doctor Who Restoration Team website for more details on the work that has gone into this disc. Retail is £19.99.

Dr. Terrible - Doctor Terrible (Steve Coogan) introduces this spine chillingly funny series of spoof horror tales. From the fantastic stable of Baby Cow Productions, Doctor Terrible’s House of Horrible is today’s take on ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ but with a darkly comic twist.

Each episode is littered with some of the greatest British actors and comedians, including John Thomson, Honor Blackman, Tom Bell, Jonathan Cake, Ronnie Ancona, Oliver Tobias, to name but a few. Steve Coogan appears in a different guise in each of these chilling tales, as well as playing host and storyteller Doctor Terrible.

Every episode is a classic horror masterpiece …

• Captain Hans Brocken and his beautiful bride find themselves trapped in a remote castle at the mercy of the Lesbian Vampire Lovers of Lust.
• Nathan Blaze, gentleman adverturer, locks horns with Hang Man Chang, would-be Emperor of the Free World in Frenzy of Tongs.
• Dr Donal Baxter’s desperate search for a cure for the common burn sends him spiralling on a fatal collision course with his past in Curse of the Blood Of The Lizard Of Doom.
• Denham Denham, one of the three victims trapped in a lift, finds his darkest dreams coming true in And Now The Fearing.
• Lester Crown, World Champion ballroom dancer, loses his feet in a freak accident with a pair of giant scissors, only to find his replacement feet are hell bent on murder and mayhem in Voodoo Feet Of Death.
• Tobias Slater, Witch Locator, is dedicated to the twin pursuits of witch burning and wench bedding in Scream Satan Scream.

DVD extras include ‘An Appointment with Dr. Terrible’, Dr. Terrible’s Page-A-Day calender, commentary with Graham Duff, Matt Lipsey and Henry Normal plus Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen) on Frenzy of Tongs, ‘Behind the Screams’ Picture Play Magazine article, Pulp poster gallery, production notes, photo gallery and scene selection. Retail is £15.99.

18th August 2003:

Two Pints of Lager (And A Packet of Crisps) - Series One and Two - Starring a host of young British talent and well known faces including Ralf Little (The Royale Family), Will Mellor (Casualty), Natalie Casey (Hollyoaks) and Beverly Callard (Coronation Street), Two Pints of Lager (and a Packet of Crisps) is the booze fuelled hilarious comedy set in sunny Runcorn, about five friends who work very hard at doing very little.

In episodes such as “Fags, Shags & Kebabs”, “Ugly Babies” and “Dirty Girls” the gang attempt to make sense of love, lager and living on a shoestring.

Meet Donna (Casey), a gobby pint-swilling girl with a dirty mouth and a mind to match. She’s sleeping with Gaz (Mellor) who’s passionate about Man City and big-breasted girls… but Donna will have to do. Jonny (Little) is the shy and retiring type, a few cans short of a six-pack but devoted to Janet (Sheridan Smith, Dark Ages), who is content picking her toes on the sofa, or talking rubbish with Donna down the girl’s pub. Louise (Kathryn Drysdale) is without a special someone, but puts all her energies into finding one… provided their star signs are compatible! Finally there’s Flo (Callard), Donna’s acid tongued mother, who drinks for England and dishes out inappropriate advice whenever she can!

Written by 23 year old Runcorn born Susan Nickson, Two Pints of Lager (and a Packet of Crisps) is produced by Stephen McCrum and directed by Gareth Carrivick (The Vicar of Dibley, Goodness Gracious Me).

Retail is £24.99.

The Best of Not the Nine O’clock News - First screened in 1979, Not the Nine O’clock News was an overnight, award-winning success. Featuring the then unknown talent of Rowan Atkinson, Pamela Stephenson, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys-Jones, each rapidly became international stars, and the series set the standards for satirical comedy for years to come.

A combination of spoof news headlines, witty sketches and impersonations, no one escaped ridicule as the show gathered pace in the 80s era of Thatcher and Reagan, still standing the test of time today. This DVD is a tribute to the show and features all the very best moments. It is menu driven and has scene selection.

The Young Ones, Series 2 - A landmark in British comedy, The Young Ones features the explosive exploits of four students in their squalid rented house. Rick (Rik Mayall) is highly-strung and ‘politically aware’; Neil (Nigel Planner) is a complete hippy, Vyvyan (Adrian Edmonson) a lunatic punk rocker studying medicine, and Mike (Christopher Ryan) a smooth-talking natty dresser.

First screened in 1984, Series 2 follows the continuing chaos as the four remain committed to doing no work, whilst avoiding their Russian landlord Jerzy Balowski (Alexi Sayle), and trying to get on University Challenge as representatives of Scumbag College. With a who’s who of guest appearances, even stretching to Cliff Richard, Series 2 on DVD features all six of the final episodes: Bambi; Cash; Nasty; Time; Sick; Summer Holiday. The DVD is menu driven and features scene selection.

Bottom, Series 1 - First shown in 1991, Bottom introduced Richie (Rik Mayall) and Eddie (Adrian Edmonson) to the public consciousness… ready or not! Richie is creepy, smarmy and has major problems with sex, in particular the fact he never has any. Eddie enjoys porn, the pub and punching Richie whenever he can. Together they lurk in a seedy flat, worrying about money and taking their frustrations out on each other as violently as possible.

Belching and cursing their way through each whirlwind episode, Richie and Eddie are the archetypal bad boys of comedy. Available for the very first time in its entirety on DVD, Bottom, Series 1 on DVD is menu driven and features scene selection.

The Fast Show, Series 2 - One of the brightest stars on the contemporary comedy scene, the multi-award winning Fast Show team, headed up by writers Paul Whitehouse and Charlie Higson, features a host of acclaimed comedy performers including Caroline Aherne, Simon Day, John Thomson, Arabella Weir and Mark Williams.

After the monmentual success of the first series of The Fast Show, and the creation of unforgettable characters and catchphrases such as “Suits you Sir”, Ted and Ralph and the Chanel 9 presenters, Series 2 arrived with a bang in 1997. Adding to its already BRILLIANT portfolio of characters, over thirty new faces appeared including The Thirteenth Duke of Wybourne, Swiss Tony and the Deaf Stunt Man.

Now, for the first time ever, all seven episodes from Series 2 are available together on DVD. The DVD is menu driven with scene selection… which was nice.

Retail on the last four is £15.99 each.

25th August 2003:

In Search of Shakespeare - Little is known about the world’s most universally celebrated great writer, William Shakespeare, and until now it has been assumed that the important details of his life must remain a mystery. How were his works inspired? What kind of a life did he live in London? What was his family background? How did he relate to his wife and children? Who was the Dark Lady of the sonnets?

In his new four-part BBC2 television series, In Search of Shakespeare, due to screen at the end of June, historian Michael Wood has painstakingly put together a brilliant piece of historical investigative journalism to provide a fresh narrative of Shakespeare’s life. Rather than approaching Shakespeare as an isolated genius, Michael argues that he was very much a product of his place and time – a period of great upheaval that straddled the medieval and modern worlds.

Some of the detail in the series is extraordinary, from the probable source of inspiration for the name of King Lear’s youngest and favourite daughter Cordelia, and the pubs where Shakespeare was a regular, to his troubled tax affairs and the background to his traumatic year while writing the sonnets. The series uses actors to recreate scenes from Shakespeare’s plays in original settings, examines documentary evidence such as police records, verbatim interrogations and torture records of dissidents and Catholic registers, and studies contemporary maps, engravings, artefacts and paintings.

Extras produced exclusively for the DVD include previously unseen footage of the RSC on tour, Michael Wood’s visit to the old Censor’s Office and a sequence which seeks to disprove the widespread theory that Shakespeare and his contemporary Christopher Marlow, who died mysteriously in a pub brawl, are one and the same person. There is also an extended sequence in which Michael Wood examines the impact that Shakespeare’s father’s secret Catholicism would have had on their lives in what was effectively a Protestant police state.

Retail is £19.99.

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