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DVDs, Books, Broadcast TV and Merchandise all come under the gaze of our expert reviewers.

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Blu-Ray (225)

The latest winner in the format wars, we look at both television and movies that are hitting the shelves in this pristine new technology.

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Books (11)

Essential reading materials reviewed so that you can assemble the library most suited to your interests.

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Broadcast (2)

The latest transmissions on terrestrial and digital television channels across the panet, and what we think of them.

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Cult Movies on DVD (291)

All the best in Cult Movies released onto DVD

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Events (21)

Places to go and people to see, and here we find out whether it was worth it or not!

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Handbags Before Dawn (8)

Contentious opinions on all matters television - from schedulers to the programmes themselves, the continuity errors to the highs and lows of what actually makes it to the screen.

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Interviews (10)

Interviews with stars and programme makers from various CULT TV universes.

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Merchandise (8)

Collectables of all shapes and sizes reviewed and rated

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Star Profiles (153)

Background information and career history of cult celebrities from in front of and behind the camera.

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TV DVDs (280)

The latest titles from TV series and TV specials range to hit the shelves and online stores

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Monday, 28 September 2015

Space 1999 Series 2 out on Blu-ray nowSeason two of Space: 1999 creates a huge divide in Gerry Anderson fandom. An American story editor forced onto the production in the shape of Fred Freiberger, famous for his show-runner role on season three of classic Star Trek, and one which would prove to be that show’s last. He would also preside over the final run of Space: 1999 episodes. Executive Producer Gerry Anderson insisted that Freiberger took the Producer credit, mainly due to the huge changes the man from across the Atlantic brought to the format, characters and philosophy of the series.

Network have finally released the Blu-ray set of the entire second season. The word on the street is that, unlike the first season release on Blu-ray back in 2010, the rendering to High Definition was a lot more difficult for this follow-up set of stories. The first season release included the premiere episode “The Metamorph”, and last year we had the teaser Blu-ray release of “The Bringers of Wonder Parts 1 and 2” to whet the appetite of what was to come. Here we have, in these 24 episodes, some of the best – and worst – stories from the series as a whole.

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

The Man Who Could Cheat Death - out now on dual-format Blu-ray and DVDHammer Pictures strike fear into audiences with this creepy, cautionary tale directed by horror stalwart Terence Fisher ("The Curse of Frankenstein", "Dracula"). Starring Anton Diffring, Christopher Lee and Hazel Court, the film centres on Georges Bonnet (Diffring - "Where Eagles Dare", Doctor Who), a pioneering doctor and artist with a penchant for beautiful women and very dark secret concerning his obsession with immortality.

Every decade the 104-year-old Bonnet must undergo surgery to replace his parathyroid gland, or else face a terrible fate whereby all of the illnesses and aging he has unnaturally evaded strike him down. The doctor's 10-year cycle is almost up and he must locate a new gland and an experienced surgeon who is willing to carry out the surgery. As he searches for solutions, a tonic temporarily keeps death from his door but time is running out.

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Sunday, 13 September 2015

Baretta Season One - Out Now on UK DVDStephen J Cannell brought us many TV gems during his time, but one of his earliest creations, just on the cusp of memory, is one that ran for four seasons from 1975: Baretta. Famous for having a sulphur-crested cockatoo as a co-star, it had edginess to it, combined with the cute coating of a streetwise cop who loved his pet. And you could have won one of three copies of the first season on DVD which, thanks to Fabulous Films, we had up for grabs in our prize competition.

Beginning in a Friday night slot in the USA as a mid-season replacement, the first season consists of just a dozen episodes. Baretta had taken over ABC’s 10.00pm timeslot from Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and secured audiences that its predecessor could only dream of. For the following season (22 episodes) it moved to 9.00pm Wednesdays, and made the Top 30 for shows for that year. Season three (24 episodes) was rewarded with remaining in the same slot, and the show eased into being one of the Top Ten for that year. It then moved back to 10.00pm for its final fourth season (24 episodes), to make space for Charlie’s Angels, and ratings took a tumble, the last episode going out in May 1978. The Angels certainly did provide a similar audience lead-in for the show.

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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Medium Cool - out now on dual format Blu-ray and DVDOscar-winning documentary director and cinematographer Haskell Wexler ("One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?") presents a frightening look at the USA in a state of turmoil during the Vietnam War. We witness events unfold through the eyes of fictional TV cameraman John Cassellis (Robert Forster - "Jackie Brown", "Mulholland Drive") during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

John and his soundman Gus (Peter Bonerz - Home Improvement) are given strict instructions on where to go and what to cover, but John develops a keen independent streak and goes off the reservation. At the same time he encounters Eileen (Verna Bloom - "High Plains Drifter"), a war-widow with a young son who keeps homing pigeons. They strike up a friendship against an increasingly edgy backdrop of civil unrest.

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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Monsters - Dark Continent - available now on DVD, Blu-ray and as a limited edition steelbook2010's "Monsters" was one of the surprise hits of that year. Shot on a miniscule budget of around $500,000, the film seriously boosted the profile of director Gareth Edwards ("Godzilla"). This inevitable sequel relocates the action from Mexico to the Middle East, and instead of a pensive road movie we get a tense war film set 10 years later. And Cult TV had three copies of the limited edition Blu-ray steelbook to give away in our prize competition!

A squad by the name of Tiger Shark is tasked with patrolling an undisclosed region in the Middle East, focusing on locating improvised explosive devices and overcoming terrorist insurgents. Things are going relatively swimmingly until they receive a mission to investigate the disappearance of another unit. Stopped in their tracks and defending against heavy fire on one side, and unpredictable aliens on the other, survival becomes paramount.

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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Alias Smith and Jones - The Compete Series comes to DVDAlias Smith and Jones was a series which made a great many friends in the UK, broadcasting on Mondays at 8.00pm on BBC2 in the early 1970s. The Beeb’s second channel used to have a reputation for securing American shows that were just a little offbeat for its schedules of the time, and this was no exception. And you had the chance to win one of three sets of the ENTIRE SERIES in our DVD competition.

Three series of the show were made, and Fabulous Films give you the option of buying these individually or in one collector-friendly complete set. Created and produced by Glen A Larson (he of Magnum PI, Knight Rider, and Buck Rogers fame), this was a Western series that originally aired Stateside on ABC from January 1971 to January 1973. Tragically, this was one of those series not just remembered for its excellent production values, but also for having to replace one of its two leads mid-season, due to suicide.

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Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Town That Dreaded Sundown - out now on Dual Format DVD and Blu-rayBased on a true story, "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" focuses on a serial killer who terrorised folk living on the Texas/Arkansas border in 1946, is out now in a dual-format Blu-ray and DVD pack. Shot partly as a docu-drama, the film tracks the murderer's attacks and the efforts of Texas Ranger Captain JD Morales (Ben Johnson - "The Last Picture Show", "The Wild Bunch") to hunt him down. The director is Charles B Pierce ("The Legend of Boggy Creek").

Preying mostly on young adults who park up in a secluded spot for a kiss and a cuddle, the so-called Phantom dons a crudely-made sack hood to mask his identity, and the only noise he makes is his heavy breathing. His attacks are as brutal as they are bizarre; the continued inability of peacekeepers to apprehend the killer stokes the community's fear as they are forced to batten down the hatches come sundown.

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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Wolcott - The Complete Series comes to Blu-ray and DVDWolcott is a police mini-series starring George Harris ("Raiders of the Lost Ark", "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"). Harris plays Winston Wolcott, a black policeman newly promoted to the CID and despised by both his new colleagues and the criminal gangs he is determined to bust. Surrounded by racism, police corruption and immersed in a vicious drug war, Wolcott has few allies to support him. The complete series is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.

The story opens with the brutal and senseless murder of an old lady for the sake of £200 in cash. The scene of the crime is an unwelcoming, dingy apartment block where the mostly ethnic locals have no interest in grassing up the perpetrator. The ITC-produced series emphasises the gritty, turbulent nature of life in the poorer, sometimes seedier areas of London in the early 1980s.

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Monday, 17 August 2015

Soldier and Me - out now on DVDThis is a BAFTA award-winning kids' adventure serial from the 1970s. Two teenage boys witness some suspect Czech men plotting the murder of an elderly fellow countryman. They decide to spy on the men but events spiral out of control and the lads are forced to flee for their lives across the country, doggedly pursued by the criminals. Can they evade capture long enough to expose the plot?

The nine-part series stars Gerry Sundquist (from the BBC's 1981 version of Great Expectations) as the gruff but well-meaning Jim Woolcott, and Richard Willis (Doctor Who, The Feathered Serpent) as Istvan 'Soldier' Szolda, a squeaky, accident-prone Czech boy who Woolcott takes under his wing after rescuing him from school bullies. The story is based on writer David Line's own novel “Run for Your Life”, and directed by Carol Wilks (Grange Hill, The Bill).

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Monday, 17 August 2015

Pickup On South Street - out now on dual format Blu-ray and DVDRichard Widmark ("The Alamo", "Coma") plays a steely, reclusive pickpocket in this classic film noir from director Samuel Fuller ("White Dog", "Fixed Bayonets!"). Skip McCoy (Widmark) steals a glamorous woman's purse on a subway train, little knowing the ton of heat it will bring down on him. The purse contains stolen military microfilm divulging a top secret chemical formula, and the FBI want it back.

The woman called Candy (Jean Peters - "Viva Zapata!", "Niagara") is also unaware of the material's nature and its importance to both the government and the Communists she was supposed to deliver it to. Desperate to appease her associate and retrieve the film, Candy faces a race against time before Skip finds a buyer, the police close in, or worse still the 'Reds' forcefully take matters into their own hands.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Blame it on Rio - out now on Blu-ray"Blame It On Rio" is a rom-com starring Michael Caine ("The Dark Knight", "The Ipcress File"). Two fathers who are best friends go on a holiday in Rio de Janeiro. Matthew (Caine) is in a stagnant marriage; Victor (Joseph Bologna - "Big Daddy", "The Woman in Red") is in the middle of bitter divorce proceedings. Their teenage daughters Nicole and Jennifer tag along to with the intention of dating local boys and have a good time.

Jennifer (Michelle Johnson - "Death Becomes Her", "Far and Away") has had a crush on Matthew since she was a small girl; now a curvy young woman, she seduces the much older man. Nicole (Demi Moore - "Ghost", "A Few Good Men") grudgingly keeps the affair a secret, but how long can they prevent a very protective father like Victor from learning the truth? In Rio, life is lived to the full but every indiscretion comes with a price.

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Monday, 10 August 2015

Ironside - Seasons 1 and 2 out on UK DVDRaymond Burr was a giant of the small screen in more ways than one. Following 271 episodes over nine years from 1957 as the lead in Perry Mason, few expected the actor to go immediately into another potentially long-running show. In fact, waylaid by just a cameo in the pilot episode for the Robert Wagner starrer It Takes A Thief, Burr went into what would be an eight year, 195 episode engagement on Ironside (which, for reasons only known to the hierarchy at the BBC, became A Man Called Ironside in the UK – perhaps Auntie thought folk might think it was a series about domestic science without making that type of qualification!).

This is a show where all four of the major characters are incredibly well-drawn, complement each other well, and make even the most mundane of scripts sparkle. This is NOT one of your run-of-the-mill police procedurals – it has style, gloss and pace. Thanks to Fabulous Films, you could have won one of three sets of the first two seasons of Ironside (a total of 54 one-hour episodes) in our prize competition.

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Wednesday, 05 August 2015

The Cat and the Canary - out now on DVDBob Hope ("Road to Morocco", "The Paleface") stars in this classic haunted house comedy. A decade ago, millionaire Cyrus Norman passed away and now his attorney (George Zucco - "The Pirate") has gathered six relatives to his rickety old mansion to learn which of them has hit the jackpot. Awaiting them is house keeper Miss Lu, an austere and rather sinister lady played by Gale Sondergaard ("Road to Rio"), and a hostile black cat.

The identity of the heir or heiress is quickly revealed, but then things take a turn for the worse when the party discovers that a ghoulish, demented serial killer known as 'The Cat' has escaped from an asylum and is lurking in the neighbourhood. With no way to escape the house situated in the alligator-infested bayou until morning, the fractious, frightened relatives have no choice but to sit tight and hope they survive the night.

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Wednesday, 05 August 2015

Nor the Moon by Night - out now on DVD“Nor the Moon by Night” is a three-handed tale, where two of the three stars will be well-known to Cult TV appreciators. However, it is the female lead of the trio who is an enigma, to die young and now almost forgotten, tragedy striking at a time when her acting career could have been going either way. Patrick McGoohan, creative force and star of The Prisoner plays Chief Warden Andrew Miller of a game reserve, with his less-constrained brother Rusty acting as Deputy Warden, given form by Michael Craig – Captain John Anderson of Triangle fame, who would eventually decamp to Australia and play Dr William Sharp in 262 episodes of GP from 1989 to 1995.

Known as “Elephant Gun” or “Rencontre au Kenya” in some territories, the starlet playing alongside our male duo is Belinda Lee. Her character, Alice Lang, stuck in England looking after her bedridden mother, has pen-friended Andrew for four years, and yearns to join him in Africa. Andrew treats the romance as more of a business transaction, marriage being something he is expected to do. When Alice’s mother dies overnight, it seems she is finally free to begin love’s great adventure, only for it to be almost immediately derailed. Duty means Andrew has to see to some elephants which are keen on escaping his reserve. And so, Rusty is sent to deputise, meeting Alice from her train at the local Duikers Drift station.

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Sunday, 02 August 2015

Good Kill - out now on Blu-ray and DVDDrone warfare and drone usage in general is a very hot topic, and in "Good Kill", director Andrew Niccol ("Gattaca", "Lord of War") tries to present an even-handed tale of one pilot's experiences from behind the joystick. Ethan Hawke ("Sinister", "Training Day") stars as Major Thomas Egan, a veteran F-16 pilot now stationed in a claustrophobic tin box in the Nevada desert, remotely launching air-to-ground missiles in response to orders from on-high.

Tommy seems to be handling his new role well and he has the luxury of returning home to his stunning wife (January Jones - Mad Men, "X-Men: First Class") and two young kids after each shift. His boss (Bruce Greenwood - "Star Trek", "I, Robot") is supportive and understands the challenges involved, but then the CIA take over command and the rules of engagement become a whole lot more questionable.

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Sunday, 02 August 2015

Shopping - out now on Blu-ray and DVD“Shopping” was Paul W S Anderson's first feature, and whilst it feels more or less rooted in the real world, the film is stylised enough to feel like the director was dipping his toe into science fiction before going all-out in the likes of "Event Horizon", "Resident Evil" and "AVP: Alien vs Predator". The excellent cast includes Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Sean Pertwee, Jonathan Pryce, Sean Bean, Jason Isaacs, Daniel Newman and Eamonn Walker.

Law ("Sherlock Holmes", "A I - Artificial Intelligence") plays Billy, a car thief and ram-raider just released from prison. After hooking back up with girlfriend Jo (Frost - "Bram Stoker's Dracula", "Love, Honour and Obey") they resume their criminal activities, stealing a BMW and meeting up with the old gang. Unfortunately for Billy, during his absence rival thief Tommy (Pertwee) has taken over much of his turf. Now he is back, an escalating, lawless battle breaks out.

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Sunday, 02 August 2015

Mr and Mrs Murder - out now on DVDAustralian crime-comedy series Mr & Mrs Murder follows the exploits of a married couple who specialise in cleaning up gruesome crime scenes. Charlie and Nicola Buchanan do not just tidy-up, they also happen to be excellent at solving murders, with a keen eye for detail and a knack for teasing information out of people. The sassy couple are played by Shaun Micallef (Danger 5, Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation) and Kat Stewart (Supernova, Offspring).

Currently airing on Channel 5 USA, each episode sets the scene with a hastily-dispatched victim and then the duo's ToxiClean van rolls up. Charlie and Nicola sport head-to-toe protective coveralls and come armed with an assortment of industrial cleaning products. Rather ineffective Detective Peter Vinetti (Jonny Pasvolky - "Mortdecai") and Nicola's niece Jess Chalmers (Lucy Honigman - The Ex-PM) complete the regular cast.

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Monday, 27 July 2015

Weird Al Yankovic movie UHF comes to Blu-rayWeird Al Yankovic was, for a time in the 1980s and 1990s, the go-to guy for the parody record. Inheriting the crown once worn so merrily by The Barron Knights in the UK, he would take hit songs and re-word them, making mirth from songs which in the main were originally a little too pompous for their own good. Michael Jackson’s “Beat it” and “Bad” became “Eat it” and “Fat” respectively, Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” became “Another One Rides the Bus”, Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” became “Like a Surgeon”, Richard Harris and Donna Summer’s “MacArthur Park” became “Jurassic Park”, and so on.

Weird Al did attempt to conquer visual media too, and the finest of these efforts is without doubt the 1989 movie “UHF”. Featuring some song parodies in amongst the story of a local TV station in America taking on Channel 8, the corporate ‘big gun’ broadcaster just down the road from it, those of a certain age will get most of the references, making this very much a lost comedy gem. Thanks to Fabulous Films and Fremantle Media Enterprises you had the chance to win one of three copies of the brand new UK Blu-ray release in our prize competition!

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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Stalag 17 - out now on Blu-ray“Stalag 17” is a comedy-drama about American airmen held captive in Germany. Directed by Billy Wilder ("Some Like It Hot", "Sunset Boulevard"), the film stars William Holden ("The Bridge on the River Kwai") as an unpopular wheeler-dealer suspected by the other POWs of passing secrets to the Germans. Whilst many are going stir crazy and wilfully disrupt their captors wherever possible, Sgt. Sefton (Holden) leads a life of relative luxury and minimal resistance.

Holden won an Oscar for his performance, but the movie is really an ensemble piece with numerous bold characters on both sides of the prison fence. Robert Strauss ("The Seven Year Itch") is the aptly-named Animal, Sig Ruman ("A Night at the Opera") plays a very jovial German guard, Peter Graves (Jim Phelps in the classic series of Mission: Impossible) is Price, the Americans' 'security', and Don Taylor ("Escape from the Planet of the Apes") is a well-to-do lieutenant responsible for the bombing of a munitions train that the Germans are intently investigating.

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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Quatermass with John Mills - out now on Blu-rayProfessor Bernard Quatermass is the creation of legendary British screenwriter Nigel Kneale. The much-cherished character's impressive longevity spans from his first TV outing in 1953's “The Quatermass Xperiment” to 2005's live remake of the same, and extends to other media including the cinema, radio and stage. Network's new release stars John Mills and was originally produced in 1979 but feels much more modern thanks partly to a stunning HD re-master.

This incarnation of Quatermass is more senior and frail, and yet he faces perhaps his most perilous challenge. Society is in the advanced stages of disintegration, with vast swathes of the urban and country landscape abandoned by the authorities and left to warring gangs and roaming cults. Quatermass ventures into this bleak landscape in search of his missing granddaughter, and unwittingly becomes caught up in a mission to save the human race from extinction.

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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

No That's Me Over Here - Out no on DVDIf you are a fan of Ronnie Corbett, of his rambling monologues on The Two Ronnies in particular, then this discovery in the archives will no doubt be for you. Imagine that facet of Ronnie’s character placed in an office and home situation comedy environment, with a rival sparring neighbour who he also shares an office with, and a wife whose patience is tested at every turn. And here you have 13 half-hours made by London Weekend Television in 1970, courtesy of Network Distributing.

Created by Barry Cryer, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle, No That's Me Over Here features Ronnie as an office worker at City Life and Fire Insurance Company Ltd. Like so many office situations, we see him creeping up to the boss, being distracted by secretaries, and jostling for position with his rival who’s on the same position on the ladder as him. It’s the standard fare of facing life as a 40-something, with a little Monty Python surrealism thrown in there for good measure.

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Sunday, 05 July 2015

Hawk The Slayer - out now on Blu-rayHailed as a cult classic, "Hawk the Slayer" is a sword-and-sorcery tale of brotherly conflict, dark magic and medieval-style battles. Relative newcomer John Terry (Lost, "Full Metal Jacket") stars as Hawk, a wiry young innocent whose father and wife are butchered by his jealous brother Voltan (Jack Palance - "Shane", "City Slickers"). Swearing to avenge their deaths, Hawk builds a small but loyal band of fighters to take on his brother's army.

Heavily influenced by the likes of JRR Tolkien and endeavouring to ride the sci-fi/fantasy wave crested by "Star Wars", this ITC-produced movie may not boast the budget of some of its 1980s' counterparts such as "Krull", "Ladyhawke" and "The Beastmaster", but it has plenty of action, a fantastic villain and a crafty sense of fun that keeps it bubbling along despite the on-screen death and destruction.

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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Parks and Recreation - finale season 7 out on DVDParks and Recreation's seventh and final season arrives on DVD, and fans have the bittersweet experience of seeing their favourite characters engage in daft and heart-warming antics one last time. Over the course of these 13 episodes we get to see how Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler - "Inside Out") and her old local government co-workers have blossomed, and where their lives will take them in the future.

The season opens in the year 2017 and as usual, not everything is going to plan. Mysteriously, Leslie and Ron (Nick Offerman - "22 Jump Street") are on opposite sides of a bitter battle for a large patch of land in Pawnee, Indiana. Leslie wants to turn it into a new national park, whilst Ron is batting for a large technology company called Gryzzl that wants to build on it. Can Leslie turn things around and save her belovèd home town?

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Monday, 29 June 2015

The Avengers Series 5 comes to Blu-rayJohn Steed (played by the late, great Patrick Macnee) and Mrs Emma Peel (Diana Rigg) made a huge global impact in The Avengers. With the new release of Series 5 on Blu-ray, containing all but one of Rigg’s colour episodes, we see the duo bending slightly to cater for the American audience. The Stateside viewers had been able to seek out the previous Series 4, filmed in monochrome, which had been bought by American network ABC on the agreement that Series 5 would move into colour. And you had the chance to win one of three sets on Blu-ray that we had on offer in our prize competition.

Despite having to import some Americanisms (‘flats’ are now ‘apartments’, ‘lifts’ are ‘elevators’), this is still shot as a travelogue of the British urban climes and countryside, with empty roads and green and pleasant lands acting as backdrops on so much of the location shooting. No doubt some Americans of that era got their impression of Brits and our country from watching The Avengers – and in some respects we’ve never shaken those sensibilities. How many English villains in Hollywood movies come over as if they’ve just been exported from an episode of The Avengers?

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Thunderbirds Are Go and Thunderbirds 6 - out now on UK Blu-rayWith a new reboot on ITV, it wouldn’t be long before the Blu-ray versions of the big screen movies from the 1960s of Thunderbirds would finally make their way to the UK. We’re talking about “Thunderbirds are Go” (1966) and “Thunderbird 6” (1968). Mostly forgotten, even at the time, due to very lacklustre box office returns, they are far more than being double-length TV episodes, filmed entirely in an extreme cinematic aspect ratio, with no carriage over of footage from the small screen adventures. And you had the chance to win one of three copies of both releases which we had up for grabs in our prize competition.

Gerry Anderson often told the story that Lew Grade confided in him that he couldn’t make his mind up whether the first of the movies would out-perform James Bond at the Box Office or not. The problem was that even the sales line that this was your chance to see International Rescue in glorious colour, something not afforded the monochrome television audiences of the time, did not make the case for the cinema audience to buy their tickets. Perhaps they were too dumb to realise these were all-new adventures, with everything illustrated on a much bigger canvas?

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