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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 (292)

All the best in Cult Movies released onto DVD

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Events (20)

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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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

White Reindeer on DVD and VOD"White Reindeer" is an antidote to some of the more saccharine Christmas movies, along the lines of "Bad Santa" blended with "Bridget Jones's Diary". The film focuses on estate agent Suzanne Barrington (Anna Margaret Hollyman - "The Den"), a happily married woman who is looking forward to Christmas and relocating to Hawaii until she discovers that her husband has been brutally murdered by burglars.

Greaving Suzanne drifts from day to day at home, becoming massively addicted to online shopping for festive junk and clothes as she desperately seeks some kind of emotional boost. Then she discovers that the man she loved had been having an affair and goes in search of 'the other woman'. The lady in question is stripper Fantasia (Laura Lemar-Goldsborough), who befriends Suzanne and shows her how to live on the wild side of life.

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Thief of Bagdad dual-format DVD & Blu-rayDouglas Fairbanks ("Robin Hood", "The Mark of Zorro") stars in this lavish movie based on several Arabian Nights tales. Fairbanks plays the titular thief, an egotistical rogue who excels at taking what he wants with scant regard for his victims. When he falls for the Caliph's beautiful daughter (Julanne Johnston), he realises that there is one thing he cannot steal and sets about winning her heart through feats of bravery and cunning.

Featuring magic, monsters and romance, not to mention impressive athleticism on the part of Fairbanks, this film from way back in 1924 will appeal to fans of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom", the 'Prince of Persia' video games and BBC's Atlantis. Prolific director Raoul Walsh ("White Heat", "High Sierra") shot the movie and it features a fantastic soundtrack by Carl Davis that contains elements of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade.

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Monday, 17 November 2014

Spione - out on dual format Blu-ray and DVDAustrian director Fritz Lang followed up the iconic "Metropolis" with this espionage thriller about a criminal mastermind's plan to intercept a peace treaty to trigger a devastating war. A forerunner to James Bond, "Spione" ("Spies" in English) features all the elements we expect from a modern spy movie including chase scenes, covert operations, damsels in distress and high-tech gadgetry, and is all the more impressive for having been directed in 1928.

Rudolf Klein-Rogge ("The Testament of Dr. Mabuse") plays the evil genius Haghi, whose base of operations is secreted away in the basement of a bank he uses as a front for his dastardly activities. Tracking him down is Number 326 (Willy Fritsch - "Frau im Mond"), a daring secret agent masquerading as a pauper. Caught between them is Sonja (Gerda Maurus - also "Frau im Mond"), a loyal Russian agent working for Haghi but who falls for 326.

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Friday, 14 November 2014

Space:1999 - The Bringers of Wonder from Series 2 comes to Blu-rayThe wait is nearly over for fans of Space: 1999. The Complete Second Series, digitally restored in High Definition, on Blu-ray and DVD is scheduled to finally be released into the wild in Autumn 2015.

But, there’s time for a little taster beforehand, with a stocking filler for fans this festive season. Network Distributing will be bringing out a special edition Blu-ray release of the two-part episode “The Bringers Of Wonder” - featuring a pair of episodes which were originally conceived to be a big screen feature for some territories. It will be available exclusively through networkonair.com from 8 December 2014 – and available on pre-order right now! The RRP is £13.00, and limited to just 1,999 copies, so get yours reserved now.

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Monday, 10 November 2014

Detectorists - out now on DVDMackenzie Crook wrote, directed and co-stars in this BBC comedy series about a pair of metal detectorists. Crook (the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, Almost Human) plays Andy, a wannabe archaeologist who spends his days tending to council lawns and his evenings sweeping fields for buried artefacts. His mate is Lance (Toby Jones - "Captain America: The First Avenger", "The Mist"), a fork-lift driver who dreams of getting back together with his ex-wife.

Together they form two-sevenths of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club (aka the DMDC), a local group who meet up once a week to compare their finds and watch riveting talks about buttons. As the series progresses, the petty rivalry between Danebury and rival group, the Antiqui-searchers, threatens to boil over, all because of rumours of a treasure trove in a loopy farmer's local field.

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Sunday, 09 November 2014

Parks and Recreation - Season 6 out on DVDThe penultimate season of American hit comedy Parks and Recreation begins with Councillor Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler - Saturday Night Live) on the back foot. Everyone seems to be gunning for her in a recall vote, despite her best efforts. The fortunes of her friends and colleagues are more positive: Andy (Chris Pratt – Bright Abbott in Everwood, Peter Quill in “Guardians of the Galaxy”) is offered an amazing temporary job in London, Anne and Chris have a baby on the way and Tom never stops coming up with new business ideas, some of which actually come off.

The Golden Globe-winning series continues to pull in some big guest stars including none-other than Michelle Obama, Mad Men's Jon Hamm, Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess herself), Kristen Bell ("Frozen") and Sam Elliot ("Hulk"). This Season 6 box set includes three discs jam-packed with all 22 episodes and a bundle of special features such as a celebration marking the production of the 100th episode.

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Sunday, 09 November 2014

Invasion - the 1966 movie comes to DVDA strange figure in skin-tight rubber is knocked over in a late-night road traffic accident. Rushed to hospital, the victim is identified as alien after doctors' tests produce baffling results. Then an invisible force-field surrounds the hospital and the temperature starts to rise to dangerous levels. The lives of 300 patients are at risk, and nobody has a clue what is going on. Beyond the perimeter, additional alien figures lurk, their intentions unknown.

Welcome to "Invasion", a gripping, British sci-fi thriller from the 1960s based on a story by Doctor Who scribe par excellence, Robert Holmes. Directed by Alan Bridges ("The Shooting Party"), the film stars Edward Judd and Valerie Gearon as doctors Mike Vernon and Claire Harland, the two key hospital staff who must crack this mystery. Yôko Tani ("The Savage Innocents") guest-stars as one of the beautiful and otherworldly aliens.

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Sunday, 09 November 2014

Unearthly Stranger comes to DVD"Unearthly Stranger" is a neat, British, sci-fi chiller, all about a group of scientists involved in cutting-edge research. They are on the verge of discovering a way to harness untapped energy in the brain to project one's mind through time and space, potentially across galaxies. Worryingly, each time the secret formula is discovered, those involved start to die, horribly and inexplicably. Who or what is behind these unseen attacks?

John Neville ("Baron Munchausen", Well-Manicured Man in The X-Files) stars as Dr Mark Davidson, the scientist promoted following his predecessor's recent, tragic death. Davidson savours the opportunity but discovers that he is obstructed by bureaucracy and a nagging paranoia that someone, or some… thing is undermining his progress. Meanwhile, his superiors turn their attention on Mark's new wife, a beautiful woman who exhibits some odd behaviour.

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Monday, 27 October 2014

Felony - ready to stream“Felony” is a riveting Australian police thriller about Malcolm Toohey, a hero detective (Joel Edgerton - "Warrior") who knocks a boy off his bike whilst drink-driving and then hides his involvement. His boss (Tom Wilkinson - "Shakespeare in Love") helps him bury the case but new boy on the block Jim (Jai Courtney - "Divergent") smells a rat and pursues his own investigation, much to the other two law enforcers' annoyance.

As the life of the child hangs in the balance, Detective Toohey wrestles with his guilt. Should he turn himself in, potentially dragging others down with him? And what of his own family who depend on him? The movie was directed by Matthew Saville and produced by Michael Benaroya ("Lawless"), and co-stars Melissa George ("30 Days of Night") as Malcolm's wife and Sarah Roberts (Sienna Matthews in Neighbours) as the boy's traumatised mother.

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Monday, 27 October 2014

Gutshot - on demand and digital download“Gutshot”, also known as “Gustshot Straight” to avoid confusion with another 2014 film of the same name, is a slow-burning film noire about Jack, a deadbeat gambler who owes some bad people a lot of money and has to resort to desperate measures to protect his family. Set in Las Vegas, the movie stars George Eads (Nick Stokes in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation). Stephen Lang (Colonel Miles Quaritch in "Avatar") plays Duffy, a sleazy high roller who gives Jack an eye-opening proposal that could help him buy his way out of trouble, but Jack smells a rat.

Our anti-hero has to make some tough decisions with an unpleasant debt collector (ex-footballer Vinnie Jones) breathing down his neck, and he finds himself drawn inexorably towards May, Duffy's glamorous wife (AnnaLynne McCord – ranch hand Heather in the 2014 episodes of Dallas, Naomi Clark in 90210), a sultry siren whose apparent interest in Jack is rather suspect. Action hero Steven Seagal ("Under Siege") also guest stars as mob boss Paulie Trunks. Justin Steele, previously only a director on shorts, directs a full movie for the first time.

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Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Driver - mini-series out now on DVDDavid Morrissey stars in this three-part BBC thriller about a taxi driver who moonlights for dangerous criminals. Cabbie Vince McKee is bored and frustrated with his thankless job and feeling disconnected from his family. Then his mate Col (Ian Hart - "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone") is released from prison and suggests Vince joins him in a life of crime, driving for gang boss The Horse (Colm Meaney - Star Trek: TNG and Deep Space Nine).

Thrilled by his dare-devil secret role, Vince cannot believe his luck: The jobs are easy and the pay is amazing, but then the stakes rise and things start to go disastrously wrong. The mini-series was directed by Jamie Payne (Doctor Who, Call the Midwife), and written by Daniel Brocklehurt and Jim Poyser (Shameless). Claudie Blakley (Lark Rise to Candleford) plays Vince's wife Ros, and Sacha Parkinson (Coronation Street) is his daughter Katie.

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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Timeslip - the movie - out on DVD nowNot the ATV series of the 1970s, this “Timeslip” sees a physicist experimenting in the transmutation of one element into another,and is shot and left for dead for his trouble. Rushed to hospital he dies on the operating table only to miraculously revive seconds later. Science reporter Mike Delaney develops a photo revealing the victim to be surrounded by a strange, glowing fog, and the scientist appears to have a doppelganger. The dogged hack smells a great story if he can only unravel the mystery.

Delaney (Gene Nelson - better known as the director of Elvis' "Kissin' Cousins") works alongside photographer (and love interest) Jill Rabowski (Faith Domergue - "This Island Earth") and Detective Inspector Cleary (Joseph Tomelty - "Hobson's Choice"). Up against them is a shady organisation determined to undermine the scientist's economically earth-shattering research even if it means detonating a devastating bomb.

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Sunday, 28 September 2014

Dr Caligari on Dual format Blu-ray and DVDReleased almost a century ago, "Das Cabinet Des Dr Caligari" is a deliciously ghoulish movie about a travelling showman and his bizarre act. The titular Dr Caligari (Werner Krauss) is accompanied by Cesare (Conrad Veidt - "Casablanca"), a fearfully gaunt and skinny somnambulist who is roused to predict people's futures. Soon after Caligari sets up his carnival tent in the German town of Holstenwall, a spate of murders begins.

A local inhabitant called Francis (Friedrich Feher) starts to investigate the killings and suspects that Caligari is somehow involved. With those close to him in danger, can Francis solve the case in time? Robert Wiene's film went on to influence many horror and thriller directors, and the dramatic twist at the end of the movie predates the work of M. Night Shyamalan and David Fincher by many generations.

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Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Professionals - MkII gets a substantial overhaulAnd so, out on the streets now, released in another example of immaculate restoration is The Professionals: MkII from Network. Available for the first time in Blu-ray format, and via iTunes if you really insist, is the second shooting block of episodes. Sort of. Stick with us to find out why that all becomes a little fuzzy!

As with the MkI release which appeared in March 2014, here we have brand new transfers from original film elements, all presented here in a previously never realised supreme quality. And when we say that, we mean even better than when it was first broadcast - 13 episodes from transmissions first made 1978 and 1979. Martin Shaw as Doyle, Lewis Collins as Bodie, the affable brace of special agents from law enforcement department CI5, with Gordon Jackson as their cantankerous boss George Cowley.

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Monday, 08 September 2014

Countess Dracula - out now on Blu-rayIngrid Pitt is both stunningly sexy and unnervingly repulsive as an aged countess who discovers that she can not only halt aging, but also reverse it dramatically, albeit only for a day. The trigger is the blood of virgins, bathed in rather than sucked through fangs, for this murderous hag is no vampire. The more she uses this gift or curse, the worse the cost both in terms of her degrading appearance post-fix and the heightened danger of discovery.

Pitt ("The Wicker Man", "The House That Dripped Blood") is joined by Nigel Green ("Zulu", "The Ipcress File") as scheming Captain Dobi, steward of the Countess' castle, Maurice Denham ("The Day of the Jackal") as inquisitive historian, Master Fabio, and Patience Collier ("The French Lieutenant's Woman") as dependable nurse Julie. Sandor Elès plays Lt Imre Toth, the Countess' dashing love interest.

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Sunday, 07 September 2014

Twins of Evil - out now on Blu-ray“Twins of Evil” combines Peter Cushing, witch-hunting, Satanism and vampires in a kind of Hammer's 'Greatest Hits'. Nubile, identical twins are sent to live with their austere uncle Gustav (Hammer stalwart Cushing) and aunt after their parents tragically pass away. One of the girls, Frieda (Madeleine Collinson) has a tendency to rebel and be naughty, whilst her sister Maria (Mary Collinson) is altogether more wholesome.

Count Karnstein, the decadent local aristocrat (Damien Thomas - Shogun), soon has his eye on them both, much to the horror and chagrin of Gustav and his troop of evangelical zealots. Meanwhile, scholar and composer Anton (David Warbeck - "The Beyond") rallies against the religious sect's brutal tendency for summary justice, fearing that their execution of countless supposed deviants may already have resulted in the death of innocents.

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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Two Left Feet - out now on DVDMichael Crawford (Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em) stars as Alan, a 19-year-old removal man with a lot to learn about love and life. Ceaselessly teased by his workmates, the shy lad works up the courage to ask out a stunning tea shop assistant called Eileen (Nyree Dawn Porter - The Protectors). Unable to believe his luck, when they go clubbing Alan soon realises that he will have to work hard to keep Eileen's attention focused on him.

This cheeky black and white comedy with a dramatic edge also features Michael Craze (Ben from Hartnell/ Troughton era classic Doctor Who) and David Hemmings ("Gladiator", "Gangs of New York") as best mates whose friendship is severely tested in the pursuit of love, Julia Foster ("Alfie") as the other, less wayward woman in Alan's life and Bernard Lee ('M' in the early James Bond movies) as Alan's father.

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

Evil Feed - available as Video On DemandCombining the genres of 'torture porn' horror, gross-out comedy and martial arts, “Evil Feed” endeavours to bring something new to the dinner table. Steven (Terry Chen - The 100, House of Cards) murders his father to accelerate his inheritance of the family restaurant. He dreams of making it a huge underground hit by offering 'Tendertainment', where patrons preview their human dinner as it is being pulverised in cage fights.

Steven's flunkies kidnap members of the public with a kung fu pedigree, only this time they might have bitten off more than they can chew when they mess with a feisty, young group of martial artists led by Jenna (Laci J Mailey - Falling Skies). What follows is gory carnage intermingled with sex and the restaurant's house speciality, Dicky Roll. The director's chair is filled by Kimani Ray Smith, stunt co-ordinator on "Watchmen" and Continuum.

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Thursday, 21 August 2014

Divergent - out now on DVD and Blu-ray“Divergent” is the latest adaptation of a young-adult fiction hit in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. It follows the likes of "Twilight", "The Hunger Games" and "The Host", and precedes the imminent release of "The Maze Runner". Shailene Woodley ("The Fault in Our Stars") stars as Beatrice, a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in a future where war has ravaged the planet and the Chicago has become a utopian refuge for the survivors.

Within the protective city walls, the population is neatly divided into five peaceful, character-based factions such as honesty, intelligence and bravery, ostensibly to negate conflict. Beatrice must undergo a test to help her decide her destination, with the onus on serving society rather than picking the faction she was born into. She selects Dauntless, leaves home and begins a gruelling 10-week physical and mental training course, where failure means becoming an outcast.

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The House Across The Lake - out on DVDAmerican author Mark Kendrick (Alex Nicol - "The Man from Laramie") rents a bungalow on Lake Windermere to focus on his new novel. One fateful night he receives a call asking if he can help a neighbour from across the water by ferrying some of her party-goers. Despite his better nature, Mark is instantly bowled over by the lady of the house, blonde bombshell Carol Forrest (Hillary Brooke - "The Man Who Knew Too Much").

Hillary's rich stockbroker husband, Beverly Forrest (Sidney James - "The Lavender Hill Mob") befriends Mark and reveals that he still loves his wife despite her flagrant, adulterous behaviour. Mark tries to keep his distance but is inescapably drawn into the Forrests' tumultuous lives. The film was co-produced by Hammer Films and Lippert Films, and written and directed by Ken Hughes ("Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", 1967's "Casino Royale").

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Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Raid 2 - out on DVD and Blu-ray2011’s “The Raid” caught a lot of action fans off guard, just as “The Matrix” had in 1999. Equally, a comparison of “The Matrix” and “The Matrix Reloaded” is pertinent here because “Raid” director Gareth Evans had to take the seed of his success and let it blossom, keeping the winning formula fresh. Thus, whilst the first movie was a claustrophobic, non-stop battle for survival, the sequel is a more complex gangster flick with some equally audacious fight scenes.

The understated Iko Uwais returns as Rama, a policeman who goes undercover and joins an Indonesian gang to ultimately unearth deep-rooted police corruption. His mission initially means a few years locked up in a dangerous prison to win the confidence of a gang lord's son, whilst inter-gang warfare between the Indonesians and Japanese threatens to decimate the prison population on a regular basis.

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

S*P*Y*S on DVD“S*P*Y*S” is a spoof espionage thriller about a couple of CIA agents who stumble into and out of all sorts of precarious situations in pursuit of a high-value MacGuffin. It stars “M*A*S*H” duo Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould, with Joss Ackland (“Lethal Weapon 2”), French sensation Zouzou (“Chloe in the Afternoon”), Vladek Sheybal (Dr Doug Jackson in UFO) and Thunderbirds' Scott Tracy - Shane Rimmer - in the supporting cast.

Burned by their own agency, the two men go on the run in Paris. Nearly broke, they take on a job to get enough cash to disappear safely, but numerous other organisations want both their scalps and their target. If they were capable agents their mission would be difficult; as bumbling fools it is going to be virtually impossible! The movie is directed by Irvin Kershner, famous for “Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back”.

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Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Rapture - out nowRapture” is a beguiling film about a disturbed young woman who makes a scarecrow that she believes comes to life, but the strange man who enters her life is fact a criminal on the run. Patricia Gozzi, star of the Oscar-winning “Sundays and Cybele” is the petite Agnes, and a youthful Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap, “Blue Velvet”) is Joseph. John Guillermin, better known for “The Towering Inferno” and “Death on the Nile” directs.

Set on the beautifully rugged coast of Brittany, the movie considers the felon's impact on the life of a family still struggling to come to terms with the death of the mother some years earlier. The stern and brooding father is played by Melvyn Douglas (“Being There”, “Hud”), a former judge who resigned under a shadow. Heavily engrossed in his writing, the task of bringing up Agnes is primarily left to foxy live-in housekeeper Karen (Gunnel Lindblom - "The Seventh Seal”).

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Sunday, 08 June 2014

This Sporting Life - out now on Blu-rayRichard Harris (“Unforgiven”, “Gladiator”) stars as fictional rugby league sensation Frank Machin in this Oscar-nominated and BAFTA-winning film. Rachel Roberts (“Picnic at Hanging Rock”) co-stars as Frank’s widowed landlady, a woman he desperately wants to help but whose stony, embittered defences he struggles to break down. Despite his new-found wealth, Frank also seems incapable of jettisoning his working-class trappings and refining his rough and brutish persona.

Directed by Lindsay Anderson (“If...”), the movie also stars Alan Badel (“The Day of the Jackal”), along with a host of TV favourites such as original Doctor Who William Hartnell, Arthur Lowe (Dad's Army), Leonard Rossiter (The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin) and George Sewell (UFO). This new Blu-ray release features a superb high-definition transfer made from original, black and white film elements in its theatrical aspect ratio.

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Sunday, 08 June 2014

From There To Here - out now on DVDThis three-part drama series from the BBC begins with the IRA’s 1996 Manchester city centre bombing. The explosion causes ripples that forever change the lives of two families. At the centre of the story is Daniel Cotton (Gene Hunt himself - Philip Glenister of Ashes to Ashes fame), the MD of a family-run sweet company who, despite being happily married, falls in love with fellow victim Joanna (Liz White of Life on Mars fame, working again with Glenister), and has to deal with the consequences.

The series also stars the iconic Bernard Hill (Yosser Hughes of Boys from the Blackstuff) as Daniel’s droll father, Saskia Reeves (Luther) as his loving wife, Steven Mackintosh (“Underworld: Evolution”) as his off-the-rails brother, Daniel Rigby (Big School) as Dan’s business-savvy son and Ben Batt (Shameless) as one of Joanna's sons. The mini-series was written by Peter Bowker, the man responsible for Blackpool and Occupation, and directed by James Strong (Broadchurch, Doctor Who).

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