LOOK-BACK on 70s Telly DVDs

With much of the television that those in single digit ages in the 1970s having disappeared long ago from our screens, memories become just fragments – the titles of what we saw long forgotten, and even in this digital age satellite television does not have a place for them amongst its hundreds of channels.  Thanks to Network DVD, we now have two ‘sampler’ double-disc sets to savour, to help fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

These releases are therefore ideally suited for those now in their forties. No longer do you have to fork out on a series that you may or may not remember correctly.  In these two releases known as “Look-Back on 70s Telly” we get two pools of many unreleased legends to cast our memory net into – “Issue 1” covers the pre-school genre, while “Issue 2” covers that of action and adventure aimed at children and younger teenagers (of the time).  All of it is wrapped in artwork very much a homage to the “Look-In” comic of the era, and a theme tune for the hilarious and well thought-out menus that pays homage to the theme tune to the series Ace of Wands.

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Clifton House Mystery: DVD

An old woman’s possessions are auctioned, and orchestral conductor Timothy Clare and his family move into her large, though rather gloomy and dilapidated, old house in Bristol. It soon becomes clear that this is a house full of secrets, and that Mrs Betterton has good reason to leave with her young granddaughter, the ethereal, otherworldly Emily. After a series of frightening experiences and disturbing discoveries, including a walled-up room containing a skeleton, the Clares realise that they are not the only occupants. Unearthly presences inhabit the house, and the family must find a way to lay the ghosts to rest if they are ever to find peace there.

Eerie special effects, a twisting plot and a highly atmospheric setting make for spine-tingling drama in this memorable six-part series from HTV. The Clifton House Mystery features Peter Sallis as Milton Guest, who becomes convinced that a ghost connected with the Bristol Riots of 1831 is haunting the house.

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Masque of Mandragora DVD

Featuring Tom Baker as the fourth incarnation, “The Masque of Madragora” is a Doctor Who historical adventure of sorts. After an encounter with the deadly Mandragora Helix, the Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) land the TARDIS in 15th Century San Martino. In the midst of danger, secrecy and intrigue, they witness the flowering of the Italian Renaissance.

As the masque to celebrate the accession of the new Duke approaches, the Doctor realises that a third visitor has arrived with him in the TARDIS. It is a force with the power to wipe out human civilisation forever. The Doctor has brought it to Earth – and only the Doctor can stop it.

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Callan Monochrome DVDs

Edward Woodward gives an enigmatic performance as the agent who falls into becoming a professional killer working for British Intelligence. Callan became an iconic hero at the time, making Woodward one of the highest profile actors on TV, something that would eventually transfer to Trans-Atlantic success. This release is a fine epitaph for one of the actor’s most famous roles.

Created by James Mitchell (of When the Boat Comes In fame) this series explored the dingy, twilight world of the professional spy. Callan was the antithesis of James Bond and presented television with a realistic portrayal of government espionage. The format ran from 1967 to 1972. With shady help from Lonely (Russell Hunter), Callan found his every move being manipulate from ‘The Section’ by ‘Hunter’ - a name used by the current Section Chief, much like ‘M’ in Bond, and explains the constant rotation of actors playing the role.

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Doctor Who Peladon DVDs

Set on the developing planet of Peladon, Doctor Who Peladon Tales includes two adventures featuring the Third Doctor Jon Pertwee – “The Curse of Peladon” and “The Monster of Peladon”, with the adventures set 50 years apart.  In “The Curse of Peladon” from 1972, the Doctor and Jo Grant make an inelegant landing on the planet Peladon whilst on a test flight in the TARDIS. Mistaken for representatives from Earth, the Doctor soon finds himself chairing the committee of alien delegates assessing Peladon’s petition to join the Galactic Federation. When one of the King’s advisers is killed, the High Priest fears the ancients Curse of Aggedor is at work, but the Doctor suspects his old enemies the Ice Warriors are to blame. Can the Doctor and Jo uncover the identity of the saboteurs before a major diplomatic incident plunges them into war?

In “The Monster of Peladon” from 1974, the TARDIS arrives on Peladon half a century after his previous visit. The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith discover a troubled planet ruled by the late King’s daughter. Peladon is at the centre of a war – and the Galactic Federation desperately need a mineral found in the mines. But why is the ghost of Aggedor killing miners, and why can’t anyone be trusted? Queen Thalira needs the Doctor’s help to find out…

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