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Dead Head out on DVD

Tuesday, 16 April 2013 00:00
Posted in TV DVDs
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Dead Head - out now on DVDDark alleyways, shadowy people lurking in doorways, dank and dingy basements, what more could you want in homage to the age of film noir. But this is not just film noir; this four part drama mixes the intrigue of the brooding detective films of the 40s with classic chase films and oddly “Rocky”.

Eddie Cass is your average low grade villain, petty theft and the odd job for the big boys keeps him in ready money. He is a little depressed when we meet him having had a blazing row with his wife, Dana. Eddie is offered a very simply delivery job, take a parcel from one location to another across London. The job comes with a couple of restrictions; he can only use public transport and must not open the package. When the recipient of the parcel is not at home Eddie takes a taxi to the Thames preparing to dump the parcel and keep the cash. His curiosity gets the better of him and he opens the parcel.

I am not giving anything away by revealing the contents of the parcel to be a human head, the title of this inventive story has already prepared you for that. It is who the head belonged to and why they were killed that will have you guessing for the rest of the story.

Eddie is propelled into a world of mysterious people. Conspiracies abound; fear and death lurk around every corner.

Why was Eddie chosen to deliver the parcel? Why are some people out to kill him, whilst others seem to be going out of their way to keep him alive? And who is being protected much to Eddies cost?

Each episode, whilst continuing the plot is quite different from the preceding one. The first episode will leave you quite confused but curious with many questions to answer. This is what I would describe as a real arty piece of television. Lighting and effects are used to great effect to create a strange London that seems to be in both the 40s and 80s at the same time. The authority figures are all clad in trench coats and three piece suits this is balanced by a lower class of hippy like immigrants that Eddie mixes with.

Where the first episode is quite claustrophobia inducing the second episode sees Eddie on the run in the open English countryside. He mixes with the Fox hunting upper classes, drinks real ale and wears a smoking jacket. There are elements of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The 39 Steps” with Eddie and his new ‘friend’ Hugo handcuffed together whilst journeying across fields and streams as they attempt to out run their pursuers.

My earlier reference to “Rocky” will become clear when you reach the third instalment of this captivating series.

I really did not know what to expect when I started watching this series. I did wonder if it would be a bit too dark and brooding as I started watching but somehow is got under my skin and made me want to keep going to find out who and why.

Denis Lawson (Marchlands, Bleak House, Kit Curran and many, many other super shows) plays Eddie. He is in every scene and provides a frequent narration. His characters journey is portrayed excellently, at times vulnerable at others aggressive. The equally talented Lindsay Duncan (GBH, Come Fly with Me) plays Dana giving a great performance, never quite letting the viewer see who she really is.

Watch out for the inimitable Simon Callow (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”, Doctor Who) playing the slightly camp Hugo with much scenery chewing bravado and the late great Norman Beaton (Desmond’s) as the oracle like Caractacus.

I wanted to see Dead Head for the cast, but wanted to finish it as I do not like to leave a mystery unsolved.

The only extra is a good commentary on the first two episodes by writer Howard Brenton.

Dead Head is out now on DVD, courtesy of Eureka Entertainment, has a running time of 191 minutes and carries a ‘15’ certificate. The RRP is £20.42, or get it for less from www.culttvstore.com



Last modified on Sunday, 21 April 2013 12:09

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