So, this is my first week with Acorn Media and I’m pretty excited to be working with some of the best of British TV. Just looking through the catalogue has got me reminiscing about the classic television I watched as a kid (being bought up in the 70s and 80s meant some truly exceptional programming to get me through my formative years) and excitedly expectant about the continuing emergence of great British talent infiltrating the small screen on a daily basis.
So with that in mind I thought I’d give you all a rundown of five of my all time favourite British TV shows currently available to buy on DVD from our website:
40 episodes were made of this British sitcom between 1986 and 1991 full of the loves and laughs of Karl Howman’s loveable painter/decorator Jacko. Written by John Gilbert Esmonde and Bob Larbey who also scripted such classics as The Good Life, Please Sir and Ever Decreasing Circles, Brush Strokes was one of the first comedy shows I can remember being obsessed with as a child. Full of cheeky (and often anti-establishment) humour, a brilliant theme tune from Dexy’s Midnight Runners (can you imagine a massive pop group today writing a sitcom theme tune?!) and a plethora of genius characters including the continually confused pub landlord Elmo Putney (played by Howard Lew Lewis), Brush Strokes is one of Britain’s great lost treasures.
“Language, Timothy!” will forever bring a smile to my face. Ronnie Corbett’s 40 something bachelor, constantly bullied by his over protective mother was a beautiful comic creation from the 80s who served as a warning to all young men to leave home as soon as possible or risk an eternity of a shy, loveless existence chastised for the slightest insurrection. Seven series were created in total written by Ian Davidson and Peter Vincent who had worked with Corbett on The Two Ronnies. The success of Porridge and Open All Hours for Corbett’s comedic partner Ronnie Barker often overshadowed the diminutive comedian’s output but in ‘Sorry!’ he proved he was more than capable of going it alone and delivering stunning results.
Life on Mars / Ashes to Ashes
These two are going to have to be bundled together as I’ve never been able to choose between them. On one hand you have the brilliant John Simm’s Sam Tyler in ‘Life On Mars’, a constant thorn in the side of perennial anti-hero Gene Hunt and an often unwilling participant in the un PC world of PCs and Detectives in 70s Manchester. On the other you have Keeley Hawes’ Alex Drake a thoroughly modern woman thrust into the sexist world of 80s London and a love/hate relationship with good old Gene Hunt (played wonderfully by Philip Glenister in both series). The story arc that transcends both programmes is full of twists, turns, mystery and suspense and takes cues from, not only classic crime, but also sci-fi, 70s conspiracy drama and 80s excess. Brilliantly acted and scripted throughout both Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes are essential British TV.
The Good Life
My first television crush was the irrepressible Barbara Good played by Felicity Kendal for four series during the 70s in The Good Life, a comedy centered around a self-sufficient couple and their more conventional neighbours. Also starring comedy legends Richard Briers, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington The Good Life was a gentle but subversive show which advocated leaving the rat race to pursue a simpler existence during a time when the consumerism and capitalist ideals which would dominate the 80s were beginning to take shape.
I’ve only had the pleasure of seeing Series One of Sherlock so far but it had me utterly hooked from the outset. A stunningly detailed modern twist on the classic character from the mind of Doctor Who show runner Steven Moffat and The League of Gentlemen’s Mark Gattiss, it managed to not only make a seemingly stuffy old detective vital again but also turn relative unknown Benedict Cumberbatch into a genuine star. The true mark of a great TV show is determined by how you react after watching it and with Sherlock I immediately found myself googling the synopsis’ of the original stories, comparing details on other televisual versions and trying to decipher where they would go next with the story...turning myself into a regular little Holmes aficionado with detecting skills the great man would be proud of. Sherlock Series 2 is currently winging its way to me...can’t wait to get stuck into the next set of adventures.
That’s it from me. Drop me a line and tell me some of your favourite shows......