Shoestring: Complete Series on DVD

DVD ★★★

Release date: 16 October
RRP: £59.99
Discs: 6
From Network

NOSTALGIA FANS are in for a treat with the re-release of this fondly remembered series. Trevor Eve stars in an early breakthrough role as the radio presenter and ‘Private Ear’ Eddie Shoestring.

The series, created by Robert Banks Stewart (who went on to create Bergerac too), was a big hit in 1979-80 for the BBC. It also has Michael Medwin as Shoestring’s long-suffering boss at Radio West, Liz Crowther as station receptionist Sonia and Doran Godwin as Eddie’s landlady and part-time lover.
The fun begins when Radio West receives poison-pen letters and Eddie, a private detective, is called in to investigate. He ends up with a job as a presenter who helps the public solve cases affecting them.
British TV stalwarts such as Diana Dors, Harry H Corbett, Geraldine James, Christopher Biggins, Toyah Willcox and Celia Imrie are among those who put in an appearance.
How does it stand up? There are a lot of bubble perms and some dire acting in places. It’s meant to be noirish, but Shoestring is terribly uncool as the protagonist. But the biggest mystery is how Radio West, playing hits from the 1930s, manages to get any listeners.
The pace is also pretty slow. This one is strictly for devotees who remember it well. It includes a book on the making of the show.

Braquo 4 DVD release

Braquo 4 DVDIf you feel that Christmas is a bit quiet and tame, treat yourself to the mayhem of series 4 of the French policier Braquo, out on DVD/Blu-ray on 12 December. It’s the continuing story of a squad of Paris police officers who crossed the ‘yellow line’ after their colleague Max was unfairly accused of criminal misconduct and committed suicide. Now Eddie Caplan (Jean-Hugues Anglade), Walter Morlighem (Joseph Malerba), Theo Wachevski (Nicolas Duvauchelle) and Roxane Delgado (Karole Rocher) exist on the edge of the law. Try the trailer above and, if you haven’t caught the series yet on BBC4’s excellent Saturday noir nights or on Fox, then you’ll realise Braquo packs more of a wallop than Midsomer Murders.

The Out-Laws DVD review

★★★½

DVD release: Monday, 19 September
Rating: 15
Episodes: 10

If you missed it on More4 as part of the network’s excellent range of foreign-language series, now there’s a chance to catch up with The Out-Laws on DVD.

They do dark chocolate quite well in Belgium and it seems dark crime comedies are also a skill. The Out-Laws is a delicious tale of five sisters who can’t stand the vile husband of one of their number, the slightly dippy Goedele, whose other half is obnoxious Jean-Claude.

Whether he’s making insulting jokes about one of the sister’s infertility, showing the price label on a present he’s bought or making racist slurs, Jean-Claude is toxic.

The trouble is, no matter how much Eva, Veerle, Birgit and Bekka try to get Goedele to dump him, she won’t have it. So, the remaining four in-laws decide to become out-laws and kill the bastard.

However, Jean-Claude seems to have more lives than a cat.

The Out-Laws is full of malicious humour and has been praised mightily everywhere from Mumsnet to The Guardian. It’s also told in a delightfully offbeat format with the action switching from the present to the past, and back again.

Inevitably, the Americans are now making a US version. But don’t miss the original.

The Out-Laws

Dearly departed – not a dry eye for Jean-Claude, apart from his wife

Marcella on DVD

Marcella DVDIT’S BEEN CALLED infuriating and too dark, but dull it certainly is not. Marcella has been ITV’s attempt to refashion Nordic noir on these shores by getting the creator of the hugely popular The Bridge, Hans Rosenfeldt, to conjure up this Nordic-cum-Brit thriller. Anna Friel has certainly been compelling as the detective prone to blackouts, and this week’s episode had critics spluttering over a child’s death in the story.

Following the former Murder Squad detective Marcella Backland as she is propelled back to work following a 10-year career break has been an intricate and pretty deep at times. On the face of it the investigation concerns a serial murder case where the modus operandi of the killer bears a striking resemblance to an unsolved case Marcella was previously involved in, but there is plenty more to it, with Marcella’s husband being a bit dodgy (as well as unfaithful), sex worker muggers on the loose and various corporate shenanigans.

Personally, I can’t make up my mind about it (my original review is here). It is a bit daft and over the top at times, and certainly mystifying. I suspect we need to get to the end of it to see if it’s a load of pants or actually pretty decent.

Anyway, if the various storylines have had you baffled, you can scrutinise the drama again at your leisure or just see what all the fuss has been about as a first-time viewer when the DVD is released on 20 June. The boxset will be priced at £26.99 (cert 15, though this is to be confirmed).

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New DVDs – Endeavour, Rectify

Endeavour 1-3 DVD 3DEndeavour

ITV’s stylish and intelligent Morse prequel is released on bulk – that includes the latest third series just finished on UK TV, along with the preceding two series as a box set. Shaun Evans as DC Endeavour Morse and Roger Allam as DI Fred Thursday make a good team, the writing is strong and the period detail terrific in all of these sophisticated mysteries. The stakes were certainly high in the most recent outing, when Endeavour had to move on from being framed for a crime he didn’t commit. The setting is the 1967 Summer of Love…

Endeavour Series 3 – Discs: 2,
Cert: 12 – £12.99: Amazon

Endeavour Series 1-3 -Discs: 7
Cert: 12 – £29.99: Amazon

Rectify S2 DVD 3DRectify

The continuing struggle of Daniel Holden (Aden Young) to rebuild his life after having his conviction overturned for the rape and murder of his girlfriend has been a quiet hit. While it hasn’t created a huge stir among viewers yet, the critics have the praised both series of this Southern Gothic legal drama. All agree the first series was riveting, but some claim this second outing is even better as Daniel tries to lay his past to rest.

Rectify Series 2. Discs 3 (10 episodes).
Cert: 15. £14.99: Amazon

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