Acorn and Athena release Fall 2012 Best British TV on DVD in USA (VIDEOS)

Acorn Media’s upcoming DVDs are bringing the best in British TV to U.S. audiences for the first time with their DVD releases, including Vera, Series 2 starring two-time Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn; Vexed, an amusing new cop series starring Toby Stephens (Jane Eyre); and Kidnap & Ransom, a new thriller about international kidnapping.

Additionally, Acorn has the DVD debuts of the “outstanding drama of the year” THE Crimson Petal And The White, which premiered last week on Encore and stars Romola Garai and Chris O'Dowd; and the first series of U.K.’s most popular drama series, Waterloo Road.

Box sets for holidays include:

Agatha Christie’s POIROT: The Early Cases Collection (45 mysteries, Blu-ray and DVD),

THE COMPLETE RED GREEN SHOW (300 episodes, 50 discs)

MIDSOMER MURDERS: Mayhem & Mystery Files (15 mysteries)


THE DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET Complete Collection (31 episodes)

Documentary specialist Athena has 'Narrow Escapes Of World War II,' Stephen Hawking’s Brave New World, Cornwall with Caroline Quentin, and Bill Moyers: A World of Ideas II-Great Thinkers.

To see trailers/clips for many of these releases, please visit Acorn Media’s YouTube page. For more info on these releases, please see the detailed Sept. 25 – Nov. 6 release calendar below the DVD cover images. DVDs/Blu-rays are available now upon request.

Acorn Media (British TV) and Athena (Best Documentaries) DVD Release Calendar

This week/Sept. 18:


Sept. 25:


– “The outstanding drama of the year” (The Times) – DVD release coincides with recent broadcast premiere as the first program in Encore’s “The Big Miniseries Showcase” on Sept. 10-11. Based on the sensational novel by Michel Faber, this new provocative period drama boasts a stellar cast and a boldly original look and feel. This BBC psychological thriller won three Royal Television Society awards and was nominated for five 2012 BAFTAs, including best miniseries and best actress. The gripping drama follows the fortunes of Sugar (Romola Garai, The Hour, Atonement, Emma), an ambitious prostitute, as she navigates the dark underbelly of Victorian London in pursuit of a better life. The miniseries co-stars Chris O'Dowd (Bridesmaids, The IT Crowd), and Gillian Anderson (Bleak House, The X-Files).


– A gritty, realistic procedural akin to spy classics Callan, Man in a Suitcase, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, this classic British spy drama provides a suspenseful ride through the underbelly of Britain’s international affairs and the Special Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police—a force dedicated to stopping terrorist activities. Stars George Sewell (Get Carter), Patrick Mower (Callan), and Richard Leech (Doctor Who). Aired on ITV in the U.K. for four series from 1969-1974 but is available to U.S. audiences for the first time with its DVD release.


NEW TRICKS, SEASON 8 (DVD Debut) – “Mysteries are top notch, twisty and ingeniously solved…Great fun” (PaperMag) – Another season from Britain’s highest-rated TV drama in its unedited UK edition. Amanda Redman (Sexy Beast), Dennis Waterman (The Sweeney), Alun Armstrong (Garrow’s Law, Bleak House, Patriot Games), and James Bolam (The Beiderbecke Affair) star as a team of semi-retired and somewhat curmudgeonly detectives investigating cold cases. Aired on BBC for eight seasons so far and has ongoing broadcast exposure on public television; however the DVD set features the unedited UK edition, which includes an additional six minutes per episode not seen on public television.

MIDSOMER MURDERS: MAYHEM & MYSTERY FILES – “Simply the most entertaining mystery series in TV history…Absolutely addictive” (ICv2) – Acorn’s top-selling series returns with fourth value priced collector’s set. Beloved British mystery series stars John Nettles. Set features the next 15 stand-alone mysteries in broadcast order with the episodes from Series 10 and 11 (2006-2008)

Oct. 2:

VEXED, SERIES 1 (U.S. Debut) – Featuring sharp scripts, strong performances, and an enjoyable mix of comedy and crime solving, this ongoing series features Toby Stephens (Jane Eyre, Die Another Day, Wired) and Lucy Punch (Doc Martin, Bad Teacher) in a fresh approach to the police procedural as two mismatched police detectives who banter and bicker their way through London’s toughest cases. Broadcast on BBC Two in 2010 and a second series in 2012, Vexed has not aired in the U.S. and is available to U.S. audiences for the first time with this DVD release.

KIDNAP & RANSOM, Complete Series 1 & 2 (U.S. Debut) – Acclaimed new thriller about international kidnapping makes its U.S. debut from Patrick Harbinson (Persons of Interest, 24, Law & Order: SVU). Featuring outstanding casts and a gritty, realistic feel, the series revolves around master negotiator Dominic King (Trevor Eve, Waking the Dead) as he travels to exotic locales to bring kidnapping victims home, offering a captivating look inside a dangerous business. Filmed on location in South Africa, the series also stars Helen Baxendale (Cold Feet, Friends, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman) with guest stars John Hannah (The Mummy, Spartacus). Aired on ITV (2011-12), but this release makes it available to U.S. audiences for the first time.

THOMAS & SARAH – The follow-up to the blockbuster British series, Upstairs, Downstairs, features two beloved characters. Real-life couple John Alderton (Little Dorrit, Calendar Girls) and Oscar® nominee Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine) return as two of the series’ most colorful characters: the wily chauffeur and the sassy cockney parlor maid. In these 13 episodes, the scheming pair embarks on adventures of smuggling, swindling, matchmaking, and magic. Aired on ITV in the U.K. in 1979 but never broadcast in the U.S.

Oct. 16

WATERLOO ROAD, SERIES 1 (DVD Debut) – U.K.’s most popular drama series makes its North American DVD debut. Featuring contemporary settings, sharp scripts, strong characters, and realistic dialogue, the smash-hit BBC America (2006) serial drama follows the students and teachers at the beleaguered Waterloo Road Comprehensive School as they confront issues ranging from teen pregnancy to bullying. Series 1 stars Jason Merrells (Lark Rise to Candleford) and Jamie Glover (Emma). The highly popular program has aired for seven series on BBC One in the U.K. with several more in production.

BRAVE NEW WORLD (U.S. Debut) – Hosted by Stephen Hawking, fascinating documentary explores the recent headline-grabbing advancements in machines, health, technology, the environment, biology, and physics. Hosted by famed professor Stephen Hawking, the series travels the globe to explore the amazing research and awesome inventions that will change the course of the world. Hawking is joined by a stellar cast of notable scientists offering expert commentary on today’s scientific revolutions, including naturalist David Attenborough, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, physicist Kathy Sykes, and reproductive-medicine pioneer Robert Winston. Broadcast in the U.K. on Channel 4 in 2011, the series is available to U.S. audiences for the first time with its DVD release.

BILL MOYERS: A WORLD OF IDEAS II – GREAT THINKERS – Peabody Award-winning PBS interview series features conversations with winners of The Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer, an Academy Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Bill Moyers (Moyers & Company, PBS) sits down with 16 of the world’s smartest people for comprehensive conversations about American life. Eclectic, engrossing, witty, and profound, A World of Ideas shows “how good television can be” (San Jose Mercury News).

THE COMPLETE RED GREEN SHOW: HIGH (QUALITY) QUANTITY COLLECTION – Bringing together all 300 episodes/15 seasons (1991-2006) of the cult classic Canadian comedy and longstanding PBS hit in value-priced collection in nice collectible packaging. 50-disc collector’s edition is perfect for fans of all things manly, Canadian, and duct taped and offers the perfect excuse to grab a seat, crack open a cold one, and put off your next home-improvement project ($299.99, Very limited quantities available).

Oct. 23

AGATHA CHRISTIE’S POIROT: THE EARLY CASES COLLECTION (DVD, Blu-ray) – First six series of Agatha Christie’s beloved mysteries in a value-priced collector’s edition; 45 mysteries remastered and in original U.K. broadcast order. Seen on PBS’s Masterpiece Mystery! and A&E, David Suchet stars as Agatha Christie’s mustachioed mystery-solver as a “near-perfect Poirot” (USA Today). Brimming with opulent 1930s period details, these lavish adaptations look better than ever. Agatha Christie’s Poirot has aired on ITV1 in the U.K. since 1989 and on PBS and A&E in the U.S. The 13-disc Blu-ray and 18-disc DVD sets include all 45 mysteries from Series 1-6, now with SDH subtitles and collectible foil packaging ($249.99/$199.99, Very limited quantities available). Guest stars include Damian Lewis (Homeland)

THE DUCHESS OF DUKE STREET COMPLETE COLLECTION – Value-priced collector’s set of the beloved BBC series seen on Masterpiece Theatre. Created by Emmy® winner John Hawkesworth (Upstairs, Downstairs) and fondly remembered from its Emmy®-nominated PBS Masterpiece Theatre run (1979-80), The series remains a standard of BBC excellence to this day. Gemma Jones (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Sense and Sensibility) stars as Louisa Leyton, a culinary wizard who ascends from servant to manager of a posh London hotel. Christopher Cazenove (A Knight’s Tale, TV’s Dynasty) co-stars as Charlie, the dashing love of her life. Nominated for an Emmy® and multiple BAFTAs, including Best Drama Series and Best Actress.

WISH ME LUCK: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION – “Impossible not to be hooked” (The Guardian) – All three series of the riveting British WWII drama about British heroines who crossed enemy lines to work undercover with the French Resistance. Broadcast on ITV from 1988-1990 and U.S. public television in the 1990s, these three complete, acclaimed series feature plots rife with tension and danger and outstanding casts including Kate Buffery (Trial and Retribution), Jane Asher (A Voyage Round My Father), and Julian Glover (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Filmed on location in Britain and France, Wish Me Luck features strong female characters, historical authenticity, and spectacular scenery. (6-Disc Set, 23 episodes)

Nov. 6:

VERA, SET 2 (U.S. Debut) – “One of the best mysteries…in the last decade” (The Baltimore Sun) – Two-time Oscar® nominee Brenda Blethyn (Little Voice, Secrets & Lies, Pride & Prejudice) returns in the acclaimed British mystery series, which returned to record ratings in the U.K. in 2012. Based on the award-winning novels by Ann Cleeves, the ITV series stars Blethyn as Vera Stanhope—a brilliant police detective with a disheveled exterior, a sharp tongue, and an uncanny ability to solve crimes. The first series of Vera currently airs on select public television stations, however, the DVD release of Set 2 marks the first time the second series is available to U.S. audiences.

NARROW ESCAPES OF WORLD WAR II (Original uncut U.K. broadcast edition) – “Extraordinary tales of wartime courage” (The Daily Telegraph) – Riveting new documentary reveals the exploits of bravery that helped shape the outcome of the WWII. Broadcast on the Military Channel in May 2012, the series explores 13 daring escapes by Allied and Axis forces including the Doolittle raid, the Amiens Prison raid, and the siege of Kohima. The DVD 4-vol. boxed set features the original uncut U.K. broadcast edition with more than 65 minutes of additional footage not seen on the U.S. broadcast.

CORNWALL WITH CAROLINE QUENTIN (U.S. Debut) – Appealing to fans of Rick Steves and Samantha Brown, this lighthearted travel documentary, explores the glorious scenery and fascinating people of the Cornish coast. Hosted by two-time British Comedy Award winner Caroline Quentin (Blue Murder, Men Behaving Badly), this eight-part documentary takes a rollicking ride through southern England’s coastal playground where surfers catch big waves, vintners harvest sun-ripened grapes, and pirates swarm over a medieval fortress. Broadcast on ITV in January 2012, the production features exceptional cinematography and stunning views of the coast and countryside.


Further Reading on M&C