Acorn's British TV best bets: Smiley's People and Midsomer Murders, Set 22, details

Some British TV to invest in and catch up on:  Acorn TV is offering you a 30 day free trial AND Acorn will make available on August 6th, the Blu-ray debut of the classic Cold War spy drama Smiley’s People starring Alec Guinness, and the U.S. debut of the newest episodes of Acorn’s #1 bestselling series, Midsomer Murders, Set 22 (Blu-ray and DVD).

Smiley’s People, the sequel to John le Carré’s iconic Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, features Oscar winner Alec Guinness in his BAFTA-winning role.  The Blu-ray features more than an hour of new bonus features. Filmed on location in London, Paris, Hamburg, and Berne, the award-winning miniseries co-stars Patrick Stewart, Siân Phillips (Dune), Eileen Atkins (Upstairs, Downstairs), and Bill Paterson (Traffik).

Acorn’s top-selling, smash-hit series returns with four new stand-alone mysteries in Midsomer Murders Set 22 (Blu-ray and DVD). Set in England’s picture-perfect but perilous Midsomer County, the series stars Neil Dudgeon as the capable Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby, with Jason Hughes as his earnest, efficient partner. The press releases are below, and the DVDs/Blu-rays are available upon request.

Next week/July 30th: Acorn is re-releasing the first five series of its #1 best-selling series, Midsomer Murders, in individual season sets and in original U.K. broadcast order with SDH subtitles. Guest stars include: Orlando Bloom, Emily Mortimer, Honeysuckle Weeks, and Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey).


Debuts on Blu-ray August 6, 2013

The gripping sequel to John le Carré’s classic Cold War-era spy drama, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Smiley’s People debuts on Blu-ray from Acorn on August 6, 2013, now with more than an hour of new bonus features. Oscar® winner Alec Guinness (Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia) reprises his BAFTA-winning role that the San Francisco Chronicle called “the crowning role of the great actor’s long career” as retired spymaster George Smiley for the 1982 sequel.

Filmed on location in London, Paris, Hamburg, and Berne, Smiley’s People co-stars Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men), Siân Phillips (Dune), Eileen Atkins (Upstairs, Downstairs), and Bill Paterson (Traffik). The Blu-ray 2-disc set includes six episodes, along with the new addition of 62 min. of deleted/extended scenes as well as a 20-min. interview with John le Carré, production notes, book list, and more ($59.99,

Celebrated for its literate scripts and intricate plotting, the series was nominated for three Emmys® in 1983--including director, actor, and miniseries—and won four BAFTAs in 1982. The release follows the successful 2011 feature film, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and original Blu-ray release that renewed interest John le Carré’s works.

Both men had supposedly outlived their usefulness to the Circus, the British Secret Intelligence Service: George Smiley, the retired head of espionage, and General Vladimir, an aging informant who reported to him. When the general walks into a bullet after sending an urgent message to his old handler, the Circus asks Smiley to “tidy things up.” But Smiley hears Vladimir’s message as a call to arms against his nemesis, the Soviet super spy Karla, once again tantalizingly within his grasp.

The miniseries also stars Anthony Bate (Nowhere in Africa), Bernard Hepton (Secret Army, Gandhi), Michael Lonsdale (Moonraker), Beryl Reid (The Killing of Sister George), and Michael Gough (Batman).

Bonus Features: Deleted/extended scenes (62 min.), interview with John le Carré  (20 min.), production notes, le Carré biography and booklist, and an insert with a glossary of main characters and terms

Street: Aug. 6, 2013                                      SRP: $59.99

Blu-ray 2-Disc Set: 6 Episodes - Approx. 324 min., plus 82 min. bonus – British drama – SDH subtitles

Contains nudity, sexual situations, violence, and disturbing images

*Acorn previously re-released Smiley’s People as a DVD 3-Disc Set in Oct. 2011.

Midsomer Murders set 22 makes its North American debut on DVD & Blu-ray August 6, 2013

Making its North American debut, Midsomer Murders, Set 22 debuts on Blu-ray and DVD from Acorn on August 6, 2013. New DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon, Life of Riley) contends with the county’s murderous denizens with his partner (Jason Hughes, This Life) in these four new, contemporary stand-alone mysteries (Blu-ray 2-Disc/DVD 4-vol. boxed set, $59.99/$49.99, Set in England’s picture-perfect but perilous Midsomer County, Set 22’s episodes have not aired on U.S. television. The collection also includes a special 34-min. bonus segment, “Midsomer Murders in Conversation.” Midsomer remains Acorn’s bestselling series and continues to reach new heights of popularity, including such fans as Johnny Depp and the Queen of England. New episodes are continually in production.

The cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets in these contemporary British television mysteries  featuring gorgeous settings and sly British humor. Inspired by the novels of Caroline Graham, modern master of the English village mystery, the series stars Neil Dudgeon as the capable Detective Chief Inspector John Barnaby, with Jason Hughes as his earnest, efficient partner, Detective Sergeant Ben Jones. Guest stars include Warren Clarke (A Clock Work Orange), Joanna David (Pride and Prejudice), Genevieve O’Reilly (Episodes), and James Dreyfus (Notting Hill).

The Mysteries:

The Sleeper under the Hill— Barnaby and Jones investigate a group of Druids in Midsomer Mow.

The Night of the Stag—Local bootleggers come under suspicion after the disappearance of a government inspector.

A Sacred Trust—Vandalism and violence send shock waves through Midsomer’s cloistered nunnery.

A Rare Bird—The detectives investigate whether competition between ornithology enthusiasts led to murder.

Bonus: “Midsomer Murders in Conversation” (34 min.)

Midsomer Murders premiered in the U.K. in March 1997. Since then, more than ninety feature-length episodes have aired with new episodes still in production. In the U.S., the series has been seen on A&E and The Biography Channel, however the episodes in Set 22 are the second part of Series 14 (2011-12), which never broadcast in the U.S.

Street: August 6, 2013 - Four mysteries, approx. 372 min., plus bonus - SDH subtitles

A Sacred Trust contains sexual situations and The Sleeper under the Hill contains disturbing images

Acorn Media previously released Sets 1-21 with three to five mysteries per set ($39.99 to $59.99) as well as four collector’s sets (The Early Cases Collection, Barnaby’s Casebook, Village Case Files, and Mayhem & Mystery Files). Each set ranked in Acorn’s top 10 best-sellers for its year and sales of each new set consistently gain momentum.

Acorn Media/Athena DVD Release Calendar

July 2: Falcón (U.S. Debut) and North & South starring Patrick Stewart (U.S. Debut)

July 16: Joanna Lumley’s Nile and Bill Moyers: On the Hudson (Athena)

July 30: Midsomer Murders, Series 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 (sold separately)

Aug. 6: Smiley’s People on Blu-ray and Midsomer Murders, Set 22 (U.S. Debut)

Aug. 13: Time Team: The Team’s Favorite Digs, Bill Moyers: Faith & Reason Collection, Trial & Retribution Complete Collection

Aug. 27: Tales of the City: 20th Anniversary Edition, Prime Suspect: The Complete Collection on Blu-ray, and Missions that Changed the War: Germany’s Last Ace


Further Reading on M&C