Iain Glen as Jack Taylor in Acorn’s Latest Release
New Tricks Season Nine
New Tricks has become one of the staples of British TV over the last decade and its success is hardly surprising given the quality of the cast. Regulars include Dennis Waterman (Minder), James Bolam (The Beiderbecke Affair) and of course Amanda Redman (Honest). The show is a humorous drama about a group of haggard old cops who are tasked with solving cold cases. The evidence is typically scarce, the witnesses are dead, senile or unwilling to talk and aside from the other obstacles they face, the squad members have to try and get along with each other. When they’re in the mood, the team are quite effective but all too often DS Sandra Pullman (Redman) is forced to bang heads together to get things done.
New Tricks Season Nine starts with the kind of jaw dropping moment that fans of long-running shows dread. One of the regulars calls it quits. Jack Halford (James Bolam) decides he has finally had enough of teetering on the brink of retirement and he boldly makes the move from detective to retiree. There is very little time for sentiment at the Open Case Squad and Sandra soon replaces Jack with a Scotsman named Steve. The newcomer isn’t exactly welcomed with open arms, although it’s not as if he particularly makes an effort to fit in. However, when it’s time to get down to the action, the squad put their differences aside and get the job done.
The three disc, 10 episode, season nine DVD set hit stores on 25 June. The total running time is 590 minutes and the Acorn DVD also includes a brief but illuminating behind-the-scenes segment. Look out for some nice guest spots from Tim McInnerny (Blackadder), Sarah Smart (Wallander) and Scouse funny man Alexei Sayle.
Iain Glen seems to get more air time these days than White House scandals and Kim Kardashian combined. However, it is easy to forget that the Scotsman was barely known just a few short years ago. While Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones have raised his profile in the U.S., viewers back in Ireland were Glen fans back in 2010. That is when he made his TV debut as detective Jack Taylor. He is a modern day version of the kind of character that Graham Greene loved to create. Basically, a loser who has a good heart hidden somewhere deep, deep below his gruff exterior.
The three stand-alone stories on this DVD set were filmed on location in Galway, Ireland. Even for the Emerald Isle, Galway is a rugged and windswept but beautiful patch of land. It is the ideal setting for a drama about a wayward ex-cop who is trying to get his life back on track. Kicked out of the police force, Jack Taylor puts his training to good use as a private detective. There are suprisingly large numbers of sick and twisted people on the loose in Galway and Taylor finds himself battling serial killers, vigilante mobs and a psychotic nun. He handles everything with the level of grace you’d expect from a rough house brawler. Suffice to say, the bad guys are in for a tough time.
Jack Taylor made its UK debut earlier this year on channel five and it has never been broadcast in the U.S. Personally, I think Glen is much better suited to this role than some of the softer parts he’s played in recent times. Frankly, if this DVD picks up some steam I wouldn’t be surprised if Hollywood’s honchos come looking for Glen the next time they produce a hard hitting drama. In a nutshell, it’s a really good show. (Click below for a preview then scroll down for more DVD news)
Amanda Redman often steals the show in New Tricks but in Acorn DVD’s third and final 25 June release, she is the undisputed star. Honest is a 2008 drama about a family who are anything but honest. Dad (Danny Webb) is a small time crook who’s supported his family with his ill-gotten gains. No one in the family has a problem with his gig until he gets caught and sentenced to four years in jail. Up steps mom (Amanda Redman) with a bold new idea – it’s time for the Carters to make an honest living.
The premise is similar to the BBC’s hit drama, Prisoner’s Wives. The main difference being that this show is about one family rather than several. Amanda Redman demands your attention just as Polly Walker does in Prisoner’s Wives. However, she doesn’t have to share screen time with any other leading ladies which is probably a good thing because Lindsay is a quite an interesting woman.
She is someone who would readily appreciate the old cliche about choosing friends but not family. Her clan is particularly rotten. Obviously Mack is a dead beat, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and her boys are a chip off the old block. Her daughters are about as lovable as Cinderella’s step sisters and her manipulative father-in-law is almost more than she can handle.
Honest is real and very funny at times. Lindsay is a sympathetic character and with her at the heart of the action you even have to root for her nasty kids to some degree. The six episode, two disc set has a total running time of 281 minutes and costs $39.99. Click below for a preview.