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Monday, July 25, 2011

The Bretts The Complete Collection on DVD tomorrow

     Available starting tomorrow from Acorn Media is The Bretts The Complete Collection. This six disc set contains all nineteen episodes from both series of The Bretts. The series centers around a theatre-loving family as the world begins to shift its obsession to film. The Bretts aired in the 1980's, but is set in the 1920's, during that exciting transition as technology improves. The Bretts stick to their guns and buy a theatre in London's West End, not realizing at first that much of their hard work will soon be benefitting others. After all, where else has Hollywood to look for its talent but the stage? But don't let that description fool you, as the best bits happen not on stage, but in their own home.

     The leader of the family is actor / manager Charles (Norman Rodway, The Empty Mirror). His wife, Lydia (Barbara Murray, The Pallisers) is also full of ego and star power. They are the heart and spirit of the show, something both performers capture admirably. Joining them are their children, who aren't nearly so resistant to the new world before them, which, of course, causes no shortage of drama with their parents. Edwin (David Yelland, Agatha Christie's Poirot), Thomas (George Winter, Knights of God), Martha (Belinda Lang, 2point4 Children), and Perdita (Sally Cookson, The Murders at Lynch Cross) are the fine actors who play the Brett children, and as actors and writers round out the clan nicely.

     There are plenty of other characters besides the Bretts, as they have numerous relationships with many partners. Since The Bretts has some behind the scenes connections with Upstairs, Downstairs, it is not surprisingly that the Bretts have a household staff, many of whom are even more amusing than the family themselves. I've probably already given too much away, so I won't go into details. But the other major players include Tim Wylton (My Hero), Emily (Rebecca Lacey (Casualty), and Billy Boyle (EastEnders), so there is no shortage of talent.

     The Bretts is a period piece, and one done very well. There's a style captured in a very sophisticated way, and the charm is oozing from the seams. The costumes are nearly all pitch perfect. The characters are selfish and arrogant, but still somehow likable. And funny. It's a specfic look at a certain type of person and the era they thrived in. There are twists galore, including rape, secret pregnancies, fatal illnesses, murder, scams, lawsuits, and drug addictions. The only real complaint is how some of the characters disappear so suddenly. The first couple of episodes start the series off a bit slow, but stick with it, as it will prove its worth over time.

     The DVD set itself is sparse, with no special features. The picture is 4:3 full screen, as you'd expect, and there are subtitles you can turn on. It looks a little dated, but it was made more than two decades ago, so that's to be expected. Even without the extras, it is still worth checking out for the episodes alone.

     Check out The Bretts The Complete Collection, on sale tomorrow.

     Please click here to buy The Bretts The Complete Collection now.

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