Dec 15, 2010

Network Brings The Persuaders! And Other ITC Shows To Blu-ray In 2011!

Today Network revealed that the UK company would release classic Sixties and Seventies ITC series on Blu-ray in 2011.  (They tested the waters with an excellent Blu-ray Prisoner set last year.)  Since many of these shows were originally filmed in 35mm, they should actually benefit from high-definition transfers, unlike TV shows filmed on 16mm or video.  First up appears to be The Persuaders!, which, as regular readers will no doubt surmise, makes me very happy.  That series has had some good DVD releases in variously countries and regions, but it still hasn't seen a definitive remastering that shows it to its maximum potential.  Hopefully this release will do that! 

Even before The Persuaders! gets a series release, however, Network will release three sampler Blu-rays, under the "retro-Action!" banner, showing off select episodes (generally good choices, in my opinion, although I think there are better episodes of Return of The Saint than "One Black September"–particularly "Duel in Venice") of lots of ITC series in HD.  These samplers are all listed as Region B, meaning that they won't be playable on standard North American Blu-ray players.  (Many more Blu-rays than DVDs are actually released region-free, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.)  retro-ACTION!: Volume 1 includes what might be my favorite Persuaders! episode, "Chain of Events" (directed by Peter Hunt!), along with Department S ("A Small War of Nerves"), The Champions ("The Invisible Man," a great one) and episodes of Strange Report and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). Volume 2 showcases the color series of The Saint ("The Queen's Ransom," a great episode), the hour-long Danger Man ("No Marks for Servility"), Man in a Suitcase ("Somebody Loses, Somebody... Wins?") and Gideon's WayVolume 3 showcases the half-hour Danger Man ("View From the Villa," which was filmed in Portmeirion), The Invisible Man ("Secret Experiment"), The Baron ("Something for a Rainy Day"), Return of The Saint ("One Black September"), The Zoo Gang ("Revenge: Post Dated"), Shirley's World and The Adventures of Robin Hood. (Who would have imagined–Shirley's World on Blu-ray?) All three volumes are expected on February 28, 2011, and will retail for £19.99 apiece–though they'll each be available from Network's website for £15.99. 

This is very exciting news!  I hope that the series releases turn out to be region-free, though, because if they're not, I'll probably end up shelling out for a multi-region Blu-ray player.  The chances of American releases of some of these shows seems unlikely, though since A&E did put out The Prisoner and Space: 1999 on Blu-ray, I suppose The Persuaders! at least has a chance... Fingers crossed!

1 comment:

Delmo said...

I find it ironic that ROTS is on the cusp of a blu-ray release in the UK, yet still no US release for the series on dvd.