By Suzan Austin
Do you like the dry humor of British comedies, the subtleties of their mysteries, the twists and turns of the series on Masterpiece Theater? Take note. The library has more than a dozen of these gems–some old, some new–waiting for you on their DVD shelves.
Choose from a selection that includes the following:
“Downton Abbey”: Follow the lives of the Cawley family and their servants in their elegant country home in 1912 Edwardian England. Series 1 and 2.
For added enjoyment, check out “The World of Downton Abbey,” a companion book to the series that offers insights into the story, characters, and background information on British society in the early years of the Twentieth Century.
A Fine Romance: A young Judi Dench and Michael Williams portray romance-wary dating game dropouts who lurch their way through rocky times to companionship, friendship, and finally love. Series 1-3. Was Dame Judi practicing for her role in As Time Goes By (another Britcom shown currently on PBS)?
Foyle’s War: Set in World War II England and starring the incomparable Michael Kitchen, Inspector Foyle protects the home front with dignity, integrity, and a dry sense of humor. If you are one of the few people who hasn’t seen this series, you are in for a real treat. Series 1-6 available.
John le Carre’s A Perfect Spy: Follow the life of Magnus Pym, double agent and master of deception during the years of the Cold War. As powerful today as when it was produced in 1987. (Recommended for mature audiences.)
Inspector Morse and Inspector Lewis: Currently showing on PBS, so you can catch up on episodes you missed.
Painted Lady: Murder and stolen art take Maggie Sheridan (Helen Mirren) into the dark underworld of the art trade. Determined to find her friend’s murderer and retrieve the stolen painting, Maggie poses as a wealthy Polish countess and uses a valuable painting to bait the killer. (Recommended for mature audiences.)
Pie In The Sky: Detective Inspector Henry Crabbe would rather cook than detect, but retirement doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Criminal investigations and culinary adventures make for some tasty episodes. Series 1-5.
Prime Suspect: Helen Mirren stars as Jane Tennison, a brilliant but frustrated detective fighting to rise in a male-dominated police force. Series 1-7.
A Rather English Marriage: Two recently widowed men—a wealthy ex-fighter pilot and a retired milkman– share a flat but find their “odd couple” friendship threatened by the arrival of an alluring woman.
Without Motive: A serial killer is loose on the moors and overworked Detective Chief Jack Mowbray is being pressed by his boss to catch the murder “yesterday” if not sooner. Series 1 and 2.
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