STANDING ON GUARD

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Cornwall

Release Year:         2011
Studio:         Acorn Media
Format:         Colour; NTSC; Widescreen
Rated:          Not Rated
# of Discs/Episodes:         2/ 8
Running Time:          Approx. 176 minutes
DVD Release Date:         November 6, 2012
Creators:         Chris Williams
Actors:         Caroline Quentin
DVD Features:         SDH subtitles
E:Top Picks Rating:         10/10

Acorn Media Write-up:  
CORNWALL WITH CAROLINE QUENTIN is a rollicking ride through southern England’s coastal playground, where surfers catch big waves, vintners harvest sun-ripened grapes, and pirates swarm over a medieval fortress. Host Quentin brings plenty of charming wit to this wide-ranging travelogue, but it’s the quirky locals and stunning scenery that truly steal the show.

The Cornish peninsula stretches into the Atlantic Ocean for hundreds of miles of gorgeous coastline, where aristocrats live in centuries-old manors and beachcombers barbecue lobster by the water. At every turn, Quentin dives headlong into the summer festivities, joining the locals at a quaint village pub and cheering on a regatta composed of not-so-seaworthy vessels. The distinctively English spirit of carefree adventure and conviviality shines thorough every scene, as Quentin explores its history and attractions.

BONUS FEATURES
•    12-page viewer’s guide with articles on the history of Cornwall, St. Michael’s Mount, preserving the Cornish language, seafaring in Cornwall, and Cornwall on screen
•    Photo galleries
•    Plus discussion questions at athenalearning.com

Jon Ted Wynne Review:
The southern part of England known as Cornwall has to be one of most romantic and beautiful places on the planet. Anyone who doubts this need only watch CORNWALL WITH CAROLINE QUENTIN to be convinced.

This eight-part travelogue explores the Cornish countryside and discovers the traditions, eccentricities and characters of those who live in this paradise on earth. And even though we see Cornwall in summer, presented at its best, weather-wise, it would take some pretty serious, prolonged bad weather to negate the positive opinion the viewer is sure to form when watching.

Programs such as this one are significantly enriched when presented by a host who leads the viewer on their journey of discovery. Ms. Quentin, whom connoisseurs of British programming will remember from the series “Blue Murder”, is an excellent choice. Her joy and friendliness is infectious as she meets people, inquires of their lives and passions, and sums up her discoveries with wry observations and touches of humour. Her invitation at the end of the almost three-hour running time–“Come and see for yourself,”–is very tempting indeed. Were it possible to hop on a plane and do just that, it would be hard to find a reason not to go.

Ironically, the summer of 2012 saw the worst weather in Cornwall in 100 years. Fortunately this program was made in 2011. After the drubbing the county took so recently, it may need a bit of advertising to get back on its feet. Cornwall, after all, relies heavily on its tourist trade to stay alive. A tourist trade, incidentally, that has been given a boost in recent years because of the hit show “Doc Martin”, which is filmed in the real-life Cornish village of Port Isaac.

Tourism, by the way, replaced Cornwall’s previous chief industry, mining. Fans of the series “Poldark”, set and shot in Cornwall, will remember that the show’s hero, Ross Poldark, owned tin mines in the region.

The Cornwall scenery is breathtaking and the people highlighted on the program are united in their love of the countryside, be they longstanding residents with deep familial roots or recent “converts” to the place. Cornwall, after all, is considered by some to be almost a separate home nation, like Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland. It certainly is unique.

One fascinating segment in the series focuses on a company that provides high-class holiday homes for the wealthy. They are constantly on the look out for “worthy” additions to their catalogue, no mean feat as they reject some 95% of the applications they receive from property owners eager to earn big bucks by renting their property to clients of means. One couple of hopeful landlords spend some 100,000 British pounds to renovate their barn into one such property. Whether or not their efforts are successful or not is one way in which the program keeps the viewer interested. By introducing characters and events then checking back on them every once in awhile, the program weaves a narrative that truly satisfies.

CORNWALL WITH CAROLINE QUENTIN is a new release from Athena, the offshoot distributor of Acorn Media that specializes in high-quality British programming. Athena is responsible for documentaries and other types of non-drama programming that emphasizes learning. There is much to learn about Cornwall, and it is all pleasant. Anyone who likes to travel (or wishes they could) will particularly be drawn to this series. It’s a true delight, beautifully shot and cleverly conceived.

Like many of Athena’s releases, the DVDs come with a 12-page viewer’s guide which is filled with interesting facts about the region.

 

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