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George Gently: Series 5

Release Year:         2012
Studio:         Acorn Media
Format:         Colour; Widescreen; NTSC; SDH Subtitles
Rated:         Not Rated
# of Discs/Episodes:         4 / 4
Running Time:         354 minutes plus bonus
DVD Release Date:         May 28, 2013
Screenwriters:         David Kane, Peter Flannery
Directors:         Gillies Mackinnon, Nicholas Renton
Actors:         Martin Shaw, Lee Ingleby
E:Top Picks Rating:         10/10

Acorn Media Write-up: 
Award-winning actor Martin Shaw (Death in Holy Orders) returns as Inspector George Gently, a former Scotland Yard detective from London now tackling crime in the north of England. With the air of a man who has seen it all but still hopes for the best, Gently confronts the motives–racism, family conflict, greed, revenge–that can lead to murder. As ever, he receives assistance from his abrasive, politically incorrect sergeant, John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby, Place of Execution), who has his own take on the societal changes unfolding in 1960s Britain.

Based on the novels by Alan Hunter, these four gripping dramas feature clever scripts, beautiful landscapes, and a distinguished cast. Guest stars include Kevin Whately (Inspector Lewis), Helen Baxendale (Friends, Kidnap & Ransom), Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), Diana Quick (Brideshead Revisited) and Eamonn Walker (Oz).

BONUS Behind-the-scenes featurette (3 min.)

Jon Ted Wynne Review:  
It is cause for rejoicing when another set of GEORGE GENTLY is released in North America by Acorn Media. And when the set contains four–count ’em, four–feature length mysteries, the anticipation is heightened even further.

This is one of those shows that is so good, everything comes to a stop so you can watch it.

The four feature-length episodes that comprise Series 5 are:

Gently Northern Soul
Gently With Class
The Lost Child
Gently In The Cathedral

One of the strengths of this superior series is the way relevant social issues of the 1960s are woven into the plots. Gently Northern Soul is a perfect example of this. Watching the always-wonderful Lee Ingleby go from having a typical (for the time) racist attitude towards black people to becoming more open-minded is another staple of this series. In other words, the characters grow. Bacchus (Ingleby) is initially skeptical about going undercover to investigate the murder of a young black woman. His attitude is subtly mocked when he is caught by Gently and a colleague practicing his dancing before setting out on his task (in an after hours club where many people of colour mix with whites). Ingleby looks ridiculous bopping about, a sort of penance for his limited view of people, initially. Like all the episodes, Gently Northern Soul is beautifully plotted and comfortably fills its 90 minute running time, leaving the viewer wanting more.

More ’60s angst is explored in the second episode, Gently With Class, in which Gently and Bacchus investigate the tragic death of a beatiful and talented young lady from the lower class who has an uncomfortable relationship with an upper class family. The sparks really fly between Gently and Bacchus in this one and their respective positions on class prove central to the story. The class system is difficult for some North Americans to understand. It’s basically the “haves and have nots” and it was in the 1960s that the unfairness of it all really came to a head in a significant way. This is another example of why GEORGE GENTLY is so outstanding: it really has its finger on the pulse of the times it is portraying.

Episode three is given a boost by the always wonderful Helen Baxendale playing the mother of an abducted baby. The plot twists in this episode are truly surprising and the outcome bittersweet. In each of these episodes Bacchus develops more and more into a character of real complexity. Gently remains rock solid (though never boring–Martin Shaw is too good for that to happen) and the relationship between the two leads continues to be the backbone of the series.

Nothing gone before will prepare you for the whirlwind fourth episode which has a cliffhanger so tantalizing it will have you shouting at your TV/computer screen, demanding the immediate release of Series 6. Patience may well be a virtue but this excellent show has never been better. So, Acorn Media, if you’re listening, we DEMAND Series 6 IMMEDIATELY, if you please!

GEORGE GENTLY is a classic series that stands above virtually every other police show currently on the air. More, please!

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