Parade's End (2012)

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Released 22-Mar-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 290:00 (Case: 338)
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Susanna White

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch
Rebecca Hall
Adelaide Clemens
Rupert Everett
Rufus Sewell
Stephen Graham
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Dirk Brossť

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In)
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† The cover of this DVD set carries a quote from The Independent which reads 'One of the finest things the BBC has ever made'. My initial reaction upon seeing that was disbelief but then I spent the five hours required to watch this BBC/HBO co-production, Parade's End. I think this quote is right on the money, this is magnificent television, detailed, emotional, spectacularly acted, beautifully written and wonderfully shot. It just shows what criminal treatment was handed out to this show by the Nine Network here in Australia where they showed it initially in a bad timeslot and then dumped it to their HD channel in a worse timeslot. I was very impressed by the quality of this series and enthralled by the excellent story which has significantly more depth than many costume dramas, even the much lauded Downton Abbey, which feels like a soap opera by comparison. Another surprise is that this series adds to the depth of emotion by also being regularly witty and amusing. Many series can handle one or the other of emotion and humour but few can handle both as seamlessly as this does.

†††† The setting is Europe just before and during World War I, with a focus on England, although France and Germany also feature. The main character is the second son of an aristocrat, Christopher Tietjens (Benedict Cumberbatch in another magnificent performance) who is employed by the Department of Statistics in London, distinguishing himself by his brilliance and his unwillingness to bend his ethical code for anyone. On a train, returning to London from his family home, he is propositioned by and has sex with a beautiful socialite, Sylvia Satterthwaite (Rebecca Hall). She becomes pregnant but Tietjens does not know for sure that the baby is his. Despite reservations he marries her but there is little love in their relationship. She perceives him to be emotionless and unexciting. He perceives her to be embarrassing and a strumpet. Many of his friends and family believe that the relationship problems are all Christopher's fault and offer him a variety of advice. Regardless, Christopher is determined to continue with 'the parade' which means being loyal to his wife and making things seem completely normal as much as possible, regardless of her behaviour. One day while golfing, his group happens upon some suffragettes who are protesting their lack of a vote. One of these is the beautiful and headstrong Valentine Wannop (Adelaide Clemens). They are immediately attracted to each other and he helps her to escape from the police. Once he assists her further, during a night time carriage ride, they are in love but Christopher's parade must go on. This unrequited love, combined with his wife's increasingly difficult and embarrassing behaviour, drives the rest of the plot which covers a period of 10 years, including Christopher's time in the army during World War I.

†††† Other important characters include Christopher's best friend, Vincent MacMaster (Stephen Graham), Christopher's disapproving older brother Mark (Rupert Everett), his uncle General Campion (Roger Allam), Valentine's journalist and author mother (Miranda Richardson), Sylvia's mother (Janet McTeer), Sylvia's lover who she runs away with, Potty Perowne (Tom Mison) and Christopher's father (Alan Howard). Rufus Sewell also appears as a more than a little crazy clergyman, Reverend Duchemin.

†††† This series is based on a series of four novels by Ford Madox Ford, first published in the 1920s. They were reissued later as one volume entitled Parade's End. I have not read the novels but based on this adaptation it must be an impressive piece of literature managing to tell a story which not only explains the change in society which was driven by World War I but also tells a very personal story of a difficult and scandalous love triangle. The series screenplay was written by Sir Tom Stoppard, and it is magnificent. The dialogue is witty and the story told well but not in a usual obvious or linear way. It does not pander to the audience expecting them to work for their entertainment, without being impenetrable. The cast is excellent and the three leads all put in marvellous performances. Cumberbatch shows his amazing versatility playing a complex, deep and moving character who is also surprisingly dryly amusing. Rebecca Hall takes on a very difficult and unlikeable character and despite her horrendous actions at times you end up having sympathy for her. Adelaide Clemens also acquits herself well playing the independent and stoic Miss Wannop. The rest of the cast is full of high quality actors and actresses all doing their jobs well.

†††† The series is excellently directed by Susanna White who has quite a history in British television and movies. The production design, music, costumes, sets and locations all work perfectly to tell the story.

†††† This is simply great television that deserves to be seen.

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Transfer Quality


†††† The video quality is good but certainly has its share of issues. It is a shame that there is no Blu-ray release locally of this title.

†††† The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio for this show. It is 16x9 enhanced.

†††† The picture was quite sharp without being crisp. Shadow detail was lacking at times with some scenes being quite murky.

†††† The colour was good however sometimes included noticeable chroma noise.

†††† There was also some blocking during fast motion and foggy scenes, some aliasing, motion blur and some evidence of digital noise reduction.

†††† There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired which are clear and easy to read. There are also burnt-in subtitles for foreign languages.

†††† There are no noticeable layer changes during playback.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


††††The audio quality is good.

†††† The discs contain an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1.

†††† Dialogue was reasonably clear and easy to hear and understand although the subtitles were certainly useful.

†††† The music used was from the period and suited the show well.

†††† The surround speakers added atmosphere and some mild directional effects such as during the battle scenes.

†††† The subwoofer supported the music and added some bass to explosions.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use



†††† The menu included music and motion.

Behind the Scenes (49:06)

†††† A high quality making of feature which includes interviews with cast and crew including Sir Tom Stoppard, the lead actors and the director. It covers the themes addressed by the show and the novels, casting, characters, the screenplay and how it was adapted from the books. An excellent addition to this high quality series.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††† This show is available in the same format in the UK but not in the US at this stage (pre-order only). Buy local unless you are looking for Blu-ray in which case there is a UK Region B release.


††† A costume drama of the highest order, romantic, dramatic and humourous.

††† The video quality is good but certainly not without issue.

††† The audio quality is good.

††† The extra is of very high quality.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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