Pole to Pole (Michael Palin) (1992)
Main Menu Audio
|Year Of Production||1992|
|Running Time||394:24 (Case: 422)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Michael Palin, a founding member of the Monty Python comedy group, has now made 6 of these travel based documentary series for the BBC. All of them have been well worth watching and most of them (including this one) have been exceptional television. It is his natural gift for comedy which has really lifted these series above the ordinary and his uncanny ability to get along with the various people he meets. This one was actually the second series made in 1991, however, it has only just been released on DVD in Region 4.The other 5 are:
Pole to Pole follows Michael as he attempts to travel from the North Pole to the South Pole, along the 30 degree east line of longitude (as much as possible), using ground transportation unless there is no option but to fly. This incredible journey took him nearly 6 months to complete and he encountered many difficulties along the way. The timing of the trip was quite incredible, travelling through the USSR just weeks before the coup occurred which toppled the Soviet system, arriving in South Africa just after apartheid was finished, walking straight into a war in the Sudan and arriving in Zambia just as a dictator lost the first free election in many years. With all of that going on around him it is amazing that he made it at all.
The show includes eight episodes of approximately 50 minutes each spread over three DVDs. They are:
An incredible journey and a wonderful TV series. If you enjoyed any of the others and have not seen this one, it is a must.
The video quality is decent but you cannot get excited. It is early 1990s television and it shows.
The feature is presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.
The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout although there was grain which was worse in some scenes than others, but was always present. There was no evidence of low level noise. The shadow detail was fairly poor with most areas of shadow being pretty impenetrable.
The colour was fine but a little dull and lifeless. No worse than you might expect with television of this age and better than some I have seen.
Artefacts were quite common, with a large selection of specks, flecks and hairs on display. These were quite regular but never terrible. Aliasing was present from time to time such as in the credits of each episode and on car grilles, blinds and amusingly zebras! There was one section during Episode 2 where the bitrate dipped and macro-blocking became evident in the backgrounds. This occurred around the 25:00 minute mark, which coincidentally was also near the layer change on Disc 1. I also noticed some edge enhancement here and there, which although present was not overly intrusive.
There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. They were clear and easy to read but significantly summarised from the spoken word. Sometimes whole sentences were missing. Despite this they certainly give you the general gist of what was being said.
The layer changes occur in the middle episodes of Disc 1 and 2, specifically at 23:18 in Episode 2 and 25:55 in Episode 5.
The audio quality is fine, doing all that is required for a show of this type.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Considering the dialogue driven nature of a documentary this is the most critical audio ingredient.
The music used is by Paddy Kingsland and isounds fairly dated in 2005.
The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menus were simple including music, stills and the ability to select individual episodes and subtitles.
Recorded recently this interview in quite illuminating about how serious the problems they encountered on this trip were. He discusses the success of the original series and how he ended up making this one, what they learnt from the first one, the changes that occurred as he was travelling through various countries, some funny anecdotes including the epilogue to the scene with the homemade vodka, the injuries and other nasty moments and the response to the series. Definitely worth watching and an interesting addition to the set.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This set has been released in both Region 2 and Region 4 in exactly the same format. It does not seem to be available in Region 1.
The video quality is decent but nothing special.
The audio quality is fine.
The set has a contemporary interview with Michael Palin as its sole extra.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Bose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)|