Hamish Macbeth-Series 1 (1995)
|Year Of Production||1995|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Hamish Macbeth is one of the great BBC comedy drama series of the 1990s, to my mind significantly better than Ballykissangel, although others may not agree. It was a short-lived series, only running for three seasons from 1995 to 1997 totalling 20 episodes, which is a great shame. This first series ran for only six episodes but unfortunately only 5 have made into onto this DVD release (spread over two discs). The missing episode was heavily based around music and ideas from West Side Story, the owners of which granted permission for the series to be made and transmitted but not for video or subsequent DVD release. All global releases of this series do not include this episode which was the fourth of the first series. You will have to decide whether the omission of this episode drastically affects the value of this set to you. Even without it, the set contains some great television, however, some important character development scenes are missing especially regarding the relationship of Hamish and Isobel in addition to a high quality episode.
The series is set in the Northern Scottish town on Lochdubh and centres on the local constable, Hamish Macbeth (Robert Carlyle, in the role which kick-started his career), and the adventures of the various and eccentric villagers. He is much loved by the townsfolk and dishes out his own brand of justice which sometimes bends the rules. He is very clever and a good investigator but makes sure not to perform too well to avoid being transferred away from his beloved Lochdubh. He was born in Lochdubh but then his family moved to Glasgow. He has returned and now vows never to leave. The other key characters are:
This show is a great mixture of comedy and drama with some excellent characters each with their own unique identity. Once you add to that some excellent acting, wonderful scenery and great writing, this show is a winner. Interestingly, the tone of the show changes somewhat part way through the series with the last two episodes being significantly more dramatic than the first three. The comedy is still there but the drama is more intense. These two episodes are the best of the series.
The episodes included are:
I would highly recommend this TV series to those who haven't seen it but I really cannot recommend this two disc set, due to the lack of one episode and significant video quality issues.
The video quality is diabolical in the early episodes but improves marginally as the series progresses.
The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.
The picture was reasonably sharp throughout although the clarity was greatly affected by heavy grain combined with aliasing which seemed to affect nearly everything on screen, especially during camera pans. The grain even appeared like snow in some darker scenes such as at 9:00 in episode 1. There was also some low level noise to be seen. The shadow detail was poor.
The colour was a bit dull and also included some cross colourisation and chroma noise.
Artefacts were not just restricted to the aliasing mentioned above but also included some significant excessive noise reduction which resulted in a number of obvious issues such as a police 4WD parked by the side of the road which jumped up and down in the picture. There was also some macro-blocking in backgrounds and edge enhancement just to round out the collection of artefacts.
There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read. In addition, some lines of Gaelic were translated with burnt-in subtitles.
The layer change causes a short pause on each disc.
The audio quality is fine.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.
Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand except for some accents but this is an issue with the original material rather than the transfer. There was no problem with audio sync.
The music by John Lunn is jaunty Scottish style folk music, well suited to the programme.
The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu was very simple and still.
This series has been released in exactly the same format in Region 2 and Region 1. None of them includes the extra episode. Call it a tie although the US version might have better video quality although I have no ability to compare.
The video quality is diabolical.
The audio quality is fine.
|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||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer|