Waking the Dead-Complete Series 1 & Pilot Episode (2000)

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Released 2-Mar-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 561:25 (Case: 558)
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Multi Disc Set (5)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Robert Bierman
Ben Bolt
Robert Del Maestro
Martin Hutchings

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Trevor Eve
Sue Johnston
Wil Johnson
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $49.95 Music Joe Campbell
Paul Hart
Colin Towns

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
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 for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    There have been quite a few top flight cop shows or series produced in the UK in recent years including such classic television as Cracker and the Prime Suspect series. In addition to these fantastic shows there have also been a large number of next tier shows which are very enjoyable to watch including New Tricks, Silent Witness and many others. This one is a very good show falling squarely into the second category of wonderful television without being classics. Don't get me wrong, this is a better cop show than many and some of the episodes included here come close to the quality of shows like Prime Suspect. Unfortunately, of the five episodes included only three are of top class quality and the other two are quite watchable but not great. This show has now been running on the BBC for 5 years and this set includes the pilot episode from 2000 and the first series from 2001. Each episode is on a separate DVD5 and is presented in two parts, each of just under an hour. Some of the show has recently been shown on the Nine Network here in Australia.

    The premise of Waking the Dead is the formation of a multi-disciplinary cold case squad to re-investigate old unsolved crimes where new evidence is uncovered or the case comes back to public notice for some reason. The squad is led by Detective Superintendent Peter Boyd, a tough and experienced officer who can tend towards arrogance. Joining his team are two more junior police detectives, Detective Sergeant Spencer Jordan & Detective Constable Amelia Silver, a forensics specialist, Dr Frankie Wharton and a psychologist, Dr Grace Foley. Initially, they form an uneasy team with some simmering tensions but over the series they form a strong team, although some tensions still surface, especially between Boyd and Wharton.

    The five episodes included here are:

  1. Pilot (99:55) - The team re-investigate the case of a girl who was kidnapped, raped and murdered 5 years before. While they are investigating another girl is kidnapped in a similar way. An excellent kick-off to the series, with lots on interpersonal tension in the team and some excellent build up of tension and gritty drama.
  2. Burn Out (112:47) - Boyd catches a young woman setting fire to a car on the street. She begs him to re-open her father's case. Boyd gets personally involved. This is the weakest episode of the series and is a little obvious and long winded.
  3. The Blind Beggar (116:53) - Renovations to the crypt in a church uncovers the remains of a body from 20 years earlier which was not meant to be there. The team investigate, bringing back painful memories for Boyd. Better than the previous episode but not one of the best.
  4. A Simple Sacrifice (115:16) - A woman is up for release from prison after serving 25 years for confessing to the murder of her husband and a neighbour's 8 year old boy. Someone comes forward claiming to have new information which will clear her. Excellent episode, on a par with the pilot.
  5. Every Breath You Take (116:34) - A body is found in the Thames in a large bag. It is identified as well known police woman Debbie Brittan who went missing a year earlier. Another excellent episode. This one is the best of the series.

    This is quality television and all episodes are worth watching while some are excellent. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is good but not without issue.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which may be the original aspect ratio. I have no concrete information one way or the other, however, the show seemed to be framed correctly.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp although some scenes were a little softer. There was no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was decent but no more. There was light grain throughout.

    The colour was decent but like many English television shows had a dull and gray colour scheme.

    Artefacts included some aliasing here and there, some spots of macro-blocking such as at 77:00 in episode 1, some edge enhancement and an occasional speck or hair.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read, however included some summarization and changes from the spoken word.

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


    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this series by Colin Towns adds significantly to the tension.

    The surround speakers added some mild atmosphere.

    The subwoofer was surprisingly used quite a bit for added tension and bass in the music. This was a function of my amp's bass management.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu included music, and the ability to select scenes and subtitles.

R4 vs R1

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

    This series is available in Region 2 but not Region 1. The Region 2 is the same except it is on 3 discs instead of 5.


    A quality English cop series which contains some great episodes and two which are a little lacking.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The set has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony 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 DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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