The Politician's Wife (1995)

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Released 5-Sep-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Menu Audio
Notes-Background Essay by Author
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1995
Running Time 187:28
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (30:52) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Graham Theakston
Acorn Media Starring Juliet Stevenson
Trevor Eve
Ian Bannen
Minnie Driver
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Barrington Pheloung

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    British Television sure knows how to turn out quality dramas. One subcategory of note is the political drama, of which this is an excellent example, along with wonderful shows like House of Cards and its sequels. This particular series was made back in 1995 and is the first release we have reviewed from distributor Acorn Media, which is new to Australia (although has been operating in other locales for some time). They have released a number of other titles already including Sword of Honour starring Daniel Craig.

    The Politician's Wife won a number of awards back in 1995 including a BAFTA and an Emmy. It is told over three one hour episodes which are faithfully reproduced here on one dual layer disc. The story involves high-flying young politician Duncan Matlock (Trevor Eve), who is the Minister of the Family in the UK Conservative government. He is married to Flora (Juliet Stevenson) who lives in his mostly rural constituency with their two pre-teen children. He, of course, spends a lot of time in London, staying at their city flat. As the story begins he has been caught by the press having an affair with a parliamentary researcher who used to be an escort. Her name is Jennifer Caird (Minnie Driver). Flora is not aware of this infidelity and Duncan races home to tell her himself before the press or the morning papers arrive on the doorstep. He tells her that it was a one-off meaningless mistake and after some badgering by her father (a local party stalwart) and other party figures such as Sir Donald Frazier (Ian Bannen), she agrees to support him. As time passes and more information comes to light it becomes clear that it has been going on for some time and is far from meaningless to him. She resolves to get her revenge.

    This is excellent television featuring a top quality cast who all do excellent work. It was written directly for television by Paula Milne. It is an interesting study in the meaning of morality both in terms of Duncan and his wife as some of her actions would also be questionable in some people's eyes. Fans of quality British drama should seek this show out. Recommended.

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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is reasonable but has been cropped to fit a widescreen television. This practice for older television is just as reprehensible as pan and scan is for widescreen movies.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is NOT the original aspect ratio. I have been advised that 1.66:1 is the original aspect ratio on UK TV. It is noticeably cropped as people's heads go missing or partially missing as they move around scenes. I will remove one star from the overall video rating accordingly. The case actually says that it is both 4x3 and 16x9 enhanced!

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout considering the age and source with no evidence of low level noise. There was grain in backgrounds which occasionally lapsed into macro-blocking however it was never terrible. The shadow detail was OK.

    The colour was pretty good but somewhat dull.

    There were some spots of aliasing such as on a tie at 1:29 and a jacket at 38:51 (both in Episode 1). There were also some small white specks and blobs here and there.

    There are no subtitles on this disc.

    The layer change occurs at 30:52 in episode 2 and is not noticeable.

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 224 Kb/s.

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

    The music by Barrington Pheloung is very effective adding to the atmosphere and tension.

    The surround speakers were not used.

    The subwoofer added some bass to the music due to my amplifier's bass management.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu design is fairly perfunctory with some music and stills from the show.

Background Essay by Paula Milne

    A text based essay on multiple screens which covers the story idea, development and casting along with a bio of the author.

Cast Filmographies

    Text filmographies for all the main cast.


R4 vs R1

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

    The local all region version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    On this basis it is very hard to make a call without seeing the Region 1 transfer.


    A high quality political television drama from the mid-1990s.

    The video quality is reasonable but has been cropped.

    The audio quality is good.

    A couple of minor text extras are included.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
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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