How We Built Britain (2007)

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Released 2-Dec-2009

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 351:23
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nicky Illis
David Thompson
Nigel Walk
Jonty Claypole

Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music Andrew Blaney

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 No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    The BBC has been making interesting and worthwhile documentary series for many years especially historical and nature documentaries. Another in this long and impressive history is this series, How We Built Britain, which is quite a different approach to the history of Britain. Rather than focusing on Kings or battles or the usual things, it focuses on architecture through the ages and what it reveals about the history and culture of Britain. The show is made up of 6 episodes of approximately an hour each (over 2 discs). These episodes focus on a different region of Britain and investigate the various types of architecture in each region. One key thing about this series which improves its appeal is that it does not focus only on the obvious castles, cathedrals and country houses but also looks at villages, cottages, tenements and more modern buildings.

    The series is hosted and written by David Dimbleby who is a UK based political journalist. He is a convivial but informative host who keeps the series moving by never focusing for too long on any piece of architecture. This makes the series of interest to more than just architecture buffs. He also adds interesting details and anecdotes about specific buildings which attracts a wider audience. Another real strength of this series is the wonderful aerial shots and landscape cinematography which shows the beauty of the natural British Isles, not just the architecture.

    Overall, an informative and interesting documentary series. Recommended.


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Transfer Quality


    The video quality is good without being spectacular.

    The feature is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

    The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout. Shadow detail was good. There was some evidence of MPEG compression including mild grain in some scenes and minor blocking during motion.

    The colour is very good showing off, I presume, the very lucky excellent weather, especially in Scotland.

    Other artefacts on show include some aliasing, especially on wide shots, and some obvious edge enhancement. There is also some jumpiness during the end titles.

    There are subtitles in English. They are clear and easy to read.

    The layer change was not noticeable during playback.

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


    The audio is very good.

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

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand although the subtitles were helpful for some regional accents.

    The music is by turns majestic or lyrical depending on the nature of the building. It certainly adds to the atmosphere.

    The surround speakers were only used for mild atmosphere when the soundtrack was played using ProLogicII.

    The subwoofer was used for adding bass to the music only.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menu includes music and allows for episode and scene selection.

Interview with David Dimbleby (15:08)

    Dimbleby discusses why he did the series and his career generally. Worthwhile.

R4 vs R1

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

    This seems to be available in the same format in Region 2. Not available in Region 1 currently.


    An interesting documentary series about how Britain's development has been affected by its architecture and vice versa.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio is very good.

    One extra.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, February 05, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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