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The Story of the Costume Drama
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by those who were there
As seen on public television
"The costume drama remains the greatest of escapes." —Daily Mail (U.K.)
Peer behind the ornate clothing, sprawling manors, and addictive story lines that have riveted millions of television viewers. Featuring interviews with the writers, directors, and stars of iconic productions, this series reveals how the often controversial sagas altered the television landscape and launched the careers of many young actors.
From 1955’s fanciful Adventures of Robin Hood to 2007’s racy Fanny Hill, costume dramas have toppled taboos and quickened pulses. Programs like Edward & Mrs. Simpson ruffled establishment feathers, while popular series Upstairs, Downstairs and The Forsyte Saga emptied pubs, wrecked social calendars, and forced vicars to revise parish schedules. Narrated by Keeley Hawes (Wives and Daughters) and seen on PBS, it’s required viewing for any fan of British television.
Featuring stars and scenes from Brideshead Revisited; I, Claudius; Pride and Prejudice; The Jewel in the Crown; Poldark; Horatio Hornblower; Elizabeth I; Sharpe; Edward the King; Lillie; Moll Flanders; Doctor Zhivago; My Boy Jack; Cranford; and many more.
Top Customer Reviews
This DVD set is all about the Brits - the `best of the best' when it came to the BBC - and offers clips, interviews, backstories, behind-the-scene looks and a history of images that are still embedded in our minds. Remember Jeremy Irons in Brideshead Revisited? Not only was this one of the most romantic and best-written tales, as well as the first that actually opened the door to `gay' characters, it was also a story that offered pure sophistication, stunning locales and fashion that the world absolutely fell in love with.
From The Adventures of Robin Hood (the first show that was ultimately aimed at young boys who wanted to be heroes); to the only `soap opera' that was beyond impressive, Upstairs, Downstairs, which offered a look at the separate worlds of the wealthy and their servants - these costume dramas were unforgettable.
The DVD takes a look back at when the costume drama changed; when it suddenly turned into something that the world swooned over. Yes, that was Pride and Prejudice, when Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy) stepped out of a lake and became the sexiest man in television history. Viewers also receive `nuggets' of information such as the fact that vicars changed the time of church in order for people to run home and watch The Forsyte Saga on television - one costume drama that spawned a national debate.Read more ›
SUBTITLES are provided
=====1 The Greatest Stories Ever Told
A history. Learn the history of the genre, from `Robin Hood' to world-wide hits like Upstairs, Downstairs; Forsyte Saga, I Claudius & more, so much more.
=====2 The Stars
See how 1000s of UK & US stars evolved due to their association to period costume epics. Helen Mirren, Alex Kingston, Keira Knightley, Jillian Anderson, Jeremy Irons, John Hurt, Daniel Radcliff, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ioan Gruffudd, Robson Green, Colin Firth, to name drop just a few.
=====3 Affairs of the Heart
Romance from `Dr. Zhivago' to `Poldark' and `Brideshead Revisited' to Mr. Darcy & many Austin adaptations. Perhaps costume never will be done as well as UK TV. Bodice bounty in beautiful Brit mini-series--"Scrumptious telly."
=====4 Picture Perfect
Location, location, location = how to sell a costume drama. Costume perfection as well as sets and props all add to the elegance viewers have come to expect.
=====5 A Call to Arms
Of course costume drama must include men in uniform, and women, and wars, battles, and swashbuckling. TV action epics on a Hollywood scale.Read more ›
The faults I found with this documentary were:
1. Too much early history of costume dramas was omitted. Though "Robin Hood" was recognized as an early British costume drama (rightfully, as the series had world-wide syndication), there was no mention of the numerous theatrical productions and television adaptations of classic literature that aired on either ITV and/or BBC during the 1950's through the mid-1960's.
2. Many excellent series/mini-series were ignored. As examples, the beautifully filmed color version of "The Forsythe Saga" (aired in the US on "Masterpiece Theatre"); the 1979 mini-series, "Kidnapped" (the first UK mini-series to be aired exclusively by a US cable network [TBS]); and the wickedly charming Victorian-era series, "Raffles" had essentially no mention.
3. Too many dramas that were mentioned received little attention, while certain dramas - mostly the "bodice-rippers" - were revisited several times during the five episodes of the series. After the second or third revisit, there wasn't much significant or new information provided.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An absolutely brilliant idea, beautifully executed and interesting to watch in its own right, THE STORY OF THE COSTUME DRAMA is an outstanding new release from Acorn Media. Read morePublished on April 14, 2014 by Jon Wynne
Brought some new shows to my attention while waiting for Downton Abby. I enjoyed it and the star interviews. FUN.Published on September 13, 2013 by tahdahdee
Loved the insider look at some classic costume dramas and got some ideas for ones I haven't yet seen. Great seriesPublished on September 13, 2013 by Meghan Guffee
This mini series - they call it season 1 - is made for the costume drama fan. It tells of Britain's televsion costume dramas from the 60's to today. Read morePublished on August 15, 2013 by J. Beck
I found this to be very informative. It also gave me more than enough viewing ideas for future programs. Read morePublished on August 14, 2013 by cindyszy
As a hopeless Anglophile I loved this....background on so many British dramas, and behind the scenes stuff I had never seen. Really enjoyed thisPublished on August 12, 2013 by garden girl
I am a total sucker for costume dramas. This behind the scenes look at the actors and locations is absolutely fascinating. I highly recommend giving this a watch.Published on July 14, 2013 by Deborah Burrell
We really liked the series, especially the first 4 episodes. It is dated, since it is from 2008, but very entertaining and interesting.Published on July 10, 2013 by Austen lover
Our local PBS station once aired a single episode of this series. I was delighted to find it available on Prime! Read morePublished on June 12, 2013 by Donna Smith