Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Prisoner Cell Block H Set 1 |
25th Anniversary Collector's Edition
Actors: Elspeth Ballantyne, Betty Bobbit, Sheila Florance, Maggie Kirkpatrick, Val Lehman
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama, Television, Mystery & Suspense
Go deep inside Wentworth Prison - meet the women behind bars and the staff that keeps them there. A cross between the dark and campy Dark Shadows and a daytime soap opera, PRISONER: CELL BLOCK H has achieved global cult-l... more »
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A word of warning
Michael Favareille | Pinole, CA United States | 10/07/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I did some research on a number of websites devoted to this show. For those who are not familiar, Prisoner: Cell Block H was a continuing serialized show that ran for 8 years in Australia and was very popular in Britain as well. In the US, it had its greatest success when it ran on Tuesday evenings at 8 PM on KTLA-5, Los Angeles, between 1980-1982(and beating Happy Days in the Neilsen ratings in the LA market). This was not a show for the family to watch as it was quite frank(including what may have been the first depiction of lesbianism on US TV).
Apparently, this will be a repackaging of a Best-Of DVD set that is currently available in Britain(and in Australia as well--2 other collections are also available in Australia.) 12 hour-long episodes(US syndication cut them to 30 minutes except for the KTLA airings) from throughout the shows comprise the DVD set, along with a couple of interviews(one of which is with Bea, who was one of the major characters on the show). Personally, I would rather see this released as season sets(or do like MPI does with Dark Shadows, release 40 half-hour shows per DVD set in order to continue the story). Being this is a serialized show, watching episodes out of sequence and without the full stories detract from the entertainment value. (And I feel maybe bring new fans since this show is a bit obscure to most people.) I was a big fan of the show when it aired(and unfortunately, did not see any of the last 5 years of the show as they were not aired in the US). Hopefully A&E will wake up and give us season sets of the series. (Note:MPI did release episodes of Prisoner Cell Block H on VHS about a decade ago, but never finished out the series.)"
Prisoner: Cell Block H - Lots of good memories
kcthePCBHfan | 03/11/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've purchased Prisoner: Cell Block H; and boy was I so happy when they released it on DVD. This show brought back alot of memories for me. I first watched it when it first appears on Channel 11 here in NYC in the late 70's and watched it religiously until they took it off in 1980. I was so pissed that they took it off, but now that I got it on DVD, I watch it all the time. I love Meg, Bea, Doreen, Lizzie, Myra, Rita..and yes, even Joan the Freak Ferguson. I am hoping and praying that they release all the episodes on DVD in an ultimate box set or individual sets (I don't care how they do it, just as long as I can purchase it!!). If you're watching the review, PLEASE CONSIDER DOING THIS. I know for a fact that there are lots of Prisoner fans here in NYC that would love to see Episodes 1 - 692 on DVD. Thank you for hearing me out."
ON THE INSIDE
William | Australia | 06/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was grateful when Prisoner came out on DVD in Australia back in 2001, but was annoyed when it was only selected episodes handpicked as 'best of episodes' in the minds of the TV distributor. This Prisoner DVD 3-set has since been released in USA And UK and while it is great for all of us to have, I am confused why certain episodes were selected when there are much, much better ones to pick (ie. ones with Vera Bennett). Really, out of 692 episodes, they could have done a better job. Better than nothing though.
Prisoner ruled Australian TV from 1979 to 1986 and many consider its best years to be 1980 to 1982. I had no idea it was shown on American TV until I read about it here on Amazon. Just a shame that America only got to see one or two seasons before it was pulled in favour of Mash re-runs.
Anyway, with the popularity of DVDs, there is no excuse why the complete Prisoner seasons couldn't be released on DVD beginning with Season 1 from 1979 starring Kerry Armstrong, Peta Topano and Val Leahman (Bea Smith). Even better, 1979 covered alot of Vera Bennett. Unfortunately, the current DVD (Best Of) only shows one episode of Vera and focusses on to many episodes of Joan Fergusion.
In Australia, they have since released another installment of Prisoner DVD's although once again are more of those 'best of' episodes. These new DVD's are very expensive compared to the first installment so I am yet to get them.
I doubt we will ever get complete seasons released as there are simply too many episodes. A pity, as there are millions of Prisoner fans across the world!
Bring on the cat-fights."
I only wish there were more available in US
Big Fan | East Coast US | 08/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Prisoner: Cell Block H" (originally called "Prisoner" in Australia but renamed for US distribution and later UK distribution for fear of confusion with the Patrick McGoohan (sp?) classic "The Prisoner") was syndicated in the US at the dawn of the 1980s. Apparently, it had been so huge in Australia that they managed to export it to the US--a rarity; the only other Australian show I remember seeing in the States back then was a good mini-series about the colonization of Australia called "Against the Wind."
PCBH originally aired in the Washington area in a half-hour format weeknights at 11 on WTTG-TV Channel 5. It was one of the most watchable shows I have ever seen and beats most American soaps hands down (I was in high school at the time). A huge disappointment when WTTG dropped it for M*A*S*H* reruns. But WJZ-TV Channel 13 in Baltimore picked it up a month or two later and showed it from the beginning in its original hour-long format late on Saturday and Sunday evenings. The show had terrific cliffhangers and did not mess around--I still remember being shocked when someone's wife and sons were killed by a package bomb (storyline not included on these DVDs).
I went away to college and lost track of the show--didn't have much truck when I returned for visits with there apparently being a new governor of the prison and new guards--but this DVD set has shown me the error of my ways. Back in the day, I had only seen the very first episode included on these DVDs, and the rest of the episodes included have showed me that the show remained suspenseful right through to the end, that the second governor Ann Reynolds was terrific (not as shrill as my beloved Erica Davidson could get when arguing with Vera), and that Joan Ferguson was a bad guard to give the great Vera Bennett a serious run for her money. Also nice to get to know the ditz guard Joyce Barry Pringle (why is she chatting on the phone when she should be working?) and others--boy was longtime prisoner Lou Kelley a pill.
Interesting to see that guard Saint Meg from the beginning of the series stayed right through to the end, and that it all went out with a satisfying finale. Nice to see the original "PRISONER" title slides, too (I only saw one once during the 80s, when whoever prepped the show for syndication in the States forgot to replace it with "PRISONER: CELL BLOCK H").
Since there are 692 episodes and it doesn't appear that they will get back on the air in the US (I heard a Canadian cable channel aired the beginning of the series recently, and I believe a couple more DVD sets came out in Australia, in addition to the first 12 episodes that were released here on VHS about a decade ago), and it may not be practical to release all the episodes on DVD, whoever currently owns the rights to the show would do well to make it available for pay-per-view over the Internet. I bet there are enough people who remember it from England in the '90s (where it became a cult hit) and the US in the '80s (and from Australia) to make that economically worthwhile. I think it was a hit in Sweden also.
Anyway, to all who worked on the show and are still alive (I believe the actresses who played Lizzie and Mrs. Reynolds have sadly passed), Good On Ya! I used to watch your series, I wish I could again...."