A kindly detective puts right the wrongs in a sleepy English town Clad in tweed and puffing on a pipe, Detective Inspector Purbright (Anton Rodgers, Lillie, May to December) pursues the evildoers of Flaxborough with a dog... more »gedness that belies his polite conversation and mild manner. And a good thing, too. For although the quiet country town appears all gentility, beneath the surface lies a darker world of deception, intrigue, treachery, and infidelity. These forces can upset the harmony of the most staid of small communities ? and ignite passions that erupt into violence. Assisted by the ever cheerful Detective Sergeant Love (Christopher Timothy, All Creatures Great and Small) and the sometimes helpful Chief Constable Chubb (Moray Watson, The Darling Buds of May), Purbright serenely polices the clean but mean streets of Flaxborough. Armed with courtesy, respect, and a steely determination, he works to uncover the truth and restore order to this most English of English towns. Based on the series of detective novels by Colin Watson.« less
Kate H. (ghostdancer) from CITRUS HTS, CA Reviewed on 3/30/2015...
Based on the Flaxborough Chronicle books by Colin Watson, which I have always thought hysterically funny. The series didn't quite capture the hilarity of the books, but I enjoyed them all the same.
Odd to see television produced all those years ago. The acting, sets etc. were certainly dated.
WORTHWHILE BBC MURDER INVESTIGATION SERIES FROM THE LATE 70'
Harold Wolf | Wells, IN United States | 05/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"DI Purbright (Anton Rodgers of "Lillie" also recommended by this reviewer) works his way through crime in the fictional rural village of Flaxborough. His drone monologue way of sorting through the clues and elements of a mystery take place either through interrogations over a cup of tea or a pipe of tobacco. His intellectual approach to crime is never flustered.
His Det. Sgt. assistant, Sid Love (Christopher Timothy), is a bit more animated. His speech is more typically British and fast-paced making the Acorn Media addition of the SDH subtitles advantageous.
The stated seven episodes is a bit of a misnomer in that the first 3 take in two crime stories "Hopjoy Was Here" and "Lonelyheart 4122". One story turns into the other just as the first crime is solved. Episodes 4 & 5 are two parts of the story "The Flaxborough Crab" about neighborhood sex-maniac activity by a man who walks sideways. The final story, "Coffin, Scarcely Used", is another two-part, making up the final episodes 6 & 7. I'll say no more about the final story to refrain from spoiling your viewing. Each episode is 50 minutes. The stories to have a connection one with the other, through the town characters, more than just the two lead coppers.
The first story seemed a bit slow. After one hour I was considering this set less than a 5-star value. But then the stories picked up in interest and plot lifting the set to where I was glad to have purchased.
The DVD's themselves warn in the beginning that there is a less than 21st century level with the visual and audio aspects of the TV series. This is due to the quality of the original, dated from 1977. Because of age, although the resolution is improved, not all can be elevated to perfection. Very fair of Acorn Media to acknowledge that right on the box & discs. These British mysteries are in 4:3 full screen, and full color. Based on detective novels by Colin Watson. Extra features limited to 4 actor filmographies and a bit on the writer.
Regardless, this is a fun 5-star revisiting of retro BBC TV. More outdoor rural English scenery was expected which proved a bit disappointing in the beginning. Much of the story takes place in obvious theatrical sets. But, hang on and keep watching, because like the stories, even the filmed scenery improves in quality and quantity through the final 5 episodes.
I'm glad I watched; I think you will be too. And there is a fun final-scene finale for the entire Flaxborough Chronicle series that you WILL enjoy. "
A Men's Cozy Set in Midlands Flaxborough
Stephanie DePue | Carolina Beach, NC USA | 05/27/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Murder Most English," a classic British mystery series that dates from 1977, was produced by the British Broadcasting Company Birmingham, rather an unusual genealogy. The television series, which aired in the United States on Public Broadcasting System stations, is, not too surprisingly, set in the Midlands, Birmingham area. Thankfully for us, Acorn Media has provided subtitles, as Birmingham accent and usage are surely unfamiliar to us on this side of the pond: not sure how familiar they'd be on the other side of the pond, either, where, I believe, Birmingham's native speakers refer to their patois as "brum."The boxed set release consists of three DVD's and four mysteries in seven episodes, approximately 344 minutes.
The series stars Anton Rodgers (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Lillie) as Detective Inspector Purbright: outfitted in tweed and puffing a pipe, he does his best to stamp out serious crime in the fictional, sleepy country town of Flaxborough. (This town was apparently modeled after Lincoln, a Midlands town where Colin Watson, the author upon whose series of detective novels this TV series was based, worked as a journalist.) Purbright is assisted in his crime-solving efforts by Detective Sergeant Love, (Christopher Timothy,All Creatures Great and Small: The Complete Collection); and, occasionally, by his boss, Chief Constable Chubb (Moray Watson (The Darling Buds of May Collection). The mysteries are ingenious and offbeat, with surprising twists and a light comic touch, and are well-acted by a distinguished company of supporting players that would have been more familiar faces in the 1970's. The current release itself warns us that, due to the age of the underlying programs, there will be occasional flaws in picture and sound. The series also shows its age in some other ways: I was stunned to see a Detective Inspector puffing away at crime scenes, but then, this D.I., and seemingly other cops, puff away in people's homes and offices, too, without seeking permission. And none of these actors, who presumably smoked in real life as well, could be described as having white teeth.
The mysteries are:
Hopjoy Was Here, (Parts 1 and 2). Hopjoy had an eye for the ladies, and hated paying his bills: he was apparently a spy, and has disappeared.
Lonelyheart 4122, (Parts 1 and 2). Local women of means sign up with a matchmaking agency and disappear. There may be a dangerous predator at work. Enter the fearless Miss Teatime....
The Flaxborough Crab, (Parts 1 and 2). The old men of the community are suddenly acting out, and the women of the town aren't safe anywhere, in church, on the street, in their own homes. Does Ms. Teatime, who makes an herbal tonic, have anything to do with it?
Coffin, Scarcely Used (Parts 1 and 2). The funeral of Councilor Carobleat is attended by his wife, to be sure, and four local notables, newspaper owner, doctor, undertaker and lawyer. Two of the gang of four are soon killed.
More than anything else, this series struck me as belonging to a mystery category I didn't know existed: a men's cozy. Most of us are familiar with women's cozies of course: think Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, in St. Mary Mead. They're meant to be not too threatening: a crime must be committed, of course; that upsets the community. But as the crime is solved, things are put back to rights. Well, "Murder Most English" seems to follow these rules, and to have been made largely by men, for men: women don't have much part in these stories. However, we can enjoy them, for their humor and lightness of touch.
Murder Most English is the DVD debut of a British murder mys
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 05/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Murder Most English is the DVD debut of a British murder mystery series laced with scathing dark humor and shocking twists. Based on a series of detective novels by author Colin Watson, Murder Most English: A Flaxborough Chronicle features star talent Anton Rodgers (known for his work in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" among other films), Christopher Timothy ("All Creatures Great and Small"), John Comer ("I Didn't Know You Cared") and Moray Watson ("The Darling Buds of May"). Featuring an unquestionably English hero who embodies British culture in every aspect of his attitude, down to wearing tweed and puffing on pipes, Murder Most English is an enthralling drama of the effort to unravel duplicity and bring order back to a most English town. 3 DVDs, 7 episodes, 344 minutes, subtitles."
David H | Seal Beach, California USA | 09/19/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I have been buying virtually every English Murder Mystery released and have rarely, if ever, been disappointed but this is BY FAR the WORST series I have ever seen and a total waste of money. First of all the quality of the video itself is terrible and looks like it was even shot in the 50's instead of the 70's. The plots themselves are so slow you can't believe it and there is virtually nothing but dry monologues from the characters. All the scenes also seem to take place entirely, with few exceptions, all inside one set and the acting itself is terrible. I cannot believe some of the reviews for this series that say they actually enjoyed these shows. I see that all the bad reviews of this show only have a few people who say they were helpful. All I can say is I sincerely hope that anybody that actually spends their money on this video based upon one of these reviews will see the light and come back and rate those panning it higher because I can guarantee that you will be disappointed. I keep trying to find SOMETHING I liked about this video but for the life of me I can't come up with anything. In fact, I have never felt moved enough to write a review of any video but this series is so bad I felt it my duty to warn anyone that might think about spending their hard earned money on it."
Nice to see it back but mind the language
Minerva | UK | 07/13/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was delighted to find this made available again, having watched it on BBC when it first aired. It's lovely to find that people in the US have also warmed to its charms. As some reviewers have already suggested, this is NOT low-concentration span tv, the pace is leisurely (slow) and it has neither the visceral thrills of a CSI nor the chocolate box Englishness of a Miss Marple plus its 1977 shoestring budget shows. That said the charm, as with the Colin Watson novels the tales are based on, is in the dry, sly subversive wit and the steady unravelling of social pretension. However I was amused by all the talk of subtitles. No offence intended but is the accent of Lincolnshire (not Birmingham - that's where the tv studios were located) really that impenetrable to Americans when English audiences have had to deal with New York gangsters, Detroit rappers, Southern belles and Texas Cowboys without ever resorting to subtitles? Maybe some of the phrases are unfamiliar but listening and applying some context is the best way to learn a language - even if it is English.