George Gently

Series 2


George Gently ~ Series 2

[aka: Inspector George Gently]

Four feature length episodes

Created for television by Peter Flannery

Based on novels by Alan Hunter

Written by Peter Flannery & Mike Ford

Produced by Johann Knobel

Directed by Daniel O’Hara & Ciaran Donnelly

May 2009



Martin Shaw as Detective Chief Inspector George Gently

Lee Ingleby as Detective Sergeant John Bacchus


“Gently with the Innocents” supporting cast:

Jill Halfpenny as Cora Davidson

Matthew McNulty as Harry Carson

Mark Stobbart as Sergeant Blacksmith

Paul Copley as Dr. Philip Morgan

Georgine Anderson as Enid Peachment

Simon Hubbard as PC Taylor

Dean Logan as Kevin


“Gently in the Night” supporting cast:

Sian Breckin as Audrey Chadwick

Nichola Burley as Fawn Granger

Brendan Coyle as Patrick Donovan

Clare Calbraith as Helen Donovan

Tracey Wilkinson as Margaret Bishop

Mark Williams as Joe Bishop

Bill Fellows as Ronnie Chadwick


“Gently in the Blood” supporting cast:

Andrew-Lee Potts as Jimmy Cochrane

Robyn Addison as Maggie Alderton

Tariq Jordan as Hamed

Jonathan Bonnici as Rana

Stewart Scudamore as Thomas Ali

Joe Simpson as Philip Saint


“Gently Through the Mill” supporting cast:

Tom Goodman-Hill as Sam Draper

Nicholas Jones as Henry Blythely

Joe Duttine as Patrick Fuller

Trevor Cooper as Nicholas Mundy

Tim McInnery as Geoffrey Pershore

Justine McDonald as Jed Jimpson

Simon Hubbard as PC Taylor



Television: Company Pictures for BBC

Video: Acorn Media



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080i

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: Dual layer 25 GB x 2

Feature Size: avg. 10.8 GB

Bit rate: Low (12~18 Mbps)

Runtime: 89’ / 88’ / 89’ / 89’

Episodes: 4

Chapters: 10 per episode


Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo


Subtitles: English SDH



Brief Interviews (text) with the Producer and the Stars

Historical Factoids of 1964 (text)



Amaray Blu-ray case: BRD x 2

Street Date: May 28, 2013

Acorn Product Description:

Likened to Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders, George Gently Series 2, debuts on Blu-ray and DVD on May 28, 2013 from Acorn Media. With this release, Series 2 fills in the “missing link” for the popular mystery series on high-definition video. Already in release are Series 1, 3 & 4, with Series 5 being released concurrently with Series 2. The mysteries are based on Alan Hunter’s detective novels set amidst the upheavals and excesses of 1960s Britain.

“Tony®-nominated actor Martin Shaw returns as Inspector George Gently, a grizzled London detective and widower who finds new life—and new purpose—in Britain’s windswept Northumberland. In the mid-1960s, this remote region has just begun to feel the ripples of social and cultural change rocking the rest of the world, and Gently brings big-city smarts and unflappable judgment to his job. Teamed with brash young Sergeant John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby, Nicholas Nickleby), Gently uncovers motives for murder in a once-tranquil place during a time of transition.”



The Movie: 9/8/8/7

George Gently Series 2 comprises four feature length mystery episodes:


“Gently with the Innocents”

Original Air Date - 3 May 2009

Gently and Bacchus investigate when elderly Alfred Peachment is found murdered in the garden of the large house where he recently lived alone. The house, once a children's home that he superintended but now closed for several years, was being sold against his wishes to the seemingly callous property developer Cora Davidson. Harry. Alfred's mute, simple-minded gardener, is the chief suspect. Only the local policeman, Blacksmith, seems able to communicate with the boy.  Look for Matthew McNulty (Lark Rise to Candleford) as the mute.



“Gently in the Night”

Original Air Date - 10 May 2009

Audrey Chadwick's corpse is found on a church altar and, whilst she told her parents and landlady she was a nurse, the not so happily married Bacchus recognizes her as a hostess at a Playboy-style drinking club he has frequented called Rakes, run by brash American Patrick Donovan. Audrey had had an abortion, which seems to be news to her volatile boyfriend, and the doctor who performed it tells Gently the procedure was desired because she had been raped. Margaret Bishop, an anti-abortionist, heads a group picketing outside of Rakes, but her husband is Donovan's lawyer and very much at odds with Margaret's views. This episode two actors we in the States know well: Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey) and Mark Williams (the Harry Potter movies.)



“Gently in the Blood”

Original Air Date - 17 May 2009

Following a tip Gently and Bacchus acquire a suitcase full of stolen passports dropped by petty crook Jimmy Cochran. Cochran's old flame Maggie Alderton worked in the office where they were issued and is found raped and strangled next day. The father of her child is identified as one Thomas Ali, for whom she was apparently trying to secure a passport. Cochran is in a turf war with some Arab boys, also involved in dodgy passports and Maggie's boss is also less innocent than he first appears.  Kudos to Tariq Jordan, Jonathan Bonnici and Stewart Scudamore as the arabs in intense and remarkably varied characterizations.



“Gently Through the Mill”

Original Air Date - 24 May 2009

Days before the 1964 General Election, manager Patrick Fuller is found dead, and the safe robbed at the flour mill he once owned. Financially strapped, Fuller had sold the mill for a pittance to prospective Labour M.P. Geoffrey Pershore. Fuller's widow knows that he was having an affair with a colleague's wife, and the surly foreman who blackmailed them, is the next corpse to be discovered. Bacchus discovers that Fuller was a Mason and infiltrates the local lodge to find a witness, only to find that his own wife thinks he was out with another woman.



Image: 6/8

Maintaining the original resolution of 1080i on single layered discs this time (instead of dual layered as with the studio’s previous seasons George Gently) with bit rates accordingly lower (12~18 Mbps), Acorn arrives at a generally pleasing, at times exceedingly sharp image, at least in “Gently with the Innocents.” We observe interlacing effects mainly on pause and scan functions. However, the lower bit rate and increased compression poses two questions, one of them affecting performance, the other an economic concern. The image, compared to the previously released Acorn Gently Blu-rays, suffers some with lower bit rates. The picture quality smears and softens in those scenes where light is limited, and video noise is evident where it was not on other Acorn Gentlys.


The economic/marketing question is this: As long as you are going to use two single-layered discs with a lowered bit rate, why not a single dual-layer disc and thereby save fuss and money?  I fear the answer is a cynical one: that Acorn has joined those other studios who try to fool the buyer into thinking they are getting more (two discs) when in fact they are getting less (a compromised picture). Two discs would seem to justify a higher price than one, and would have, had Acorn stayed the course with 22 GB per episode instead of 11.



Audio & Music: 8/7

Hats off to Acorn for supplying the original stereo mix in a loss less medium, in this case DTS-HD MA 2.0, which offers clean, crisp dialogue and subtle, well balanced, realistic effects. The George Gently series continues their outright rejection of visual and audio effects for their own sake. I don’t recall a single shot fired, car chase or knifing, which is not to say that the material isn’t graphic, it’s just that everything happens off camera but described or talked about in such a way as to be perhaps even more disturbing than watching the dirty deeds themselves. So the audio mix must be subtle and nuanced if it’s not to feel forced on the one hand or talking heads on the other. And here Acorn scores admirably, as does the tasteful, supportive music that sometimes brings in 1960s style tropes and other times, sparingly, a more modern mood enhancing score.



Extras: 3

Gone are the “Episode Summaries” of Series One, and in their place Acorn offers three text-only pages, which can be found on disc 1: There are what appears to be responses to the basic questions of “what’s your take on the George Gently series and, in the case of comments by Shaw and Ingleby, your characters. Producer Johann Knobel’s comments on production are interesting, such as that, despite the setting in the far north of England, this season was filmed in and around Dublin. Finally, there are several pages of “Historical Facts of 1964” concentrating on the cultural and political events of the day that often figure prominently in the various episodes.


Acorn supplies accurate subtitles which, considering the northern England brogue that some characters occasionally lapse into, is a godsend. On the other hand they still insist on slipcovers that open from the top and bottom, designed, one must believe, to permit the disc case to slip right through your fingers onto the floor as you take it from the shelf. You have been warned.



Recommendation: 8

I have to say that George Gently Series 2 might be a hard sell at MSRP $59.99, though that’s the lowest price per episode so far. Still, Acorn’s pricing policy for the George Gently Series is certainly peculiar:

Series 1 – 3 episodes @ $50

Series 2 – 4 episodes @ $60

Series 3 – 3 episodes @ $40

Series 4 – 2 episodes @ $40

Series 5 – 4 episodes @ $60

Kind of all over the map, isn’t it!


That said, I feel there is no better detective series emanating from British television or any that I know of stateside than George Gently. Sherlock, starring the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch, is exceptional entertainment, but it is not so much a detective series as a four-dimensional crossword puzzle. In the last year or so, “Nordic Noir” has given the George Gently series some serious competition, especially from Denmark’s The Killing and The Bridge. But as a solid English-language police procedural with social commentary well-blended into the core of many episodes, George Gently can’t be beat.



Save “Gently Through the Mill” there are simply no ho-hum episodes across the current five seasons of George Gently, with “Gently with the Innocents” in this series, among the best. The first three episodes of this second series are outstanding examples of cinematic detective fiction particularly, and stand on their own without necessarily knowing anything about the initial season. The image quality is not as good as the other seasons now in print (Series 1-5), though the first and last episodes suffer less in this respect and the overall sound quality and mixing is satisfactory. Fans of the series should have no problem continuing here with confidence despite the so-so image quality. Lovers of modern detective mysteries are urged once again to give Mr Gently a try if you haven’t already. I should mention that Series 1-4 are now available in a single, cost-saving collection HERE.

Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

June 10, 2013

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