George Gently

Series 5


George Gently ~ Series 5

[aka: Inspector George Gently]

Four feature length episodes

Created for television by Peter Flannery

Based on novels by Alan Hunter

Written by Peter Flannery & David Kane

Produced by Faye Dorn

Directed by Gillies MacKinnon & Nicholas Renton

September 2012



Martin Shaw as Detective Chief Inspector George Gently

Lee Ingleby as Detective Sergeant John Bacchus


“Gently Northern Soul” supporting cast:

Lenora Crichlow as Carol Morford

Eamonn Walker as Ambrose Kenny

Pippa Bennett-Warner as Dolores Kenny

Gary Carr as Joseph Kenny

Craig Conway as Gary Watts

Philip Correa as Charlie Watts

Simon Hubbard as PC Taylor


“Gently with Class” supporting cast:

Geraldine Somerville as Alethea Blackstone

James Norton as James Blackstone

Roger Lloyd-Pack as Hector Blackstone

Ebony Buckle as Ellen Mallam

Christopher Fairbank as Billy Mallam

Nicholas Lumley as Dr. Arnold


“The Lost Child” supporting cast:

Mark Gatiss as Stephen Groves

Helen Baxendale as Frances Groves

Faye Castelow as Hazel Joyce

Alison Steadman as Esther Dunwoody

Katie Anderson as Leigh Ann Bacchus

Tony Haygarth as Peter Bacchus


“Gently in the Cathedral” supporting cast:

Angelica Penn as Bernie Henderson

Lee Armstrong as PC Gavin Henderson

Michael Hodgson as Alec Powell

Kemal Sylvester as Owen Galliford

Brett Allen as Frannie Hilston

Ralph Brown as Melvyn Rattigan

Diana Quick as Gitta Bronson



Television: Company Pictures for BBC

Video: Acorn Media



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: Single-layer 25 GB x 2

Feature Size: avg. 10.9 GB

Bit rate: Low (12~19 Mbps)

Runtime: 92/92/91/90

Episodes: 4

Chapters: 10 per episode


Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo


Subtitles: English SDH



Behind the Scenes - in quasi HD (3:00)

Acorn Previews & Trailers



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 5, debuts on Blu-ray and DVD on May 28, 2013 from Acorn Media. This set continues the popular mystery series on high-definition video and, for the first time, brings us up to date with the televised seasons. Already in release are Series 1-4, all available separately OR in a single, cost-saving collection HERE. 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), he uncovers motives for murder in a once-tranquil place during a time of transition.”



The Movie: 9/9/8/9

George Gently Series 5 comprises four feature length mystery episodes:


“Gently Northern Soul”

Original Air Date - 26 August 2012

This episode gets its cue from the racial assassination of Martin Luther King only a few weeks prior to the events of this episode. In England as the MP Enoch Powell launches his tirade against immigration in his notorious and divisive “Rivers of Blood” speech, which is observed on television independently by everyone concerned at a motivating point in the drama. Against this background of growing concern about government’s Race Relations Act of 1968 and its approval of the immigration of “colored peoples” racial harmony can be found at the 'all-nighters' where disillusioned young people, black and white, escape the boredom of factory and home life to dance the night away to imported soul music. In Newcastle, that haven of equality found at the Carlton Ballroom is destroyed when a black teen, Dolores Kenny, is found dead off a nearby, semi-deserted road, leading Gently to the disturbing and racialist undercurrent that seems to be infecting everyone, not least Detective Bacchus. Being Human’s Lenora Crichlow plays the dead girl’s best friend and Eamonn Walker gives an electric performance as the Dolores’ father.



“Gently with Class”

Original Air Date - 2 September 2012

Ellen Mallam is found dead in a submerged car belonging to Hector Blackstone, on whose estate her father Billy works. Bacchus is instantly hostile with his class prejudices oozing from every pore, as he so often presents at first, as Hector's spoilt son James is known for drunk driving. And, whilst Hector is affable, his aristocratic wife Alethea is a dreadful snob with whom Bacchus crosses swords. James has a cut on his forehead and seems upset by the death but soon afterwards is himself found dead. In this infectious drama about “class” and murder, Alethea is played by Geraldine Somerville, whom we know as Harry Potter’s mother from the film series. Lee Ingleby, too, had his moment of glory in The Prisoner of Azkaban as Stan Shunpike, the conductor of the Knight Bus. Those of us who enjoyed The Vicar of Dubley, will recognize our favorite farmer, Owen Newitt, in Roger Lloyd-Pack as Alethea’s husband.



“The Lost Child”

Original Air Date - 9 September 2012

Faith, the recently adopted baby daughter of Stephen and Frances Groves, is abducted in broad daylight, leading Gently and Bacchus to the home for unmarried mothers from where the couple got Faith. Mrs Dunwoody, the owner, tells them that Faith had a twin brother and the mother Susan Faulkner disappeared with him after Faith's adoption but, when traced, Susan is unable to help the enquiry. After a kidnap ransom demand proves to be a red herring, Gently discovers that both Frances and Stephen have guilty secrets from the past that might solve the case. Featured is the multi-talented, Mark Gatiss, writer/producer/actor from Sherlock where he plays the detective’s brother, Mycroft; also a writer for Doctor Who and the deliciously ancient vampire, Mr. Snow, on Being Human.



“Gently in the Cathedral”

Original Air Date - 16 September 2012

The forces of evil that tragically disrupted George Gently's life in 1964 reemerge in this dark season closure. Career criminal Melvyn Rattigan gets thirty years for manslaughter, thanks to Gently, but is soon out on appeal, claiming that the detective fabricated evidence to send him down and, furthermore, is himself guilty of bribery and corruption. Things look even worse when thuggish Met officers lean on Bacchus to betray his boss, claiming that Gently murdered an undercover cop infiltrating local gangs. And, yes, that is Diana Quick, from the original Brideshead Revisited, as the lawyer, Gitta Bronson, one of Gently’s few allies in a cliffhanging episode that sprays more bullets that all five seasons’ worth combined.



Image: 8/9

Acorn’s high-definition image – though for the first time in 1080p rather than 1080i - compared to released Acorn Series 1,3 & 4 George Gently Blu-rays, suffers a little from lower bit rates and higher compression, but is far from a deal breaker. But my question is: Why single-layered in the first place? 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, at least theoretically.) 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 lossless 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: 1

Instead of extra features that look at the entire season, Acorn offers this singular segment on Disc 2 that relates only to "Gently in the Cathedral." And it is that building – the Durham Cathedral – and its surroundings that actors Martin Shaw and Lee Ingleby, out of character, speak to in this all too brief piece.


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: 9

I feel there is no better detective series emanating from British television or any that I know of stateside than George Gently. The UK television series, 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 perhaps Ep. 2.4, there are simply no ho-hum episodes across the current five seasons of George Gently, with “Gently Northern Soul” and “Gently in the Cathedral” in this series, among the best. Any of the four episodes of this fifth series are outstanding examples of cinematic detective fiction particularly, and stand on their own without necessarily knowing anything about the previous seasons. Despite the use of low-bit rates and high compression, the image quality is satisfactory, as is the audio. Fans of the series will definitely want to continue following the adventures of Detectives Gently and Bacchus, and if there are any lovers of modern detective mysteries out there still unacquainted with the series, you are urged once again to give Mr Gently a try, noting especially the cost-savings in the Series 1-4 Collection.


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

June 10, 2013

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