Edge of Darkness

Starring: Bob Peck, Joe Don Baker and Joanne Whalley-Kilmer
BBC Worldwide
RRP: 15.99
Certificate: 15
Available now

As Yorkshire detective Ronald Craven investigates the murder of his daughter, the world around him spirals into a combination of political conspiracy, secret service machinations and shady mediaeval societies. As he draws closer to the dangerous inner sanctums of organised environmental protests and nuclear power interests, he discovers the ultimate truths at the heart of our society...

Edge of Darkness was first broadcast in 1985, and starring Bob Peck and Joanne Whalley, Michael Wearing's creation won nine awards including six BAFTAs. It's not difficult to see why.

I originally bought this release a number of years ago when it was thrust onto the market by an independent label that hadn't got a clue how DVD worked. The print used was awful with plenty of dropout and the editing between discs was appalling - the action would suddenly stop and you would have to flip the DVD over to the other side.

Thankfully, the rights have finally reverted back to the BBC and they have turned out a pretty impressive release. As well as the six episodes, there are a number of extras (including an isolated music track - which is great for all us soundtrack buffs out there) There is a Bob Peck interview on BBC Breakfast Time; The BAFTAs 1986 - including interviews with Bob Peck and Joe Don Baker; BBC Arts programme Did You See ...? reviews Edge of Darkness; Magnox - The Secrets of Edge of Darkness, featuring contributions from writer Troy Kennedy Martin, producer Michael Wearing, composer Michael Kamen, the cast, technical advisor Walt Patterson and visual effects designer Mat Irvine; and the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards 1986, featuring interviews with producer Michael Wearing and actor Bob Peck.

The extras are interesting - especially the many interviews and review programmes were the host openly admit their lack of knowledge on the show - which is shocking! If you are interviewing an actor isn't it in your interest to see the show he's there to talk about?

The show itself was a masterclass in how to present quality drama. There really has been nothing like Edge of Darkness since it was originally screened. The only similar piece of work I can think of is Alan Bleasdale's 1991 G.B.H. for Channel 4.

Bob Peck (who later went on to star in Jurassic Park) and Joe Don Baker (who went on to play a CIA agent in James Bond) are perfect in their respective roles. It was also strange to note that Zoe Wanamaker seems not to have aged at all and there is a very, very brief appearance by Mac (Red Dwarf Captain) McDonald as a drunk CIA agent.

There was also some unintentional humour in a scene with Tim McInnery, when he tells Bop Peck that his daughter didn't use his nickname: "She didn't call me Tel. She called me darling..." which, a few years later became his name in Black Adder when he played Captain Darling.

This release has been a long time in coming, but the wait was worth the while. A classic.

Darren Rea

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