Gripping and well-acted BBC Ireland series - now all in one DVD set
This superb BBC Ireland TV series from 1997 and 1998 has been available as separate volumes for each of its two seasons but now BFS Video has packaged the COMPLETE series in one, more affordable, package.
I was not aware of the series before this "Complete" set and, unlike many others, I had never seen its star, Pauline Collins, before - having never watched the BBC series Upstairs Downstairs on PBS. But I'm really impressed by Collins as an actress for viewing this set.
The plot revolves around Harriet Smith, the British Ambassador to Ireland (a fictional character), arriving to take her post in Dublin and how she must deal with being a British official in what is - for all intents - a foreign country. Her authority only extended to the outside walls of the British Consulate. Smith is a widow (you will learn why as you watch the series) and has three children, ranging from a grade school son to a college-aged son from whom she is somewhat estranged. The action takes place in the late 1990s when there are problems of drugs, terrorism, cults and the general tension between the British and the Irish population. All this gives makes Smith's job a tough one. But Collins plays Harriet with compassion and the scripts are of the high quality that puts American network television to shame. This is another case of discovering shows that were never aired in the US for home viewing.
Because it takes place in Ireland, there are Irish accents to deal with. These can sometimes be thick but, generally, you'll have no problem.
The stories are contemporary so this is not a "period drama" like Upstairs Downstairs or the various BBC England mystery series. These are human dramas (including Smith having to balance her work and family life) and I can highly recommend it. Besides, you can see the whole series (12 50-minute episodes) with one package.