Great writing (John Mortimer- Rumpole fame) and more British acting stars than Van Gogh had colors. This is a feast for the entertainment eyes, and family friendly. It's a look behind the scenes of Klinsky's Auction House, and the mysteries behind the priceless sale items, or fakes. The department heads of the firm also have a good bit of sideline romance that goes well beyond the water cooler. Plenty of sexy friction as well as drama. Also plenty of laughs. A very solid 5-stars in British Drama.
Cast is led by Maggie (Jan Francis-`Just Good Friends' `Anne of Green Gables, Avonlea') head of Old Masters dept. who's desired by painting expert Ben (Richard Wilson-`One Foot in the Grave' but never says "I can't be-lieve it!"). Maggie is hot for wine dept head Nick (Michael Siberry-`The Grand'). Klinsky's London office Lord Bernard `Chairman' (Robert Lang) cheats with office gal Camilla (Marsha Fitzalan), & then Annabelle (Kate McKenzie-`Endgame'). Shrimsley (Stephen Boxer-`Garrows Law' `Prime Suspect') is too busy counting the company beans to get female-frisky. Receptionist Lucy (Rose Keegan-`Lilies' `Harry Potter') dizzily dreams of acting.
And then the GUEST STARS begin to appear profusely in each episode. Many stars are not even recognized as such on the box or in the credits, just listed as a cast member. Many are noted below in the episode details (without spoilers).
7 Episodes, about 51 minutes each, all with SUBTITLES provided.
Bonus is a text bio of Mortimer, the AMAZING writer.
Rated perhaps PG (?) with plenty of adultery and bed shots but everyone covered. General family entertainment, but content likely more young adult and older.
THE FATAL ATTRIBUTION== A suspicious but potential Bronzino (1500s) oil gets the Old Masters dept thrilled and off to solving the mystery behind the art brought by Sarah Napper (Susan Wooldridge). Another expert, Hugo (John Gielgud-`Six Centuries of Verse' `Brideshead Revisited') is called to help. Romantic subplots also go up for bid at London Klinsky's.
WONDERS IN THE DEEP== Lord Bertie's wine cases are tossed into the lake by his tea-total wife. Valuable bottles offered for sale at Klinsky's leaves Ben suspect of love-rival Nick's find. Wine and a silver antique get the mystery investigation moving. Are the old items for real? In-house hormones rage on.
THE VIRGIN OF VITEBSK== Potential for a Moscow Klinsky's office is the exploratory trip reason by Ben & Maggie. Is this Ben's romantic opportunity to hit on Maggie? A resurfaced icon and a tour guide create a Russian block. Angela (Emily Mortimer-`Coming Home' `A Dance to the Music of Time' & writer Mortimer's daughter) is traveling in Moscow chaperoned by Batty (Judy Cornwell-`Keeping up Appearances'). A Russian gallery lady, Olga (Rosalie Crutchley-`Anglo Saxon Attitudes') knows something about the icon art piece.
THE JOLLY JOKER== Chairman of Klinsky's may have been taken when he purchased from a modern artist. Ben and Maggie find clues to a fraud plot as well as true romantic spark between themselves. Ned (Keith Barron-`Where the Heart Is') flings modern paint. Liz Hardcastle (Phyllida Law-Emma Thompson's ma) sings in a pub.
AFTER TITIAN== A Klinsky's NY bidder drops dead. Is Ben right in associating the Titian oil to the event? A conflict twixt conscience & career. Scot art buyer, Flecknow (Dan O'Herlihy)want Scot Ben's opinion. Klinsky's NY office head, Whiteside (Michael J. Shannon-`We'll Meet Again' `Superman II') who flirts with Maggie-& she with he.
THE SPECTER AT THE FEAST== Rare finds are always questioned-including an unpublished Charles Dickens manuscript. When it is stolen, Ben gets the blame. Did he do it? A host of guest stars make up the client's family. Dame Thora Hird (Hallelujah!' `Last of the Summer Wine') plays Nanny to the Bovington clan. Ma Hester (Rosemary Harris-`Holocaust' `Being Julia'); her son Hector (Martin Clunes-`Doc Martin'); son Mike (Richard Huw''Van der Valk' `Murder Investigation Team'); in-law Authea (Hermoine Norris-`Berkeley Sq.' `MI-5') make up the Bovington family. Annabelle (Kate McKenzie) appears at the London office to double up on the adultery for Klinsky's Bernard. Fun episode.
TREASURE TROVE== Maggie's personal life and company relations take a bit of a hit. Decisions must be made. Calpurnia (Susan Fleetwood-`Persuasion'), head in Antiquities dept, causes issues too. Sad because there is no more "UNDER THE HAMMER."
See, that's a lot of stars in one series.
TRULY FUN MYSTERY, ROMANCE, DRAMA, HUMOR MIX. Not just a DVD for the art lovers. All lovers will like this one.