'The Doctor Blake Msyteries - Season Five'
(Craig McLachlan, Nadine Garner, Charlie Cousins, et al / 3-DVD / NR / 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)
Overview: Dr Lucien Blake left Ballarat as a young man. But now he finds himself returning, to take over not only his dead father's medical practice, but also his on-call role as the town's police surgeon.
DVD Verdict: Well I never! In all these years, I never knew that Dr Blake was played by one of the best characters to ever come out of the grand old dame of Australian soaps, Neighbors, Craig McLachlan!
Not having seen more than a handful from this series down through the years, I never clocked on that it was he. But now I've watched this entire fifth season of The Doctor Blake Mysteries, I have to say that I am very taken with his character portrayal.
The show was both set and filmed in the city of Ballarat, which was founded as a gold rush-era boomtown in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia.
And, sadly, yes, I say "was" as (and not to dwell on it) the new producers of the show in latter years announced production would be suspended pending the outcome of a police investigation into sexual assault allegations levelled at star, Craig McLachlan.
Indeed, the charges won't be heard until late this year in Melbourne, but what the Seven Network announced instead were a series of sequel telemovies: including much of the present cast, save for, of course, McLachlan himself.
Anyway, moving on, and as aforementioned, set in Ballarat, Australia in the '50s, The Doctor Blake Mysteries is a fascinating police and medical mystery show filled with intriguing characters, great writing and wonderful acting throughout.
Indeed, with each of these eight (8) final season (at least with McLachlan in the lead role) episodes bring riveting story lines that are both interesting and believable in equal measure.
Furthermore, the characters are well drawn and well acted, and the historical setting adds great context for the stories. Let alone the cinematic brilliance of the cinematography that captures and embodies Australia in the '50s, of course.
Episode One– A Lethal Combination
A boxing match turns sour when a fighter is seemingly beaten to death by his younger, far less-experienced opponent … Charlie’s brother, Ray.
Episode Two– Sorrow Songs
When Blake investigates the murder of an exotic young gypsy woman on the edge of Ballarat, troubling secrets bubble to the surface.
Episode Three– The Call Of The Void
When a body is found in the kitchen of Ballarat’s new French restaurant, a member of the Police Department soon finds himself shaping up as the prime suspect.
Episode Four– All She Leaves Behind
When a controversial writer is found dead, seemingly part of a murder-suicide pact, Blake must determine whether her latest work has anything to with her death.
Episode Five– Measure Twice
Blake is called to investigate the murder of a retired carpenter, where his only suspect is discovered praying over the body and covered in blood.
Episode Six– First Dance
Despite being housebound as he recovers from being stabbed, Blake investigates the death of a teenage girl at her Debutante Ball.
Episode Seven– A Good Drop
As Blake investigates the murder of a farmer and a mysterious case of arson, an unlikely party suddenly throws his future with Jean into chaos.
Episode Eight – A Time For Every Purpose
The death of a policeman coincides with the reappearance of an old enemy, as the past and the present begin to finally catch up with Blake.
So, that's right ladies and gentleman, once again Doctor Lucien Blake and his long-suffering housekeeper and confidant Jean Beazley now face not only a new future together, but a life that hasn't done surprising them either!
Indeed, they’re confronted by murder and mystery at every turn, as one would expect from the series title, if nothing else! From the boxing ring to a new French bistro, from an exotic camp of travelling Romani gypsies to the local Debutante Ball, Dr Blake and his "trusty sidekick Jean Beazley are about to go knee deep in eight more luscious outback mysteries.
Oh, and on this DVD set we also get the feature-length made-for-TV movie, Family Portrait. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.