'Wycliffe - Series One'
(Jack Shepherd, Jimmy Yuill, et al / 3-Disc / NR / (1994) 2009 / BFS Entertainment)
Overview: When murder strikes in Cornwall, Detective Superintendent Wycliffe (Jack Shepherd - The Golden Compass) is there to solve it. Always calm, but serious, the quick-thinking detective works tirelessly, his mind piecing together each crime with breakneck speed and dead-on accuracy. He can spot a liar at a glance and no suspect is spared his ruthless interrogation. Each time Wycliffe and his team of investigators arrive on the scene, the drama unfolds and suspense heightens as they close in on the guilty and swiftly become a killer's worst nightmare.
DVD Verdict: Based on the novels of W.J. Bailey, the British drama series 'Wycliffe' concerned itself with the exploits of an extremely thorough Cornish detective. Jack Shepherd starred as Det. Supt. Wycliffe, whose beat included virtually the length and breadth of the Cornish coast, located at the tail end of the UK.
Indeed, even though this first series first aired August 7, 1993 with the 90-minute pilot episode "Wycliffe and the Circle of Death," it actually made its "official" debut on July 24, 1994 with "The Four Jacks" - which is where we begin here in this 3-disc, 6 episode set.
Yielding 38 hour-long episodes over a four-year period, 'Wycliffe' follows the masterly Jack Shepherd (surely one of the UK's best unsung actors) as Detective Superintendant Wycliffe as he investigates murders and the like with his team at England's very tip.
Set against the magnificent and windswept Cornish coast, Wycliffe was a very, very meticulous and very, very clever Detective Superintendent. Far from being idyllic, Cornwall is alive with serious crime and Wycliffe (Shepherd) leads an investigative team charged with solving each intriguing mystery. Uncovering the towns secrets takes its toll on Wycliffe and the team as each episode progresses, but his mind is still finely tuned from start to finish.
And while Wycliffe was never the "new" Morse, er, not even close; for not only were his deductions not quite as poignant, but the shows ambiance was cheaply brought to the fore in these early days. Overly bright interior lighting, poorly acted extras in the minor roles, riddles too confusing and so uncertain in tone that you didn't know whether to laugh or cry; the show still managed to take intrigue to a level of acceptability.
Sadly, WJ Burley, the author of the 'Wycliffe' detective novels which were all turned into this popular television series died in late 2002. This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but does not come with any Special Features.