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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

1990:The Complete Collection - 1990:The Complete Collection (DVD) [Simply Media - 2017]

Originally broadcast on UK’s BBC in the late 1970’s 1990 was a wonderfully taut, always clever & often tense dystopian drama featuring Edward Woodward. The show ran for two series (seasons) & focused in the UK in the near future, which is under the control of tyrannically oppressive bureaucracy that controls every element of the citizen's life. The show is often overlooked in both Woodward’s impressive acting career, and wider cult TV of the 1970’s- so it’s great have here a four DVD release of both series.

1990 was created, and co-written by Wilfred Greatorex- a  television and film writer, script editor and producer who worked on shows such as  50’s/60’s documentary series Look at Life, a few episodes Danger Man, trade union/civil service dramas The Plane Markers & The Power Game, and a few others.  1990 run for sixteen episodes in all- eight in each series- with each episode having a runtime of 50 minutes. The series manage to work well as a flowing & continuing storyline, but also most of the episodes  worked well as stand-alone stories, that have their own themes & concepts.

Woodward plays Jim Kyle- a journalist working for The Star, the last independent & un-government controlled newspaper. In each episode, Kyle tries to uncover the dubious dealings of the Public Control Department (PCD)- the government dept in control of everything. In charge of the dept is controller Herbert Skardon(Robert Lang), who in the first series has two dept controllers under him Delly Lomas (Barbara Kellerman) – who has an ambiguous personal relationship with Kyle, and Henry Tasker(Clifton Jones).

In the second series, these two Deputies are replaced by Lynn Blake (Lisa Harrow), whose is a former romantic interest of Jim Kyle- and this adds an interesting dynamic to the show. As well as this in the second series, we get the introduction of new characters too- like the iron lady like home sectary Kate Smith(Yvonne Mitchell)- which brings a nice extra twist to proceedings.

1990 seems even more relevant than ever in day present UK- as it deals with themes such as controlling where people work,  separation from the rest of the Europe/ rest of the world, monitoring of black market workforce, all for one citizen card( universal credit), CTV surveillance, and manipulation of the media/ fake news.

Thankfully there are not many trying to be futuristic tech or gadgets in the series-  and it’s mainly set either in bleak offices, autumnal high rise settings, and bleak country settings- so on the whole, it doesn't look as dated as many 1970’s series.


Big, big kudos for Simply Media for putting this four disc set out, as 1990 stands as one of the more intelligent, though still dramatic & pacey TV dramas of the 1970’s- as well as one of the great & consistent dystopian series of all time.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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