Saturday 18 February 2012

Music, Murder and The Mrs Bradley Mysteries

All images courtesy of Fanpop
Like a few of my fellow vintage bloggers I have been thoroughly enjoying the recent re-runs of the [sadly short-lived] B.B.C. series from the late '90s, The Mrs Bradley Mysteries starring Dame Diana Rigg, a few episodes of which have found their way on to B.B.C. Four (Wednesdays, 9p.m.).

Dame Diana plays society divorcée Adela Bradley, an amateur criminologist (with a penchant for the psychological) who is ably assisted by her loyal chauffeur George Moody (Neil Dudgeon).  Both roles are expertly essayed, and supporting cast members include Peter Davison, David Tennant and Meera Syal.  It's a wonderful feast for fans of the 1920s with period cars, fashions, music and scenery galore.  Author Gladys Mitchell's stories have been very well adapted for the screen.

It's only a pity, then, that the series was so under-appreciated - to the extent that it never made it past one series.  The 90-minute pilot and four hour-long episodes are all that exist of this excellent programme.

At the time it was first aired I was not as fully immersed in vintage as I am now, so was not able to appreciate it properly, but with these latest showings I have been able to really enjoy this series.  So much so, in fact, that I've bought the 2-disc DVD set.  Now I can enjoy the adventures of Mrs Bradley to my heart's content!  The B.B.C. broadcasts are available on iPlayer, of course, and the pilot Speedy Death plus the second episode Death at the Opera (which was the one starring David Tennant) are both available on YouTube.

At the same time as my rediscovery of The Mrs Bradley Mysteries I also felt the desire to introduce a little more of 1920s/'30s British bandleader Ambrose & His Orchestra into my daily soundtrack (his version of Happy Days Are Here Again remains one of my top 10 songs) so I set about looking for CDs.  In no short order two (one a double-disc set) have made it into my music collection.

They were both mine - new, from a well-known South American-inspired online trading emporium - for a little less than £5.  The Mrs Bradley DVDs were the same.  So for less than a tenner I have a new pile of Twenties goodness to enjoy.  What always gets me about this sort of thing - and perhaps you've noticed this as well - is that most media related to vintage, as much as it is available at all, is either heinously expensive/ completely unavailable (memories of the aforementioned retailer having books/CDs/DVDs for sale "new and used" starting at ridiculous figures like £50 spring to mind) or dirt cheap like my latest purchases.  It has often been a source of puzzlement to me that such items, which can appear so similar in genre, are only ever rarer than hens' teeth or practically being given away (more of the latter, I say!).  And, of course, it goes without saying that finding such items in your local high street shops is a once-in-a-blue-moon experience, such as when I found a copy of the 1935 version of The 39 Steps in the DVD section of Woolworths for £4.93 (?!) or an Elsie Carlilse CD in my local Sainsburys for 99p.

Oh well, perhaps another mystery for Mrs Bradley to solve, eh?


  1. I too have been enjoying Mrs Bradley's return to tv recently, and also didn't fully appreciate it the first time round, so it's been a treat - especially those hats!

  2. I think such things are cheap when they first come out because the audience for them is perceived as small, but they only get brought out once, so prices rocket.

    :( I don't think there is such a thing as an affordable Region 2 copy of Doc Savage: Man of Bronze (yeah, it's 70s camp but I love it).

  3. I haven't seen these, will have a peek! And an item is worth what someone will pay for it, it's 'value' is subjective really. X

  4. I was not familiar with The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries. Thanks for the tip!

  5. Have to find this. First time I have heard of it..


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