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The Catherine Cookson Anthology - television miniseries DVD / drama DVD / art house and international DVD review
THE CATHERINE COOKSON ANTHOLOGY Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America - TV Y7 FV rating: 4 stars
Actors: Siobhan Flynn, Jonathan Cake, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lloyd Owen
  Studio: Koch Vision
DVD release: 22 January 2008   Runtime: 161 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Box set, Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
Features: Audio (English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Subtitles (English Closed Caption), Seven BBC mini-series

Dame Catherine Cookson was a prolific British author, much beloved in her home country. She wrote over 90 novels, most inspired by her underprivileged youth in North East England, which provided the setting for many of her books. The BBC created several different mini-series from her books and in cooperation with Koch Vision have put together a compilation of the most popular in The Catherine Cookson Anthology. Just recently released on DVD, this collection of 7 stories will bring you to Cookson's England, with her historical romance flair that concentrates on character development.

The actors are mostly British performers who will be unknown to American audiences. But the first movie in the anthology, "The Cinder Path," features a young Catherine Zeta-Jones, who graces the jacket of the DVD set. In all of the presentations, the acting is well done, and the settings are perfect for each production. The seven films total 1259 minutes on eight DVDs and were produced for television from 1994-2000.

The seven films featured in the eight-disc Catherine Cookson Anthology, as described on the interior of the boxed set, are
  1. The Cinder Path - (February 1995)
    The cinder path which led from the MacFell's farmhouse would always symbolize humiliation and defeat for Charlie.until the opportunity arrives for the "loser" to prove himself.
  2. Colour Blind - (December 1998)
    Bridget seriously offends her conservative family for marrying an African sailor. After being accused of murder, her husband is forced to leave town. As their daughter grows up, she must learn to cope with the racism surrounding her.
  3. A Dinner of Herbs - (November 2000)
    Hal was just a boy when his father was murdered by the ruthless Dan Bannerman. Now, with a family of his own, Hal discovers that the man his daughter hopes to marry is none other than Bannerman's grandson. One of Cookson's only thrillers, this movie features passion, murder and revenge.
  4. The Girl - (February 1996)
    Trapped in a disastrous marriage to local butcher Fred Loam, Hannah must fight for her freedom, her life and the man she loves.
  5. The Secret - (January 2000)
    Freddie Musgrave's life is in a state of turmoil when a letter implicates him in murder. Further complications arise when he discovers he has feelings for Belle, a woman married to a madman.
  6. The Tide of Life - (1996)
    This compelling and gritty story, set at the turn of the century, follows the fortunes of a young housekeeper Emily Kennedy, (Gillian Kearney) as she learns harsh lessons about life and love through her relationships with three very different men.
  7. Tilly Trotter - (January 1999)
    Set in rural England during the 1930s, Tilly Trotter is the compelling story of a courageous young girl, envied by women and lusted after by men, who is accused of witchcraft, and forced to rise above the prejudice of her community.
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reviewed by Nancy Atkinson
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