DVD REVIEW: BBC daytime drama 800 Words proves a hit with viewers

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Enjoyable crime capers such as Father Brown and Shakespeare & Hathaway got low-key screenings on afternoon TV when both deserved to be in the evening schedules, writes Tony Spittles.

Such was the case with Antipodean feelgood drama 800 Words which proved a favourite with viewers who tuned into the series when it was shown on BBC1 recently.

Now, Acorn Media International have released series one and two of this import from “down under” so home movie fans can catch up with this heartwarming story about a recently widowed newspaper columnist’s decision to start afresh by moving from the hustle and bustle of Sydney to the remote seaside town of Weld in New Zealand, dragging his grieving children with him.

New Zealand was where columnist George Turner (Erik Thompson from Xena: Warrior Princess) spent his holidays as a child, but this quick fix for him and his two teenagers - daughter Shay (Melina Vidler) and son Arlo (Benson Jack Anthony) - doesn’t go according to plan.

Stuck with a rundown home, two unhappy youngsters and disaster after disaster, George soon learns that life in Weld isn’t quite the paradise he had hope for.

And things go from bad to worse when George and his family are labelled Aussie invaders as the locals discover that he is writing about his new life in his column, 800 Words, for a Sydney newspaper.

Series Two continues the Turner family saga as George battles to reunite his splintered family and bring his daughter home from her self-appointed exile in Australia, while nearer to home he decides to focus on starting his whole life anew by getting a proper job and finding a new partner.

800 Words, Series One was released as a two-disc set, price £19.99, last month and is now joined by the four-disc Series Two, price £29.99.

Also available is the six-disc box set of the complete series, price £39.99, which includes an interview with Erik Thompson, a set tour with George’s on-screen daughter Melina Vidler and three picture galleries.