2 Entertain / BBC DVD
Well Adam Adamant has finally escaped from the archives and the half-forgotten or second hand memories of a legion of fans and has landed on the shelves of local retailers. The BBC have spruced up the existing episodes and released them as a five-disc set complete with extras. Someone please pinch me, I must be dreaming!

The set comes complete with a fat, fact packed booklet weighing in at 64 pages of tightly researched notes by Andrew Pixley. This covers not only the setting up of the series but also covers each episode in detail. The booklet is lovingly designed and certainly worth every penny the Beeb paid Andrew to produce. Also included is a fifty-two minute feature looking back on the series hosted by Mark Gatiss. The documentary scores highly as it includes archive video material from the late scriptwriter Tony Williams. Brian Clemens, director Moira Armstrong, make up artist Jo Young, stunt man Derek Ware, Gerald Harper, Verity Lambert, Juliet Harmer and Kim Newman are also on hand in a not too flashy and well made retrospective peppered with well selected clips from the series and anecdotes about the production. As well as using the usual talking heads interviews the documentary also employs a more traditional sit down chat with Harper, Harmer and Gatiss which adds warmth to the proceedings.

Other extras include PDFs of the 1968 TV Comic Annual, TV Comic strips, missing episode scripts, a seven-minute featurette on Adam's Mini Cooper car, existing studio outtakes from two episodes, an audio extract from the missing episode A Slight Case of Reincarnation, extensive thirteen-minute photo gallery and audio commentaries on the first and last episodes with Harper, Harmer and Lambert. A very good stuff and frankly amazing given that this release was mooted a few years ago, but pulled due to fears over lack of sales. The BBC have certainly given the series a crafted and loving release that puts some big studio film releases to shame.

The series is pure high camp and romping adventures, very much of it's time with Adam and his sidekick Georgina Jones crimebusting from their Victorian themed apartment hidden on top of a car park, but with enough charm in it's Avengerish scripts to entertain in today's jaded and cynical times. Outstanding episodes include The Sweet Smell Of Success with it's climatic punch up in soap suds, the brainwashing pop music escapade Sing A Song Of Murder, the witchcraft in an English village adventure The Village Of Evil and the melancholic Black Echo. But, all the episodes have something to keep viewers engrossed in a series with a concept that has certainly not tired in the intervening years since first transmission.

Image quality is superb on the remastered episodes - the best I have ever seen the prints with most of the major faults corrected. The picture is evenly balanced and nice and crisp with good balance between the blacks and white tones of the monochrome prints. The copyright music tracks have also been removed, but unlike the VHS release of years ago at least the sound is much better balanced. Other episodes vary quality, but in general any major faults have been cleaned up and they are still far superior to other archive TV releases that shall remain nameless. This was probably due to budget restrictions and also a move to keep the retail cost down to make the release a viable one for both the BBC and the consumer. The commentaries are fairly sedate but certainly worth a listen as Harper is always a pleasant sounding commentator. Verity Lambert seems more stimulated than she has done on some of her Doctor Who audio tracks. In general the tracks keeps up pace and are provide some nice insights and anecdotes regarding the making of the series in general.

This is an outstanding boxset and a fitting tribute to the series and therefore an essential purchase.

ADAM ADAMANT LIVES! - THE COMPLETE COLLECTION is available to buy from Amazon