UPDATE - 03/09/13
If you’re interested in my **Dick Spanner PI DVD, see the following website page first, which has a proper writeup of the completed DVD project;
I’m SeeNoEvil, the guy who put together ‘The Evil Dead - The Treasures Collection’ DVD about a year ago. This is a placeholder post for a new preservation project which I will expand upon as I work through it. Hopefully it doesn’t breach any rules, let me know if it does.
It’s a VHS to DVD transfer of both episodes of the animation show Dick Spanner P.I. a british animation TV show I remember fondly from my childhood. I was a little young to have seen it first time round, but I do remember seeing it in it’s split 5min episodes on Channel 4 weekday lunchtimes (I went home for lunch when I was at school). Ok so firstly for those who don’t know what this is, here is some blurb from the shows’ Wikipedia entry;
_Dick Spanner, P.I. was a 1986 British stop-motion animated comedy series which parodied Chandleresque detective shows. The titular character and main protagonist was Dick Spanner, voiced by Shane Rimmer, a robotic private detective who works cases in a futuristic urban setting. The show made frequent use of puns and visual gags.
The series consisted of 22 six-minute episodes, covering two story arcs of equal length: “The Case Of The Human Cannonball” and “The Case Of The Maltese Parrot”. The programme was originally broadcast in the UK as a segment of the Sunday morning show Network 7 on Channel 4, and was later repeated on the same channel in a late night spot.
Produced by Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson, the series was created and written by Terry Adlam, who had previously worked on effects for Anderson’s Terrahawks. It was also the basis for the Anderson-created Tennants Pilsner advertising campaign using the Lou Tennant character (voiced by Vivian Stanshall)._
The series was released on VHS by the Channel 5 video label (who released many other Gerry Anderson series) towards the end of the 1980s; two cassettes were released, ‘The Case of the Human Cannonball’ and ‘The Case of the Maltese Parrot’. Both ‘cases’ had their respective episodes spliced together to meake up the complete story, with minor cuts. In the early 1990s, both ‘cases’ were re-released on a single cassette by Polygram Video. All of the VHS releases are now hard to come by and command respectable amounts of money when sold online.
Now, this show was released on DVD not long ago, so why bother? Good question, here is some more blurb from Wikipedia which should make it clear;_
A DVD of the series was released on 15 October 2007, with extras including an interview with Gerry Anderson. At the request of Anderson himself, the episodes featured new acoustic background music in place of the original synthesiser theme tune/background music (which is probably the series’ most famous element and is fondly remembered by many who watched the series on Network 7). The remaining soundtrack (sound effects etc) were altered to the extent that many of the show’s audio gags either no longer work, or are missing entirely. The quality of the original prints appears to have degraded somewhat since the VHS releases, as they seem a lot cleaner and have more vibrant colour. Finally, although the DVD release version is split into the original six minute segments, the original end credits sequences have been replaced by a new set of credits made for the DVD. In all, the DVD is a less-than-faithful representation of the series; those wishing to watch Dick Spanner in its original form are better served by the original VHS releases._
For a good few months now, I’ve been keeping an eye on Ebay & Amazon waiting for the Polygram Video release to come up (being that it’s the newest VHS tape available, it would likely be the best quality, and both episodes are on the one tape) and it finally has, and I bought it. Having tested it, the quality with my S-VHS VCR connected to my PC is outstanding, easily as good as the retail DVD. I know there are some so-so quality WMV VHSrips on the net already, but my version will be far higher quality than those, plus it will be a full DVD, as opposed to compressed video. The only down side is that the new DVD is in 1.85:1 widescreen, and the VHS tape is a cropped pan & scan version of that 1.85:1 aspect ratio (although the original TV broadcasts would have also been in that cropped pan & scan aspect ratio too).
I’d be interested to see who remembers seeing this on Channel 4 or VHS first time around, and if anyone is interested in ‘seeing how the project turns out’. I’ll update this page as I go.