Sunday, 10 January 2010
One Careful Owner
As regular readers will be aware, I'm a fan of crime stories, including Agatha Christie's. I've enjoyed reading many of her books over the last 30 or so years, as well as the famous film versions of things like Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express.
A few years ago I discovered David Suchet's Poirot TV adaptations. They started making them in 1989, and they're still going. He's got something like 5 or 6 novels and one short story still to film.
Generally, the TV versions follow Agatha Christie's works fairly closely. Obviously they're not the same as the books because they're not books. Occaisionally they deviate quite a bit - Helena and I watched "Third Girl" this weekend, which is a good example of something they've had to change a lot. The programmes are all very well (and expensively) made, and are wonderfully entertaining.
Anyway, sometime when I was still married (i.e. more than five years ago), I bought as many of the Poirot episodes as I could find on DVD. They were packaged two 45 minute episodes to a disk, so you get one novel adaptation on a single disk, or two short stories. I bought almost 30 DVDs at around £10 a throw.
Recently I went through a list of episodes to work out which ones I was missing. It turned out that I was about 10 DVDs (15 stories) short. So I had a look online to see whether I could get them.
Since I went through my buying spree, they've changed the packaging. Now they sell them in collections. Each collection has four DVDs. Some of these contain as many as four 45-minute episodes to a disk. Each collection costs around £25. The first 7 collections, containing all of the episodes broadcast prior to 2009, consist of 70 hours on 28 disks and is available on Special Offer for £70 (reduced from £155).
If you've been keeping up with all of the above statistics, it's clear that my best course of action was to buy the complete boxset, despite the fact that I already have 2/3rds of the stories. This is not the first time that I've ended up doing something similar, even though it feels wasteful. The same happened with "Murder She Wrote", where a boxset of 5 series was cheaper to buy than the three I didn't have individually, and a similar story with "Columbo" and even some Hitchcock films. Though in the latter case I also replaced some really low quality transfers of his older films with well restored versions.
On a positive note, my old Poirot collection is 42 cm wide, whilst the new box is 12cm. Taking into account the missing DVDs, that's a factor of 5. Adding this enviromental saving of one of the planet's limited resources (i.e. space) to the fact that the DVDs themselves are made from oil byproducts by people who could really do with keeping their jobs in these frought credit crunch days, perhaps I'll be in line for some kind of Father Al social award or something. So my £70 is starting to look like a real bargain.
And if anyone wants an incomplete set of Poirot DVDs (FSH, genuine reason for sale, one careful owner, etc), which will provide you with approximately two full days of viewing (back to back, no sleeping or pausing for toilet breaks), I'm open to reasonable offers...