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DVD Review: ‘Springhill – Series One’

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The British television program Springhill has gained a legendary mystique since originally airing back in the late ‘90s. The show combined elements of traditional soap opera, plus the enough of the supernatural to be thought of as Liverpool’s answer to Twin Peaks. For those of us who missed it the first time around, the first season of Springhill has just been released to DVD. This first season (or series) has been issued by Acorn, as a four-DVD set, containing all 26 episodes from the 1996-97 TV season.

Set set in Liverpool, the series revolves around the Freeman couple, Liz (Gilly Coman) and Jack (Jonathan Barlow). The two have been married for nearly 20 years, and are busy raising five children, Nick (Scot Williams), Sue (Sharon Byatt), Trish (Christine Tremarco), Anthony (Kevin Knapman) and John Paul (Paul Culshaw). Their lives are all going well, until the unwelcome arrival of Eva Morrigan (Katherine Rogers). It seems Eva knows all of the Freeman family secrets, and is hell-bent on ruining lives by telling them.

Eva’s vengeance knows no boundaries as she strives to get “even” with Liz, and the Freeman’s lives become the stuff of soap-heaven. A few of the issues that the program touches on are bigamy, homosexuality, infertility, surrogacy, and murder. There are plenty more, but what people may remember the most are the supernatural elements. These include witchcraft, apparitions, time travel, even angels.

The series remains an adroit mix of the classic soap-opera with mysterious, supernatural elements. Although I did not recognize it at the time, Springhill fits in very well with the weird Millennial Fever that was going on in pop culture during the late ‘90s. I am talking about programs such as The X-Files and Millennium in particular. While those are all touchstones, the truth is, there has never been anything else quite like Springhill, and I enjoyed this set a great deal.

There were two seasons in total for Springhill, and here is hoping Acorn will release the second one soon, for those of us who found ourselves totally hooked on the first.

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