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Brief Encounters
Score: 100%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Acorn Media
Region: 1
Media: DVD/2
Running Time: 288 Mins.
Genre: Comedy/Drama/TV Series
Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH

  • Behind the Scenes of Brief Encounters
  • Brief Encounters in Three Words

Brief Encounters is a delightful British comedy-drama that takes place in 1982 in Sheffield. This blast of 80's nostalgia revolves around a group of women from various backgrounds who become friends after being connected through the Ann Summers party program. Steph (Sophie Rundle, Peaky Blinders) is a sweet and shy young woman who decides to check out a classified ad looking for ladies who want to make some extra money hosting parties for other ladies, promoting exotic lingerie and marital aids. She works as a cleaner at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Spakes, who own the local butcher shop, but she needs extra money since her husband Terry (Karl Davies, Game of Thrones) was recently laid off and they have a young son, Dean (Daniel Sharp), to support. Fortunately, she just met bold and vivacious Nita (Angela Griffin) at Dean's school, who has her hands filled with several children of her own, but would love to make some extra money as well.

At first, Steph is pretty tentative about selling the products and Terry is adamantly against it, as is Steph's rigid mother, but she is able to convince Pauline Spakes (Penelope Wilton, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Downton Abbey) to host a party in her lovely home and invite all of her friends. When Pauline sees the products, she panics a little and almost cancels, but then the party gets going and a few of the women are intrigued and start having fun. One woman in particular is not amused though. Politically-connected Bunny (Pippa Haywood, Prisoners' Wives) is indignant, although her daughter Hellie (Chloe Pirrie), recently returned to town, is dear friends with Steph and sticks up for her, as does Pauline. Thus, a true friendship is born among the women.

The last member of the tight-knit group is Dawn (Sharon Rooney), Pauline's bold, brash hairdresser and fiancee of Russell (Will Merrick), Brian Spakes' (Peter Wight, Hot Fuzz) apprentice at the butcher shop. She brings a certain "something" to the group and is just hilarious, but she has her own problems planning a wedding, while living with a father and several brothers who don't work and expect her to be the maid since her mother died. If it weren't for her sweet young brother Stanley (Fin Campbell), she'd have left long ago.

During the first party, the police are called and a dashing young cop by the name of DC Johnny Daniels (Doc Brown, Midwinter of the Spirit) enters the picture, showing an interest in Steph. He'll come in and out of her life on a regular basis through the six episodes and as her relationship with Terry devolves, Johnny just might become more important in her life. Plus, he has some secrets and issues of his own, as well.

As they all become more and more successful selling the Ann Summers products, problems for the women at home arise. These range from husbands who like the lingerie but don't like their wives selling it, to children who either have behavioral issues or problems with dealing with a working mom or an absent dad, to flat out life-threatening accidents and crime-related drama. As the women evolve and become more assured of themselves, they'll have plenty of other matters to deal with and you'll find yourself both laughing and crying with them.

There are two special features on this release, a behind the scenes featurette and one where the main cast members describe the series in three words. They are both fun to watch, but the main course is the show itself.

Brief Encounters is a sheer delight (lingerie joke, but still, it truly is) and while not something for the kiddies due to the "marital aids" and all, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the show and was truly saddened to see that it wasn't renewed for a second season. Sometimes, I don't know what ITV is thinking and I am happy that Acorn has released this season and is running it on Acorn TV so that audiences from all over can enjoy it. It is funny, fearless, heartwarming, empowering and all around good fun. There are a number of laugh-out-loud moments and the cast is stellar. Highly, highly recommended.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins
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