REVIEW: 800 Words series one, new on DVD

It's hard to think of a more instantly engaging TV series than 800 Words, a show which grabs you instantly with its warmth, charm and sheer humanity.

Saturday, 28th April 2018, 1:13 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:32 am
800 Words
800 Words

Underpinning it all are some terrific performances in a tale which touches the heart, makes you think and makes you smile.

Following the sudden, tragic death of his wife – a death for which he feels wholly responsible – George Turner (Erik Thompson – Xena: Warrior Princess) makes the crazy decision to uproot himself and his two children from Sydney to the New Zealand coastal town where he spent his holidays as a child… a place where George instantly annoys everyone by calling the place a “dead end” in his column.

He’s met with a completely run-down house with utterly-primitive facilities – and there he contends with the appalled reluctance of his son (Benson Jack Anthony – EMO the Musical) and daughter (Melina Vidler – Brock).

What follows is the tale of how they settle, with vastly-varying degrees of success, into their new life in a town dominated by one all-powerful family which has got its finger into just about every pie there is.

The series is about grief – and the extent to which George is avoiding it. Slowly, his real reasons for leaving Sydney emerge. He can’t bear the fact that the city is full of ghosts. However, where George sees ghosts his daughter sees memories that she can’t let go. The family starts to splinter..

In their different ways, the family struggles to cope. But it is not just about death. In fact, it’s much more about new life as the new community wins them over (again to varying degrees), just as the new community warms to them, George increasingly the focus for a bevvy of single women, nicknamed the cougars by his children.

The result is a rich, poignant and genuinely-beautiful TV series, full of emotions which ring true, characters you can relate to, situations which intrigue and amuse and a setting you just can’t help falling for.

In the great deluge of box sets, this one is an absolute cracker.

Phil Hewitt

800 Words Series One is released on 23 April 2018 and Series Two and 800 Words Complete Series One and Two Box Set are set to arrive on 14 May 2018.

Title: 800 Words Series One. Release Date: 23 April 2018. Cat No: AV3388 RRP: £19.99

Running Time: 347mins approx. on two discs. Certificate: 12

Title: 800 Words Series Two. Release Date: 14 May 2018. Cat No: AV3416 RRP: £29.99

Running Time: 714mins approx. on four discs. Certificate: 12

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