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In a recent survey Postman Pat was recognised by an amazing 95% of parents in the UK. This fact clearly shows that Postman Pat is one of the most popular children’s programmes ever. The show was originally screened in the 80s and is set in a ficticious Cumbrian village called Greendale. The show follows the adventures of Pat, a well liked postman who has a heart of gold. Pat is followed everywhere by his pet cat, Jess who is famously refered to as the black and white cat in the theme music. The show is also made up of a handful of other characters such as Mrs. Goggins, Ted Glen and the vicar, Reverend Timms. Each episode involves Pat interacting with the folk of Greendale and providing a quality postal service.  Royal Mail please take note! Postman Pat is aimed at pre-school children, but don’t be ashamed if you’re an adult and you love it. Postman Pat appeals to all generations and that’s partly why it is so successful.

Postman Pat - Magic Christmas
After its initial run in 1981 it became apparent that the show was a huge success and this sparked various lines of merchandise. The biggest surprise was that it has taken over twenty years for there to be more episodes commissioned. Recently, over fifty new episodes have been created and these have just been aired on the BBC and Cbeebies channels. The new episodes were produced by Entertainment Rights, who in turn enlisted the help of acclaimed animation studio Cosgrove Hall. My daughter is a huge fan of Postman Pat so I have been fortunate enough to watch quite a few of these episodes on CBeebies recently. I have also been to the Postman Pat World exhibition which can be found at Longleat Safrari Park. Although the exhibition is quite small it is great fun for young children, and I can thoroughly recomment it! With all my recent exposure to Postman Pat, who better to review the upcoming Christmas DVD? The DVD features two specials which run for twenty five minutes each. Here is a quick summary of each episode.

Postman Pat and The Greendale Rocket
While on a school outing the local children discover Greendale’s forgotten steam train. The Greendale Rocket has been out of action for a while but hopefully that is soon to change. Pat and Ted try to get it working again, but with no luck. Pat’s son Julian calls in the help of his pen-pal Meera and her father Ajay, a train enthusiast, but the night before the grand opening a fierce storm floods Greendale – will they get the train started?

Postman Pat’s Magic Christmas
Pat has so many parcels and letters to deliver, he doesn’t know how he’ll finish his round and be back at the village party in time to make a surprise visit dressed as Santa Claus. A mysterious stranger turns up to lend him a hand – he has a big white beard and shiny black boots. Who could it be?

I am at the right age to remember the original series of Postman Pat; I was a huge fan of the series when I was a little boy, so I approached these new episodes with great apprehension. Some of the newly commisioned childrens’ programmes (the new Noddy episodes spring to mind!) have been quite lame and haven’t captured the magic of the originals. Thankfully the same cannot be said for the new episodes of Postman Pat. Greendale and the characters look slightly fresher and brighter, but apart from that everything appears to be the same. The writers of the new episodes have managed to keep to the same formula as the originals and the story should appeal to both children and adults! As for the two episodes on this disc, I was slightly disappointed that the first episode doesn’t have a Christmas theme, but saying that the story is quite good. The Magic Christmas episode captures the magic of Christmas and should stir up the excitement levels in children during the run up to Christmas. Like me if you have been apprenhensive about the new episodes of Postman Pat then fear not, Entertainment Rights have done a smashing job. Postman Pat is back and is a joy to watch!

Postman Pat - Magic Christmas
Video
Cosgrove Hall have done a superb job with this new series and this DVD compliments the new animation. Both episodes are shown in their 1.33 aspect ratio. The detail on display is first class and looks even better than the TV broadcasts being shown at the moment. The clarity and detail doesn’t quite live up to the standards of such animated releases as Finding Nemo and Lion King, but that’s not to be expected. Entertainment Right have produced a worthy attempt. Colours are vibrant and skin tones seemed accurate. It would be hard to be too critical about this release because of the target audience, but thankfully I don’t have to be critical anyway. Compression artefacts are nowhere to be seen and there is also no sign of grain. I was surprised by the quality of this transfer and overall there is little to complain about with this aspect of the disc.  

Audio
Just the one soundtrack with this release, but that’s not a great surprise. The track in question is an English Dolby Digital 2.0 track which does everything asked of it. Postman Pat is purely dialogue driven and this soundtrack is audible throughout. There is not much else to comment on really! The musical score is played out precisely and never drowns out the dialogue. Overall, this is a perfectly adequate track.

Subtitles are provided in English and it is also probably worth mentioning the menus which should appeal to youngsters. The menus are brightly coloured and easy to navigate. They have been designed so to be in keeping with the show’s persona.

Extras
The extras on this disc are targetted at pre-school children and should keep them entertained for an hour or so. There is not a huge choice but it’s better than nothing. The first couple of extras are games. There are two in total, the first is called Pat’s Delivery Game and is a simple game where you can scroll around Greendale and decide where to post items. The second game is called Pat’s Mix-Up Game and allows you to try and create characters from the show.

Next up is an extra called Sing-Along. This extra features three songs from the episodes and there are karoke titles available for anyone feeling daring enoug to sing along. The final extra is called Colouring-in Pictures and the title says it all really.

Postman Pat - Magic Christmas
Overall
Around the Christmas period I tend to dig out my Christmas DVDs and watch them like an excited little boy. Well, I have just found another title to add to that list; Postman Pat’s Magic Christmas is a fun collection of Pat stories which should keep kids happy this Christmas. The DVD itself is adequate, the soundtrack is functional and the transfer is a worthy effort. As for the extras there are a reasonable number included considering this is a children’s title. I have no hesitation in recommending this disc.


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