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Aug 14, 2010 09:41 AM

The River Cottage DVD's in US?

Any way to rent RiverCottage DVD's in the US? Blockbuster/Netflix doesn't carry them. Not interested in buying them, but if there was a way to get them either as rentals or on-line, that would be great.

Thoughts welcome.


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  1. Try for past series, as they are often reseeded.

    There is also a service called expatsurfer that allows you to watch channel 4's on demand player (and it has basically everything Hugh has ever been in available to watch).

    We were just pondering how he'd be received in the US. Don't know if it would translate across the pond.

    22 Replies
    1. re: guster4lovers


      Hugh's books sell very well here so I suspect that the River Cottage series would be very well received here. I think he'd fit right in on PBS or maybe even the new Cooking Channel.

      Come to think of it, the Two Fat Ladies were amazingly popular on Food Network, so he might even have more potential than I think.

      1. re: BrianYarvin

        And here's a link to a bunch of his shows on the web:

        I don't know if they're all here, but there's enough to keep you pretty busy.

        1. re: BrianYarvin

          I think I've actually seen nearly everything he's ever been in. Have you seen his early stuff like TV Dinners and Cook on the Wild Side? I don't think those would be too popular here, honestly. The whole cooking and eating a human placenta probably would be a step too far...

          But the newer series of River Cottage (once he moved to his current location) often have good recipes and information about farming. What's frustrating is that his use of medlars and elderberries and other UK ingredients often means that we have no way of recreating his recipes. And where we are currently living, there are no allotments or ways of gardening, so it feels a bit of a tease to watch him grow such amazing things.

          The other issue is that buying humanely reared and killed meat is much more challenging here. The Freedom Foods label in the UK certainly makes it easier to promote those values. I really wish he'd come here and do the same thing for chicken that he did in the UK. But just showing his programs, like Chicken Run, makes me feel more helpless as a consumer in America.

          How did you hear about him? I've seen his cookbooks in B&N occasionally, and I've always wondered why they stocked it, as he seems to be below the radar here. Same thing with Rick Stein and Heston Blumenthal. None of them has the recognition here that they enjoy in the UK, but I have seen their books in stores.

          1. re: guster4lovers

            A British expat simply said "You know who you might like..." and I found a few of his books locally. I looked him up on line and THEN noticed he had shows on DVD. We used to get Rick Stein's "Food Heroes" and I liked it a lot. Very seldom do we see any of his books here. Maybe a fish book or two.

            I hear you on allotments: I have a great but tiny garden. I wish we could take a over some of the lots n one is using in our neighborhood. I would rather by far see a garden than....fake green grass.

            I am jealous of Hugh's fishing exploits. I am a little far dromm a coast, and most of our lakes and rivers have signs warning us away from eating anything.

            1. re: Westy

              hugh and rick are great, see if you can dig-up keith floyd. i'm also very fond of boiling point (and beyond boiling point) - the true and unscripted brilliance and fury of gordon ramsay is revealed. love him or hate him, boiling point proves what a true genius ramsay actually is.

              1. re: epabella

                Unfortunately, if you don't cook with alcohol, Floyd isn't for you. But the sheer comic value of watching him cook drunk is worth it. :-)

                I've wanted to see Boiling Point and Beyond BP for ages, but can't find it anywhere (at least for free). My husband has vague memories of it, but nothing beyond the Wikipedia entry info. Thanks for reminding us about it. Will have to look around again.

                Hugh's Gone Fishing series was pretty good too. I wish people here knew more about sustainable fishing. I cringe whenever I see Chilean sea bass or blue fin tuna on a menu...we need an American Hugh.

                1. re: guster4lovers

                  floyd took cooking kicking and screaming from the kitchen into the outdoors (to quote hfw). before keith, tv cooks were some of the most boring people outside libraries. floyd was never too proud to have the booboos edited from his shows - keith is magnificent and they can try but noone will ever be like him.

                  noone's ever really gotten chewed out by gordon for real after boiling point. hells kitchen america and all the non-gordon uk seasons are scripted pantomimes. old amanda barry trying to slap gordon on the original and only decent hells kitchen is as pure as reality tv can ever get. PM me on yahoo or skype and i'll point you in the right direction on how to get boiling point.

                  gone fishing is nice but hugh injures himself pretty badly in one of the scenes of part one. floyd's been harping since day one about all the species featured in the two episodes but seeing gurnard take center stage is always great. my favorite river cottage episodes are the ones where victor borge appears. noone ever made charcuterie lessons as enjoyable.

                  "we need an American Hugh"

                  actually, mark bittman laments the way the seas are treated often. if only people in the food industry paid him more than lip service.

                  edited to add:

                  did you ever see the early seasons of the f word? hugh tutors gordon in animal husbandry and defeats gordon in dessert challenge climax with sharon osborne as the judge? my two top idols in top form!!!

                  1. re: epabella

                    Victor Borge Victor Borge, pianist/comedian??? Must see.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      i honestly don't know if it's the same guy but this is the fellow who taught hugh how to make hams and sausages. together with ray the butcher and richard hicks, they helped hugh get settled in dorset.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        I'm sure the salami maker is a Victor. But certainly not *the* Victor Borge. Didnt he pop his clogs some years ago?

                        1. re: Harters

                          I thought so (in 2000). I was trying to make him into a comedian/piano player charcutier and it didn't quite fit somehow.

                      2. re: epabella

                        Yup - seen all the F Word. I liked the early seasons better for the segments (I adore Giles Coren, and loved his piece on the Giant Jaffa Quake), but preferred the later seasons when ordinary people were doing the cooking, rather than the young professionals in series one.

                        Speaking of Mr. Coren, have you seen The Supersizers? He and Sue Perkins eat their way through different historical time periods (the 1940's, 1970's, Roman, Victorian, etc.). It's both hilarious and fascinating.

                        My favourite segments on the RC series are the baking ones and the foraging (esp. about mushrooms...still want to try the mushrooms growing on a log in a random puddle of mud). Victor is the RC butcher?

                        And back to Keith Floyd: He was a trendsetter, and was ahead of his time, but his shows are all pretty dated now. But you do have to love anyone who is willing to mess up on camera and still leave it in. I remember him cooking something, and he just kept saying, "Now, don't do this like I've just done...oh shit..." etc. Good times.

                        1. re: guster4lovers

                          i'm guessing with your reference to uknova, we've pretty much seen alot of the same stuff though i'm more active in - there're new food shows at the 'beeb' and i'm looking forward to angela hartnett's great british waste menu. i'm not too fond of shows at uktvfood but country house contest, ten mile menu and daily cooks challenge are very nice.

                          "have you seen The Supersizers?"
                          most definitely, i'm very fond of short-haired spectacled women and sue fits that to a tee but she's gay and that's sad because she and giles make a lovely couple. have you seen the recent big food fight with sue as the host? heston, janet street-porter, the great clarrisa dickson-wright, the very cute chinghe huang, levi "reggae-reggae-sauce" roots, patsy kensit, and giles (ofcourse) all make appearances (other brit food celebs appear too but i don't care for those i didn't mention).

                          "My favourite segments on the RC series are the baking ones and the foraging"
                          yes, hugh sets the bar on rooting and foraging and the first appearance of his guru john wright was an excellent episode because delia (the pig) successfully found truffles in john's secret location. sadly, it turns out show-winning delia has already joined gordon's trinny and sussanah in hog heaven. did you like the bunny burger and pigeon pita pockets episodes? those are my favorite 'foraging' episodes.

                          "Victor is the RC butcher?"
                          ray is the butcher, victor is the retired london restaurateur turned "greedy-guts and resident (dorset) bon viveur" who 'loves to touch legs', ham legs that is. i also admire michael michaud alot - the polytunnel and organic veg guru. their farmers market rivalry and eventual chili-stand partnership in london was really entertaining.

                          "And back to Keith Floyd: He was a trendsetter, and was ahead of his time, but his shows are all pretty dated now"
                          to say keith floyd's shows are dated is tad beside the point given their educational weight, not to mention his trademark wit and flair than many try but horribly fail to emulate. if an aspiring cook values authenticity and depth, keith floyd's earliest shows are the unrivaled hallmark. given countless formally trained tv cooks who routinely churn out the same top-ten greatest hits of french/italian/med cuisine ad nauseum, i've long realized just properly learning the early dishes he featured is invaluable to any respectable cooks repertoire (it's not easy - after three years of adulating floyd, i've only learned of fraction). keith not only brilliantly features classic peasant fare, he's gracious enough to acknowledge the 'source' and never claim any are his. many top celebrity cooks today regularly present traditional dishes with a slight and negligible twist and claim them to be their own. a very popular cook (beloved to many for his boy-band good looks) from essex once top-billed a tomato dish in a debut episode of a series of his and conveniently forgot to mention the preparation is actually one of raymond blanc's signature techniques.

                          ofcourse rick stein (together with david prichard) is doing a marvelous job at maintaining the legacy of floyd and takes it to a friendlier level by doing away with the nasty antics that floyd critics always hated. did you see the japanese ambassador episode? the prep chefs assigned to rick could easily hold their own against morimoto (and maybe even capable of taking on the great hiroyuki sakai).

                          1. re: epabella

                            Started to watch "food fight". Switched off after 10 minutes.

                            Havnt tried H F-W's bunny burger - but his bunny satay is good. Burger is on the list for next time, I'm given a couple of Bugs' mates.

                            1. re: Harters

                              together with pigeon pita pockets, bunny burgers and satay as you well know are "vengeance dishes". it's the perfect way to turn vermin that knacker the veg garden into protein. being so lucky to be a brit in the uk, i dare you to try gil's (river cottage chef) 'gardener's revenge' (snails and salad) or the hugh's squirrel skewers. or maybe scottish teal from river cottage road trip or the rooks from cook on the wild side. maybe knickerbocker glory and 'spotted dick' topped with golden syrup laced with nagra (the hottest habaneros known to man grown by michael michaud) instead of a yorkie bar for dessert. you brits are so lucky to have so much genius (and black pudding, haggis and blue vinny cheese cakes) close at hand - i could eat that stuff every day for the rest of my life.

                              1. re: epabella

                                Teal I've eaten. Squirrel was on sale at a farmers market last year - I wanted but Mrs H put her foot down (she's not good with eating cute animals).

                                1. re: Harters

                                  Our neighbor in Canada used to shoot them and give them to my mother skinned and cooked. You really don't want to see a skinned and cooked squirrel under plastic wrap on a saucer in your fridge. Languishing until chucked out.

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    i'd actually be more squeamish about having to skin an animal myself though i've killed and plucked a chicken already (humanely with a swift and hopefully painless decapitation). did you like your neighbors squirrel? as a spoiled brat, my folks read the requisite mark twain and rudyard kipling to me at bedtime so i am very interested in game and all the wild food (jack rabbits, squirrels, coons, mountain goat, bison, rattlers, etc) the northern hemisphere has to offer. growing up in only two seasons (sopping wet or blistering hot) here in the tropics limits our food options.

                2. re: guster4lovers

                  Similarly, we never see north American TV cooking shows in the UK. And many of the American best selling cookbooks are very much a niche market here (Amazon purchases from specialist sellers, rather than easily in the high street bookshops)

                  1. re: Harters

                    Many of our best selling cookbooks seem tied into TV shows, unfortunately. More entertainment than informative. Ming Tsia is an exception - he can cook and his books are useful.

                    1. re: Westy

                      Many -and yes, the bestselling - but not all, there are many more excellent titles published every year in the US by serious authors than the celeb chef type.

                3. re: BrianYarvin

                  Thank you so much for this link. We have been watching the first series and it is great! We just hook the laptop up to our TV. I cant wait to see all the other episodes.

            2. hugh is my supreme idol - goodluck with finding a video rental though i suppose you can order his stuff at currently has all his stuff with the exception of his earliest series.

              3 Replies
              1. re: epabella

                UK video format isn't compatible with US systems, unfortunately.

                1. re: buttertart

                  one workaround (albeit troublesome) would be to rip to your pc then burn into a compatible format.

                  1. re: epabella

                    On my macs, I can change the region code up to (I think) 5 times. Not a long term solution...but it works.

              2. The easiest way to watch them - without having to fuss with BitTorrent, etc - is to buy them through Amazon Video On Demand. They have the original four series plus a couple of specials / highlights shows.

                You can find them all here:

                I bought them all and watched on my Roku box, but computer viewing works great too.