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Without a doubt, Monarch of the Glen is one of my all-time favorite British television shows. For those who aren't familiar with it, Monarch of the Glen tells the story of Archie MacDonald, son of Hector and Molly, who returns home to the Scottish Highlands to find the family estate in financial shambles. Duty-bound, he returns home to help out and ends up taking over as Laird of Glenbogle, staying much longer than intended.
The show is cozy, full of both comedy and drama, and I love that they give compelling storylines to the younger characters AND the older ones. In American shows, older relatives are often mere props and supporting characters, but that's definitely not the case in Monarch of the Glen. It's worth watching for Molly's character and development alone.
For a long time, you could watch Monarch of the Glen on Netflix, but it recently expired and it doesn't appear to be available for streaming anywhere at the moment. Though it will likely pop up again somewhere, those who wish to watch it now have a couple options:
- Amazon.com – Full Collection – no English captions
- Amazon.co.uk – Full Collection – has English captions
The collection appears to be slightly cheaper on the UK Amazon site, but you'll need to have a region-free DVD player (click here to find out more about that) if you want to play DVDs from the UK site. They're encoded differently, so they won't work on a standard US player. A region-free player is a pretty good investment for any hard-core British TV fan, though.
But What About that Long-Lost Episode?
If you watched Monarch of the Glen on Netflix, you may not be aware of the fact that there's a missing Hogmanay Special. Hogmanay, for those who aren't aware, is the Scottish New Year's celebration and the Scots word for the last day of the year. The Hogmanay special never aired on Netflix, and it's even missing from a lot of DVD sets. In terms of sequence, the special should fall at Series 5, Episode 11, and it offers extra insight into the departure of a key character. I won't name the character since it's a spoiler for those new to the series.
So, how do you get the Hogmanay episode? Since I had already watched everything else in the series, I opted for a BBC Holiday DVD set that happened to include the Hogmanay episode. You can get it here, and it includes a lot of other fun Christmas specials from other BBC shows. It's a great DVD to have around during the holidays, and I enjoyed it for much more than just the Hogmanay special.
If you prefer, the BBC also produced a Holiday Drama DVD that includes the episode – and a corresponding Holiday Comedy DVD that includes other holiday specials (but not Monarch of the Glen). It seems that the two individual DVDs may together contain the same thing as the BBC Holiday DVD Set, but since they don't all list their episodes, it's hard to be sure. Regardless, both the BBC Holiday DVD and the Holiday Drama DVD have the Hogmanay episode.
The other way to get the episode is to buy the full collection from the American Amazon site. It's more expensive, but of course it gives you all the episodes instead of just the Hogmanay special. One further consideration, though, is that if you need the captions, you'll do best to order the UK version (requires a region-free DVD player, remember) + one of the BBC holiday DVDs. The UK version says it has subtitles, but on the US version, I saw several complaints about a lack of subtitles.
One Warning About the Hogmanay Episode
When I found about about a long-lost Monarch of the Glen episode, I was excited. I'd watched the entire series twice at that point, and I really wanted more episodes – especially episodes that included some of the original characters I'd come to miss in the final seasons. When I actually watched it, though, I found it to be a bit disappointing. Don't get me wrong, it was lovely to go back to Glenbogle one more time, and I appreciated the extra backstory. Unfortunately, the episode had a very strange theme and it didn't really feel like any of the other episodes. I won't say more because I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but just know it's a bit different.
Have you watched Monarch of the Glen's Hogmanay special? If so, what did you think? If not, will you be getting it? Let us know in the comments – and happy watching!