The great British sitcom: The Bounder

Discussion in 'TV Central' started by Mel O'Drama, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Hero

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    Yes, as Peter Sallis and Frank Thornton got older, the producers were getting more difficulty getting necessary insurance for location filming. And in addition Peter Sallis' eyesight was starting to fail quite dramatically.

    Swami
     
  2. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Taking a four month break randomly in the middle of a run is always a little risky. It was mid-series and mid-disc. Fortunately I knew which disc, as I left it in the player during a bit of a sabbatical from watching. But as I watched the first few episodes it highlighted the latter series' more humdrum nature. Most of it seemed familiar and there was an occasional fragment of awareness that I'd previously watched a scene, but for much of the time I couldn't tell if the familiarity came from the running gags and recurring storylines.

    Anyway, I've now finished the disc in question and so I'm definitely on to new ground. For the record, I think - though couldn't swear - that my first "new" episode was Series Twenty Eight's Variations On A Theme Of Road Rage.

    One significant thing that's changed the way I view the series is that I've now visited many of the locations used in the series. In October I had a day in Holmfirth and further afield to regular locations like Holmbridge and Jackson Bridge. Nora's steps, Compo's house, Sid's Cafe, Marina's supermarket(s), the library, Edie's home, Barry and Glenda's house, the White Horse pub and Cleggy and Howard's homes were among the key locales I visited. Understanding the area a little more and the distance between some of the places is always guaranteed to put a new spin on it, and doing the internal "I've been there" with each location on screen has brought a fun new dimension to viewing.

    While in Holmfirth I wandered up to pay a visit to the adjoining graves of Bill Owen and Peter Sallis. The splendour of Bill Owen's grave, with its two large headstones and abundance of welly plant pots juxtaposed with the simplicity of Peter's grave - with a few flowers and a simple wooden cross marker - was unexpectedly moving. The thing that really got me was a flat cap hung over the wooden cross, which said far more than any amount of words could. As part of a day in which I walked in their footsteps, this unexpected encounter with its window of quiet and calm gave me a few moments where I suddenly felt I'd "met" these two men.
     
  3. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Series Twenty Nine is now underway.

    Smiler's now vanished forever from the landscape. While I was never a huge fan of his gurning and groaning - too much caricature for my taste - one does get used to these characters being part of things and it's not the same when they're not there.

    Speaking of gurning, my Barry tolerance is right down once again. After the long break I started finding him tolerable, but his little mannerisms have quickly nixed that. There's far too much business going on in all Mike Grady's scenes: twitching with surprise, grimacing and mugging, smiling wistfully and that rapid multiple blink thing. It's a shame, because it comes across strongly that he's trying too hard to do comedy and he doesn't have to. The writing has everything he needs. Pretty much everyone else - even those playing larger than life characters such as Howard, Marina and Nora - plays their scenes for truth and they're so much funnier for it.

    Sad to think I'm now on the last series featuring Nora. She still feels very much like a vital part of the series and it will be a far less enjoyable series without her. We have another nine episodes together and I aim to enjoy them all.
     
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  4. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh - and while the series is certainly off the boil these days it can still make me laugh quite unexpectedly. For some reason a silly scene in which Alvin played a prank on Howard with a "speaking" frog in Clegg's living room was the one that did it here. And it happened right as I took a swig of a hot drink. Fortunately, most of it went up my nose rather than onto the sofa.
     
  5. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    And I've just discovered that Brian Murphy is married to Hi-De-Hi's Linda Regan. Which is a little mind-boggling. She's certainly a far cry from Mildred.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    For a sitcom to go for over three and a half decades, twenty nine series and more than 275 episodes on all original material is quite an achievement.

    For a sitcom to suddenly have a clip show after all those milestones is then perhaps a red flag that the end is nigh. As it turns out, the episode in question was passable. The best thing about it being that all the linking scenes featured only the main trio of Clegg, Truly and Alvin in various locations with their chemistry still firing. In that respect, it felt like a bit of a last gasp from this trio (the next episode for me to watch will be the final one before Sallis and Thornton step down into supporting status to satisfy the Beeb's insurers).

    My worry going in was that the clips of Compo's heyday would highlight the deterioration in the series which although subtle and incremental is certainly a fact. Actually it didn't feel that way. If anything, I enjoyed the linking material more than the clips shown which seemed a little arbitrary.

    But the clip show's objective was unclear to me. It was a tribute to Combo, and in turn Bill Owen (according to the script it's ten years since he's died although it's actually eight). Certainly it's nice that the show hasn't forgotten Compo. But as a tribute it's very late coming when the series has moved on so much (and considering what a great tribute the funeral episodes were, some years earlier). And it's a couple of years premature for series' end. It felt suspiciously like Roy Clarke was an episode short and this was a way to run out an episode with minimal writing and to save a bit on paying the rest of the cast.
     
  7. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Series Twenty Nine is now over. It's sad to think there'll be no more Nora Batty.

    With every departure a little more of the series has died. More recent additions to the supporting cast, such as Nellie, Miss Davenport, Entwistle and even Alvin are reassuring presences due to the familiar actors playing them. But they lack a certain something that was present in earlier episodes. It's still not bad by any stretch. But there's a pall of fatigue that hovers over the series. Even Barry and Glenda - the series' token "young" characters - are considerably older by now than the older demographic were when they first joined (it's mind-boggling to think that Sarah Thomas at this point is almost twenty years older than Jane Freeman was when we first met Ivy).

    Some of the edge has gone now. Characters like Pearl and Ivy have mellowed. Pearl in particular now elicits as much of the viewer's sympathy as Howard. It's happened organically, from seeing her interact with gentler characters (most of her screen-time these days is shared with June Whitfield's Nellie), but it makes it harder to sympathise with Howard, running round on the freezing Yorkshire hills with less just cause than he had when his harridan wife oozed venom. I find myself wondering why he doesn't just stay home in the warm.

    The locations continue to look beautiful and the cast very likeable.

    Another sign of the times is an increased role for supporting players. The policemen even have names now, which feels slightly wrong. Nora's final episode was a Cannon and Ball heavy episode which, perhaps unsurprisingly, is not a good thing. And the Eighties Saturday teatime spillage reaches a zenith (or perhaps nadir) with the addition to the main cast of Russ Abbot. I'm not greatly looking forward to it, but I'm curious all the same.
     
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  8. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Series Thirty is underway, with the first two episodes run in the O'Drama household this evening. It's actually a little better than I expected. But I did go in with very low expectations.

    Russ Abbot as Hobbo - Clegg's hitherto unseen next-door neighbour - is the new addition. I was surprised to find he's an ersatz Foggy. Certainly the largest part of his character is his big talk about his previous life as a spy. It's very true that Abbot is no Brian Wilde, but he's likeable enough for Hobbo not to grate, even when throwing in some Jack Douglas in with Hobbo's twitches and jerks. All the same, it does seem wrong for Russ to take top billing from his first episode, particularly with the screen credentials of his co-stars.

    Speaking of billing, I wondered how they would do it with Peter Sallis and Frank Thornton's changed status. I'd thought they might end up at the very end ("With Frank Thornton as Truly and Peter Sallis as Clegg"), but no... they're just randomly squished in the middle of the other lowly cast. It's very odd seeing them there.

    The new triad of Hobbo, Alvin and Entwistle is a competent one - if unexciting. I find myself imagine previous trios during their scenes. If Hobbo is the Foggy, and as we've already established that Alvin is a Compo replacement, then Entwistle must be the new Clegg. What that makes Clegg I've no idea. It is good to be seeing some of Clegg and Truly. I have no real issue with them being studio bound in all their scenes so far. In recent series they've stepped back from the action and become observers of the insanity rather than in the thick of it, so it's an organic move. Actually, there's a cosiness to the two of them chatting in Clegg's living room that lends itself nicely to the proceedings.

    Barbara Young as Stella is the other new addition. I'm glad they've gone a different route with Nora's sister rather than making her an out-and-out battleaxe. There are shades of Ros Utterthwaite in there, I think.

    So the news is at least partly good. All the same, I think the remaining fifteen episodes could end up feeling like more.
     
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  9. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    One episode away from the end of the penultimate series, and it's notable that Thirty has been far better than my expectations. Admittedly, I had expected it to be dire. But actually it's proved to be rather enjoyable. It's certainly not Summer Wine's finest vintage, but neither is it as badly corked as one may anticipate. Series Thirty is certainly more palatable than the flying blind post-Compo era of Babs and Mrs. Avery.

    In many ways, the dynamics on the series feel very focussed and mostly clear again. Russ Abbot is an unlikely pompous authority figure. Or at least so I would have said before watching, had I known more about Hobbo. But he's working for me. Knowing that it's winding down may have helped here. Perhaps I'd be viewing things very differently if there were still another seven or eight series ahead.

    There are still moments in Roy Clarke's writing that make me laugh out loud, which is not bad going at all. In spite of my earlier comments about them mellowing, he certainly hasn't lost his touch when it comes to putting barbs into the mouths of characters like Pearl and Ivy. And the stage background of some of the actors really comes through when it comes to them giving it their all regardless. Goodness knows, the series is still getting mileage out of Howard and Marina and I dare say if someone were introduced to the series with these later episodes they'd still find much to enjoy.

    Earlier on I commented about supporting players being given more of a role as in PCs Cooper and Walsh. Throughout Series Thirty this has been built upon with Trevor Bannister and Christopher Beeny's roles becoming more regular and very much beefed up. It's clear that Clarke was very much still evolving the series and future-proofing it to an extent with new partnerships and tweaks to the dynamics. Toby and Morton doing their little thing next door to Barry and Glenda is a nice example of a change that shows promise. They have history with the characters (Tom still occasionally turns on his heel, forgetting that Morton is no longer a repo man; Barry is feeling like he's made it with Toby, who has long barely noticed him during their golf games). The history is acknowledged and built on. And it's enhancing the series by making other characters more interesting. In this case, it's Barry and Glenda who benefit. They have more to do and more to fret over. And that has to be good. It's very easy to see that Summer Wine could have gone on and on even longer than it did in the right conditions.




    I like that it's actually not quite that clear. Alvin and Entwistle seem to alternate between being the Compo-esque mischievous one and the one with the clever quips à la Clegg. And both work fine.

    Seeing scenes which feature Hobbo and Truly together has been a little strange considering they both performed the same function at different times as the authoritative third man. It's highlighted how different they are as characters, with Hobbo more buffoon-ish and physical. And it's also shown how Truly has grown to become very much his own character. Truly and Clegg are both still true to the characters as they originated, but it's unique and very fascinating to see them functioning within very different dynamics. Clegg has always been something of an observer. Truly has long had opinions about others. So their studio-bound roles don't feel forced or wrong. Quite the opposite.


    Oh wait. I've just remembered that we've discussed this previously and they're alphabetical.
     
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  10. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Tonight I've watched the very last episode of Summer Wine, which was enjoyable. Not perfect, but still very satisfying indeed.

    First my biggest gripe, and it's something I knew about beforehand: Ivy not being in the final episode was plain wrong. She's one of only two characters remaining from the first episode, having been there for the entire run of more than thirty seven years, so for Jane Freeman to have been absent from one of its most important episodes was disappointing. I'd have been very happy to trade Stella for her (not that I dislike Stella at all - but last in, first out). I hope there was a good reason for it, since Roy Clarke was usually good at crossing "t"s and dotting "i"s.

    My only other complaint since my last post was that Morton's wife Monica showed up on screen during one episode. Some characters feel like they're meant to be unseen and Mrs Mulberry Smith is definitely one of those. It spoilt the magic a little, but it was mercifully brief.

    The final series was a good one. The lower episode count helped condense the goodness, and I appreciated it having more of a serialised approach to things, especially regarding Pearl throwing Howard out of the marital home.

    The coach trip in the last episode, with all the disparate characters thrown together and determined to have a good time in a way only the British can reminded me very much of the Brighton section of Carry On At Your Convenience.

    It's been quite the journey. Over ten months of viewing time. And I've been very impressed with how consistently enjoyable it was overall. There has been a noticeable drop in quality in its last few years, but it turns out even a poorer episode of Summer Wine is still good TV. There were certainly no majorly bad episodes or jump the shark moments (Tom's initial fellow travellers threatened to be so, but the series gained its footing fairly quickly).

    After such an investment, there was at least a little something riding on the final episode satisfying. And it turned out to do so. Howard and Pearl's reconciliation was the most obvious, but most of the characters seemed to reach denouements of sorts - like the sudden pairing of Marina and Toby (who I still keep wanting to call "Mr Lucas").

    And there were lots of nice touches. Not least Clegg getting the last word.

    For some reason, a nice little scene shared by Clegg, Truly, Alvin, Entwistle and Hobbo felt very exciting. A little like those episodes of Charlie's Angels where Farrah returned and there were briefly more than we were used to seeing together - the old and the new.

    As hoped for, it's nice to get the sense that life goes on for these characters. Even now after so many of the actors have died, it still feels like things are carrying on in Holmfirth the way they have since before I was born.

    There'll be a Summer Wine shaped void in my life for a while. I'm very glad I took the opportunity to watch it in full. And I'm very tempted to go back and watch the Pilot and a couple of the feature-length episodes again.
     
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  11. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Not feeling quite ready to leave Summer Wine Land just yet, this evening found me watching a little time capsule of three episodes from three eras: Of Funerals And Fish; Getting Sam Home and Uncle Of The Bride.

    Perhaps because I'm now more in tune with the rhythms and quirks of the series I probably enjoyed the pilot episode more this second time round. Watching an episode of a TV series that one only remembers vaguely, knowing there are almost three hundred episodes lined up in the boxset places quite a burden on the lead episode and I dare say there was an element of this when I watched it last year (albeit I'd already watched the first two series before I remembered I had this one). Then I was seeing it as one tiny part of the whole. Watching it remotely allowed it to just wash over me without any pressure to think about how it fits in.

    In particular, Wainwright the lecherous librarian made me chortle this time round. He'd certainly have been a good fit in later episodes, I think. A reminder of the edgier tone of the early series is that Wainwright appears to have consummated his relationship with Mrs Partridge, unlike their chaste counterparts of the following decades, Howard and Marina.

    Of note - and something I hadn't noticed before - is that Peter Sallis gave Clegg a much broader West Yorkshire accent in the pilot. It's strange to hear. Clegg's become such a real part of this world over the years it's odd to hear him saying the things he'd continue to say for almost forty years, but with a different accent.

    Getting Sam Home was a favourite the first time round and it held up to a second viewing very nicely. It's a contender for my favourite episode, although that feels like a cheat because it's essentially a ninety minute film and so a different animal in many ways. It's so well-made and wonderfully written. It feels very cinematic in so many ways, and I feel strangely (and probably inappropriately) proud of Clarke, Owen and the team for going ahead with what was a bold and unheard of concept for a little sitcom.

    The internal monologues of the characters at times added an interesting layer. And it was laugh out loud funny too with the screen death and covertly moving a body hither and yon allowing for some wonderfully black humour. The scene where Foggy sits up in the coffin then appears at the door in a white sheet made me laugh hard both times. Lynda Barron's character - Lily Bless Her - is great. I think I mentioned before she has more than a touch of the Elsie Tanners to her. And I suppose the screen goings on were yet another precursor to Howard, Marina and Pearl. If Marina had shagged Howard to death, that is.

    A couple of running threads between the episodes I watched this evening:

    Firstly, Clegg's philosophising about the cruelties, ironies and injustices of the world. He seemed to do more of it in the early years. In his very first scene in the pilot he describes an incident with a bird:

    Getting Sam Home had another of Clegg's avian analogies:

    Sallis really did get the best of Roy Clarke's bleakly evocative dialogue.


    A second running thread is the three leads witnessing illicit affairs and practicing sextortion on the guilty parties in order to get something they want. In the case of the pilot, Mr Wainwright is the target of their machinations, the blackmail necessary to lift the three men's bans from the library. While in Getting Sam Home, their victim is the Co-op tailor, Mr Fairburn who has been spotted having his way with "Her from the bacon counter". This time their needs are more convoluted: they need to use a mannequin to take the place of a dead man who they've moved back to the home of the woman who sexed him to death after previously moving his body back to his marital home. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. A messy business it may be, but it's damned funny.

    All this, and the first appearance of a very young, slim, moustachioed Ken Kitson as the policeman.

    Uncle Of The Bride, too, was fun for its first appearances of many characters that would continue for years to come: Edie; Glenda; Barry and Seymour. And how young most of them looked compared with their later episodes. It's a bit of a shock. It does feel far more stunt-driven by this point than the other two. Lots of scenes with smoking cars and exploding wheelbarrows. But some great lines too.


    These few episodes really were like looking through old photo albums marvelling at how young the family elders once were. Feeling warmth at seeing characters like Sid, Wesley or Wally (Joe Gladwin is probably hugely underestimated as a part of this series. He steals the show with every single saturnine line). There's also Crusher, of course, but least said soonest mended.

    The chemistry on screen is just wonderful. It's easy to see why things weren't the same after Bill Owen's death as he just exudes childlike wonder that never reappeared post-Compo.
     
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  12. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    In related news I've finally been able to finish the Andrew Vine book. With all the gaps in my viewing I had to stop reading the book too for fear of spoilers.

    It's one of the better behind the scenes books and captures the earthiness, warmth and humour of the series well.


    My next Britcom should start in the next couple of evenings and it will be a much more bite-sized commitment. But I'm thinking perhaps just one more Summer Wine episode first.
     
  13. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    OK then - it's straight into the new Britcom. This one comes with the stamp of approval from a fellow Soapchatter.

    [​IMG]

    With just two episodes under my belt tonight I'm not too qualified to say much. The first episode was certainly a slow burner, but not in a bad way. I'm not in a rush.

    The pacing reminds me of early Summer Wine. The dialogue is mostly captivating (though the jury's out on Beryl's school playground chants of "N-O spells no"). The wordplay in the second episode with Geoffrey's mispronunciation of "mishap" (as "mish-ap") and "misled" (as "mizzled") was very enjoyable. Especially since for a few moments it felt as though Richard Beckinsale had mispronounced "mishap" and it had been left in to save the expense of a retake.

    A key angle of the series - the power struggle between the two partners - is both fascinating and refreshingly un-PC. It's not just that Geoffrey's libido and outbursts of longing to rape the object of his desire would be very difficult to sell in the age of Me Too - and certainly not balanced with moments of sensitivity or insecurity. But Beryl wouldn't be allowed to be so impressed with him, nor so subtly manipulative in trying to get him to act on his (and her) feelings. And as it is it's the characters' contradictory natures and the subtle dance around the unspoken or unheard that has hooked me in.
     
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  14. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The Lovers is something of a showcase of familiar faces in small roles or single episodes (most of them seem to have done Corrie too). Bill Dean as a grouchy cafe worker. A very young Maureen Lipman as a bitter newlywed (somewhat ironic considering the episode was written by her future husband). Roy Barraclough as a grouchy waiter. Rosalynd Ayres as a partygoer.

    I've noticed the same woman - Alison King - in a number of episodes, including the first, playing what appears to be the same character in a subtle running gag where she overhears a fragment of the main characters' dialogue which disturbs her (more than once Geoffrey has been proffering rape) and leads to an awkward smile, a glower of disapproval or a speedy exit.

    Jack Rosenthal's dialogue continues to enthral. He has a wonderful ear for phrases that are both natural and incredibly funny. And he pairs it with small, real moments of interaction. Scenes between Beryl and her mum are a great example of this. They're full of warmth and love but tinged with the kind of scathing put-downs that can only be shared between people who know each other to the point of weariness. "Don't try to raise one eyebrow at me", Beryl chides her mum in one such scene. "You know you can't do it." After yet another of Beryl and Geoffrey's break-ups, her mum sighs "We're not in for another Joan Crawford weekend, are we?"

    Her mum's actually stealing almost every scene she's in with her wry observations and pearls of wisdom, all delivered with pitch-perfect disinterest. As when Beryl said she'd try to force down a cup of tea, despite her heartbreak:

    The final episode of the first series saw the two leads play "the truth game" in which they pointed out each other's flaws. Which gave Rosenthal the opportunity to make some great observations of his own characters' foibles. Even...

    Geoffrey pointing out that this gets annoying after hearing it so many times has somewhat endeared me to the phrase. Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to point out the obvious to change the way it's viewed. But it happens so rarely on TV.

    I really hope the first episode of the second series is an example of what's to come for the rest of the run, because it's really cooking now. The dialogue was absolutely sparkling, with the one liners coming thick and fast. The best line of the series so far came from Beryl as she and Geoffrey went through that day's break-up:

    Why did this make me laugh so hard? Is it the surrealism? The stupidity? Well, a bit of both. But it's also the fact that I had to think about it. Even mid-laugh, I found myself trying to make sense of it. Was there in fact a logical explanation that I'd overlooked? Had I misheard the word "pudding"? I actually asked someone.

    And so as I continued to watch past the break for the adverts it was a bizarre treat to find Geoffrey and his colleague having the same conversation I'd just had. I'm picturing millions of viewers in 1971 who shook their heads over the line and discussed it as they made a cuppa. And then returned to their living rooms to find the characters replaying their conversation. It's a very bonding experience between viewer and audience. Another rarity.

    It's fascinating to get a sense of a certain time through the prism of an ITV sitcom. Particularly when it's an era that's largely a mystery to me, being both before I was born and slightly underrepresented in terms of widely available contemporary material. It looks like an exciting time. The lingering freedom of the sixties with a looming sense of social responsibility that hadn't yet taken hold (from what I've seen on the Network DVDs, early Seventies Corrie, for example, is one of my favourite eras). And it could be said The Lovers encapsulates this well. The battle between commitment and freedom. And the contradictory messages of togetherness and liberation. The scenes which take place at home feel very much like a good Seventies sitcom, but then more social scenes - most notably the "rave" in the final episode of the first series - feel very Sixties. It's a time when society was trying to find its way and strike a balance, just as Beryl and Geoffrey are. Even pop culture references feel like they straddle two eras. Beryl is reading papers which talk about more strikes among Ford workers. And even her crush since episode one - an icon of 1960s youthful freedom - has betrayed her with his newfound commitment:

    MUM: "Who've you gone into mourning for, then. Paul McCartney?"
    BERYL: "I hate him."
    MUM: "Why, what's he done to upset ya?"
    BERYL: "Nothing. And I hope she's made him very happy."


    Richard Beckinsale and Paula Wilcox are just enthralling. It's difficult to know who to watch when both are onscreen for fear of missing something. The small details really make it - like Geoffrey nervously touching his ear at every mention of the M-word.
     
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  15. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The series has won me over so completely I've just taken the plunge and ordered the big screen version. If the trailer's anything to go by I'm going to love it.
     
  16. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Enthusiast

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    Oh, I'm so glad you're enjoying it!

    I could have sworn there was only one series (and the film, which is great) but I just checked my DVD and of course, there's two -- I must have just devoured the whole thing so quickly that it felt like one.

    I know what you mean. It's a really interestingly uncertain era (in music too, funnily enough). I think I've said this before, but with The Lovers and also the non-period Carry On films of the late 60s/early 70s, there's this feeling of the permissive society having happened somewhere else. The characters feel like they're missing out, that they should be swinging from the chandeliers and having orgies like the ones they read about in the Sunday papers, but instead, they're stuck in a suburban launderette watching their girlfriend's mother's washing go round. That sense of sexual frustration carries over into Beckinsale's and Wilcox's next two sitcoms, Rising Damp and Man About the House, which almost feel like sequels to The Lovers. In RD, it's Beckinsale's character Alan (a virgin) and Rigsby who are fascinated by the (supposed) sexual prowess and experience of Don Warrington, while on MATH, Mr Roper thinks Richard O'Sullivan is having a great time shacked up with Jo and Chrissy upstairs, when in reality he isn't getting any either. And again, Wilcox is the unattainable object of desire. RD and MATH also add the perpetually frustrated middle-aged woman into the mix, with Miss Jones and Mildred.
     
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  17. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Easily done. I'm over halfway through the entire series but it feels like I've barely started.


    It definitely bears saying again.

    It's actually the lack of Percy Filth that got me thinking about that era. I can't help feeling that characters like Geoffrey more accurately represent the majority of people at the time. But the media of the era - including music, TV and film - was biased towards the more salacious stuff and with little to provide balance that's become the legacy. A huge appeal of this series is that it celebrates the mundane.


    Nice observation. And now you've mentioned it, yes it does.


    There was a hint of that in The Lovers where Beryl's mum shortened her skirt because "there are seventeen women and one man in my lampshade making class".
     
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  18. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Having made my way through the entire series of The Lovers I find myself curious about the reason more episodes weren't made. A third series might have been welcome, particularly given the semi-serialised format with the two being engaged. But at the same time these things shouldn't be forced. And it's appropriate that the series ended on a whim only to return and start the whole dance again in the film.

    The Geoffrey Lancashire scripted episodes of the second series worked well for me. I didn't notice any changes in quality or tone and the whole arc of thirteen episodes felt like a consistent and organic journey.

    The film version has landed on my doormat as I write, so that's tonight's viewing sorted!
     
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  19. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Ah - the film version of Seventies sitcoms. It's fun to guess which lines and scenarios are going to be recycled. I was disappointed not to see a "mish-ap" or "mizzled", but nicely surprised to see Beryl telling her Mum she can't raise one eyebrow. And (as it dawned on me halfway through the film) I suppose it was inevitable that most of the familiar dialogue would come from the first series, since Jack Rosenthal penned both.

    Given the pre-video era there was, of course, just cause for all these great lines being put into a "time capsule" version of the series. And with The Lovers there is even more justification for the reenactment given there's actually story going on, certainly compared with many of their big screen Seventies stablemates.

    It's great to see the three key characters there for the film. With Joan Scott's name not appearing on the DVD case I feared a recast and it was a relief that wasn't the case. Roland.

    The character I missed the most from the TV series was Alison King's "Woman". Her scene stealing cameos made her The Lovers' very own Hitchcock or Stan Lee and she had such a great, expressive face that always made a funny scene even funnier. She was there at the beginning and at the end, bearing witness to the various hiccups and reunions. Her unique perspective added a special layer to the action and made her, in my opinion, as important to the story as Beryl's Mum. Robin Nedwell's sleazy Roland would have been nice, but Nikolas Simmonds was fine.

    It hadn't really occurred to me during the series that we didn't see Geoffrey's home life. Most of what we learnt about him came from his interactions with Beryl and Roland. So it was a little strange seeing his parents. It was especially nice for to have a glimpse of a pre-Summer Wine John Comer as his Dad.

    As with the series, this felt in many ways like a (mostly) truthful depiction of the era in which it was made. The cultural references to places like George Best's Boutique and Old Trafford were thoroughly enjoyable. In fact, Manchester itself was very much a character in the film - right down to the orange buses. A scene on a rooftop looking down over the city was particularly striking. I don't know Manchester very well and I still loved it. I imagine for someone who's lived in the city it would be a treat to see these places as they were all those years ago.



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  20. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh - and some love for that classy Tony Christie theme:

     
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