One Foot in the Grave-The Very Best of (1990)
Main Menu Audio
Featurette-'I Don't Believe It!' -Celebratory Documentary
|Year Of Production||1990|
|Running Time||227:41 (Case: 230)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Victor Meldrew is the archetypal obnoxious elderly neighbour that causes problems for everyone he comes in contact with. Margaret is the wife who has to put up with all his antics, and the aftermath. Nothing ever goes right for Victor, and his constant complaining doesn’t make him very popular, usually getting him in more trouble than he started with.
One of the great BBC comedies, One Foot In The Grave combines humour with great storylines, sometimes with long periods of drama, that usually pays off at the end of the episode with the joke coming together. Richard Wilson stars as Victor, and is perfectly fitting for the character. Annette Crosby is the co-star playing Margaret his wife.
This DVD contains 6 episodes of what is considered the "Best Of" the show. Personally, I have seen funnier episodes, but these episodes will certainly give you some good belly laughs. This seems to be the trend for releasing TV shows on DVD - combining a few episodes for fans to only get a taste of what the show is - there are still many episodes left unseen. Shows that spring to mind that have been released in this way are Married With Children, Knight Rider and The A-Team. I would love to see these shows released as entire series, but this is a distant hope.
Return of the Speckled Band - 28:29
Victor and Margaret prepare for a holiday in Athens. While others are trying to convince them that the destination is not the best holiday spot, their determination not to have their trip interfered with leaves them unaware of an additional scaled traveller in their luggage.
Dreamland - 29:26
Victor's favourite female celebrity is about to make an appearance at a local fete, which makes Margaret feel that she is not as wanted as she would like to be. The next day she ends up missing, which brings out Victor's true feelings for her.
The Broken Reflection - 28:48
Victor's brother arrives from New Zealand, and causes a stir in the family.
Warm Champagne - 29:23
When arriving home from a holiday, Victor finds his place burgled, and blames the local kids. In revenge, the kids' family plays more pranks, which end up in disaster with a light pole smashed through the bedroom window.
The Trial - 29:25
Victor is summoned to serve on a jury, with some hilarious results.
Things Aren't Simple Anymore The Last Ever Episode - 40:24
Following the weeks leading up to and following Victor's death, this is a touching episode that brings some laughs by way of remembering Victor, plus some sadness for Margaret's loss.
The image is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced. This is the way it was originally broadcast.
The transfer is above average, and better than the original ABC broadcast quality. Colours are reproduced accurately. There are no obvious film artefacts. The image is reasonably sharp but fortunately no edge enhancement is evident.
The majority of the show is recorded on set. When filming leaves the set and heads outdoors, the image becomes somewhat grainy, but this is inherent in the source material. This is a standard across the board with most BBC comedies before the mid 90s. Blackadder and Dad’s Army spring to mind as other obvious examples of this, where it is very obvious where the filming on set ends and the real world filming begins. Still, as this problem was limited to the way in which the image was captured, and it is not all that annoying in appearance, I am not too concerned. The BBC did the best transfer they could of the flawed source materials.
However, everything that is written above does not apply when you come to the last episode on the disc - Episode 6: Things Aren't Simple Anymore. This episode was released in 2000 during the last season of the show, and was filmed for the Digital Television revolution. Therefore, this episode stands apart from the rest. Presented in its original broadcast aspect ratio of 1.78:1, the image of this episode is 16x9 enhanced, and is as crisp and clear as any of today's TV shows. This episode has superior quality to all the others, with not a single problem to be found. I found it hard to adjust to watching this episode, as I had grown so used to the 4x3 aspect ratio of the remainder of the episodes. I do believe this show fits the fullscreen image, but am glad that this episode was not cropped to match the rest of the episodes. Not much would have been missed though, as no action takes place to the sides of the image.
The disc is dual layered, but the layer change has been placed in between episodes, so there is no interruption.
A single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack encoded at 192 kbps is present on this disc. For the first 5 of the 6 episodes, it appears not to be surround encoded.
Dialogue is right on the money. Everything is clear and easy to understand - the only problem you may have is working out the English references. No clicking, popping, hissing or dropouts are to be heard. All of the dialogue emanates from the centre channel. The theme song is performed by Monty Python legend Eric Idle. It is a catchy theme that is played during the start and the end credits. After hearing it 16 times, it still did not lose its charm.
Not a whimper is heard out of the surrounds for the first 5 episodes. All that changes for the 6th. The audience laughter (it could be canned laughter - I do not know for sure) is heard primarily through the surrounds. I do think that this is a great place to have the laughter for a show, so you get some feeling that you are part of the audience watching. It therefore does not interfere with the dialogue and action from the fronts.
Strangely enough, my subwoofer turned on during the theme song. It is not noticeable at all, with no deep bass really worth mentioning, but my receiver did send some LFE information its way.
|Surround Channel Use|
This plays the Eric Idle theme song repeatedly. Be cautious not to fall asleep while watching the show, because when complete, it lands back at the main menu. You will wake up with the tune stuck in your head all day, which is quite annoying. Trust me.
The main menu has 4 options. You can choose to watch the disc in its entirety, select each episode individually, select individual chapters, or select the documentary. Selecting by chapter should not have been placed here - it should have been an option under the episode selections.
The documentary is 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced. Containing new interviews with cast and crew, this presentation is an interesting look at the show's best moments. Note that as this is a widescreen presentation which was broadcast on Digital TV, it contained footage from the majority of the show which was presented in fullscreen. The network's way of getting around this was to crop the top and bottom of the image to make it appear to be widescreen. This was quite annoying when footage was shown that was already seen in episodes on this disc, and one could obviously see that it was missing something.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There is at present no Region 1 release of this DVD. The Region 2 release appears to be exactly the same as the one here in Region 4.
Another British comedy makes its appearance on DVD. However, what we are needing is the show in its entirety, either released season by season, or in a box set. This disc does have a great transfer from the source, with the final episode having above average video and sound. A great way to introduce new viewers to the show.
|DVD||Panasonic DVD-RV31A-S, using Component output|
|Display||Panasonic TX-76PW60. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Sound & Home Theater Tune Up.|
|Speakers||Jensen SPX-9 Front, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 Rear, Jensen SPX-17 Sub|