Last of the Summer Wine-Series 1 (1973)

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Released 9-Sep-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1973
Running Time 170:16 (Case: 180)
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alan J.W. Bell
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Peter Sallis
Michael Bates
John Comer
Bill Owen
Kathy Staff
Jane Freeman
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Ronnie Hazlehurst


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    As the box proudly proclaims, The Last of the Summer Wine is the longest running comedy on the BBC. It has been in continual production since the series contained on this set was shown in 1973 and has so far encompassed 25 series and numerous specials. Despite being a big fan of British comedy, I have not previously had the chance to see this series and was keen to review this 2 disc set.

    The series involves the adventures of three men in their late middle ages, all of whom are bachelors (for one reason or another) who live in the Yorkshire Dales. They no longer work and spend their days wandering the village and surrounding dales, looking for trouble to get themselves into. Each episode involves them coming up with some scheme to keep themselves occupied for another day. The three men are Compo Simonite (Bill Owen), a grubby little man, who loves ferrets and his neighbour's wife, Nora Batty (Cathy Staff); Norman Clegg (Peter Sallis, the voice of Wallace in Wallace and Gromit) , a widower who is the group philosopher; and Cyril Blamire (Michael Bates), a well dressed and slightly stuck up man, who has never married. Other recurring characters include Sid (John Comer) & Ivy (Jane Freeman) who run the local cafe and Mr Wainright, the local librarian and his unrequited love, Mrs Partridge, the library assistant.

    This is a gentle comedy about growing older and not being prepared to act like it. The dialogue is well written and there are some quite amusing lines and situations. There is fun to be had here but don't go in expecting something like more modern English comedy, as this is much more gentle and restrained. My favourite episode of the six included was one where Clegg convinces the other guys to buy a car to increase their mobility.

    Over the 25 series the cast has changed quite a few times, with only Peter Sallis remaining of the original trio. Bill Owen died in 2000 but appeared in every series up to then. Michael Bates was replaced after three seasons.

     The six episodes (all of which run for just under 30 minutes) are:

    Overall, this is a fun little comedy series, which I am sure has a large fan base, but it may not appeal to younger British humour fans.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is surprisingly good for early 1970s television.

    The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio which would be the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. There was some grain throughout. The shadow detail was reasonable, but not overly needed.

    The colour was generally pretty good for television of this vintage, however it was a little washed out, especially in outdoor scenes. The sky was white in some places rather than blue and there was some occasional chroma noise and minor bleeding but certainly nothing major.

    Artefact-wise, this transfer is also good. I noticed some minor aliasing, a little macro-blocking here and there and a couple of tape tracking errors. None of these caused much distraction.

    There are no subtitles despite what the case says.

    There are no layer changes as this set includes two DVD5 single-layered discs.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is fine for the purpose.

    This DVD contains one audio option, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand although sometimes the accents or speed of delivery make it a little difficult to understand.

    The score of this series by Ronnie Hazlehurst is quite whimsical and suits the material well.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu included motion and music and the ability to play all episodes on the disc or select them separately.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This set is unique to Region 4. In Region 1 a compilation of later episodes is available and in Region 2, Series 1 & 2 are joined together in a four disc box set. The box set may be worth seeking out if you are a fan, however for this particular set I will have to give the nod to Region 4.

Summary

    This disc contains the first series of the longest running comedy series on the BBC, from 1973.

    The video quality is very good considering this is 1970s television.

    The audio quality is fine for the purpose.

    The discs have no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, September 24, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
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R2 UK set - John R REPLY POSTED