Overall | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 1 & 2 (1990) | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 3 & 4 (1992) | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 5 (1992) | Keeping Up Appearances-Christmas Specials (1992)

Keeping Up Appearances-Complete Collection (1990)

Keeping Up Appearances-Complete Collection (1990)

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Released 2-Nov-2005

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Overall Package

    For those who have not been collecting this fabulous British comedy series in the individual releases, the entire series including the Christmas specials is now available in a 9 disc boxed set.

    Repackaged and presented in a fold-out multi-disc box so it looks all new, the discs are the same as the individual releases with the screen printing redone to provide a consistent look to the set. Content is exactly the same with discs 1-3 containing Series 1 and 2, discs 4-6 containing Series 3 and 4, discs 7-8 containing Series 5 - still the NTSC transfer and Region 1 menus - and disc 9 the Christmas specials.

    If you are not familiar with this excellent series, the reviews below should give you an insight into the show so I won't rehash all that here. Suffice it to say that this was one of the funniest comedies to come out of the 90s and, particularly if you love British comedy, you will want to see this series.

    If you have been collecting the individual releases, you won't want to rush out and get the boxed set. It offers nothing new save the disc artwork and presentation. If you haven't yet secured your Keeping Up Appearances collection, this is the ideal way to do it.

    If only series 5 wasn't the Region 1 version, this would be a perfect boxed set.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Glen Randall (If you're really bored, you can read my bio)
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 1 & 2 (1990) | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 3 & 4 (1992) | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 5 (1992) | Keeping Up Appearances-Christmas Specials (1992)

Keeping Up Appearances-Series 1 & 2 (1990)

Keeping Up Appearances-Series 1 & 2 (1990)

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Released 1-Sep-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1990
Running Time 466:00 (Case: 480)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Harold Snoad
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Patricia Routledge
Clive Swift
Josephine Tewson
David Griffin
Geoffrey Hughes
Judy Cornwell
Shirley Stelfox
Mary Millar
Case 4 Arrow-Triple
RPI $59.95 Music Nick Ingman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

" People who try to pretend they're superior make it so much harder for those of us who really are."

    What really puzzles me, as an ex-pat Englishman, is how Australian audiences can find serious, real-life drama, such as the BBC's Keeping Up Appearances so d*** funny! Don't you know that one has to keep the distinction between the white and blue collar classes, although it has to be admitted that occasional interbreeding, especially at the level of Royalty, does tend to maintain the genetic variation so desirable in today's troublesome times. Anyway, those of you colonials who wish to brush up on their etiquette and social graces could do no better than to carefully study these excellent and informative extracts from the first 2 series of Keeping Up Appearances, filmed in Coventry in the early 90's and I heartily commend these to you.

    Correct ways to handle tradesmen and municipal services are beautifully illustrated by the lady of the house, Mrs Hyacinth Bucket (Patricia Routledge) and please note the correct pronunciation is 'booo - kay'. In these days fraught with the perils of SARS and chicken 'flu I can hardly overemphasise the importance of ensuring that one's milk bottles are returned daily and not intermingled with those with less care for hygiene. The correct way of informing services that you will simply not tolerate electricity or water supply coming via other households is also clearly displayed, preferably using one's Slimline White Telecom telecommunications appliance. Of course it is essential to marry well and Richard (Clive Swift) proves capable of acting as suitable consort and driver of a very nice Rover motor car whilst acting as an indispensable part of the Financial and General department of the local council. It's a great shame that we never get to meet their son Sheridan - one of the finest minds of his generation, he's generally far too busy with his needlework major at university or exploring the intimacies of great literature with his room mate Tarquin whilst clad in pure silk pyjamas. Richard, of course, fails to understand that his frequent phone calls are to keep in contact with his dear mummy and that any requests for small financial considerations are entirely coincidental.

    Every family  has their black sheep and why on earth sister Daisy (Judy Cornwell) chose to marry that uncouth layabout Onslow (Geoffrey Hughes) is beyond imagination. For goodness sake, all he does all day is sit around watching television and consuming large quantities of John Smith beer and potato crisps. At least his ample acreage of bare flesh is mostly covered up by that dreadful canine he keeps on his lap, which spares us the horror of being exposed to the tattoos and beer gut revealed by that tatty, knitted tank-top. You'd think he'd tidy up that dreadful front yard of his council house and fix the front gate, although I have to say that the derelict Morris Marina does provide a cover for that untidy dog which causes poor Hyacinth such consternation.

    At least sister Rose (Shirley Stelfox & Mary Millar) dresses well and apparently spends much of her time with her gentleman friends on her knees, which is more than her dress does - can't understand why the dog gets so excited. Sister Violet also married well, to a rich turf accountant, with a Mercedes and a very large house with a pool and room for a pony, although I have to admit that he does suffer from the sad middle-class penchant for cross-dressing and kerb-crawling.

    Anyway, dear reader, I simply mustn't distract you a moment longer from the comprehensive advice contained within these wonderful DVDs. They really make long-standing references such as Margery Proops, Mrs Beaton's Cookbook or the Karma Sutra quite redundant so I suggest you rush out and study them carefully. BTW if you think this review is just a trifle pretentious I must point out that I went to the same school as John Cleese and enjoyed many happy holidays at Weston-Super-Mare where Hyacinth and Richard spent their honeymoon.

    Episodes from the first two series, filmed in 1990 and 1991 are presented on 3 discs with 5 episodes apiece, each episode running for around 29 minutes. Further information concerning the cult series is available from several excellent web sites.

Disc 1 - Series 1 (1990)

Episode 1 - Daddy's Accident (29:07) - The series starts with an ambulance outside the Onslow household with Daddy being carted off to hospital after a nude pursuit of the milk woman results in minor carnage. We're introduced to the key players, notably the 'lady of the house'.

Episode 2 - Vicar's Tea (28:59) - The dishy young new vicar arrives (Jeremy Gittins - Lazlo in Dr Who 1981), so Hyacinth prepares to become acquainted whilst sorting out Rose who is determined to kill herself after yet another failed romantic tryst.

Episode 3 - Carldon Hall (29:16) - We're introduced to some of the finer details of the Onslow household here, notably Daisy's kitchen which reminded me of my student days (except it was cleaner). Hyacinth's mastery of decisiveness and planning is amply illustrated on a run out to the mansion of the local gentry where she does her best to bump into the aristocracy and avoid being seen with the in-laws.

Episode 4 - Ladies Luncheon (29:07) - Onslow and Daisy's sleep-in is rudely disturbed by the news that there's a woman in Daddy's bedroom - of even more concern is her announcement that he took advantage of her and that "he promised me marriage!" - Hyacinth's attempts to command the new lady's son to take her back home are unsuccessful until Rose takes a shine to said son and happily announces that they'll be in-laws after the marriage!

Episode 5 - Going to Daisy's (28:28) - Daisy in tight black leather? You'd better believe it after she borrows Rose's toy boy in a vain attempt to make Onslow jealous.

Episode 6 - The Christening (29:10) - More disgrace as Onslow and Daisy's daughter Stephanie (played by the delightful Laura Sharin) decides to christen her illegitimate child. Trouble is, in the best spirit of free love we're not sure which of the hippy dudes is the child's father and their love-mobile breaks down on the way to the church - Richard and Hyacinth to the rescue!

Disc 2 - Series 2 (1991)

Episode 1 - Emmet Arrives (28:57) - Great concern for Elizabeth's moral integrity arises when a man is spotted, wearing only a bath towel, taking in the early morning milk (Co-Op of course). Hyacinth's attempts to impress the new visitor are hampered by the in-laws arriving in Onslow's ailing 1978 Cortina and Daddy showing up on his bike wearing long-johns and his WWII steel helmet.

Episode 2 - Driving Mrs Fortescue (29:22) - The seemingly proper and very upper middle-class Mrs Fortescue asks for a  run into town, much to Hyacinth's delight. Sadly, things don't go as Hyacinth planned when they all end up down the pub with Onslow and the gang and Mrs Fortescue proves to have hidden talents and more than a little empathy with 'Our Rose'! In one of the funniest episodes to date, we're treated to the sight of Hyacinth cavorting on the back of a tradesman's truck and a rare glimpse of Bruce at the servo decked out as Maid Marian!

Episode 3 - Candlelight Supper (29:26 ) - More intimate secrets from Onslow's bedroom: Daisy - "Onslow, why don't you grow a moustache?" Onslow - "You want a moustache, you grow a moustache!" Meantime, Hyacinth gets down to the serious business of introducing Emmet to one of her notorious Candlelit Suppers.

Episode 4 - Golfing Hotel ( 29:12) - Hyacinth has high expectations of hobnobbing with the genteel classes after she and Richard are invited for a weekend's golf by the Major. Turns out that the Major is busy frolicking in the bedroom, with no intention of playing golf, until Hyacinth herself becomes the centre of his attention!

Episode 5 - Register Office (29:17) - An eventful episode where Onslow gets forced to wear a jacket, Daddy is jilted at The Registry Office and we get to see Violet's lower half and large house with swimming pool, sauna and room for a pony! We don't get to see Bruce, though we hear him, as he's still stuck up in a tree and won't come down!

Disc 3 - Series 2 (1991)

Episode 6 - Onslow's Birthday (29:23) - Much to his disgust, Onslow is dragged away from his TV and dog to go out and celebrate. The only good point is that he can have a drink as Rose's latest conquest, the rich Greek, Mr Marinopolis, has promised to drive them all in his spacious limousine. To Hyacinth's horror the expected limo isn't quite as she expected and she has to disperse the hastily assembled cocktail party in order to avoid embarrassment.

Episode 7 - Singing with Emmet (28:12) - Another feature packed episode with Hyacinth discovering and gatecrashing Emmet's singing auditions, Richard being asked to consider early retirement and Rose ending up in a broom cupboard under the vicar having decided she's going to take the Holy Vows!

Episode 8 - Toy Store (29:16) - Daddy escapes again and this time is found bedecked in a silver spacesuit gunning down the aliens at the local Debenham's with his laser pistol. A close encounter with Rose finally brings a smile of appreciation to Emmet's face.

Episode 9 - Three-Piece Suite (29:17) - The imminent arrival of a new 3-piece suite presents a perfect opportunity to show off to the 'snobbish' Baker-Finches at No 23, especially as the suite is an exact replica of furniture found in Sandringham Palace and the delivery van carries a Royal Warrant. As per usual, the best laid plans of Mice and Hyacinth go awry but never fear, Onslow is ready and waiting to step into the breach and boldly go where no delivery man has gone before.

Episode 10 - Picnic (29:31) This time Daddy would rather make off in Richard's nice new 216 Rover than being subjected to a formal picnic with his favourite daughter. Luckily, Onslow is on hand with his trusty '78 Ford Cortina to join the pursuit until his gasket blows and they are all rescued in turn by the Vicar. Several opportunities are presented for the Buckets to get up close and personal with a couple of hairy canines.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The overall standard of this video transfer is good and it presents as a very clean transfer from recent source material.

    The aspect ratio is kept in its broadcast format of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The overall sharpness of the transfer is good though I note there is a definite soft focus to distant detail to frustrate exact identification of shooting locations. There are very few low-lit scenes so no lack of low level detail is evident nor is there intrusive low level noise. There are occasional grainy scenes where the codec miscalculates but they are few and far between.

    The colours are cleanly and realistically rendered without significant artefact.

    Not surprisingly given the duration of content on these discs and their degree of detail, there are infrequent examples of aliasing such as on the car trim at Disc 3, Episode 1, 7:21 and the shutters on Disc 2, Episode 5 27:57. There are mild instances of pixelization around the faces of the actors but these aren't intrusive. As the feature was obviously shot on video we don't see the customary film artefacts of the medium.

    There are subtitles in English and they are a reasonable, though not exact, rendition of the spoken word.

    All three discs are dual layered DVD-9s but the transitions seem to be placed between episodes and so I didn't see any layer change pauses. The total time of all the episodes is a whopping 466:00. (I wondered why the review took so blooming long!)

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

Audio

    The soundtrack is of good quality but isn't required to perform any auditory heroics.

    There is just the one track in English recorded as Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo in keeping with television requirements.

    The clarity of the dialogue is not only testimony to the soundtrack but also to the high quality actors and actresses, many of whom have extensive stage experience.

    I could see no examples of audio sync mismatch.

    The jolly semi-military theme tune was composed  by Nick Ingman. Otherwise there is limited incidental music which is so forgettable that I can't remember any of it. Audience applause, though present, was also unobtrusive.

    There is no subwoofer or surround usage in this version - wait for the new version of Hyacinth Meets Godzilla which I am sure will be in full 5.1.

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

Extras

 Menu

    Nicely presented in 1.33:1 with live video insets of the episodes which are conveniently chaptered. Individual episodes can be played or segued together without interruption. And that's yer lot unless you count the nice photo of Hyacinth inside the DVD case - having achieved cult status, though, there are plenty of websites to be found with trivia, competitions and even an MP3 of the theme tune if you're that desperate.

R4 vs R1

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

        There doesn't seem to be an exact equivalent package in R1 - what they do have is a 4-disc set containing all of the episodes from the first 2 series together with holiday specials, outtakes, a profile of Patricia Routledge as well as 5 of her sketches 'The Kitty Monolgues'. Video aspect ratio and audio formats are the same in both regions.

    The Region 1 package would have to be the clear winner on grounds of content.

Summary

    The video quality is good and easily up to the job.

    The audio quality is quite adequate for the purpose.

    There aren't any extras and I, for one, find this reasonable. I'd rather have the video footage on the discs and leave any extras hunting to surfing the web. It would be good, though, to have the more complete package as presented in Region 1.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Friday, April 23, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-E20, using RGB output
DisplayPioneer SD-T50W1 (127cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTheta Digital Intrepid
SpeakersB&W 602 front/rear. B&W LRC6 Centre / Solid (AKA B&W) 500 SW

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - CathyS
The DVD Bits - Dean B
DVD Net - Adrian T

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Overall | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 1 & 2 (1990) | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 3 & 4 (1992) | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 5 (1992) | Keeping Up Appearances-Christmas Specials (1992)

Keeping Up Appearances-Series 3 & 4 (1992)

Keeping Up Appearances-Series 3 & 4 (1992)

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Released 8-Jul-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Animation
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 435:02 (Case: 428)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (3)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Harold Snoad
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Patricia Routledge
Clive Swift
Josephine Tewson
David Griffin
Judy Cornwell
Geoffrey Hughes
Mary Millar
Shirley Stelfox
Jeremy Gittins
Marion Barron
George Webb
Case ?
RPI $59.95 Music Nick Ingman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

   You are cordially invited by Mrs Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Boo-kay, of course) to again accompany her on a journey to improve one's social status.

    Following on from the previous collection of series one and two, this three disc set from the British Broadcasting Corporation (referring to such an august institution by the abbreviation BBC is nothing less than laziness and makes one sound distinctly lower-class) presents us with series three; in which husband Richard needs Hyacinth's help dealing in a proper manner with early retirement; and series four; in which Hyacinth is determined to bring a touch of civilisation to the rural areas by purchasing a country property. Also included in this collection is the 1991 Christmas special.

    All the familiar faces from the first two series are here. Naturally Hyacinth and Richard take centre stage, as is their right as the socially superior, but we do get to see Hyacinth's family; although she would prefer we didn't. Her sister Daisy and husband Onslow are ever-present in their lower-class, unemployed, council house ("How can a yard look like this so many years after the Blitz?") way. Rose is still living with them and having man trouble ("You promised me you'd be faithful and I find you sneaking back to your wife"), and her father is also still there (I'd have Daddy live with us; if only he didn't dribble his cocoa).

    There are frequent phone calls from sister Violet (with a sauna, Jacuzzi and room for a pony), filling us in on her Turf accountant husband's penchant for female attire. Her darling son Sheridan, who is doing so well in his needle-point course at the university, also phones frequently to keep in contact with Mummy; the requests for extra money are mere coincidences.

   The Christmas Special is from 1991, Series Three is from 1992 and Series Four is from 1993 and the fifteen episodes, seven from each series plus the special, are spread evenly over the three discs.

Disc 1

1991 Christmas Special (29:17)
Hyacinth arranges for Richard to play Santa for the old age pensioners, despite Richard's embarrassment at wearing the red suit. When Emmet and Richard get drunk drowning Richard's sorrows, Elizabeth must cover for him.

Series 3 Episode 1 - Early Retirement (29:13)
Richard is forced to take early retirement and faces the daunting prospect of dealing with Hyacinth all day, every day. Hyacinth, of course, has other plans for Richard.

Series 3 Episode 2 - Iron Age Remains (29:07)
Now Richard is retired, Hyacinth takes an interest in local history and has Richard take her for an excursion into the countryside to find some iron age remains. Meanwhile Rose is love-lorn again and threatens to kill herself.

Series 3 Episode 3 - Violet's Country Cottage (29:16)
Hyacinth gets the use of her sister Violet's country cottage so she packs half the house for her and Richard to spend a couple of days in the country. While there she tries to make social in-roads with the Lady of the Manor while Richard is sent out out to find her dog.

Series 3 Episode 4 - How To Go On Holidays Without Really Trying (29:05)
Hyacinth hears that a neighbour is going abroad for holidays. Not to be outdone, she schemes to have everyone think she and Richard are planning an expensive holiday of their own. Onslow, meanwhile, decides it's time for him to rescue Richard from Hyacinth and introduce him to the joys of irresponsibility.

Disc 2

Series 3 Episode 5 - Richard's New Hobby (28:59)
Hyacinth determines that Richard needs a new hobby to keep him occupied now he is retired, so equips him with a video camera and sends him out to "be creative".

Series 3 Episode 6 - The Art Exhibition (29:24)
Hyacinth plans to attend an art exhibition, but her father runs off to join the Foreign Legion and must be found before the exhibition.

Series 3 Episode 7 - What To Wear When Yachting (29:11)
Hyacinth has the use of a friend's yacht for the day. This is the perfect opportunity to improve one's social status so she plans to entertain on board with a "nautical buffet", but first Richard must be fitted out with appropriate garments for ship-board life.

Series 4 Episode 1 - A Job For Richard (29:07)
When Hyacinth sees a job for the General Manager of a local frozen foods business advertised, she is convinced it's perfect for Richard, even though Richard is not so convinced. As these roles are never filled by application, but by knowing the right people, she sets about ensuring Richard makes a good impression on the company owner.

Series 4 Episode 2 - Country Retreat (29:00)
When a neighbour buys a country cottage, Hyacinth decides that they should have a country retreat also, so she can bring "civilisation to the rural areas".

Disc 3

Series 4 Episode 3 - A Celebrity For The Barbeque (28:44)
When Hyacinth discovers Richard is casually acquainted with the local "garden king" who has appeared on TV, she sets about ensuring he attends her "indoor - outdoor luxury barbeque" to upstage a neighbour who recently had a minor celebrity at her barbeque.

Series 4 Episode 4 - The Commodore (29:04)
Hyacinth volunteers to collect the guest speaker for her Ladies' Luncheon Club from the station. She plans to hold an over-the-top social occasion before the luncheon, but things don't go to plan.

Series 4 Episode 5 - Looking At Properties (28:19)
Hyacinth's father is arrested for guarding the Town Hall and refusing to let the Mayor's secretary in. Richard is dispatched to discreetly collect him from the police station while Hyacinth views country properties. Richard fears that she will purchase something well out of their price range.

Series 4 Episode 6 - Please Mind Your Head (28:47)
As "part owner" of a country mansion, Hyacinth is determined to have a few guests over for tea and cucumber sandwiches. Richard is concerned that the apartment is too small for entertaining, but there is no discouraging Hyacinth.

Series 4 Episode 7 - Let There Be Light (28:29)
The local church is holding a bring and buy sale. Hyacinth volunteers Richard to help repair the electrics in the hall even though his electrical experience goes no further than fixing the Christmas tree lights. While Richard is trying to avoid getting electrocuted, everyone else is trying to avoid Hyacinth.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    In short, this is a good transfer from a quality video source. There is nothing to complain about here.

    The bit rate is high and there were no visible video or compression artefacts. Sharpness, particularly in the backgrounds, is lacking a little in some scenes, but this is probably a result of the source material being video. Similarly, shadow detail is not reference quality but is more than acceptable for a transfer of a television series. There was no significant low level noise.

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

Audio

    Dolby Digital 2.0 English sound is provided and is competently transferred. There is nothing special here, but as there is only dialogue to deliver, not much is demanded of the audio. Thankfully, dialogue is clear and easy to understand. There is no real call on the rear speakers or subwoofer.

    Like the video, the audio is good without being exceptional.

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

Extras

Menu

     A nicely animated menu is provided, in the best possible taste of course, which allows episode selection. Each episode is conveniently chaptered.

    There are no extras.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region 2 version of this disc is the same as the Region 4 version. There is no direct equivalent in Region 1 that I could find, however there is a 4 disc version that has series 3, 4 and 5 as well as an extra Memoirs of Hyacinth Bucket which is a collection of cast interviews and out-takes.

    The Region 2/4 release has the advantage of PAL formatting which, being a British show, is its native format. The Region 1 package is more extensive, covering three series and adding the interviews and out-takes, so I guess that makes the Region 1 version a winner on content..

Summary

    Lovers of British comedy will enjoy this series and this is a nice 3 disc package of series 3 and 4. There is plenty to view with a run time of 435:02. I didn't miss the extras and prefer no extras to poor extras.

    The video transfer is good.

    The audio, while not spectacular, is more than adequate for the job.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Glen Randall (If you're really bored, you can read my bio)
Saturday, April 09, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-1200Y, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig M84-210 80cm. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596
SpeakersRichter Wizard fronts, Richter Lynx centre, Richter Hydra rears, Velodyne CT-100 sub-woofer

Other Reviews
AllZone4DVD - CathyS

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Memoirs & R1 set -

Overall | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 1 & 2 (1990) | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 3 & 4 (1992) | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 5 (1992) | Keeping Up Appearances-Christmas Specials (1992)

Keeping Up Appearances-Series 5 (1992)

Keeping Up Appearances-Series 5 (1992) (NTSC)

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Released 2-Nov-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Biographies-Cast & Crew-Hyacinth's Social Register
Biographies-Cast-Hyacinth's Guest Book
Outtakes
Featurette-Pebble Mill Interview With Patricia Routledge & Clive Swift
Featurette-The Memoirs Of Hyacinth Bucket
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 290:53 (Case: 374)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Harold Snoad
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Patricia Routledge
Clive Swift
Josephine Tewson
David Griffin
Judy Cornwell
Geoffrey Hughes
Mary Millar
Shirley Stelfox
Jeremy Gittins
Marion Barron
George Webb
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Nick Ingman


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Boo-kay, of course) returns to continuing improving her social standing in this the fifth and final series of Keeping Up Appearances.

    Time has not mellowed Hyacinth - in fact, she is more formidable than ever in her assault on local society. Richard, of course, is dragged along with her; stoically reserved to his lot in life. One can't help but pity poor Richard and wonder why he is still there.

    Hyacinth's sister Daisy, and her philosophical husband Onslow, still share those special private moments of their marriage with us, and sister Rose is still searching for her perfect man. Well, any man really.

    The formula for this brilliant British comedy is well developed now and it works superbly. Once more the laughs flow freely as we are taken for a visit to Hyacinth's world.

Disc 1

Episode 1: Seaside Fun (29:00)
    Hyacinth volunteers herself and Richard to help the Vicar take some of the local elderly on a day out at the seaside. One of the elderly, an amorous Italian, takes a fancy to Hyacinth.

Episode 2: The Fancy Dress Ball (28:58)
    Hyacinth is concerned that they have not been invited to the Mayor's fancy dress ball since Richard is retired from the council and is sure it is an oversight. Richard is dispatched to get the error corrected.

Episode 3: Hyacinth Is Alarmed (29:10)
    Richard quickly arranges for a top-line burglar alarm to be installed as an anniversary present so Hyacinth won't know he had forgotten. But will his undoing be the disarm code?

Episode 4: Riparian Entertainments (29:08)
    Hyacinth invites the Vicar and his wife and her neighbours to "a waterside supper with riparian entertainment". When she finds her secluded picnic spot by the river is the site of a dredge, she is determined to find another suitable location, regardless of how hard Richard and her guests have to work.

Episode 5: Sister, Sister (29:11)
    Hyacinth buys Richard some skis for his birthday - even though he doesn't ski - so he can be seen driving with them on the roof of the car. When she gets Richard to take her to her sister Violet's, she is horrified to find Violet wants to divorce her husband. To avoid the family scandal of a divorce, Hyacinth takes steps to save the marriage.

Episode 6: Country Estate Sale (29:01)
    Determined to improve her social status yet again, Hyacinth takes Richard to a country estate auction. Richard is worried about how much she will spend and is relieved when she only buys some bottles of gooseberry wine made by the lord's mother. Richard isn't prepared for the consequences when Hyacinth samples "Mumsy's Rocket Fuel" with the lord.

Disc 2

Episode 1: General Bucket (29:09)
    Hyacinth must tend to a family emergency when her father locks Onslow and Daisy out of their house having declared it a restricted military area.

Episode 2: A Bon Vivant Buffet (29:13)
    Convinced next door neighbour Emmet is shy, Hyacinth organises a barbecue at her sister Violet's place. When Violet's domestic problems become vocal, Hyacinth needs to find a way to drown out the arguing so her guests will not be aware of the marital problems.

Episode 3: A Crafts-Woman Scorned (29:02)
    Angered at being placed second in a craft show, Hyacinth decides it is time to show up her Mercedes driving adversary. She conspires to have Richard test drive a Rolls Royce and when the salesman is delayed by a phone call, forces Richard to take the test drive without him.

Episode 4: Scintillating Socializing (29:01)
    Hyacinth decides she can help the 'socially disadvantaged' by sharing her experience in etiquette with them. Her newspaper advertisement reads "experienced hostess offer her services for your special occasion" and results in work offers she never intended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    If only the transfer was up to the standards of the previous series. This final series is actually a bundle of two US releases, Living The Hyacinth Life (Disc 1) and Hats Off To Hyacinth (Disc 2). The transfer is NTSC and the menus still retain the original US titles. Series 1 & 2 and Series 3 & 4, the two previous Keeping Up Appearances releases, were PAL transfers with their menus referring to which series they were. The menus for this series are of a style completely different to the earlier series, and look out of place if you are building your collection.

    Presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and not 16x9 enhanced, this transfer is quite good for a TV series in NTSC. There is nothing really to criticise, aside from the fact it is not PAL. Colours are rich without being overdone, there are no video artefacts and sharpness is good, considering this is 1990s television.

    Shadow detail is excellent and the show is still pleasant to watch, although not up to the quality it could have been.

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

Audio

    Audio is your basic Dolby Digital 2.0. Again nothing special, as you would expect from the source, but well presented and easy to listen to. Dialogue is clear and easily understood and music is limited to the theme in the title and credit sequences.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu is animated with the theme playing behind it. It is a cartoon pop-up book style, completely different from the previous releases as it is from the US series. Quite frankly, it is not as dignified as the earlier series. Hyacinth would disapprove most vociferously.

Disc 1

Hyacinth's Social Register

    A collection of text biographies of the regular cast of the series.

Hyacinth's Guest Book

    A collection of text biographies of the guest stars of the series.

Outtakes (2:13)

    A number of fluffed lines, giggling fits and prop problems.

Disc 2

Hyacinth's Social Register

    A collection of text biographies of the regular cast of the series. Yes, the same as Disc 1.

Hyacinth's Guest Book

    A text biography of one of the guest stars of the series featured on this disc. They are one of the guest stars from Disc 1, so there is nothing new here.

Outtakes (2:13)

    More fluffed lines, giggling fits and prop problems.

The Memoirs Of Hyacinth Bucket (60:52)

    A featurette with Onslow and Daisy reading from Hyacinth's memoirs, which allows plenty of flash-backs to some of the funnier scenes from all five series.

R4 vs R1

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

    As this is just a bundle of the Region 1 releases Living The Hyacinth Life and Hats Off To Hyacinth, there is no difference. We even get NTSC.

Summary

    The British have a knack of knowing just when to end a TV series. Rather than let the characters and plot get old and stale they tend to finish their comedy series with dignity and end them on a high, following the old show-biz adage "leave 'em wanting more". This final series of Keeping Up Appearances does just that and I'm left with that ambivalent feeling of being glad the quality didn't fall off before it ended, and wanting to see more of this classic British comedy.

    I was looking forward to doing this review, having reviewed Series 3 & 4, but I was disappointed in this rather lazy repackaging of two US discs. The menu titles still use the US disc names rather than referring to this as Series 5, as it is promoted, and the menu styling is a stark contrast to the earlier releases. Add to this the fact that we have an NTSC transfer of a TV show that was produced in PAL and it really is an inexcusably lazy marketing exercise that treats you, the buyer, contemptibly. I am torn between recommending this disc because I enjoy the show so much, and advising you to keep your money firmly in your pocket because of the cheap and nasty repackaging job this is. I'll let you decide.

    The video is good, albeit NTSC.

    Audio, although only Dolby Digital 2.0, is good.

    Extras are average.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Glen Randall (If you're really bored, you can read my bio)
Monday, January 02, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-1200Y, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TH-42PV500A 42" HD Plasma. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596
SpeakersRichter Wizard fronts, Richter Lynx centre, Richter Hydra rears, Velodyne CT-100 sub-woofer

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"there are no video artefacts and sharpness is good, considering this is 1980s television." - REPLY POSTED

Overall | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 1 & 2 (1990) | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 3 & 4 (1992) | Keeping Up Appearances-Series 5 (1992) | Keeping Up Appearances-Christmas Specials (1992)

Keeping Up Appearances-Christmas Specials (1992)

Keeping Up Appearances-Christmas Specials (1992)

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Released 6-Oct-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 164:59
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Harold Snoad
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Patricia Routledge
Clive Swift
Josephine Tewson
David Griffin
Judy Cornwell
Geoffrey Hughes
Mary Millar
Shirley Stelfox
Jeremy Gittins
Marion Barron
George Webb
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Nick Ingman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Hyacinth Bucket (no, it's pronounced Boo-kay, my dear) returns to spread her own distinctive style of festive cheer in these four Christmas Specials.

    If you are not familiar with this inspired piece of British comedy, then you have been missing first rate television. I won't delve into the premise here as it has been well covered in this site's reviews of the other discs of the series. A superb cast make the most of brilliant scripts, each character being finely drawn and well portrayed.

    This disc of the Christmas specials is almost an epilogue to the 5 series and completes your journey into the world of Hyacinth Bucket. Hyacinth is sure you will have come away from this experience learning how one must behave properly in social situations. Many of the specials are not of a Christmas theme per se, but were specials made to air during the Christmas period.

   Please remember that, although you have learned how to be socially superior, do not act superior. As Hyacinth says, "People who think they are superior make it very difficult for those of us that are."

1991 Special (29:18)
    Hyacinth arranges for Richard to play Santa and distribute presents to the senior citizens, despite Richard's protestations. Richard hides in embarrassment next door and gets drunk with Emmet drowning Richard's sorrows. Elizabeth dons the Santa suit to cover for Richard which leads to a series of mistaken identities. This special was also included on the Series 3 & 4 three disc set.

1993 Special (58:08)
    Hyacinth and Richard are taking a holiday, cruising on the Queen Elizabeth II. A vessel of suitable distinction for Hyacinth, where they will, of course, associate with people of only the finest social standing. When Hyacinth sees Daisy and Onslow on the boat, she is sure they must have stowed away.

1994 Special (48:22)
    Richard develops a most socially unacceptable case of athlete's foot, so Hyacinth makes him pretend it is gout, a much more civilised ailment. Meanwhile, a family crisis looms as Daddy has wandered off again.

1995 Special (29:11)
    Hyacinth is organising a pageant about the local involvement in the English civil war. When her appeal for volunteers fails to attract anyone, she calls in her family to help.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Once more the BBC provides a good transfer for a mid 1990s TV series. The transfer is 1.33:1, which is the original aspect ratio and there is little to complain about.

    Naturally being a TV series the image is not as sharp as a modern feature film, but it is acceptable. There was little in the way of graininess and I didn't notice any MPEG blocking. In short, a good, workman-like transfer. Nothing stunning, but nothing wrong either.

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

Audio

    Audio is, like the video, a good workman-like transfer. Dolby Digital 2.0 is provided and, with the show being primarily dialogue, not too much is expected from your speakers.

    While not an audio feast, what it needs to do the soundtrack does well with dialogue easy to understand and clear.

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

Extras

    There are no extras. The menu is animated with the theme playing behind it.

R4 vs R1

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

    I was not able to find an equivalent release in Region 1.

Summary

    A very basic disc with only four episodes and no extras, this is still a must-have if you are a Keeping Up Appearances fan and want the complete set. If you have not yet discovered this fine British comedy, this is not the disc to make your acquaintance with Hyacinth and her family as these episodes assume you already know the characters.

    Video is good.

    Audio, although only Dolby Digital 2.0, is good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Glen Randall (If you're really bored, you can read my bio)
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba SD-1200Y, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic TH-42PV500A 42" HD Plasma. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596
SpeakersRichter Wizard fronts, Richter Lynx centre, Richter Hydra rears, Velodyne CT-100 sub-woofer

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