To the Manor Born-Series 3 (1981)
Interviews-Crew-Peter Spence (Writer)
|Year Of Production||1981|
|Running Time||205:47 (Case: 217)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Gareth Gwenlan|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
I am a great lover of English comedy where over the years the best sketch and episodic comedies have been routinely churned out, from Monty Python to Fawlty Towers to Blackadder to Black Books and so on. This classic series from the late 1970s/early 1980s certainly deserves a place in that pantheon. Only three series were made, totalling 21 episodes including a Christmas Special. At the time of writing all three series are available on DVD, either separately or together in a box set. The First Series has previously been reviewed and the release of the new box set version encouraged me to review the other two series and the box set. To cut a long story short, the new box set is little more than a repackage with the actual disc contents being exactly the same, including menus and extras (which are the same on each series set - and therefore repeated three times on the box set!).
As you are probably aware, the basic plot of this series involves widow Audrey fforbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith) who is the former lady of the manor. After her husband's death, she was forced to sell the manor and move into the Lodge (a smaller house on the estate). She sold the Manor to businessman Richard DeVere (Peter Bowles), who she discovered much to her horror is not even English. After he moves in with his mother, she goes out of her way to make life difficult for him but slowly over the first season it becomes obvious that there was a mutual attraction underneath the barbs. As the show continued over its three year run, that attraction became more and more obvious. These two characters were supported by a good cast of interesting eccentrics including:
This third series (first shown in 1981) includes 7 episodes including the famous final episode which held the viewing record for 15 years in Great Britain. During this series the relationship between the leads becomes steadily more romantic, culminating in the final episode. The episodes included here are:
It is fantastic to see a series which is prepared to finish before it 'jumps the shark'. It went out on top leaving a lasting legacy.
The video quality is good for a series of this age.
The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.
The picture was surprisingly sharp for a series of this age. There was no evidence of low level noise. There is grain throughout which is worse during on-location shots. This series seemed a little grainier than the other two. Shadow detail is nothing special but is no worse than you would expect.
The colour was quite decent, although there is some minor colour bleeding, a little bit of cross-colourisation and some flaring (in red and green) from shiny objects.
Artefacts included some edge enhancement, some jagged edges and minor aliasing, a few minor spots of tape tracking errors and some spots and blobs.
There are no subtitles.
The two discs are both single layered.
The audio quality is good.
This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.
The score of this series by Ronnie Hazlehurst mostly consists of the theme song which is justifiably famous. The music sounds a little too strident in this transfer prompting you to jump to the menu instead of watching the credits.
The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The extras are exactly the same as Series 1 and Series 2.
The menu is static and virtually exactly the same on both discs.
A 2003 interview with the creator and writer which covers his career, the style of writing, the story lines, filming, his inspiration and the characters. Worth watching.
Text filmographies for all major cast members. Yawn.
6 text pages about the show and its development.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This series is available as a box set in Region 1. The differences are as follows:
The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;
The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;
On this basis I think the Region 1 set seems better but the local set is also fine.
The video quality is good for television of this age.
The audio quality is good.
The set has a small set of extras which are repeated on each season set.
|DVD||Pioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output|
|Display||Sony 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer|