Overall | To the Manor Born-Series 1 (1979) | To the Manor Born-Series 2 (1979) | To the Manor Born-Series 3 (1981)

To the Manor Born-Complete Series 1-3 (1979)

To the Manor Born-Complete Series 1-3 (1979)

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Released 5-Oct-2006

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Overall Package

    This 6 disc set contains a repackaged version of the previously issued single season sets. The actual disc contents are exactly the same which means that the same extras appear three times in this set, which is pretty slack. The set has been repackaged into a cardboard slipcover and gatefold insert containing the six discs. If you already own the season sets there is no reason to buy this one. If you have resisted the temptation to buy the individual sets this would be a very good purchase.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | To the Manor Born-Series 1 (1979) | To the Manor Born-Series 2 (1979) | To the Manor Born-Series 3 (1981)

To the Manor Born-Series 1 (1979)

To the Manor Born-Series 1 (1979)

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Released 3-May-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Interviews-Crew-Peter Spence (Writer)
Filmographies-Cast
Production Notes
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 199:51 (Case: 212)
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gareth Gwenlan
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Penelope Keith
Peter Bowles
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Ronnie Hazlehurst
John Dunstan
Fran Needham


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 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

    To the Manor Born is one of those brilliant English comedies. First aired in 1979, it went on to be one of the most popular shows on British TV. In excess of 27 million people tuned in for the final episode, breaking all previous records for a single show. This record would stand for the next 15 years. People fell in love with the main characters, the pithy humour and the very sparky attraction between them.

    Penelope Keith, one of the mainstays of many of these comedies, plays Lady fforbes-Hamilton. She is one of the vanguard of the upper class in Britain. All around her, society is falling to pieces - foreigners and lower class people are taking over Britain. Even worse, they are the nouveau-riche. With the death of her husband, she finds herself in dire straits as she is forced to sell the family home in which her family has resided for over 400 years.

    Much to her horror, the mansion is bought by someone who is not even of British descent - a foreigner! Richard DeVere is played with consummate skill by Peter Bowles, and his down-to-earth foil to Lady fforbes-Hamilton is a mainstay of the programme. While the DeVeres try and settle into British country life, even though he has brought his work with him and coverts one of the rooms of the mansion into a modern study, Lady fforbes-Hamilton has moved into a much more modest house on the edge of the estate - in times gone past this was the lodge of the manor. She has purchased the lodge so that she can keep an eye on the manor, and on Mr. Richard DeVere, which she does with a pair of binoculars.

    While the two are attracted to each other, they live in different worlds: Richard with the money and mansion but no history, and Audrey with all the lineage of British aristocracy behind her but nary a cent to her name. Audrey is a true blue-blooded aristocratic snob and her views on life give us about half of the many laughs in the show. They spend each episode revolving around each other's orbits, fatally attracted, but every time they get close the sparks fly and they move apart again (but not too far).

    This is satire of the highest order. What Yes, Minister does for politicians, To The Manor Born does for the British upper class. Written by Peter Spence, originally as a radio play, there are some fascinating connections to the show. For example, Peter Spence is married to the daughter of the family that lived in the manor that features in the show.

    There are seven episodes in the first season. I don't believe that the episodes have official titles:

1: (24:58) The season opens with the funeral of the late Mr. fforbes-Hamilton and Audrey's shock discovery that she can no longer afford to live in the manor.

2: (29:33) Audrey moves out in one of the funniest scenes in the first season and the DeVeres move in. Neither are initially impressed with their new neighbours.

3: (30:38) One of the many episodes that revolve around Audrey trying to educate Richard in the responsibilities of ownership of the manor. In this case he has not attended the local church on Sunday and is taken to task for this by Audrey.

4: (25:47) In remodelling the manor, Richard discovers that behind the current fireplaces are the original and much better fireplaces - they were covered over and made smaller as an austerity measure in the second world war. Simply to be difficult, Audrey gives him a hard time about removing the fireplaces. Audrey does Richard a favour and helps him to purchase a horse for the manor and in gratitude he has one of the removed fireplaces installed in the lodge. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a bad idea.

5: (30:03) It is time for the yearly Hunt Ball, an event that has always been held at the manor and organised by Audrey. Just to be difficult, she wants to be begged to manage the ball, something Richard will not do. So, in revenge, he asks Audrey's friend to manage the event and drives Audrey to frustration until she breaks and takes over the event.

6: (27:30) No longer able to afford a yearly holiday on the continent, Audrey hatches a plan to appear to go on holiday but in actual fact spends the time under a sun lamp hiding in the living room.

7: (31:22) A film crew arrives at the manor to film an advert, one that is supposed to feature an English Lord in his ancestral home. Audrey discovers this and gives the director a few words to the wise, upsetting DeVere's plan to become accepted as an English gentleman.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The 1.33:1 non 16x9 enhanced image is about what you would expect from a weekly show of this age.

    The video-based material is quite sharp but there is some video noise present. The film-based material is slightly less sharp and has a fair amount of grain present. There is more than the usual amount of film footage in the earlier episodes as there is quite a bit of location footage. The material inside the manor is also film-based. Shadow detail is good for both media but there is some low level noise triggered both by the grain and the video noise.

    Colours are slightly faded but still good as are the skin tones (English skin tones of course).

    There are no major MPEG artefacts. There is some posterization in the faces such as at 10:58 in the third episode. The film footage does suffer from film artefacts such as grain, dirt and in particular white flecks that can be a bit distracting at times.

    Unfortunately there are no subtitles present on either disc.

    Both discs are single layered.

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

Audio

     There is a single English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack present on these discs.

    Dialogue quality is very good as is the audio sync.

    There is little music other than the opening theme, which is very reminiscent of the theme for Yes, Minister.

    The surround and the subwoofer have little to nothing to do.

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

Extras

Menu

    A static menu presented at 1.33:1 with no audio contains a picture of our two main characters on the left and the menu selections on the right. The background picture is the same on both the discs.

A conversation with Peter Spence (11:57)

    A short but fascinating interview with the creator and writer of the show, offering many interesting tidbits of information along with the difficulty he faced moving from radio to a visual medium. Presented at 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, the audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

Cast Filmographies

    The usual page or two of information about the actors: Penelope Keith, Peter Bowles, Angela Thorne, John Rudling, Gerald Sim, Daphne Heard and Michael Bilton.

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 appears to be identical to our release. The R1 release appears to be scheduled for June this year. It is a boxed set of the entire series (three seasons) and includes an interview with Peter Bowles, a profile of Penelope Keith but not the interview with Peter Spence. What it also includes (and I wrote the below summary before I found this out) is the four radio episodes based on the same series.

    As it does not appear that the R2 discs, all series of which have been released, have the radio episodes, I am giving R1 the provisional win.

Summary

    There are similarities between Penelope Keith's character in this show and in The Good Life, the show which she was in just prior to this one. In that case it was the middle class to which she belonged rather than the very upper crust. I loved both characters and can easily see why this show still has a large following many years after it was originally aired.

    The video is good for its age.

    The audio is perfectly functional.

    The extra is a nice little inclusion, though again as with other ABC releases there is a missed opportunity by not including the radio broadcast version of the series.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252q CRT Projector, Screen Technics matte white screen 16:9 (223cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR800
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke

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Overall | To the Manor Born-Series 1 (1979) | To the Manor Born-Series 2 (1979) | To the Manor Born-Series 3 (1981)

To the Manor Born-Series 2 (1979)

To the Manor Born-Series 2 (1979)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 7-Apr-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Interviews-Crew-Peter Spence (Writer)
Filmographies-Cast
Production Notes
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1979
Running Time 200:18 (Case: 222)
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gareth Gwenlan
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Penelope Keith
Peter Bowles
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Ronnie Hazlehurst
John Dunstan
Fran Needham


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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

    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 second series includes 6 episodes, however the DVD set also includes the Christmas special which followed the first season. The episodes included here are:

    This is a funny and highly entertaining series even 25 years after it was made, with excellent writing and fine performances, especially from the leads..

    Highly Recommended.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    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 but it is never overbearing. 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.
    

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

Audio

    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.

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

Extras

    The extras are exactly the same as Series 1 and are repeated again on Series 3.

Menu

    The menu is static and virtually exactly the same on both discs.

Disc 2

Interview with writer Peter Spence (11:57)

    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.

Cast Filmographies

    Text filmographies for all major cast members. Yawn.

Production Notes

    6 text pages about the show and its development.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    A classic English comedy series.

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, November 20, 2006
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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews
impulsegamer.com - Tory Favro

Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | To the Manor Born-Series 1 (1979) | To the Manor Born-Series 2 (1979) | To the Manor Born-Series 3 (1981)

To the Manor Born-Series 3 (1981)

To the Manor Born-Series 3 (1981)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 4-May-2006

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Interviews-Crew-Peter Spence (Writer)
Filmographies-Cast
Production Notes
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1981
Running Time 205:47 (Case: 217)
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gareth Gwenlan
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Penelope Keith
Peter Bowles
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music Ronnie Hazlehurst
John Dunstan
Fran Needham


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 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

    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.

    Highly Recommended.

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

Transfer Quality

Video

    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.
    

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

Audio

    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.

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

Extras

    The extras are exactly the same as Series 1 and Series 2.

Menu

    The menu is static and virtually exactly the same on both discs.

Disc 2

Interview with writer Peter Spence (11:57)

    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.

Cast Filmographies

    Text filmographies for all major cast members. Yawn.

Production Notes

    6 text pages about the show and its development.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    A classic English comedy series which finished after just three seasons at the top of its game.

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE