The Royle Family-Series 2 (1998)

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Released 3-Mar-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 215:29
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Steve Bendelack
Studio
Distributor
Time Life Video & TV
Shock Entertainment
Starring Caroline Aherne
Craig Cash
Sue Johnston
Ralf Little
Ricky Tomlinson
Liz Smith
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Noel Gallagher


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame 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

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Plot Synopsis

    Not to be confused with the British Royal Family, this Royle family are proudly working-class and live in Manchester. They are poles apart from royalty, enjoying an uncomplicated lifestyle in front of the telly with a cup of tea and a packet of ciggies.

    If you're unfamiliar with this superb British sit-com and want an overview of the series, can I suggest that you first read my review of series one.

    As was the case in the first series of The Royle Family, the camera never ventures beyond the confined walls of the family home. This method ensures the audience is an invisible guest, observing the understated and often hilarious comings and goings in the Royle household. The absence of a laughter track also allows the wonderful subtle humor in the dialogue to surface without interruption.

    This series is again superbly written by Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash, with the inclusion this time of Carmel Morgan, who joined the writing team to replace Henry Normal from the first series. The same wonderful cast also return to continue their roles in the second series.

    The first episode of the second series of The Royle Family aired on BBC1 in September 1999, with a special Christmas episode airing in December of the same year (this episode is a welcome inclusion on disc two of this DVD presentation).

    The second series simply follows on from where the first signed off. Denise and Dave are now married and are living in their own place. This is about the only real change to the dynamic of the household, although as you might expect, Denise and Dave are always visiting and are present during all six episodes.

    A brief overview of the six episodes in series two and the Christmas Special follows:

Disc One:

    Episode One - Pregnancy (29:54)       

    Denise and Dave drop in with some exciting news – they are pregnant. Barbara calls Nanna on the phone to give her the good news, but is quickly told to call back after Coronation Street. Jim offers to buy Champagne, but downgrades the offer to Pomagne when he's told it will cost him twenty-five quid. Denise is concerned about keeping her independence when the baby's born, so she has started to organise babysitters. Dave is told to remove the motorbike from the box room so it can be converted into a nursery. Names? Whitney for a girl and Keanu for a boy, although Dave's keen to keep a family tradition and name a boy Dave.

    Episode Two - Sunday Lunch (29:26)

    Barbara receives little help from anyone, as she prepares the family roast dinner – that is, until Antony arrives home from his football game. Nanna is pre-occupied with telling everyone about a local lady who had a surprise makeover on the Richard & Judy Show. Twiggy arrives home with Jim and Dave and a place is made for him at the dinner table. Barbara is beginning to show symptoms of menopause. Dave is under increasing pressure to get rid of that motorbike.

    Episode Three - Nanna's Coming To Stay (28:21)

    Denise and Dave drop in while Barbara and grumpy Jim watch Changing Rooms. Antony is dropped at home by his new girlfriend, Emma, and is greeted with a friendly ribbing from the family. Antony makes a brew for everyone, which then promotes a sing-a-long of favorite TV commercials. Nanna is coming to stay for a week while she recovers from her impending cataract operation and Jim is not at all enthusiastic. Antony announces he is managing a band and asks Dave if he could help organise a gig at The Feathers.

    Episode Four - Nanna Comes To Stay (29:34)

    Nanna has had her cataract operation and is asleep on the couch. Jim and Dave plot a trip to the pub while the girls are talking in the kitchen. With the baby now the size of an orange, Denise is even more determined not to over do things. Antony is sporting a new look with his bleached hair. He also cops a ribbing over it from Emma and the fact that the band has already split up.

    Disc Two

    Episode Five - Barbara's Finally Had Enough (29:10)

    In a menopause-induced fit of rage, Barbara has snapped and has finally had enough of Jim. While Barbara and Denise discuss Jim's failings in the kitchen, Jim discusses Barb's failings in the lounge with Dave – although Dave does his best to stay out of it. Denise returns to the lounge and a three-way argument erupts. While Barbara goes for a walk to collect her thoughts, Jim, Denise and Dave soon settle down and watch Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Barb returns and Jim turns a new leaf, making everyone a brew and promising to cook dinner tomorrow night. That is, until Dave reminds him that tomorrow is the night of the darts final.

    Episode Six - Antony's Birthday (29:26)

    Barbara is busy putting the finishing touches to Antony's 18th birthday party. Twiggy has arrived with the present, as has Antony's mate, Darren. Next to arrive is Nanna with Denise and Dave. Because the family is yet to meet Antony's girlfriend, Barbara is concerned that everything goes well when he and Emma arrive. On their arrival all eyes are on an awkward Emma as the family get to know her. Mary, Joe and Cheryl arrive to complete the party. The source of a foul smell turns out to be dog muck on Dave's boot. Jim gets out the banjo for some light-hearted fun and Joe surprises everyone with a touching rendition of I Will Take You Home Kathleen.

    Christmas Special 1999 (39:38)

    It's Christmas Day and after a big turkey dinner, the family sprawl out in front of the telly. Antony has been invited to a vegetarian dinner at Emma's house in the evening, after which, they like to play traditional parlor games. Dave and Denise are expected at Dave's parents place and Nanna is going to visit her friend, Elsie. While Dave is out taking Nanna to Elsie's, Denise suddenly goes into labour while in the upstairs bathroom. In a surprisingly touching scene, Jim goes up to console her while Barbara calls a cab. Dave returns and the four quickly leave the house in preparation for a Christmas Day birth.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for series two is reasonable.

    The series is presented full screen in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, which is not 16x9 enhanced.

    If you're familiar with the first series of The Royle Family on DVD, then you know what to expect in terms of quality – overall, the second series looks very similar. Sharpness and clarity is moderate and will vary depending on the size your display. On my screen the image was generally quite soft, but not at all problematic. Occasionally blacks exhibited minor levels of low-level-noise and shadows were generally acceptable.

    Staying consistent with the first series, colours are soft and muted, with no vivid colours used.

    There were no MPEG artefacts noticed. Some minor aliasing was noticed on blinds during the Christmas Special, but generally artefacts were not an annoyance. Film artefacts were also insignificant.

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitles available on the DVD.

    Both DVD's are single sided, single layer discs, so there was no layer change to negotiate.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is also reasonably good, being on par with the first series.

    There is only one audio track available on the DVD. English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)

    Considering the Manchester accents, dialogue quality was excellent. I had very little trouble hearing and comprehending any of the dialogue. No adverse problems were noticed with audio sync.

    The only music present in The Royle Family is the main theme song, which was written by Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher and performed by Oasis. The song is really quite good, accurately capturing the laid back mood of the sitcom. Naturally, this is the same theme music as the first series.

    The surrounds really only contributed when the theme music played at the beginning and end of each episode.

    Apart from assisting the theme music, the subwoofer was rarely used.

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

Extras

    The only extra on this DVD is the aforementioned Christmas Special.

Menu

    If you already have the first series on DVD, you will be familiar with the menu. Exactly the same menu has been retained for the second series. It is nicely animated with 16x9 enhancement and theme music from the show.

R4 vs R1

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

    At the time of this review there is no R1 version of The Royle Family - Series Two available.

    All three series of The Royle Family are available on DVD in the UK, including an inclusive box-set. However, in relation to the second series only, the UK - R2 edition appears to be identical in terms of content to this reviewed edition. In that case, there seems to be no logical reason to look past this local version, unless you're keen to pick up the entire collection before it's officially released here.

Summary

     The quality of the writing in the second series of The Royle Family is equal to, if not better than, the first. The characters and scenarios are very real and incredibly funny, which makes repeated viewings a pleasure. If you're already a fan of the program, this two-disc set is a must-have addition to your collection. If you're unfamiliar with The Royle Family, maybe it's time you paid them a visit. Highly Recommended.

    The transfers are on par with the first series and are reasonably good.

    The lack of extras is about the only real disappointment.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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