The Royle Family-Series 3 (2000)
|Category||Comedy||Bonus Episode-The 2000 Christmas Special|
|Year Of Production||2000|
|Running Time||197:06 (Case: 190)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Caroline Aherne|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The Royle Family is undoubtedly one of the finest British sitcoms of the last thirty years. For those unfamiliar with the show and its characters, or for more background information, you might want to first check out my reviews of series one and series two .
This third and final series of the show aired in the U.K. in October and November, 2000. As is the case with the previous two series, this third series is written with remarkable authenticity. However, this time around, Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash have the writing credit on their own, without a third party. Every episode in the third series, including the 2000 Christmas Special (which is included on this DVD), is directed by Caroline Aherne.
After the Christmas Special of 2000, Caroline Aherne announced her retirement from television. Caroline's turbulent life had seen her have to deal with bouts of depression, alcohol abuse and even a suicide attempt. She left England soon after and migrated to Australia in an effort to escape the constant media attention into her private life.
However, in April of 2006, Caroline Aherne and Craig Cash announced through the BBC that they would write a final, one-off episode that would complete The Royle Family. That episode entitled The Queen Of Sheba screened in the U.K in October 2006 to a massive television audience of 7.8 million and concluded this brilliant sitcom on an suitably emotional level. At the time of writing this review, The Queen Of Sheba has not yet been released on DVD in this country.
What follows is a brief summary of each episode in series three, including the Christmas Special.
Denise and Dave arrive with Baby David. Antony and his mate, Darren arrive later and Darren is infatuated with Denise breastfeeding. Much to Jim's annoyance, Denise announces that she is planning on having the christening at his house. Dave announces that he is making a toy farmyard for Baby David.
Barb and Jim have been babysitting Baby David again. Denise and Dave arrive with hangovers after celebrating their wedding anniversary at The Feathers the night before. Mary and Joe drop in fresh from the hospital. Joe had to pay a visit to casualty when he cut his fingers while grating some cheese. When Baby David starts crying upstairs, Antony is told to see to him. While he's upstairs, Denise, Dave, Barb and Jim all pop out for a quick drink at The Feathers.
Twiggy has come over to help Jim with the redecorating in preparation for Baby David's christening. Barb has requested the wallpaper be stripped and replaced with woodchip. Dave is roped in to help when he arrives with Baby David. Cheryl is still fighting the battle of the bulge and has new scales, which make her lighter. Antony and Darren stay in the kitchen to avoid the work in the living room. Barb is kept busy providing a steady stream of bacon butties.
Nana is visiting after the funeral of her best friend, Elsie. She asks Dave if he will drive her home later, so she can go next door and go through Elsie's house before her daughter clears it out. Nana has her eyes on a few things and she is sure that Elsie wouldn't mind. Dave is still building the toy farmyard for Baby David. Antony takes food orders for the chippie. Even though Cheryl devoured a pound of fudge on her way home from the precinct, she still finds room for an order. Jim goes upstairs and suddenly a ghostly voice is heard through the baby monitor.
The family are again gathered around the telly. Barb announces that tea will consist of just eggs and chips, because the sausages have passed their use-by date. Dave has almost finished the toy farmyard for Baby David. Nanna has been on the toilet for about forty minutes, but she still can't shift anything. Antony announces that the band has reformed and he is going to London to try his luck with some record companies.
The party crowd burst through the back door, with Jim leading a conga line. The guests have returned from the Christening ceremony and everyone is in party mode. Twiggy's girlfriend does her best to upset as many people as possible. A clairvoyant has told Cheryl that she will find true love in either two days, two weeks, two months or two years. Nanna relays a story about a young man who went to Brighton and came back a gay. Jim gets sentimental with Baby David, as does Denise and Dave. Dave has finally finished the toy farmyard. As everyone gets drunk, singing and dancing around the house, Antony makes a surprise announcement.
Apart from being Christmas, it is also Baby David's first birthday. His presents include a carton of Benson & Hedges cigarettes from Cheryl and a handmade garage from Dave. Everyone is anxious because Emma's well off parents, Roger and Valerie are coming to visit. After their visit, Jim is feeling very inadequate. They have all of life's luxuries, while he doesn't have two pennies to rub together. However, he soon has a smile back on his face when the family present him with his Christmas present - Sky TV with 200 channels.
The video transfer for The Royle Family - Complete Third Series is consistent with the previous two series on DVD.
The series is presented full screen, in an aspect ratio of 1.29:1, which is not 16x9 enhanced.
If you have the previous two series, you can pretty much expect the same the level of quality with this series. The Royle Family was filmed using a single camera with 16mm film stock. Sharpness and clarity levels are moderate. The transfer is slightly soft overall and there are minor levels of grain present throughout, but nothing of any great significance or annoyance. Blacks occasionally exhibited small amounts of noise and shadows were reasonably good.
The production design of the series uses very drab and subdued colour. These colours appear nicely balanced. The usage of vibrant colour is quite limited.
There were no MPEG artefacts noticed. Film-to-video artefacts were insignificant and film artefacts were not an issue.
Unfortunately, there are no subtitles on this DVD.
This is a single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change was easily noticed and occurs during episode four at 19:57.
The audio transfer is also reasonably good.
There is one audio track available on the DVD, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).
Character accents are often quite heavy, so naturally, this and the use of local slang terms caused the occasional problem with comprehension. But in general, dialogue quality was very good.
I found no adverse issues with audio sync.
As is the case with the previous series of The Royle Family , there is no actual musical score. The main theme song titled Half The World Away, is performed by Oasis and was written by the band's front man, Noel Gallagher. Naturally, this is the same theme music as used in the first two series. Some incidental music is heard on a few occasions throughout the third series, this includes a very funny scene in episode three, featuring the song, Mambo No5.
The surrounds really only contributed when the theme music played at the beginning and end of each episode.
The subwoofer was rarely used, apart from the occasional music.
|Surround Channel Use|
The only extra on this DVD is the aforementioned Christmas Special.
If you already own the first and second series on DVD, you will be familiar with the menu. Exactly the same menu has been retained for the third series. It is nicely animated with 16x9 enhancement and the Oasis theme music from the show.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
I could not find a R1 release of The Royle Family - Series Three. There is however a U.K. R2 release of series three that is exactly the same as this local edition. Also available in R2 is, The Royle Family Album - The Complete Collection Box Set. This 2006 release includes all three series of the show and also includes the final episode, The Queen Of Sheba.
The Royle Family owes its success to the calibre of writing and its array of genuinely likeable characters. Supporting these are the performances from the entire cast, which could not be any better. Over three series, The Royle Family transformed a seemingly mundane premise, the day-to-day lives of a working class family living in Manchester. And from this, it has created a hilarious, honest and very real comedy, which only gets better with repeated viewings. Highly Recommended.
The video and audio transfers are perfectly acceptable.
As with both previous series, the lack of any extras is a disappointment.
|DVD||JVC XV-N412, using Component output|
|Display||Hitachi 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.|
|Amplification||Panasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS|
|Speakers||Fronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17|