Overall | The Royle Family-Series 1 (1998) | The Royle Family-Series 2 (1998) | The Royle Family-Series 3 (2000)

The Royle Family-Complete Collection (1998)

The Royle Family-Complete Collection (1998)

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Released 3-Aug-2007

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Overall Package

    If you have been patiently waiting for a locally released box set of the brilliant BBC sitcom, The Royle Family, your wait is now finally over. However, this collection is not totally complete, as the final ever episode titled, The Queen Of Sheba has not been included in this set. I had hoped that Time Life might have included it in this collection as a special bonus, but no dice. In fact at the time of writing this review, The Queen Of Sheba episode still has not been screened on Australian television or released locally on DVD.

    If you already own the three series of The Royle Family on DVD, then this box set will not give you anything that you don't already have. The set is comprised of each series exactly as they are available for purchase separately. This means everything is the same, right down to the artwork of the slicks and the discs. Naturally of course, the two Christmas specials are also included in series two and three.

     The Royle Family is superb entertainment, worthy of many repeat viewings. If you have only purchased one series or haven't yet purchased any, then this set is a must for your collection. I hope that a local release of the final episode is not far off. Having said that though, I doubt that another box set would be released just to accommodate its release. So my advice is to get down to your local DVD retailer and pick up this "almost" complete collection - enjoy.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Friday, August 10, 2007
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Royle Family-Series 1 (1998) | The Royle Family-Series 2 (1998) | The Royle Family-Series 3 (2000)

The Royle Family-Series 1 (1998)

The Royle Family-Series 1 (1998)

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Released 7-Nov-2006

Cover Art

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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 173:35 (Case: 170)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Caroline Aherne
Steve Bendelack
Mark Mylod
Studio
Distributor
Time Life Video & TV
Shock Entertainment
Starring Caroline Aherne
Craig Cash
Carmel Morgan
Henry Normal
Ricky Tomlinson
Sally Lindsay
John Henshaw
Sharon Duce
Brendan O'Carroll
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, frequently
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This review marks one hundred for me on this web site. I'm very pleased that this personal milestone arrives with the review of series one of the wonderful, understated British sitcom The Royle Family.

    If you're unfamiliar with this superb program, then let me point out from the outset that this Royle family has nothing whatsoever to do with the Royal Family. In fact this Royle family couldn't be any further removed from living the regal and pompous lifestyle of royalty.

    The first episode of the first series premiered on BBC2 on the 14th September 1998 and quickly gained a considerable following, ensuring a rapid promotion to BBC1 for the next series. The Royle Family has won a multitude of awards over the years and is a much loved and respected program in Britain. The sitcom polled a very respectable 19th place out of 100 entries in a 2004 survey to find Britain's best ever sitcom.

    The Royles are a proud, working class family who live in a cramped council house somewhere in Manchester. We, the audience, become an invisible guest, observing the day-to-day comings and goings of the household, most of which revolve around an overloaded ashtray and the television set. Although the production is incredibly simplistic, it still manages to perfectly capture a very realistic portrait of family life, regardless of class. The camera never ventures beyond the confined interior of the family home, so the casting and writing is critical to the success or failure of the program. Thankfully, The Royle Family is a big winner in both of these categories. The sitcom is superbly written by Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash and Henry Normal, with the former two also playing key character roles in the program.

    The Royles are headed by the argumentative father and patriarch, Jim (Ricky Tomlinson). Jim is probably in his fifties, is unemployed, very opinionated, lazy and overweight. He spends a good deal of time in his armchair watching the television and arguing the point, but underneath his cantankerous exterior he has a heart of gold. In contrast to Jim is his mild mannered wife and mother of the family, Barbara (Sue Johnston). Barbara offers a calming influence on the family and not only deals with the domestic duties, but is also the only money earner in the family, working at a local bakery. Jim and Barbara's daughter is Denise (Caroline Aherne). She is in her mid-twenties, unemployed and is also rather lazy, spending most of her time chain smoking in front of the telly. She is also pre-occupied with jealous hatred for her fiancé's ex-girlfriend, Beverly Macker. Denise is engaged to marry Dave Best (Craig Cash). He spends a great deal of time in the Royle home - much of it glued to the TV screen. Dave has a job as a furniture removalist and also runs his own mobile disco business on the side. The final member of the Royle family is the teenage son, Antony (Ralf Little). Poor Antony is always the one to do the menial chores such as answering the door or fetching something from the shop. He and Denise are constantly irritating each other. Other minor characters in series one include Barbara's eighty-two year old mother, Norma or Nanna (Liz Smith), the Royle's next door neighbours, Mary and Joe Carroll (Doreen Keogh and Peter Martin), their daughter, Cheryl (Jessica Stevenson) and Jim's best friend, Twiggy (Geoffrey Hughes).

    Here is a brief run down of the six episodes in series one:

Episode One - Bills, Bills, Bills (28:31)

    The latest expensive phone bill has Jim hopping mad, as he only has six weeks left until Denise's wedding and he still has to pay for it. Denise and Cheryl are keen to lose some weight before the wedding. Dave has a DJ job at the local, but Denise is not enthusiastic about it. Barbara is busy learning the prices for her first day at the bakery. Twiggy arrives at the house with some clothes for sale. Jim can't resist a new pair of jeans.

Episode Two - Making Ends Meet (29:00)

    As the family discusses the wedding, Jim is still stressing over the cost. But even this can't stop him devouring a pork chop. Barbara makes arrangements for Nanna to come and visit, much to Jim's annoyance. Denise believes she has her future married life all mapped out. Antony negotiates a deal to earn himself a ciggie. Dave arrives with his new business cards. Jim's in trouble again for announcing his toilet movements.

Episode Three - Sunday Afternoon (28:45)

    Nanna has arrived for Sunday dinner. Mary and Cheryl bring over the wedding dress for Denise to try on. The family gathers around the telly, placing bets on antique prices on The Antique Roadshow. Dave agrees to drive Nanna home, taking the pressure off Jim.

Episode Four - Jim's Birthday (28:56)

    Denise has a migraine due to the stress of the wedding, or is it really a hangover? Antony has scored himself a black eye in a fight. Cheryl brings around the leather jacket that Denise ordered in a catalogue. It's Jim's birthday, so it's cake and Pomagne all round before heading down to The Feathers to continue the celebrations.

Episode Five - Another Woman? (29:09)

    Denise and Dave arrive home late from the pub and turn the house into turmoil. Denise accuses Dave of flirting with Beverly Macker and she promptly calls off the wedding. Jim, Barbara and Antony come downstairs to help restore the peace. Jim makes cups of tea all round, with a drop of whiskey to help calm the nerves. They soon settle down to watch some late night telly, while Jim deals with a bad case of indigestion. Tempers settle and the wedding plans are soon restored. Antony fetches Jim's banjo for a late night family sing-along. Dave scores the couch to sleep on and gets a visitor.

Episode Six - The Wedding Day (29:14)

    The wedding day has finally arrived. Barbara, Cheryl and Denise are upstairs nervously preparing, while Nanna's downstairs eating. Jim, Dave and Twiggy return from the pub and must keep Dave from seeing the bride. Mary and Joe also drop in to see Denise in her gown before heading to the church. Fresh from the hairdresser, Antony announces his plan to take over Denise's room immediately after the wedding. Jim gets a sudden and violent attack of the runs. Everyone leaves the house to get into a taxi, which leaves just Jim and Denise to wait for the wedding car. They have one last drop of whiskey together before leaving.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for The Royle Family is reasonably good.

    The series is presented full screen in the original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The degree of sharpness and clarity is moderate, but not at all problematic. The transfer is slightly soft overall and there are varying levels of grain present throughout. However, this was nothing of any great significance or annoyance and it certainly didn't spoil my viewing enjoyment. Blacks occasionally exhibited degrees of low level noise, but shadows were reasonably good.

    The plain and drab colours in the production design appear well balanced. There is certainly no use of vivid colour on display here.

    There were no MPEG artefacts noticed. Apart from the aforementioned grain, film-to-video artefacts were negligible and film artefacts were not an issue.

    Unfortunately, there are no subtitles on this DVD.

    This is a single sided, dual layered disc. The layer change occurs between episodes, so there is no disruption.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is also reasonably good.

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

    As previously mentioned The Royle Family is set in Manchester, so character accents are quite heavy. Naturally, this and the use of local slang terms caused the occasional problem with comprehension, but as you adapt to the first couple of episodes it does get much easier.

    I found no adverse issues 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.

    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 theme music and the occasional door closing.

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

Extras

    There are no extras on this disc.

Menu

    The menus are very well designed and themed. They feature clever animation, theme music and are 16x9 enhanced.

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 available.

    All three series of The Royle Family are available on DVD in the UK, including a standard box-set. However, in relation to the first series only, the UK - R2 edition released on 15th May 2006 appears to be identical in terms of content to this reviewed edition. In that case, there seems no logical reason to look past this local version, unless you're keen to pick up the collection before it's officially released here.

Summary

     The Royle Family is very deserving of its reputation in the UK as a sitcom of considerable quality. The writing and performances are first class, which makes repeated viewings of the series an absolute pleasure. Although it may not be as well known in this country as it is in Britain, here's hoping the welcome release of this superb series to DVD might just change that. With a bit of luck we won't have to wait too long for series two and three to also arrive on DVD. Highly Recommended.

    The video and audio transfers are acceptable.

    The lack of any extras is a big disappointment though.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Royle Family-Series 1 (1998) | The Royle Family-Series 2 (1998) | The Royle Family-Series 3 (2000)

The Royle Family-Series 2 (1998)

The Royle Family-Series 2 (1998)

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Released 3-Mar-2007

Cover Art

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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

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

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

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Royle Family-Series 1 (1998) | The Royle Family-Series 2 (1998) | The Royle Family-Series 3 (2000)

The Royle Family-Series 3 (2000)

The Royle Family-Series 3 (2000)

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

Released 1-Jun-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Bonus Episode-The 2000 Christmas Special
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 197:06 (Case: 190)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Caroline Aherne
Studio
Distributor

Time Life
Starring Ricky Tomlinson
Sue Johnston
Caroline Aherne
Craig Cash
Ralf Little
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 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, frequently
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     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.

Episode One - Hello Baby Dave (28:14)

    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.

Episode Two - Babysitting Again (26:23)

    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.

Episode Three - Decorating (28:45)

    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.

Episode Four - Elsie's Funeral (26:50)

    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.

Episode Five - Antony's Going to London (28:59)

    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.

Episode Six - The Christening (28:15)

    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.

Christmas Special 2000 (29:40)

    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.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

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

Audio

    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.

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 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.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

      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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Wednesday, May 02, 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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