The Worst Jobs in History-Series 2 (2004)

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Released 31-Jul-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 243:54
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Brendan Hughes
Patricia Murphy
Nigel Walk

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Tony Robinson
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI $28.95 Music The Fratelli Brothers

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    If you're the sort of person who whinges about the drudgery of your job or if you've ever complained that your occupation is too exhausting, well here is a series just for you. The wonderful Channel 4 documentary series, The Worst Jobs In History  literally examines just that - the worst jobs in British history. After viewing one or two episodes, you are virtually guaranteed to acquire a whole new respect for your current day to day routine.

    In each episode, Tony Robinson of Blackadder fame introduces us to a myriad of ghastly jobs from bygone eras. Not only were most of these jobs highly labour intensive, tedious, low paid and disgusting, many were downright dangerous. These occupations were commonplace in Britain long before any health and safety legislation ever existed and before trade unions took an active interest in the welfare and conditions of workers. Thankfully, industrial laws do now exist and in combination with the technological age, these have either totally changed the processes of these jobs or made them redundant all together.

    To fully appreciate the physical aspects and the drudgery of these jobs, Tony actually performs every task himself and experiences first hand what these people endured day in, day out. Fortunately though for Tony, he only has to perform each task for a very short period of time and in complete safety. At the conclusion of each episode, it's difficult not to have the utmost respect for the people who performed these jobs in terrible conditions, to earn the smallest of wages. These people laid the foundations for the society that we enjoy and take for granted today.

    At the time of writing this review, the first series of The Worst Jobs In History still has not been released on DVD in this country, or seemingly anywhere else for that matter. The second series consists of five episodes, each covering a different category of occupation. The cover slick does not have an index of the jobs contained in each episode, so I have taken the time to document them below.

    Episode 1: The Worst Urban Jobs In History (48:47)

  • Water Caddy
  • Early Firefighter
  • Early Docker
  • Deal Porter
  • Pugger (Brick Maker)
  • Crossing Sweeper
  • Pure Collector
  • Fighting Woman
  • Link Boy
  • Fur Processor
  • Asphalt Pavior

        Episode 2: The Worst Royal Jobs In History (48:52 )

  • Lance Maker
  • Link Maker
  • Falconer
  • Whipping Boy
  • Royal Food Taster
  • Groom of the Chamber
  • Royal Messenger
  • Royal Washer Woman
  • Fireworker
  • Boot Boy
  • Purple Maker 

        Episode 3: The Worst Industrial Jobs In History (48:43)     

  • Bridge Builder
  • Legger
  • Bone Cleaner
  • Buffer Lass
  • Knocker Up
  • Soap Boiler
  • Glass Blower
  • Match Maker
  • Hurrier (Child Miner)

        Episode 4: The Worst Maritime Jobs In History (49:02 )

  • Saxon Oarsman
  • Sawyer
  • Sailor
  • Swabs Mate
  • Flying Man
  • Mid Shipman
  • Fusey Chainmaker
  • Stoker
  • Lighthouse Builder
  • Lighthouse Keeper
  • Gut Girl
  • Lifeboat Man

        Episode 5: The Worst Rural Jobs in History (48:30 )

  • Sheppard
  • Reddle Man
  • Sedge Harvester
  • Thresher
  • Corn Carrier
  • Sin Eater
  • Poleman
  • Lead White Maker
  • Feathery Man
  • Steeplejack
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    Transfer Quality


        The video transfer for second series of The Worst Jobs In History is close to broadcast quality.

        The series is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.75:1, which is 16x9 enhanced.

        The levels of sharpness and clarity are consistent throughout, with just an occasional hint of softness. Blacks were clean and shadow detail was excellent.

        Colours were nicely balanced and natural, presenting no adverse problems.

        There were no MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts were well controlled and film artefacts were non-existent. All in all, a fine transfer.

        The option of English subtitles is available for each episode. They are easily legible in bold white and are very accurate.

        Both DVD's are single sided, dual layer discs. The layer change on disc one is perfectly placed at 37:22 during the second episode. The layer change on disc two is also perfectly placed at the very end of episode four.

    Video Ratings Summary
    Shadow Detail
    Film-To-Video Artefacts
    Film Artefacts


        The audio transfer is perfectly adequate for the content.

        There is only one audio track available, English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s).

        Dialogue quality was outstanding throughout. I had no problems hearing and comprehending any of the dialogue.

        I noticed no significant issues with audio sync.

        Music for the series is credited to The Fratelli Brothers. The theme music is quite catchy and suits the mood of the series very well.

        The use of Pro-Logic brings the surround channels to life, carrying music and ambient sound. There is no real requirement for direct sound placement in the series anyway.

        The subwoofer kicked in occasionally, mostly during sequences of music.

    Audio Ratings Summary
    Audio Sync
    Surround Channel Use


    Unfortunately, there is no extras on this DVD.


    The main menu is static, silent and 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 edition of The Worst Jobs In History - Series Two available.


         The second series of The Worst Jobs In History is truly fascinating. Independent of the first series, this second series can be fully enjoyed without ever viewing the first. Tony Robinson makes the perfect host - his fun level of enthusiasm ensures that the series is as entertaining as it is educational. Highly Recommended.

        The transfers are both very good.

        Unfortunately, there is no extras.

    Ratings (out of 5)


    © Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
    Friday, August 24, 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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