Yes Minister-Series Two (1981)
|Year Of Production||1981|
|Running Time||204:55 (Case: 210)|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Peter Whitmore|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This disc contains the second series of Yes, Minister. Yes, Minister is one of the best comedies ever put to air; the humour is fantastic, the satire biting and the acting superb. With only seven half-hour episodes in the season, this disc should be savoured like a very nice, expensive red wine. Resist the temptation to watch all in one sitting - make yourself savour every moment. That is, if you can - this show is so fantastic that you may not be able to resist playing just one more episode...
For the first three seasons, Jim Hacker was a minister. A sixty minute Christmas special followed, and then there were two more seasons where he was Prime Minister. In this season, Jim Hacker (Paul Eddington) is still the Minister for Administrative Affairs and Sir Humphrey (Nigel Hawthorne) is his permanent secretary. Bernard Woolley (Derek Fowlds) is Jim's personal private secretary.
The Compassionate Society (29:29)
Through one of the most accurate sources of information in the British Government, the politician's driver, Jim Hacker discovers that there is a new hospital that was finished over eighteen months ago that does not have a single patient. What it does have is a full complement of administration staff, all very busy even though there is not a single patient. Jim and Sir Humphrey lock horns as Jim wants to fire half the administration staff so they can afford to hire a few doctors and nurses.
Doing the Honours (28:30)
Jim decides that, unlike previous years, the honours handed out to public servants will actually have to be earned. Of course, Sir Humphrey is horrified. Jim links the honours to a five percent reduction in costs, a reduction that he has been fighting for ages to try and implement. Not to be outdone, and with his reputation as a 'good' permanent secretary at risk, Sir Humphrey turns the tables.
The Death List (29:29)
Jim is horrified to discover that in the past he has been the subject of electronic surveillance. While surveillance does not come under his department, the supply of the equipment used is. As he prepares to place restrictive rules on the use of this equipment, he suddenly finds himself the target of an obscure terrorist organisation. Suddenly surveillance doesn't seem such a bad thing after all. I spotted two interesting extras in this episode - the first was Michael Keating who plays Villa in Blake's 7 and the second Graeme Garden from The Goodies.
The Greasy Pole (29:41)
A nationalised British chemical company is about to sign a contract with the Italians to produce propanol. This at the surface seems a great deal: employment, export pounds and so on. Unfortunately, the real chemical behind the propanol is something dioxin. The local residents are up in arms about this chemical being made in their area, and luckily for them they are in a marginal electorate.
The Devil You Know (29:41)
A cabinet reshuffle is on the cards (sorry...they used that one in the show, too) and Jim is worried about his job. At the same time, there is an offer to become a representative of the European Common Market government in Brussels. When Sir Humphrey discovers that Jim's replacement is one of the worst ministers in the government, he sets out to help Jim keep his job.
The Quality of Life (29:16)
Poor old Jim is really up against a professional in the person of Sir Humphrey. Through deft and truly underhanded manipulation, Sir Humphrey helps one of his banker friends to get past some building restrictions.
A Question of Loyalty (28:49)
A note to all modern series writers and producers: this is how you do a season ending. I can't say too much without risking a spoiler but you finish this episode, and this series, on a true high note. I am really looking forward to the next series but don't have that rotten 'left hanging' feeling that seems to predominate these days. Jim's department is being investigated by a select committee - the target is wastage of taxpayers' money within the government. Despite the manoeuvring of the public servants, things are not looking good. It is up to Jim to save the day, in a most satisfactory manner.
The transfer is presented at its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and of course is not 16x9 enhanced.
Sharpness varies due to a number of factors. At times it is quite reasonable, but there are some scenes where I think the original material was slightly out-of-focus. Also, objects in the background are slightly soft, probably a limitation of the cameras of the day. Further problems come from the excessive compression that has been applied, especially on moving objects. These objects lose all definition and detail - a clear example is in Episode 5 at 6:54 where Jim Hacker is moving his hand. Black levels are reasonable as are the shadow details. There is no low level noise.
Colours are somewhat muted throughout, though in the dark wood-panelled rooms of British government there is little opportunity for bright colours.
There are constant MPEG artefacts throughout the transfer. The first episode is the worst with the later episodes a slight improvement. There is constant slight pixelization both in the foreground and the background and heavier pixelization in any moving object. The worst examples are in the first episode, such as at 19:07 - there are also examples of posterization in the same scene. Scene changes, again particularly in the first episode, show heavy pixelization and some completely drop any colour from the frame preceding and immediately after the change. A clear example is at 4:02. The is also some strange artefact in complex objects where they pulse or subtly change every couple of frames - the carpet on the floor at 21:29 in the first episode shows this artefact as do many other scenes. There is a degree of aliasing in the transfer. This can be seen on the window frames in the background of 19:06. Other clear examples are in any shot with Jim Hacker's desk where there are lots of folders and boxes supplying straight edges.
There is a strange problem with the subtitles. The main menu includes a selection to turn subtitles on and off, which applies to the English subtitles. The problem arises in that there are also Dutch and Greek subtitles on this disc but no menu entry to select them from. The only way is to use these is via the subtitle button on your remote.
This is a dual layered disc. I have to assume that the layer change is between the episodes as I did not spot one during the episodes.
There is a single Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack on this disc. It is in good condition with no audible problems.
Dialogue quality is spot on - but just how did Nigel Hawthorne manage to learn those long and convoluted speeches that his character makes? There are no problems with the audio sync.
Other than the title theme, which is great, there is little music during the episodes.
There was no surround nor subwoofer activity.
|Surround Channel Use|
A static menu with a background picture of the three main characters. There is no audio. I particularly like the simple accessible layout of the scene selection menu.
Three pages of text giving some information about the writers of the show. Interesting information but very short.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Despite the disappointing transfer, this is still a great disc purely on account of the content. The actors' delivery and in particular their use of a wide range of facial expressions is acting at its very best. Thank goodness this is a DVD because if it were a VHS tape, it would be worn out in a very short space of time.
The video is disappointing.
The audio is perfectly functional.
A very, very slight improvement over the extras not included on the first season's DVD.
|DVD||Skyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 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 Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.|
|Speakers||B&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)|