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Entertaining and worthy prequel series to a classic
First off, I love Last of the Summer Wine. It did lose its way in quality after the departure of Compo, but in the glory days with the likes of Compo, Seymour and especially Foggy it was relaxing, hilarious and made me feel warm and cosy inside. I also love the scenery and the immortal harmonica theme. When I heard of its prequel series First of the Summer Wine, I was interested. After seeing the whole series, I was impressed. Last of the Summer Wine is better for me, but this is a very worthy and entertaining prequel series that sticks in spirit and style to a classic comedy series that I'll always have a lot of fondness for.
Of course the setting is different, First of the Summer Wine's setting is pre-World War 2 with the final episode ending with the famous radio broadcast. But this setting is a convincing one, the sets and scenery have a certain authenticity to them and the photography is skillful enough without making it dated. The music is good too, it sticks to its respective period and its main theme is memorable and quite rousing. The dialogue is sharp and witty, and the series maintains Last of the Summer Wine's gentle tone. The stories are also believable, and while some of the situations are on the silly and predictable side they are always funny, and the relationships of the characters especially between Nora and Compo stick true to Last of the Summer Wine as well.
The acting is very good. Peter Sallis here plays Clegg's father, and while he is somewhat more understated and his dialogue with less of a wry approach he is rock solid and amusing as always. David Fenwick and Paul Wyatt are especially good as young Clegg and Compo. In regards in who made this show, whereas Compo made Last of the Summer Wine, young Clegg with his wide-eyed innocence and charm makes First of the Summer Wine. I do wish though this series lasted longer than it did, it showed great potential and while I was thoroughly impressed with what there was I think this series had the potential to grow even more. If you do ignore the occasionally distracting and unnecessary laughter track and the contradiction in regards to Seymour, I think you will be in for a great time. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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