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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic Remake

Author: crmnyc from United States
21 October 2005

This was great show. and had huge ratings in the UK. It even got an extra original season made in the end, because the US version left things unfinished.

The cast were fantastic. As were the re-written scripts for the UK. Blackman and the other cast blended well together. Always made me laugh how the Sets really are look a likes for the US version. In the UK this was a prime time comedy which is very rare for the ITV Networks who showed it. ITV during the 90's were not big fans of Prime Time Comedy, this show broke the mold.

I would say to anyone watch this show you will like it.

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:


Author: frodobagginsoftheshire from Midlands
11 January 2002

this show was about a single father moving away from London to be a housekeeper in the countryside. The show ran for 6 years and was always full of laughs, the cast were superb and it was a shame to the show end.

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8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Real Comedy / Drama

Author: britishtvfan from United Kingdom
4 May 2006

"The Upper Hand" was an extremely funny comedy but was also a drama series. The story goes that Charlie Burrows (Joe McGann) is a single parent, trying to bring up his daughter Joanna (Kellie Bright) in a rough area of London. When a job opportunity arises which allows Charlie to leave London and give Joanna a better life, he grabs it with both hands. This job is working as a live-in housekeeper for divorced business woman Caroline Wheatley (Diana Weston) and helping to look after her son Tom (William Puttock). As the series progresses a friendship begins to grow between Charlie and Caroline, which eventually leads to love. "The Upper Hand" is stuffed full of comedy much of which comes from the hilariously naughty character of Laura West (Honor Blackman) Caroline's mother. The two children are also another source of light relief especially when the relationship between Caroline and Charlie begins to develop. Looking back at "The Upper Hand" now, the set and the "niceness" and perhaps innocence of life do make the viewer very aware that it was a series of the 90s but this does not make it any less entertaining to watch. Indeed, it is about time the series was released on DVD for fans of the show and for those who didn't see it first time round. From the first notes of the theme tune right to the end, every episode is a joy to watch.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A Classic!

Author: soap_expert from Scotland
16 June 2004

The Upper Hand was fantastic and I have fond memories of it.

It was about a man moving from the the big city with his daughter, to become the housekeeper of a wealthy woman's house, whom she lived with her son and mother.

Everything about it was just great. The story lines were hilarious, but also there were so many touching moments. They were both clearly made for each other, however never seemed to get together. Instead they were always arguing, and so was the son and daughter! But deep down they all really loved each other and were a big family.

The show was just a classic 90's show and ITV at its best. If only all the comedy's they made were as good as this one!

Just a shame that its not still on. However it is sometimes repeated and when it is, it is well worth watching.

The theme tune was also great!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely pathetic

Author: robfwoods
22 July 2011

I've been a big fan of British series - sitcoms and drama for years - dozens and dozens.

I somehow endured the first series of TUH but it was torture - I stayed with it out of disbelief actually.

Trite, predictable scenarios - obvious cliché jokes and retorts. Mediocre acting but maybe they couldn't help it with the abysmal script.

I thought Honor Blackman might have offered something but it was a crap role with the most simplistic throwaway lines. I don't know how makeup or cinematography might have changed it but the whites of her eyes kept popping out and taking off like flying saucers, to boot.

Basically I think the writers had been watching too much American TV.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

An Old Friend

Author: sjdean-1 from United Kingdom
18 July 2010

I first saw this as a grumpy teenager many years ago.

We used to tune in as a family to watch this comedy wondering whether Charlie and Caroline will ever get together and the roller-coaster ride of emotions that went through it.

It wasn't until watching re-runs of Who's the Boss did I realise what the show is based on, yet although they're based on the American scripts, they seem to have a uniquely British point of view.

I found that the show has recently been released on to DVD in the UK. I picked up a copy expecting cheesy and corny, fluffy and non-descript schmaltz, perhaps a bit of nostalgia thrown it harking back to a time when Central ITV were actually allowed to make programmes.

Watching The Upper Hand again after many years is like being reunited with a long lost family. Yes, its clean, simple and not smutty, it doesn't challenge you on many levels, it just is what it is - an amazingly catchy comedy that reels you in.

Twenty years on, and Im crying with sorry and howling with laughter.

A brilliant comedy that is much loved.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

gentle & funny

Author: ccn89 from United Kingdom
27 December 2014

It was unusual for ITV to show a long running sitcom in the 1990s; The Upper Hand was a rare exception. Even rarer was the fact this was a British remake of a US show, that actually works!

Here's a sitcom where everything comes together and just works. The scripts are funny, and the jokes never miss the mark. The acting is good, the theme tune catchy, and unlike most mainstream comedies post-2000, nothing is over-played or too silly, and the characters have a bit of depth to them. The show also manages to get the right balance between comedy and drama.

Highly recommended, and easy family viewing.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Weak sitcom; cute comic drama

Author: miss_lady_ice-853-608700 from United Kingdom
7 May 2014

Sometimes we Brits steal America's shows.

This is based on US show Who's The Boss? I say 'based'; translated is more like it, as the first episodes are identical in their script. The premise is interesting: career woman Caroline Wheatley (Diane Weston) is looking for a housekeeper. Unbeknown to her, her mother Laura (Honor Blackman) has promised the job to ex-footballer Charlie (Joe McGann, brother of Paul/Stephen/Mark McGann). Though Caroline is a bit unsettled at having a bloke in the house, he and his chip-off-the-block daughter Joanna (Kellie Bright) move in.

As a sitcom, it's a bit 'gentle' and laboured; sleepy Sunday type of TV, which is probably why it's being repeated on ITV 3. It works a lot better as a comic drama about alternative family structures and gender role reversals. Refreshingly (although I haven't watched every episode so don't know if this evolves) neither the characters of Caroline or Charlie are made to sacrifice their personalities. Caroline is a career woman who couldn't care less about domesticity and Charlie is house-proud without being portrayed as effeminate.

We know from the start that Caroline and Charlie will get together but it's like in Ugly Betty. It's the audience's pay-off. However there's no sizzling sexual chemistry. That may disappoint some viewers but I actually prefer it. The sitcom is about families and whilst I'm not disputing the right of parents to have a sex life (which Caroline and Charlie attempt to have else where), it would imply that the combined family was as a result, an afterthought, whereas it's actually the romance that's the afterthought.

There isn't really a 'will they, won't they?', it's a question of 'when will they?'. But even then, the appeal is that the families just accept their unconventional structure; indeed, they pretty soon become one family.

Whilst I wouldn't watch it for laughs, it's a nice undemanding bit of comfort TV. Second Chances was also on around about this time; it has a similar theme of families evolving/combining and a similar gentle tone. Interestingly the opposite of other nineties sitcoms such as Game On and Men Behaving Badly, which explored lad culture.

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4 out of 17 people found the following review useful:


Author: Jack Yan from Wellington, New Zealand
23 April 2005

Sitcoms seldom translate well across the Atlantic, and we had the misfortune of seeing both the original Who's the Boss? and The Upper Hand.

The same reasons Fawlty Towers works in the UK and Payne does not work in the US apply here, but in reverse.

The rehashed American scripts lack passion, the leads have no chemistry compared to their American counterparts (in fact, they seem to be asleep during the show), and it seems no one attempted to make this show funny. No one, apart from Honor Blackman, who showed she could be a great comedic actress.

Unsurprisingly, it was rewarded with a mid-afternoon slot here, while the original aired on prime time.

The premise would have worked, possibly with decent comedy scripts that we know the Brits can churn out.

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5 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

The Utter Bland

Author: stig114 from United Kingdom
18 October 2004

New man meets career woman in this romantic "comedy". Each week viewers were presented with a series of lukewarm jokes set around domestic mishaps and the "will they won't they" relationship between the two main characters. This premise often makes for good TV, however the lack of chemistry between the two leads and the simpering niceness of the entire production, meant that the audience really couldn't give a damn if they did or did not.

The show was helped neither by the stereotypical teenage daughter nor the wimpy kid that played the son calling his mother "mummy" all the time. I suppose Honor Blackman did her best with the part of Laura, but that's because she's Honor Blackman- enough said.

In all this is turgid bourgeois drivel,with an awful theme tune (particularly the rather dodgy piano bit in the closing credits).

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