"The Norman Conquests" Table Manners (TV Episode 1977) Poster

(TV Mini-Series)


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A unique Trilogy
jgl200322 September 2004
Three plays not yet available on DVD but you might find a VHS set. The plays ran on consecutive nights in London and on Broadway and could be seen in any order. The idea is a set of characters over a weekend in a country house with each play being the perspective of a single room. Each play broadens the perspective of the viewer who is the only participant who gets to see the whole story. The great cast is all your favorites from BritComs and dramas and they do a spectacular job with defined characters in a static setting. Each performance is a gem. Steer clear if you favor car crashes and slasher antics as this is typical British slice of life comedy. The two tying factors are the unseen Mom upstairs and lover of life Norman. One of my favorites. See it to find out if it is one of yours.
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A comedy tour-de-force!
awaywithwords30 July 2007
This teleplay trilogy (The Norman Conquests, 1978) is my all-time favorite British comedy. For the uninitiated, Alan Ayckbourne is the second most performed playwright in the history of England (to, um, what's his name? oh yeah, Shakespeare). This trilogy is his masterwork. Each play stands alone as a great comedy of approximately 90 minutes in length. However, Mr. Ayckbourne was showing off. You see, all three plays concern the same characters and transpire over the course of the same weekend. However, the audience sees the events from different perspectives (dining room, living room and garden). Quintessentially brilliant writing and performances.

I recently purchased the DVD box set (Region 2) from Amazon.uk. I doubt this will ever be released in America. I had no problem playing the discs on my region-free DVD player. By the way, I recommend watching them in the order presented the first time around for reasons which will become clear to you. Enjoy!
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Jolly good fun, a hoot
Vatronac27 June 2003
Granted it's been 25 years since I've seen the Norman Conquests shows, but I remember it being extremely witty and it led to my life-long love of British entertainment. I was also a big fan of public television (the only network brave enough to air sophisticated comedy) in those days and was fascinated by Tom Conti, who was just starting to enjoy a little fame in America. Truthfully, I still think about some of the scenes featuring Tom Conti and how I laughed, but I don't know if the humor would hold up today. You may find some things funny at 17, but not at 42. Anyway, I'm going to view it again someday and hope it'll bring back some memories. It's too bad Tom Conti's career petered out early in the US. He was a marvelous talent. A toast: To England!
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Did I miss something?
janfletcher4912 April 2002
I am a staunch fan of both Brit flicks and sitcoms, especially those of the 70s when humor was gentler. The cast of this offering was so stupendous that I urged my library to add the set to its collection, sight unseen. Unfortunately, I was led astray by the 9+ rating on IMDB at the time, as I found the premise, the script, the acting, and the humor all miserably deficient. Where are the laughs? Where is the wit? Who gives this kind of 'comedy' a high ranking...Dracula? Don't be fooled into thinking that you'll come away from viewing this with anything other than a mild depression and a lot of questions as to why such outstanding actors would have participated in something so unfunny and bland. Stick with 'Good Neighbors'!
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Well, I liked it
dallasbaby7 December 2003
I saw these on video for the first time this year, and watched them one after the other. I laughed hysterically. I don't understand how someone could not see humor in the situation, if not in the story itself. Although the acting is a bit stiff at times, it doesn't detract from the humor. I highly recommend these be watched at least once in everyone's life.
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