The Riff Raff Element (TV Series 1993– ) Poster

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If only this wonderful BBC TV series were out on DVD for everyone to see it who missed it first time around
morphiccreations16 November 2006
If anyone reading this comment ever has the opportunity to get their hands on this wonderfully written and superbly acted comedy/drama, then be prepared to set aside a good few hours of your time. I guarantee the first episode will hook you and then all you will want to do is watch the next and the next until you find your day has passed in the company of possibly TV's most mismatched family to hit the screen. Quality like this is really few and far between and only 2000 Acres Of Sky could be up there with it as offered by the BBC some years later. I felt compelled to write this review/comment having found very little about the show on the internet and even fewer people who have written about it. Everyone i have ever mentioned this series to has never heard of it. I think it will surface again one day on some DVD release and end up in TV reviews 20 years from now as one of those series to receive a possible cult status. It really is that good i assure you. The writing by Debbie Horsfield is akin to the quality of Bruce Robinson. Sentences and catchphrases are well crafted and delivered by a wonderful cast who you instantly want to have in your own life (maybe you do?). The mismatching of a very well to do family with a family down on their luck is a fantastic social commentary. There is not a single character who is misplaced in the whole nucleus. I urge any reader of this to get their hands on a copy (Series 1 ran for 6 episodes with Series 2 also running for 6 episodes but 5 minutes longer in each episode). I wish there were more.
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Fantastic little series
christinakemp-123 September 2004
Only two previous reviews - no wonder there's no video or DVD. It was a great little series, and I can't understand why it has never been repeated. One of my favourite bits was the over-zealous North-American secretary (Pippa Guard?) who experienced the immaculate conception, which turned out to be a cushion! I do recall it was screened quite late, and for a first showing, must have attracted a fairly small audience.

This is a gem of a series with interesting plots and sub-plots - the parallel families with their intertwining stories. As one of the other two reviewers has said, this series has dimmed in the memory over the years, but was a worthy piece of tragi-comic drama, and is certainly worthy of a second showing.
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That Was The Show That Was
elizadolots11 August 2004
I agree with (almost) everything the only other person to have bothered to put fingertips to keyboard has said about this comedy/drama show. I remember raving about it to my family and friends and the old bloke next door at the time but, alas, have yet to encounter another fellow viewer yet alone fan. With the passing of time - and no repeats - my memory has dimmed and I have trouble recalling the plot let alone the names of the characters/actors. Greg Wise was too nice to be true - which is possibly why I started fancying him and followed his career with interest, until he found happiness and bliss with Emma, sigh - and I was shocked by his sudden demise in the show. Don't get me wrong, the other characters were well-written but Greg's role was pivotal: the sexual tension of his character's relationship with Pet was central to the whole drama. The whole series fizzled out after his departure and I gave up hope of a third series and some sort of "closure" when he never reappeared (I don't know why but I always thought/hoped he would).

Anyway the show was darned good and surely merited a decent ending and a re-run.
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OMG I Loved This Show
As evidenced by the lack of comments on this page, not many people watched this show, which was probably why it lasted for only 2 seasons, but it was top stuff. Basically the plot surrounded the upper class Tundish family renting out a wing of their house, advertising it with the line "The riff-raff element need not apply". Their worst nightmares came true when the Belcher family, a group of new age travellers who typified everything that they were opposed to responded, but because they were so strapped for cash they let them move in anyway. They all ended up hopping into bed with or developing unrequited love for one another, exposing crucial flaws in the ludicrous British class system as they did so. The relationship between Alistair Tundish and Petula "Pet" Belcher in particular was unbelievably touching.

No one in the show has gone on to do anything except possibly Greg Wise, who hasn't done much since he's been in the sack with Emma Thompson and I can't say I blame him as that's a position I would be quite happy with, but I'd still like to see him in more films as he was the star of this show and his shock demise towards the start of Season 2 still brings a lump to my throat. The gorgeous Jayne Ashbourne has also done very little which is a real shame, likewise Celia Imrie, an extremely talented British actress who has never got the top roles she deserves. Basically it was a brilliant show and I know it's the acme of foolishness to expect another season after so long a gap but it would have been nice to have seen what happened after the cliffhanger ending to Season 2 (most of the Belchers were carted off to the police station for the murder of Jayne Ashbourne's evil husband). Can we at least have a DVD then Mr BBC?
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Why can't I buy this?
stevendocherty3 August 2007
This series was representative of some of the best that the BBC offered in the mid-1990s. Ronald Pickup is fantastic in his role as the titular head of the family, and a great comic foil for the rest of the cast. Celia Imrie has gone on to other things (hurrah for Acorn Antiques!), and some of the unsung heroes of British telly were all involved.

So why have I never seen this repeated on TV, or for sale on video/DVD? I have only my own (very warm) memories of the programme, and would love to re-live those memories - I just hope that it hasn't fallen victim to the BBC's unexplained policy of simply deleting some programmes from its records.

BBC - Let me pay you to buy it...!!
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The best drama/comedy series yet!
tony-glanfield12 September 2006
So glad I found these comments, on what can only be described best television so far.

It was a delight to watch all these characters gel together. Their antics left you in a transfixed way. Week after week, it was compulsive viewing.

If only the BBC would have released this on video (at the time), and now hopefully DVD would have followed! It would give me utmost pleasure to hear the views of anyone out there.

Is there anyway one could acquire a copy of the series? What a pleasure and nostalgic trip it would be!

I have visited the locations were the series was filmed, totally delightful. The pub is nice, the hall is wicked. It can only be accessed on foot.
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Still No Riff Raff
bmoresmiley19 May 2009
What can i say,Any time any discussion comes up relating to T.V drama i'm in quick as a flash with the Riff Raff. Still after all these years I've only met a few people that actually saw it. I've actually got 70% of it on Video tape but my signal was very iffy back then, so its a bit dodgy&wobbly in parts,and i missed a few episodes due to being on the move.I cant tell you how So so so happy i am to have what i have. It truly is amazing that the BBC haven't released it, criminal in fact.I've certainly not seen a TV comedy drama that comes anywhere close to the quality of this.Every single second is a joy,from the soundtrack to the last word.Each and every performance is first class.Excellent casting, and the writing is hilarious whist touching. I really couldn't get enough of it. If you haven't had the pleasure of watching the Riff Raff Element then i urge you to make noise to the BBC about it,and maybe just maybe they'll stop feeding us One more foot in the grave and all the other stuff they keep endlessly repeating and start to get into that archive of there's,surely we are entitled to watch some of the stuff again that only got one showing, don't let it all just sit there.Re issue Re air.Im absolutely sure that put on at 9pm on any given week day and it will get a huge response.It was ahead of its time, and its now how high time the BBC caught up. So come on Aunty......Sort it out. Give us back the Riff Raff,its not about how many people make a comment on hear but what they are saying and its all pretty obvious what we are saying.You simply can't justify why you haven't.So come on..... Lets be avin it put it back on.ASAP We ve all waited long enough,and to those who haven't seen it,Take it from me.......your being robbed out.........Please
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Very disappointing performance, boy...
petty-mike28 January 2008 Ronald Pickup would have said to his hapless son. In this case it's directed at those losers at the Beeb. Get your fingers out, for goodness sake! Put The Riff Raff Element out on DVD! When you look at the stuff they do put out, it's hard to understand. For instance, I see from Amazon that the Beeb has put out Series 6 of Bergerac this week. You'd think they could spare us that for a month or two (it's always on satellite anyway) and put this wonderful series out instead. It's really hard spinning this comment out to ten lines because of IMDb's rules - I've said all I want to say really, and now I'm just waffling to get the length up. I hope readers will forgive me!
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Where is that black hole of excellence?
elaine-21215 September 2010
It's cheered me no end to discover that out there are other people with enough passion to put their frustration into print regarding the mysterious disappearance of some of our greatest British comedy dramas. The Riff Raff Element was an absolute classic mix of comedy, pathos, quirky plot lines and brilliant performances that British writers and actors do best. Nearly 20 years on, it's a series that I continue to recall and discuss with friends with great enthusiasm, and I simply can't understand why it was never repeated. I can only assume that it lies rotting in a back room somewhere in the company of another criminally neglected series---the wonderful "Roger Roger", by Fools and Horses writer John Sullivan. In an era when we're drowning in repeats of repeats of repeats, please, please, someone bring back some of these gems,or at least release them on DVD!
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AT LAST available 20th August 2017 Amazon UK on DVD
balbs19 August 2017
At last, at last... available on DVD (at least in the UK) one of the finest comic creations from the BBC. Writer Debbie Horsfield at her peak as far as I'm concerned, and all round performances from the cast. I've always had to rely on dubious copies of this series, so I'm very glad that someone has had the sense to sort out this release. My order is in and so should everyone else who loves quality TV. No spoilers but if you have ever wanted to understand the British class system this is a good as it gets!
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