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Lord Tramp (1977)
They had all the elements, it just failed.
I looked forward to seeing this so much, when you see the quality of actors and actresses, Hugh Lloyd and Joan Sims were both gifted comedy performers, but the pair were let down by poor scripts, a cliche in every corner, and jokes that even for 1977 were ancient and tired. I get the impression that Lloyd and Sims tried their best, as did guest like Alfie Bass and Jack Watling, but let's face it they were up against it with the poor scripts. It's not funny, but it's not totally without charm, it has a certain sentimentality, and a few nice moments, but as a comedy, sadly it lacks any laughs.
The Circle (2017)
Made me raise an eyebrow.
I got the impression that the team behind it were a fan of Black Mirror, and planned a movie in the style of Charlie Brooker. The idea that technology in the near future can have devastating effects on people, but also make you wonder, what if.
The production values are good, it's a fairly slick looking movie, performances are pretty good, Watson, Hanks and Gillen allbpretya good. It's somewhat forgettable, but it's certainly a film that makes you wonder if the way our society is going will lead to privacy being lost, and invasion getting out of hand.
It's not a wow by any stretch of the imagination, but it's worth a look. 6/10
Fun start to Series 2
Lollipop returns for a second series, following a bit of re-branding, name change and new opening credits, this is a funny episode, such a shame this is one of only two known to exist.
It's plain to see that Violet and Bruce are driving Maggie insane, and she'd do anything to get rid of them. The bed time scenes are really funny, the mummy moment is so funny. Peggy Mount as always is a joy as battleaxe Maggie, and there's a fun performance from Victor Maddern.
Hopefully one day more episodes will return. 8/10
Lots of fun :-)
Such a shame that this is one of only two surviving episodes, I think it serves as a good indicator of what we're sadly missing with the remaining lost episodes. I've said in the general review that the show feels much earlier then 1972, it looks a little staid, but the content in this one is very 70's, a little cheekier, more frivolous. Peggy Mount is of course the star attraction, it's her you're watching every scene, her reactions, her timing, a truly skilled actress. A very funny scene when Maggie stumbles upon Arthur and Diana disrobed, and a funny showdown with her outraged neighbour, Ann Way gives a fun performance also.
Enjoyable if a little dated. 8/10
Following on from the sheer brilliance of Masonic Mysteries is Second Time Around, Series five's opener, and a definite classic. This boasts a deep, harrowing, and sad story, a first rate cast, sublime music, and some of the most beautiful filming seen on the show.
The story is certainly a deep one, it manages to see Morse locked in conflict with a colleague, who holds different values, and sees him dealing with the tragedy of a little girl's death from some years back. Superbly acted, Kenneth Colley, Ann Bell, Oliver Ford Davies and a young Christopher Eccleston are all brilliant. The music is just incredible, that version of Puccini's Senza Mamma is sublime. The filming left me speechless, at times it's glorious, one scene in particular sees Morse and Lewis look out at a fishing boat, it's almost picture postcard material.
Lollipop Loves Mr Mole (1971)
A shame so much of it's missing. The surviving episodes are fun.
I find it so sad that a show such as this is virtually missing from the archives. To think this was made in 1971, and not the early sixties, you'd think more then two episodes would remain, but sadly not. My review is therefore based on the only two surviving episodes. First of all I can't believe it's from 1971, it looks and feels much earlier,.it's very early sixties. The writing is good as you'd expect from Jimmy Perry, High Lloyd and Pat Coombes are of course great, but it's of course the presence of golden comedy battleaxe Peggy Mount that pleases most, she could have read the Oxford English dictionary out and made it funny. Fortunately Mount and Coombes would reunite a few years later for You're only young twice.
Let's hope when Philip Morris and co are out searching for lost episodes of Doctor Who they stumble across a few of these too.
Peggy Mount could do no wrong. 7/10
The Rain (2018)
A great concept, fairly well realised.
Having finished The Rain i can say overall I enjoyed it, but the biggest disappointment of all has to be the missed opportunities. The concept is a brilliant one, and the first few episodes kept my attention, trouble is mid way through it just becomes a little bland, I was watching it without being fully engaged in it. Those who have slated the acting are perhaps being a little mean, although not great it wasn't that bad. What I had issue with more so was having to watch it with dubbed on voices, it doesn't work and makes it feel artificial. I'm just waiting for the obvious U.S remake, which will obviously be axed after a disappointing first series.
It's watchable, bit dont be surprised if you get bored half way.
Best episode from the best time of a classic show.
The fabulously named Gateau in the Chateau stands proudly as the best episode from Allo Allo. To my mind the second series is the high point of the show, it was fresh, original, zany and funny. This episode was an out and out triumph in every department, the script was perfect, the acting was top notch, the energy and enthusiasm was evident, but it's the interplay between Sam Kelly and Gordon Kaye that makes it so good. Sure it was daft, but unlike the later series it was daft, but beautifully written and delivered with sincerity.
Comedy Gold. 10/10
Good episode with a shocking ending.
Greeks bearing Gifts is a very strong episode of Morse, a fabulous scrupt, some very fine performances, and one of the most shocking, dramatic climaxes I can recall.
I love the Greek vibe throughout, the musical, characters, the wonderful and charismatic elderly couple. The story is wonderfully clever, it's very much about longing and desperation. Martin Jarvis is a fine actor and given some great performances over the years, but I always class this one as his best.
Very good all the way through until that ending, which conjures up all sorts of feelings, panic, outrage, and if it doesn't have you on the edge of your seat I'd be surprised.
Wonderful production values as always, glorious music. Greeks bearing Gifts is a great episode. 9 /10
Inspector Morse (1987)
The epitomy of quality television.
It is not without reason that Morse is held up as one of the finest television series ever made. It is therefore no wonder that after the tragic death of John Thaw efforts were made to keep the spirit of the show alive through Lewis and then Endeavour. Every single part of this show was perfection itself, the writing, production, music, and of course the impeccable performances of John Thaw and Kevin Whateley.
That quality began in The Dead of Jericho and ended in The Remorseful Day. Reading through the reviews it's great to see how different people love different episodes. Highest point for me was Masonic Mysteries, and I long for the day where de Vries turns up in Endeavour, an incredible episode, other highlights include driven to distraction and Death of the self. The quality is that high generally that you could almost pick any.
There aren't enough superlatives I can throw at this show, how wonderful that the elements, including John Thaw and the iconic Jaguar paved the way for a continuation of Endeavour's story.
Will we ever have such glorious viewing again?
Virtually perfect. 10/10
Silly but full of laughs.
On the very odd occasion when I watch the great Dad's Army I truly see the underpinnings of Allo Allo, a fine comedy but definitely a lot sillier then the magical Dad's Army. Don't Forget the Diver starts off with some fun moments then transforms into some hilarious slapstick comedy, with funny costines, funny walks, a fun windmill scene and a hilarious moment with Jones and a dog. Favourite moment for me has to be where the vicar nonchelantly picks up a call from a grave intended for The Verger, so unbelievably daft it had me laughing out loud.
Hugely Allo Allo, loaded with slapstick and silly laughs.
One of the most memorable. Pass me the milk thistle!
I came close to scoring Destroying Angel a perfect 10, but opted for a 9. I've always considered this one of the best, and having just finished it again I'd say it is very much a classic. It's quality definitely stems from the writing, the dialogue, script, touches of humour are so good, when you add in a cast of Samantha Bond, Tom Ward, Rosemary Leach, Tony Haygarth etc. they were never going to go wrong. Destroying Angel is a dark story, it's well paced, energetic, smart, a good old fashioned murder mystery where you're kept in the dark until the end. I love the fact that David Hoskins took the trouble to research Amanita Virosa, aka The Destroying Angel, it all gives such a realism, to what are a bonkers set of murders.
So many strands to this one, the deaths, The Punch and Judy element, I find Samantha Bond's performance one of the most memorable from the show in general. The ending comes out of the blue, such a shock twist.
Loved it. 9/10
Thriller: Sleepwalker (1976)
A strong start to the final series.
The final Series of Thriller opened with Sleepwalker, it's quite obvious that Brian Clemens writing changed as time went on, his darker taste for the macabre and obscure was very evident here. Like one or two others it's an episode that would have perhaps felt more at home in the Hammer House of Horror box set, a thriller in the broadest sense of the word, more like psychological horror. I can imagine that it's a little dated for some, but the quality in the writing is very evident, so many strands, so much going on, just so clever, forcing someone to wonder if their dreams are reality, and indeed if dreams can be shared. A few good suspects on display, and you don't quite know what's happening until the end. It's well acted, Darleen Carr is very good, Michael Kitchen as always was excellent, I hadn't realised how prolific an actor he was in his youth. Some aspects are a little dated, the dream phase filming looks shoddy by today's standard, but it's all wonderfully atmospheric.
Enjoyed it, 8/10
After a bad start it turns into a rather decent thriller.
As it stands Nightmare for a Nightingale sits at the bottom of the ratings here for individual Thriller episodes, a little unfairly I think, it really isn't the best of episodes, but it's rather enjoyable.
The story is great, I really like it, it has dramatic appeal, and creates the sense of passion, a passion for love, passion for money, and an overwhelming passion for success, not necessarily from the person you expect. The acting is pretty good, Susan Flannery is great as Anne, Stuart Damon and Ronald Leigh Hunt are also good. The trouble is that Keith Baxter is shocking is Tony Risanti I hate to say, his accent is like something out of Allo Allo, and when supposed to be dead he can clearly be seen breathing and fidgeting, how they allowed that scene through without re-shooting is baffling. The start is dire, but it gets better as it gets going, the middle is good, and the end is great.
Overall it's a real mixed bag, lacking the smooth sophistication of the earlier episodes, but it lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in menace.
Not bad, 7/10
A very strong continuation.
Whilst the second episode doesn't quite pack the punch of the opener, it's still a particularly strong episode from a purple patch in the show's long history. I don't think I've ever said this, but the big winner in this episode once again is the design team, a combination of set design and subtle lighting ensure that the episode looks incredible. The story has some fascinating concepts, anti matter, the planet at the edge of existence, and of course ends with an excellent cliffhanger. A few minor grumbles, the Army crew follow the usual stereotype, of a slightly single minded, bombastic leader, with a sympathetic deputy, and the anti matter monster perhaps looks a little raw. Those however are very minor criticisms, Tom and Lis are at the peak of their brilliance, this is a quality episode.
Thriller: Murder Motel (1975)
I rather liked this one.
I am quite surprised that this sits in the bottom three, it's definitely not one of the better episodes, but it has a certain charm.
Right from the off you can see that it had a Psycho influence, even the word Motel makes it feel like the aim was to appeal more so to an American audience, as was the use of Robyn Millan as the central character. The trouble is, her delivery is rather odd, I can't make out if she's playing a slightly neurotic character, or if her delivery is just a bit odd, however I really like her in it, I watch her as she's so quirky. Derek Francis is also good, the episode does have comic undertones, considering the dark story, it's delivered in a fairly light way.
You're questioning whether everyone that visits the Motel is part of some twisted murder game, or if there's something else going on. Some nice, tense scenes.
It's better then the score would suggest. 8/10
A classic series, Thrillers galore.
I'm almost sad to have completed the series, but all I can say is wow. Thriller deserves its cult status, the best episodes are incredible, even the episodes I like least are still good. It's been fascinating reading the many reviews, and seeing the different opinions, one thing that we all seem to have in common is we all love a thriller, which by definition has a crime and a degree of excitement, the supernatural episodes are probably the bottom of the pile for me, Nurse will make it better, and a place to die for example, they're by no means bad, just lacking the true 'thriller' core. The standout episode has to be A Coffin for the Bride, which is everything a thriller should be, plus it features a standout performance from Helen Mirren. Series Three generally is excellent, Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are is another gem from it. Another favourite is Series Five's 'If It's a Man, Hang Up.'
So many classics to chose from. It is quite amusing watching some of the U.S. titles, naturally made in the U.S they look so at odds, a shame they weren't made at the same time. That's probably the only quibble I can find from a fantastic series, viewers at the time must have loved it, those wonderful opening credits, memorable music, and of course fantastic stories.
They simply don't make shows like this anymore. 10/10
A brilliant start
After some fooling around in The TARDIS, The Doctor and Sarah get a distress call, and are taken to Zeta Minor, a planet on the very edge of the known universe.
I am always bowled over by this first episode, and whilst the whole story may not be a classic (maybe for some) few can deny that this opening part has a superb sense of menace, an incredible atmosphere, and a genuine intrigue. It's one of the only times where I see a 'Forest' in classic who, and think WOW, massive plaudits to the design team, they absolutely nailed it, it looks fantastic.
Tom and Lis are incredible, this part of the show's history was almost flawless, I still regard The Hinchcliffe era as one of the best, everything is so tight, the script, dialogue, the character behaviour etc. That looks of fear that comes over Sarah Jane shows why she's classed as one of the best, I can't imagine many others being able to deliver that true sense of fright.
Maybe the rest of the serial wasn't up to this quality, but this opener is a belter.
ITV Playhouse: Suspect (1969)
Suspect is a fine piece of drama from yesteryear, and although some of the content will naturally be unpalatable to audiences now, it must be remembered that this was made back in 1969. A time when dramas were confined to studios, the sets shook, boom shadows, fluffed lines etc, this was very much not the case with Suspects, real quality throughout, it actually defies the time it was made. The story is simple, but clever, Phyllis Segal desperate to avoid any hint of scandal desperately tries to hide the fact that her husband has left her, lying at every turn, even unwilling to let the disappearance of a School Girl stop her facade. It's well acted, Rachel Kempson and George Sewell were each very good I thought.
It's packed with intrigue, you don't quite know who, what or why, but you're given answers at the very end. I imagine the aim was to keep you on your guard, never boring, this is a very good watch. 8/10
Rather good, certainly different.
No episode of Thriller captures the 70's more so then Good Salary, Prospects, Free Coffin, it is very much Man from Uncle ground, bit of espionage, strange houses, undercover agents, cover ups and of course Mr Big. Watching it now the biggest shock of all is the possibility that someone can phone up regarding a Job, have an interview and get it there and then, admittedly what follows isn't particularly pleasant, but talk about a different time.
Lots of good points, a cunning story, and although it's not one of my favourites, it's memorable, and left its mark. Some very strong performances, particularly Julian Glover, who always plays villainous characters with such vigour, this was a few years before he appeared in Doctor Who's City of Death.
Some of the story doesn't really make sense, I couldn't quite get why these women were put in place, judging by Carter's accent I assume it was a Cold War infiltration. The start is excellent, baffling, curious, but it just doesn't carry on til the end in the same way. How did the brother gain entry to that establishment so easily?
Pretty good. 7/10
It's an oddball episode.
I'd class won't write home mom, I'm dead aas the weakest entry in a strong fifth series, it's by no means bad, it's above average, it just lacks something. On the plus side it's well acted, it has a creepy feel to it all the way through, and to some extent they create the spooky English village vibe.
Unfortunately it's too slow, the pacing is just too casual, particularly when compared to other episodes in the series. The outcome is glaringly obvious from the beginning, so in terms of it being a thriller it's very much average.
It's wonderful 70s production values, fashions, decor etc are the best thing.
Not one I'm aiming to rewatch soon.
Thriller: The Double Kill (1975)
The perfect Thriller
The Double Kill is everything you want in a thriller, it's clever, twisted, imaginative, it features the perfect game of cat and mouse, and of course there's a fiendishly clever twist waiting for you, one that I certainly didn't see coming.
Series five has been fantastic, The Double Kill is certainly up there with if it's a man hang up, and I would say deserving of the classic status.
The writing is tight and clever, as mentioned it's similar to a very famous plot, Dial M for Murder, but of course Brian Clemens manages to put his own expert spin on it.
Very well produced, it looks and sounds great. Excellent acting also, Gary Collins and Peter Bowles are superb.
It's a classic, I can't give it the perfect ten, as the plot is virtually a carbon copy, but it is a virtually perfect thriller, 9/10
A Man Called Harry Brent (1965)
Another fine mystery series.
Any Durbridge fan, or lover of Sixties mysteries will definitely enjoy this one. A bizarre crime occurs, and the viewer is left to wait until the very last to discover the killer's identity and motive. I'd say the opening few episodes are excellent, the closing ones are very good, perhaps not the high standard of the opening view.
It's jam packed with intrigue and mystery, as always Durbridge leads you constantly into blind alleys. On several occasions you think something's happening, when it's actually quite the opposite.
Gerald Harper steals the show as the solid Detective, but he's particularly well supported by Edward Brayshaw, Bernard Brown and Judy Parfitt are good value, Brian Wilde is ok, but was much better in Melissa.
I don't enjoy this one as much as Game of Murder or Bat out of Hell, but it's still very much worth a watch. 7/10
A good conclusion.
The finale is a definite improvement over the previous episode, but still a little less enjoyable then the usual Durbridge penned series finales. If I'm honest my suspicions as to the killer's identity were proven right, it's all the result of the story of the pen.
It's still an enjoyable episode with lots to enjoy, plenty of twists, one event I truly didn't see coming, so I applaud them for that at least. The action scenes are a little far fetched, and perhaps hard to believe, maybe slightly different casting would have been better. A quite grown up episode, with bad language and drug addiction references.
Gerald Harper was excellent throughout, no wonder he'd return in another Durbridge Mystery, A Game of Murder, a much better overall series in my opinion.
A complex story, some facts are held from the viewer early on, which throws you off track, but all in all it's a decent serial. 8/10
A solid penultimate episode
The facts are very slowly coming out, it's the penultimate episode and things seem to be getting more complicated as opposed to easier. There are a few good things happening, but in all honesty it's a little bit on the slow side, Harry Brent has definitely become the Central point, and it's unclear if he's looking after Carol or placed her in danger, at least they're keeping you guessing until the last episode. The filming is a little clunky at times, on so many occasions the actors are talking with their backs to the camera. The thing I'm most keen on finding out is the importance of the pen, it's tantalising.
Enjoyable without being riveting. 7/10