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Don't Wait Up (1983–1990)
8/10
Quite good, very much of its time
16 October 2007
Not a classic like Blackadder or Only Fools and Horses, but quite good all the same. This was very much a sitcom for the Thatcher era in which it was made. The doctors Latimer were always sniping at each other. Dr Tom Latimer (Nigel Havers) was an NHS General Practitioner, a position which he passionately believed in, whilst father Dr Toby Latimer (Tony Britton) was in private practice as a dermatologist.

As well as the private medicine vs NHS jokes, the series also dealt with relationships: Tom's relationships with his ex-wife Helen and his girlfriend Madeleine whom he later married, and Toby's relationship with estranged wife Angela, as well as the (usually strained) father-son interplay, made for some good story lines. The characters were well drawn, and as one would expect from such a stellar cast, beautifully portrayed. But it didn't make it into the Top 100 in the BBC's "Britain's Best Sitcom", a few years ago.

When the series was originally shown, there was one thing that perplexed me: Eagle-eyed viewers will remember that the opening titles and the closing credits were run within a photo album. As the closing credits came to an end, the album closed to reveal the producer / director's name (Harold Snoad) and the copyright. Due to an oversight by the BBC, the same photo album was used throughout the series' run, so unofficially all episodes are (c) BBC MCMLXXXIII [1983], but later episodes feature tell-tale signs like cars and registration plates that weren't available then. They must have thought that no-one would notice!!
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Once (2007)
10/10
Great music, well written, and two great stars.
11 October 2007
We were lucky enough to see "Once" at a free screening, at Bristol's Watershed Media Centre. It was actually a bit like going to a premiere, because the stars Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová were there. It's actually hard to believe that neither of them is an actor - the interplay between them on-screen was a joy to watch. There's also a lot of very natural humour, so a good laugh is guaranteed.

After the film, they answered questions from the audience as well as from the Watershed's Programme Director, Mark Cosgrove. During this, it transpired that the director originally intended to cast a woman of around 35 for the 'female immigrant' part, but wasn't able to find anyone. So it was Glen Hansard who suggested Markéta Irglová, whom he had met a few years earlier.

They then performed some of the songs from the film, using Glen's rather well-used guitar and just a microphone each. Even playing as live and un-produced as you can get (no mixing desk or anything), they sounded as brilliant as they did in the film, Markéta's voice sounding especially haunting when she sang a solo.

All in all, this was a film I would been happy to pay to see.
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10/10
Excellent! Ground-breaking stuff!!
18 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I was only 2 in 1969 when the concert took place, so obviously I didn't see it then. A couple of years ago my wife (who hadn't seen it either)hired the DVD and we sat down with open minds. We weren't disappointed.

The music itself is excellent. Jon Lord broke new ground with this work, proving that the worlds of pop and classical music really aren't that far apart. I know that Paul McCartney and others have proved that many times since, but back in 1969 there was probably a lot more snobbery about classical music. So it's very much to Malcolm Arnold's credit that the concert went ahead.

The DVD is 1st rate, with excellent photography and a very revealing and entertaining commentary by JL, in which he highlighted a number of problems that had to be overcome along the way, like a lady musician who "didn't join the RPO to play 'Second-hand Beatles music'". Obviously the technical quality of the picture isn't quite as good as it would be now, but you have to remember that colour television was in its infancy. The sound has been beautifully re-mastered too.
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5th Gear (2002– )
Basically, Top Gear minus Clarkson & BBC, plus Five = 5th Gear
10 April 2006
In short, 5th Gear is a "Five" re-hash of the old Top Gear format, and because it uses many of the same cast and crew, minus Jeremy Clarkson, it's a good one. It's like TG used to be a few years back, when the items were geared more towards information, although I will say that I have always found Tiff Needell entertaining when he track-tests a super-car.

Some have said that the show would benefit from Clarkson; personally I don't think so, partly because Five would probably have to be careful about not upsetting advertisers (unlike the BBC) and he has, shall we say, shown the potential for that!!

All in all, 5th Gear is a great show, and long may it continue.
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