What you get in this 2DVD package are three television plays by Dennis Potter - 'Blade On The Feather', 'Rain On The Roof' and 'Cream In My Coffee' - all produced and broadcast by London Weekend Television (LWT) in 1980. Although quite watchable as they stand, it is a pity that Network have not digitally remastered both the sound and the picture, as the work both needs and deserves it.
At his worst, I think that Dennis Potter's personal bitternesses and prejudices (which are invariably class-based) overwhelm and unbalance his writing. This accounts for much - if not most - of the first two dramas in this collection, 'Blade On The Feather' and 'Rain On The Roof'. However, at his best, he can transcend these things to write something that is genuinely well-observed, penetrating and true. This accounts for 'Cream In My Coffee', the third and best drama in this collection.
All three plays deal with aspects of English life, and the English experience, as seen from Potter's essentially left-wing and self-consciously working class perspective. So, as you might expect, class antagonisms and class-based judgements are very much to the fore. The one exception to this rule is 'Cream In My Coffee' which has an unexpected, and quite sharp, sting in its tail. The package is worth having for this piece alone. Neverthless, all three plays have elements of interest, high production values and good performances, even if the first two do strike too many false notes for my particular taste.
Denholm Elliott is very good in 'Blade On The Feather', as is Ewan Stewart (as the illiterate youth, Billy) in 'Rain On The Roof'. But it's Peggy Ashcroft and Lionel Jeffries in 'Cream In My Coffee' who deliver the really outstanding performances. Not least because they have the best of the three scripts to work with. Martin Shaw is also very good in this play, as the big band singer, Jack Butcher.
It is worth noting that both Denholm Elliott and Peggy Ashcroft won BAFTAs for their performances, and 'Cream In My Coffee' won the Prix Italia for Best Drama in 1981.
Beyond the 'Chapter Selection' option, the DVD has no extras.