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4.8 out of 5 stars279
4.8 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 28 April 2007
This is without doubt the best, under-rated comedy series ever made by the BBC. At last we have a complete BBC release of the entire collection in one edition containing not only the four series broadcast between 1984 and 1989 but the two Christmas specials from those years as well.

As a reminder, this is the gem of a series that contained classics such as Martin getting to grips with the housework while Anne is in hospital (and with such funny lines in it Peter Egan is killing himself with laughter at some points), the first Christmas special when loads of Paul's house guests descend upon Martin for the festive season, Cavaliers and Roundheads and the Neighbourhood Watch classics.

Wonderfully inspired casting included Stanley Lebor as Howard and the team gelled together like nothing I have seen before or since.

Although these episodes have previously been available as individual series, this is an offial BBC release edition which apparently also includes comentary on selected episodes from Richard Briers, Penelope Wilton and Peter Egan.

I urge you to treat yourself to this set, you will not be disappointed - and you can enjoy the 'will they, won't they?' chemistry between Ann and Paul all over again with Martin blisfully unaware that anything is wrong!

11/10 - they just don't make series like this anymore and it is to be cherished forever.
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on 27 January 2008
I saw two episodes when a friend bought this set round one night and really enjoyed the easygoing scripts, the affection and rapport between the characters, and the clever undercurrents always just beneath the surface. I ordered it for myself and spent a very pleasant couple of months steadily going through the whole run and also the final special. I loved it all. It was a comedy for grown ups from the theme music onwards and was rewarding to enjoy. Subtlety is missing from much of today's tv, and this shows up so much of the comedies on offer these days. I found myself wondering how such a comedy would be done today, 20 years after it actually aired!
The extras are light and trivial but little nuggets of their time. Appearances on the Wogan show are squeezed on and although they're not too enlightening and if anything they're embarrassing in places, they're still nice to see.
There are some commentaries over a few episodes which are okay and nice to listen to but I do wish the 'interviewer' could either have done some research or found a way to kep the conversations going. There are some long pauses while the cast's main trio watch themselves and giggle away, which is alright once or twice but becomes frustrating after too many.
It's a very enjoyable set and unfairly forgotten, I feel. Treat yourself to this and you won't be disappointed.
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on 18 March 2013
A review of the other EDC boxed set on Amazon made me think about this show when the reviewer in question said that she regarded Martin as the hero rather than the anti-hero most people consider him to be. She also said that she thought of the show more as a drama than a comedy, and on both points I can see what she is getting at.

There is great pathos at work here, as we witness Martin Bryce's carefully planned life begin to unravel with the arrival of his new effortlessly urbane neighbour, Paul, and watch the tension which is clearly (although not to Martin) present between Martin's wife, Ann, and the suave newcomer. The laughs are at Martin's expense; the glaring contrast between his uptight nature and the careless ease with which Paul conducts his own life make it hard to reach any other conclusion than that Martin needs to relax a little. But, like the reviewer mentioned above, I too can sympathise with Martin. Yes, he can be oblivious to Ann's needs and so wrapped up in his various clubs, societies and activities that he neglects to experience real life, but Ann is not without her own guilt. Martin may be a busybody, but he's the type of person without which the world wouldn't function anywhere near as well. He's fussy but he's also solid, dependable and well-meaning. He is also what all great sitcom characters are - a reflection of people we know (or even people we ourselves are), and a three dimensional person who reveals something about our own lives, both in the way he reacts to his surroundings and the way in which he interacts with other people.
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on 25 April 2014
One of the most understated comedies of our time, I absolutely love it with a passion. Great acting from a band of wonderful professionals who wring every ounce of pathos & humour out of the wonderfully written script. I am from Scotland and my friends can't understand my love for this series, but I think that it embodies the essence of Englishness that absolutely delights me (I know, I think that I am an odd Scotsman too). I use this series when on my treadmill and it really does help to while away the tedious miles in a very pleasant and dreamlike way. Please enjoy.
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on 15 February 2009
Time has not dimished the wonderful humour and marvellous acting of this collection. It transports you back to when innuendo ruled the waves but you still knew exactly what was, or was not, going on.

Your heart bleeds for the careworn wife of the nit-picking, self-centred Martin but, when all is said and done, she does love him despite his faults.

A wonderful watch.

Mad Madam Mimm
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on 28 January 2013
This never reached the cult status of 'The Good Life" but it's a gentle and clever 80s comedy featuring a much younger but instantly recognisable Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey). Peter Egan is excellent as the smooth-talking and outwardly successful Paul, who Martin (Briers) simultaneously resents and envies while his wife's (Wilton) affections seem to waver between the two. Howard and Hilda - a slightly eccentric married couple living in the same neighbourhood - are a delight to behold.

Well worth a trip back to a more innocent age when sitcoms didn't revolve around vulgar excess or need to be filtered for bad language.
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on 13 November 2009
We watched this when it first came out - keenly waiting for each episode and then each new series. We are still watching it a quarter of a century later.

A total tonic - on a par with the sainted Fawlty Towers. Quite beautifully acted with the most memorable gentle characters but with with quite an acidic and even cynical undertone. You will just go "aaaah" after each episode. Put it on when you feel a bit low you will howl - such an antidote to the rubbish on TV now!

Who doesn't know a Martin - obsessive, well meaning but totally dreadful - or his ever loving and saintly patient wife Anne or "Eeehrn" as Martin calls her? Who has never met a Paul - the neighbour who effortlessly walks on water and makes Martin's life so problematic? And as for Howard and Hilda with their matching sweaters and perfect passionate marriage - well we have all seen them on holiday or met them at a party!!

Classic - Howard and Hilda - Well we have to go now otherwise we'll miss the shipping forecast.
Hilda - Why do we listen to the shipping forecast Howard?
Howard - Because it leads so nicely into the news
Hilda - Oh yes.

Sheer utter perfection - don't miss it!
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on 10 April 2009
This Ever Decreasing Circles set of six discs is providing us with hours of enjoyment and surprises as we thought we had seen all of the originals,which we had not - it was before the days of recording I guess! I would recomend this set, it is excellent value for money.
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on 29 November 2013
This collection is an absolute gem - gentle comedy and a joy to watch. I hadn't seen the Christmas special before and it was a lovely surprise. I can't recommend this sit-com CD set highly enough - the actors, acting, script, storylines and character development are just wonderful. Quite a lot of the time you can see the cast laughing as they deliver their lines and that adds to the enjoyment. I loved this series and have watched them again and again.

The only problem with the DVDs lies with the packaging - there is no index of episodes either on the disc or on the cases. This absence becomes very irritating if you stop watching halfway through a DVD because there is then no way of identifying which episodes you have and haven't watched. Additionally, the design on the discs is identical so it at very easy to muddle them up too. An irritating absence in an otherwise perfect piece of television.
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on 28 April 2012
Received this really quickly and couldn't wait to re-acquaint myself with this wonderful comedy classic. It's ten times funnier than I remembered, I howled with laughter all the way through - although I did discover, somewhat worryingly, that I am quite a lot like Martin! All the characters are so well written and acted, they just don't make comedy like this any more - more's the pity.

Highly recommended!
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