on 14 February 2011
I must admit I have quite a soft spot for Fresh Fields as I distinctly remember it being one of the very first sitcoms I watched and loved, having been around just 4 or 5 years old when it began. It's nice to see this old classic sitcom finally out on DVD after years of it seldom being screened. Considerably slipping into obscurity in more recent years is all the more surprising by the fact that in its day Fresh Fields was enormously popular, spanning four seasons between 1984-86, and an equally popular sequel French Fields (1989-1991). Instantly attracting big viewing figures it also found itself the recipitent of various awards including a BAFTA for the adorable Julia McKenzie and even an Emmy Award in the USA. After the series ended it faded from view but now with Julia McKenzie's profile high once again, playing amateur sleuth Miss Marple in the hit ITV series, Fresh Fields, for which she is arguably best known, has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity with the release of the DVD's.
Fresh Fields is most definitely what you call undemanding viewing - perfect, perhaps, for a rainy Sunday afternoon. It's not exactly a laugh out loud programme brimming with belly laughs, but does provide some fairly amusing moments that are bound to make you quietly chuckle to yourself. Very gentle in humour the show does flow quite well for its age and always exceedingly entertaining.
Created and written by John Chapman with production and direction courtesy of Peter Frazer-Jones, Fresh Fields is centered on William and Hester who have been happily married for over twenty years. Now their children have flown the nest, and William is working long hours as an accountant, Hester finds herself suffering a bit of a mid-life crisis. Determined to inject some spice back in her marriage and some much-needed excitement in her life Hester continually tries to find new hobbies, challenges and adventures to occupy her time, often met with a less than enthusiastic response from her mild-mannered husband. Such activities inevitably lead and end in disaster.
The undoubted star of the show is the delightful Julia McKenzie as the bubbly, ever-enthusiastic, well-meaning though slightly scatter-brained Hester Fields. Her sparkling presence is complimented by Anton Rodgers as her dry-witted husband William. McKenzie and Rodgers share an undeniable on-screen chemistry, sparking and bouncing off one another effortlessly.
Also in the fold is Ann Beach as the Fields somewhat nosy neighbour Sonia who has an annoying habit of turning up at the Fields home at the most inconvinient of times and always announcing as she enters through the backdoor (often uninvited) "It's only Sonia!" She provides good comic support as does Fanny Rowe playing Hesters prissy mother Nancy, who lives in a granny flat at the end of the Fields garden.
Episodes in this first series are 'Dish Of The Day', where Hester, already an accomplished cook, is delighted to get a part-time job at the local bistro...only there's very little in the way of customers! 'Middle Age Dread' sees Hester applying for a job in a trendy fashion store, only to be cruelly knocked back because of her age. So Hester, not one to be beaten, decides to prove that the old adage 'you're as young as you feel' is indeed true - and she succeeds.
'Hook, Line And Sink Her' sees the Fields and Hesters mother Nancy heading off on a fishing trip while 'The Naked Truth' is particularly funny where William has a client visiting from the Middle East and Hester is sent off to greet him at the airport. And it seems this client enjoys mixing business with pleasure which Hester is forced to endure.
'Des.Det.Res' finds William contemplating on selling their large home for a smaller property much to Hesters dismay and so she, Sonia and Nancy hatch up a cunning little plan. Finally 'Something In The Oven' closes the disc and William and Hester are thrilled to learn that their daughter Emma is pregnant, though are quickly appalled when they find out that Emma and her boyfriend Peter still have no plans to marry.
All very predictable and corny stuff but on the right day and in the right mood Fresh Fields remains a fun, enjoyable watch and is a fine example of pleasantly innocent, classic British comedy.
on 2 October 2011
Fresh Fiels is one those British comedy series who are suitable to watch over and over again. Even as the sequel series: FRENCH FIELDS when Hester en William move from the U.K to France.
I remember watching all those series, on the Dutch tv, when I was a teenager. Too bad the Dutch tv only ran the first series of FRENCH FIELDS but all the four FRESH FIELDS series were shown in The Netherlands though. I used to record them every week on VHS.
I only buy dvd's when I am sure I watch more than once and FRESH FIELDS is surely one of them.
Fresh Fields started on ITV in 1984 and ran for four series. Shortly after, three follow up series aired with a slightly different name, French Fields.
Julia Mackenzie and Antgon Rodgers stars as the married couple living in Barnes SW London with part of the family living in the granny flat at the bottom of the garden.
Fresh Fields is a typical comedy from the Eighties and is suitable for all the family. My two favourite episodes in this set were The Naked Truth and Middle Age Dread.
Well worth a watch!
on 23 April 2010
I was only young the first time this sitcom aired - therefore I was shocked that I remembered so much of it!! The music, lines of dialogue, names and faces..... It is completely middle class - as with Terry and June - but a lot funnier and Julia McKensie is a star! Enjoy!