In many ways, Joyce Grenfell represents another age - one of comedy in post-war Britain. But watching Joyce properly for the first time (I'd only seen the excellent Mureen Lipman in Re:Joyce before), I couldn't help feeling slightly shocked by how fresh the material is. I suspect this is because Joyce's observations are exceptionally sharp; and they just go to show that, essentially, people don't change. There's the neurotic and over-analysing Mrs Moss; the wile wife of a celebrity who knows exactly what her philandering husband is really up to; and the delinquent school child, Sidney, who's told: "don't shoot Neville - it's not nice." Of course, this is seeing the sketches through modern eyes, but the resonances are unmistakable. And if you like music, there are satirical jibs at opera, encores and amateur productions.
There are two DVDs included: the first is two 50-minute programmes from 1964, which are in black and white and the sound quality is a little aged (as you'd expect); the second disc contains four good quality, half-hour programmes from 1972. There is very little cross over in material between the two discs, so both contain gems.
Joyce said that the older she got, the more she understood why people were the way they were and, consequently, it became harder to be funny about them. It's the 30th anniversary of her death in 2009, but certainly her humour doesn't seem to diminish with age and, so, here's to decades more enjoyment from Grenfell monologues.