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Only When I Laugh: The Complete First And Second Series (Box Set) [VHS] [1979]


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Product details

  • Actors: James Bolam, Peter Bowles, Christopher Strauli, Richard Wilson, Derrick Branche
  • Format: Box set
  • Classification: To be announced
  • Studio: Cinema Club
  • VHS Release Date: 19 Aug 2002
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B00006AFI6
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 318,975 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

The complete first and second series of the medical sitcom. In 'A Bed With a View' Figgis (James Bolam) gets upset when a new patient is given a better bed than him. 'Operation Norman' sees the hospital staff struggle to get Norman (Christopher Strauli) onto the operating table. 'The Rumour' has Figgis compound confusion with misunderstanding when he overhears the surgeons talking. 'The Man With the Face' finds Archie (Peter Bowles) eager to get a bed with a view. In 'Let Them Eat Cake' Figgis leads his fellow patients into a hunger strike. 'Tangled Web' has the men longing for some female company. 'Is There a Doctor in the House?' finds Figgis resorting to radical measures in order to escape the hospital. 'Whatever Happened to Gloria Robbins?' sees the ward visited by a glamorous female film star. 'Where There's a Will' has the patients all attempt to get on the good side of a rich fellow patient. 'It Can Damage Your Health' finds Figgis, Archie and friends Norman unimpressed by the dangers of smoking. In 'The Cosmic Influence' Figgis becomes obsessed with astrology. 'The Visitors' sees Norman receive a visit from his mother. 'The Lost Sheep' has a visiting vicar asked to perform an unusual christening. Finally, in 'Last Tango', Norman receives dancing lessons from his fellow patients.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Jan 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Classic comedy, the first series is worth watching if only to wonder why they kept 3 fit men in hospital! Today the humour is tired and frankly unbelievable, but if you have nothing better to do!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
An Amusing, Light-Hearted British Comedy 17 Sep 2001
By Tiggah - Published on Amazon.com
Only When I Laugh is a British comedy written by Eric Chappell, who also wrote Rising Damp. I must confess that I definitely prefer Rising Damp (whose star, Leonard Rossiter, can at times be simply hilarious). Nevertheless, this is still a cute show.
The series is set in the ward of a hopelessly and humourously inept hospital. If there wasn't much wrong with a person upon being admitted, he needn't wait long, for there soon would be under the care of the crotchety and incompetent Dr. Thorpe (Richard Wilson of One Foot in the Grave). Then there is Gupte, the overworked and overstressed hospital assistant.
This 3-volume set consists of six 25-minute episodes which revolve around three patients. Firstly, Peter Bowles (To the Manor Born, Rumpole of the Bailey) plays the posh, middle-class Archie Glover, who seems to be perfectly well upon his re-admittance, save for a few vague aches and pains. Then there is Roy Figgis (James Bolam), the loud, boisterous, working-class rabble-rouser whom one could easily envision leading a trade union rally. He's a hypochondriac who's been a resident at the hospital for a while and is every patient's worst nightmare for a room-mate. Finally, there is newcomer Norman Biggs, a pleasant but very naive young fellow who provides a middle ground between his two very opinionated and highly-strung room-mates.
I should just mention (as some of the boxed sets have had the tapes inadvertently inserted in reverse order) that the first episode is the one entitled "A Bed with a View." One should watch this episode first as it introduces the characters and sets the stage for future episodes (some of which are, of course, better than others). Overall, this is a very light, clean, amusing (if occasionally zany) comedy suitable for the entire family.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Highly recommend to any Britcom fan! 12 Jun 2014
By Kurt A. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Only When I laugh follows the hilarious adventures of three men looking for happiness in the National Health Service. Archie Glover (played by Peter Bowles) is an upper-middle class hypochondriac who tries to use the hospital as a resort and general hideout from the world (he was in prime shape *before* he got there). He shares a ward with Roy Figgis (James Bolam), a working-class activist who fears the treatment he’s gotten, but is equally afraid to leave, and young Norman Binns (Christopher Strauli) who tries to keep the peace of the ward.

And through it all, Dr. Gordon Thorpe (Richard Wilson) and nurse Ram Gupte (Derrick Branche) try to keep their uncooperative patients in line and on the road to recover (or somewhere anyway).

This boxed-set contains two DVDs, each with three of the half-hour episodes. As opposed to some of the other BBC projects, these episodes are all in order, representing the first six episodes (of seven, grrrr) of the first series. The odd thing is that the set with the second series also doesn’t have the seventh episode either, and I do wonder why the two #7 episodes are missing.

But, that said, this is a great show, with witty dialogue and lots of that great British humor. I highly recommend these DVDs to any fan of British comedy.

A Bed With A View – Series 1, episode 1 (October 29, 1979) – When Norman is placed in their ward, Glover and Figgis begin a war to see who gets the bed next to the window. Sadly for everyone involved, they change beds without changing the charts. In such an environment mishaps are bound to happen!

Operation Norman – Series 1, episode 2 (November 5, 1979) – It’s time for Norman’s operation, but Figgis’ horror stories have filled him with terror. That’s it, whether it’s needed or not, Norman is not going to have it.

The Rumour – Series 1, episode 3 (November 12, 1979) – Figgis, sneaking a smoke in the bathroom overhears Dr. Thorpe telling Gupte about a sad, terminal case. But who is it? The men of the ward want to know.

The Man With The Face – Series 1, episode 4 (November 19, 1979) – When a violent, jealous boyfriend of one of Glover’s conquests shows up looking for revenge, Figgis hides Glover with a bandaged face. But, when the girl, Anna, shows up, all sorts of new possibilities open up!

Let Them Eat Cake – Series 1, episode 5 (November 26, 1979) – The men of the ward are sick of the food served at the hospital, and go on a hunger strike. However, when Figgis’ labor agitation results in a staff strike at the hospital, they go hungrier still.

Tangled Web – Series 1, episode 6 (December 3, 1979) – When a romance novel set in a hospital falls into the patients’ hands, and a pretty nurse walks into their lives, life begins to imitate cheap literature!
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