I must say that I agree most strongly with the recent reviews of the quality of the episodes and have gone into detail about this in my review of season six. That review was titled "We Must Be Thankful That We've Got Them" and it's as simple as that. It boils down to the straight fact that some people are never going to be happy with the quality of the episodes while others like myself are just thankful that they are there and blow the quality.
Now that is out of the way onto the episodes themselves, seasons five and six have always been the most fascinating Steptoe and Son serials for me due to the fact that they were missing for years, I have had copies of all the sixties and colour episodes for years but this was a huge gap in my collection until their rediscovery and transmission on BBC2. Comparing the transmission tapes that I made to this DVD release it is apparent that some restoration work has taken place on the episodes as they do seem clearer and sharper.
A DEATH IN THE FAMILY was the first episode to be transmitted since the original run ended in 1965 and involves the demise of the horse, Hurcules this is a very funny but also one of the more moving episodes that had been shown to that point , there is real grief displayed by the characters and is more emotive than usual. One thing is for sure, it is as if Wilfrid Brambel and Harry H Corbett had never been away, they slip back into their old roles as brilliantly as ever.
A WINTER'S TALE is the annual episode about Harold wanting to go abroad for his holiday and the old man trying to stop him, it is very good but a little predictable as we have seen this type of storyline before.
ANY OLD IRON? is the absolutely corking episode of Harold being introduced to an antique dealer, Timothy who turns out to be gay. This was quite radical for the time and must have been particularly dificult for Wilfrid Brambel to act as though he despised gay people when in actual fact he himself was gay in a time when such things were considered taboo.
STEPTOE ANS SON - AND SON sees a heavily pregnant young woman looking for Harold, whom she then claims fathered her child. Harold's behaviour borders on pathetic when he sees this as an opportunity to escape from his father even when he learns that things are not quite as they seem, another great episode.
THE COLOUR PROBLEM is an attempt by the old man to con Harold into buying him a colour television, the only problem Harold wants to buy a car, cue one of the old man's must cunning plans ever. The best episode on the disc.
In the episode T.B OR NOT T.B Harold decides to blame his father for their poor health and forces them both to go for a check up, the results come back a few days later with information that will shake Harold to the core and for once he decides to take advantage of it and stay off work and in bed, much to the old man's disgust, but things don't work out as he hopes.
The final episode on the disc MEN OF PROPERTY sees Harold learn that the freehold of their house is about to run out and he cons the local bank manager for a loan, at the the cost of a massively expensive meal the bank manager agrees but Albert has othe plans for the money.
This season re-established Steptoe and Son as the nation's best loved comedy and it is for that reason that we should forget about the various quilty of the episodes and just enjoy it for what this and the rest of Steptoe and Son is, sheer brilliance.