The Village - Series 1 [DVD]
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The Village is an epic drama series for BBC One starring Maxine Peake and John Simm, charting the life and turbulent times of one English village across the whole of the 20th century, written by Bafta-winning writer Peter Moffat. The Village charts the life and turbulent times on one English village throughout the twentieth century with the life and memories of one man, Bert Middleton, providing the backbone to the story as he lives across the entire hundred years. From boyhood to extreme old age Bert witnesses births and deaths, love and betrayal and the great political events and social upheaval that shaped and made Britain and his village what it is today.
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Top Customer Reviews
The first series is set during the period 1913 - 1920, the same time period as Downton Abbey. Be warned though, for those of you expecting another pretty, well made, soap opera love fest between the classes in a period setting, The Village is as far removed from that as possible. This series is about harsh reality and imperfect people. And boy, is it harsh.
The Village is unrelentingly grim and heart-wrenching. I challenge even the most hard-hearted to not tear up at least once. No one in this village seems to smile. Everyone lives under a cloud of misery and drudgery - physical, emotional or both, regardless of whether they are the lords of the manor, the middle class villagers or the dirt poor farmers.
And that, really, is the one criticism I have of this show. I am well aware that life in those times was very difficult and it was often a struggle to stay alive and have enough to eat, but surely people found some happiness some time. Surely they still smiled and laughed on occasion; had some joy in their lives, however small.
It is for this reason that I have given this show 4 instead of 5 stars. If the idea is to show life the way it really was at the start of the last century, then the makers should show all facets of life, not just the grimness and misery. Everyone has problems, but we manage to find something to be happy about.
My verdict - I would definitely recommend it, but would also recommend to the makers that the second series lightens up a bit.
And it makes for suitably grim viewing as we witness the everyday domestic dramas of both high and low lived out against the backdrop of the Great War; the high personified by local gentry, the Allinghams, embodying all of the entitlement of the upper classes; the low personified by the Middletons, a (subsistence) farming family presided over by John (John Simm) and Grace (Maxine Peake) whose eldest son, Joe, goes off to fight.
The period detail, as might be expected from the BBC, is excellent, and the Peak District setting, at times, quite spectacular. Like all period dramas, it has its stock characters; its heroes and villains at which we are encouraged to either cheer or boo at appropriate moments in the story.
Nevertheless, this is a brilliant slice of fictionalized social history. It comes at an apposite time, commemorating, as we are, the centenary of the start of the `war to end all wars'- and all delivered by a top-notch cast.
As the series develops, so do the lives and circumstances of the Middletons and the rest of the village change, particularly with the outbreak of World War One. Even the well-off in the local manor house are drawn into events. Joe enlists, John wanders out sucking beer slops off a brush while Bert amuses (and abuses) himself.
Enough said except the action continues with powerful scenes, impressive acting and dialogue. It is not without comical moments either nor emotional and dramatic incidents, some quite intense. Fortunes change one way or another largely war-related. All this is set against the scenic Derbyshire countryside. Series One may not be to everyones' taste, but what is? I found it absorbing and compelling viewing, eager for the next development. I hope the series continues.
The summer of 1914 was the first time ever a bus came to Bert's Derbyshire village, no one expected anyone to actually get off. Young Bert Middleton (exquisitely played by Bill Jones) was only 12 years old, but he fell in love immediately with new arrival, young Martha Lane (Charlie Murphy). He still loves her 100 years later. Bert's older brother Joe (perfectly portrayed by Manchester native Nico Mirallegro), is a servant in the Big House and he also falls for Martha. Both boys are afraid of their tormented father John, a drunken Peak District farmer (the always remarkable John Simm, catch the Manchester drama Life on Mars). For context, Simm himself researched what the life of his struggling-against-the elements farmer would have been, reading local history in Milk, Muck and Memories: Farming Lives Collected by Margaret Wombwell.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was so good I was really sorry when it finished, but it finished at exactly the right moment leaving ones imagination to see the future of the villagers.Published 1 month ago by E. Stringer
Best period series of the year. Important antidote to the ghastly Downton Abbey....Published 1 month ago by anything to distract
For all the production values and excellent acting, this drama is unrelentingly grim. I cannot fathom why the whole village didn't jump into the closest lake and be done with... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Phillip S. Sheldon
I really struggled to get past the first episode. I had high hopes and possibly that was the problem. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Paula Jane Williams
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