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Classic sit-com at its finest?
on 31 January 2005
'Till Death Us Do Part' returned to BBC-TV screens after a four-year break with its first colour series. Although now into a new decade, Alf Garnett's rants and rails against the world remained undiminished; and time since 1972 has done nothing to diminish Warren Mitchell's superb performances and Johnny Speight's crackling and provocative scripts (many of the topical references still apply today!). This is classic situation comedy of the finest order, with excellent ensemble support from Nichols/Booth/Stubbs, and guesting second bananas like Joan Sims, Bill Maynard and Roy Kinnear. Let's not forget Dennis Main Wilson's production which surelty added much to the programme's polished presentation.
There are some naff bits - Spike Milligan's Indian 'impersonation' ('Holiday In Bournemouth' episode) wasn't funny even 30-odd years ago, and one suspects they knew it, but he was Speight's mate, so it got in. The 'Up The Hammers' episode is also worth viewing for the almost agonising scene when Rita thinks that her new baby has been snatched (the baby has, in fact, been taken by Alf to a West Ham soccer match, and is offered neat Scotch amidst the terrace crowd). TDUDP sometimes strayed into tragi-comedy with startling results, and this is one of the best examples.
The picture/sound quality of these recordings is very good for early-1970s PAL - certainly superior to what most viewers saw at the time of first broadcast. The only carp really is the dearth of extras of the kind that accompanied the later TDUDP Complete 1974 Series DVD issue. The 1972 Christmas Special is included, but this really counts as an addition to the series at hand, as it went out not long after the last episode here.