Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads
was actually a revival, in 1973, of the successful Dick Clements/Ian La Frenais 1960s comedy The Likely Lads
, so notable for its fibrous but sympathetic treatment of life for two young men coming of age in North East England. This "Very Best of" collection brings together classic episodes from the 1973 series. Although tinged with nostalgia--the décor and styles of the early 1970s are almost pungently evocative--the quality of the writing defies the passage of time.
Seven years on from their initial adventures, Rodney Bewes (upwardly mobile, self-improving Bob) and James Bolam (feckless, chippy Terry) meet by accident on the train. Bob is about to marry Thelma and move into modern semi-detached heaven, while Terry is just out of the army and drifting back home without a great deal of purpose. The relationship between the two men, basically sound but frequently compromised by their very different aspirations, is very cleverly drawn and played so that your sympathies never stay on one side for very long. Best of all, Brigit Forsyth's Thelma, a dragon in the making, adds an astringent dynamic. She is, says Terry, "so stuck up she thinks her backside's a perfume factory". The insecurity he generates in her is responsible for much of the comedy.
On the DVD: The Very Best of Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads comes to disc with no extras, simply standard 4:3 picture format video production and episode selection. But it's still fresh as a daisy all the same. --Piers Ford
A pick of the best episodes from the follow-up to the earlier 'The Likely Lads', where Terry Collier (James Bolam) has returned from the army to find his northern home town and its inhabitants changed beyond recognition. Out of contact during the intervening years, his best friend Bob Ferris (Rodney Bewes) has settled into a respectable job and is engaged to his boss's daughter.