Top critical review
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Good for casual fan, longtime fans will have heard it all before
on 27 December 2011
Let me start by saying how easy this was to order on the Kindle. I looked it up on amazon.co.uk on my laptop, clicked order, turned on the kindle and it started downloading. Whole process took only a few minutes.
Now, on to the book. This is the first review I have written (usually because what I want to say has been said by everyone else), but in this case I feel my review could be useful.
Being a long time dedicated fan of the series, I was looking forward to reading this book. While its not bad, theres nothing groundbreaking here, it almost feels like a collection of sections from other books.
The first part of the books goes in depth into the life of John Sullivan prior to Only Fools, and although somewhat interesting, theres a long time before anything OFAH related is mentioned. It feels like your reading a biography of John Sullivan rather than a book on OFAH.
The next part of the book is all about each cast member, following this format:
- A brief history of the actor, from their beginnings to working on OFAH. Again, this is interesting, but as David Jason and others have worked on many things, alot of this story isn't really linked with OFAH. In the case of Buster Merryfield it reads like a brief life story, including a story of him nearly dying in the jungle while in the army. While interesting, the more I read, the more I forgot I was reading about OFAH, it really does feel like reading a biography.
- A few sentences on the actors favourate scene or episode. Literally only a few lines of text, with little in the way of explaination.
- A list of other work by the actor.
This is the for the 'main' characters (Boycie, Marline, Del, Rodney, Grandad, Uncle Albert, Trig etc.). Some of the minor characters are given 2 or 3 lines with very little substance.
One thing that really struck me was that in the section about Tessa Peake-Jones it mentions that she met Sullivan just before 'Dates', and that was her first appearance. Although a very minor point, its well known by longtime fans that she is in the first episode (with one line). It would have been interesting to read about that, and how it went from that to Sullivan casting her much later on in the show, or how she felt about it, but no, it starts with 'Dates' and never mentions it.
After each actor has been looked at, it moves onto each series. I was really looking forward to reading this, thinking it would give detailed info about each series, possible different story lines or some other info, but it reads literally like a episode by episode guide giving a brief plot discription and very little else. This carries out for every series. Very disappointed.
After that, theres a similar section on The Green Green Grass, and then Rock and Chips (the most interesting bit of the book for me, but still nothing you won't have already known).
After that, the book ends with an episode by episode stats page, with an episode synopsis that reads like a tv listing, for example, the episode guide for the first episode is:
"Episode 1: Big Brother
After flogging one legged turkets from the back of a three wheeled va, Del is confident he's onto a winner at last with Triggers consignment of Old English vinyl briefcases. At the same time his brother Rodney is thinking of abandoning the high flying world of trading for a real job.
Cast: Joyce the barmaid (Peta Bernard), Trigger (Roger Lloyd Pack)
First Broadcast: Tuesday September 8th 1981 at 8:30pm
Viewing Figures: 9.2 million
Duration: 30 Minutes
So, overall this book is a good read, and at a cheap price is worth getting, but a few glaring omissions and a few errors here and there give it an overall feeling of sadly being slightly somewhat of a cash-in on John Sullivans death (and the run up to Christmas)