on 14 August 2006
I couldn't believe my eyes when i saw that Network Video were to bring out this brilliant series. And here it is ,all three series on a three Dvd set to see again after some 30 years. I do have very fond childhood memories of this spooky series, which follows the cheeky ghosts of Motley hall. There is Arthur English as an 18th century court Jester with Freddie Jones as Lord of the manor Sir James Uproar. And Sheala Stefal As the wailing White lady who haunts the belltower and the main stairs. Along with a ghost of a young Thief and a 17th century Dandy named fanny. Also there is the brilliant Peter Salis who stars as the spooked caretaker who is trying in vain to sell the run down hall. The stories are fun and have not dated to much over the many years due to the performances and great writing. There are two commentaries on the Dvd's and little else which is a pity.
O.K, so maybe having been born in 1965 I'm biased, but I just love 70's children's t.v. shows. Why? Because like 'The Ghosts Of Motley Hall' they were made as gentle, well acted, uplifting and fun programmes. The scripts were good, the stories enchanting and there was never any shooting, killing or violence unlike a lot of today's 'action packed' kids shows. This box set will not only bring back fond memories of childhood to parents my age, but will enthrall and delight young children. The stories surround the exploits of 5 ghosts, all from different time periods in the history of Motley Hall, living together after being earth bound in the now empty Motley. There are many memorable episodes and Peter Sallis puts in a great performance as the easily spooked caretaker of the old building entrusted with the hopeless task of trying to sell the old place. Of course, if our 5 ghostly friends do not approve of any of the potential new owners of the place, they make their presence felt! For further enjoyment for adult viewers there are a couple of really interesting commentaries and overall this set will be one you will enjoy for years to come. Give your kids a 70's upbringing, buy this, the excellent Catweazle box set and of course good old Worzel Gummidge too!
Ever since I first saw this programme on television I have waited for it to be released on video. Now, 30 years after it was first shown it has been released onto DVD and I can watch it again.
There are three series' altogether, one on each DVD, concerning a group of five ghosts in a condemned stately home, all from different periods, trying to get along with each other. There are also other ghosts that turn up from time to time and cause havoc, as well as property developers, burglars and ghost hunters to deal with.
A very entertaining romp which will give an idea of what 1970's childrens television was like for us '40 somethings - better than the animated rubbish you get nowadays.
I would also recommend:
Pardon My Genie
The Double Deckers
on 16 August 2008
The Ghosts of motley hall is a dvd that I found at my Grans house. She told me that I would probably like it, and now I watch more every time I go!!! Even though its aimed at kids younger than me, I love the story lines and the fact that its just humour, it isnt rude or violent, so I don't need to keep thinking about how my gran is reacting to it, or whether they think its suitable. Its the best show ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
on 9 April 2011
Have you ever waited to see a series so badly from your childhood, and been transported back, the moment you did ? I was after viewing the fist Disc of this Trilogy. And I can't wait to savour the other two. I was Inspired to buy it after chatting about it and other programmes with my mate at work, as we are of a similar age and temperament (he's got 5 years on me, though.) After re-reading my Motley Hall Book, I was glad to see it availiable on DVD,(although the price made me cough a little). I have to say the 'action's' a little slow in places, (Old Gory for example), but it's a pleasing return to a very enjoyable part of his childhood for this 'Classic Kids TV' watcher.
Having said that, I now have 'King of the Castle' on its way too, another 'strange' but Iconic series of my youth, and feel the same anticipation...
Having also bought Thunderbirds, UFO and Captain Scarlet in the last fortnight, with that same sense of excitement and anticipation, I'm sorry to say, they haven't enthralled me half as much as this series , (and their DVD Menu format is all wrong too, IMO), and I actually think I'll be watching THIS series rather more than those... So, Buy this Series, if you're of a 'certain age'. you won't be disappointed. Or your kids now, come to think of it. It just seems a little pricey...
on 26 April 2009
I'm so glad I found this DVD, and all 3 seasons together in the one set! I loved this show as a 13 year old watching it on the ABC in Australia. So many times you revisit a show that you loved as a kid but you find it's nowhere near as good as you remembered, but not so with Motley Hall - the lines are still funny and the acting is still great. I hope to visit the real Motley Hall (Borwick Castle) one day, I love the show that much! I hope when my toddler is a bit older she'll enjoy this DVD as much as I do.
on 13 January 2014
To the person who suggested raising your children on Catweazle, Worzel Gummidge and The Ghosts of Motley Hall, I couldn't agree with you more, I can't wait to have children and enjoy these shows with a young audience. That being said I am 28 and the only one of the shows I actually saw as a child was repeats of Worzel, I have discovered Motley and Catweazle in my mid-twenties and I can assure potential viewers you do not have to have grown up with these shows to appreciate how good they are as an adult 40 years later.
I'm a bit of a children's tv nut so as well as saying "yes show these programmes to your children" I won't say the things that are on now are rubbish, there are just so many things (and so many of them *are* rubbish) that you have to look to find the gems. The gem of my own childhood was Tony Robinson's Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, still wonderful now. These things work because they are not set in the now, Catweazle was an out of time character just as the Ghosts of Motley Hall are, they work today because they are not set in the now, they are set in their own times. Maid Marian is the same. I will also add that Sorry I've Got No Head and the first two series of Young Dracula are very enjoyable- YD not so much now as the child actors grow so unfortunately do the characters, turning from silly kids into angsty teens and turning what was once a silly vampire show into an odd attempt at teen supernatural drama. There has to be a point when the writers say "No. it's over now".
I will say now why Motley Hall is my favourite children's programme. The first series of Catweazle was wonderfully mad and beautifully sad. Doing a second, more slapstick, series was a travesty, why replace the likeable downtrodden Carrot with an annoying little posh boy in 70s slacks? It lost all poignancy and I think Carpenter (writer of both Catweazle and Motley learnt from this). Worzel Gummidge I love for the nostalgic feel and it too is seeped in tragedy, this important element for me is why modern television for children lacks heart, there must be sadness for you to really experience a scarecrow's joy! This time it was Jon Pertwee who got carried away with hot weather and went off to New Zealand to do a bright and cheery followup -Do not watch Worzel Down Under, it doesn't matter that Una is there being fabulous, Geoffrey Baylden isn't and neither are the charming British children and the charming British gloom.
Motley Hall unlike the other shows I love stays sad. In fact most episodes end on a down note. Other reviewers have mentioned wonderful performances from the actors and they are all excellent, but when it comes to what's important in a children's show it's the stories. Richard Carpenter writes wonderful stories and wonderful (though they may not seem it) complex characters. These characters know they're dead, they know they're trapped and they know it lasts forever, this might not sound the recipe for comedy gold and it isn't! It's the characters and the actors that are funny, the stories are tragic!
There's a Christmas episode that starts with the ghosts arguing whether they should even bother with Christmas because it's just the same as any other day for them, they somehow get transported back in time to a Christmas of Sir George's youth, the hall is transformed with decorations, family, laughter, warmth and the ghosts remember what Christmas is about. Something of course goes wrong and they end up doing an exorcism on a tree to calm the mood in the 19th Century household, the family calms down and the ghosts are happy they've helped. BUT the episode ends with the grandeur and warmth of Christmas fading away and the hall returning to it's present state of neglect where the ghosts stand silently in the dust and gloom. Then credits roll. -That's a Christmas episode!! It's heartbreakingly sad! And I don't know if it's because I'm a masochist but I absolutely love that about this show. Even the final episode, clearly written to finish the series ends on a not completely happy note. 18th Century fop Fanny watches a former friend banish the other ghosts out of the grounds, he has to make the decision to basically kill his only friend in order to get his family back. The final credits play as you see the ghosts walk back to the hall. There is no reconciliation scene! I often wonder if Fanny knew the other ghosts were on their way back or if he thought he was going to be then forever on his own, it's absolutely tragic!
Now I have to confirm that yes this programme is wonderfully funny and joyous, but for me it has real heart and human feeling because of the underlying tragedy.
I sometimes wonder if I think about the Ghosts of Motley Hall too much. A friend of mine drove me to Borwick Hall- where they filmed it- a few years ago, we jumped over the fence and had a picnic in the grounds. When I am rich I will buy it and live there.
on 28 March 2012
I have just bought this, and I was transported back to my childhood, this is hilarious, the characters and writing from Richard Carpenter, is ageless, with Arthur English as the Elizabethan Fool Bodkin (Jester) to Sir Richard Uproar, who had no sense of humour in those days except when he decided to throw him repeatedly in the lilypond as he thought it funny, causing Bodkin to die of a cold. Nicholas le Provost as Sir Francis Uproar, (Fanny) a 17th century dandy fop, who spent the family fortune, and fought duels until he got drunk and died during one, and he's also the great, great grandfather of Freddie Jones as Sir George Uproar, a Victorian General whose disastrous military campaigns he's famous for, sadly he died falling down the stairs, after a brandy, he died at 10 past 4 in the afternoon, and now when he looks at his watch it's always 10 past 4 the time his watch broke! They are joined by Sean Flanagan as Matt the regency stable lad, the only one who died of a cold outside Motley Hall, so his ghost can go outside the hall and act as a lookout for the others, and Finally Sheila Steafel as the White Lady, she has amnesia, and has no idea who she was in life or death for that matter, we don't know how she died except it was inside the hall, she moans and wails on the stairs on a thursday! Bodkin " What are you doing?" White Lady" I always do the stairs on a thursday" "How do you know it's a thursday?" White Lady "Well it might be" she also rings the bell when there's a death in the Uproar family, White Lady " Besides it's in the Guide Book" Peter Sallis is the caretaker of Motley Hall Mr Gudgin, who can't see or hear any of them but as the series goes on he will be able to see and hear the White Lady, but will deny this as his imagination. They are joined by a handfull of guest stars in the series. Tony Haygarth, Joan Sanderson, Micheal Elphick and Annie Ross. I thoroughly recommend this especially for adults of my generation, wishing to re-live their childhood again.
on 20 December 2010
I watched Motley Hall when I was a child, and even had a book based on the series. All these years later, it was one of those series I wanted to see again but was hesitant to buy - after all, I'm not a child any more! But convinced by the other reviews on Amazon, I eventually bought it under the pretence (to myself) that I was getting it for my niece. And I am so glad I did!
Although the DVD seems to be pretty much what was on the TV, with no added frills, it was worth every penny. The series is funny, well-written and well acted. For a children's programme it is also pretty sophisticated in its dialogue, making me wonder how on earth I followed it when I was a child. Some dialogue is reminiscent of Shakespeare (between Bodkin and Bad Lord William), and there are references to things that no child would understand (the body snatchers Burke and Hare, or a parapsychologist's use of the word 'gestalt'). The Christmas panto episode is fabulous for the dialogue given to the genie.
I seriously recommend this for anyone who loved the series first time round because they may find that, just like me, they are enjoying it in a different way.
on 24 April 2009
I first saw this program when I was 14 and loved it. I've now sat down to watch this with my own 14 year old, and he and all his friends love the Ghosts as much as I do. My other children of 12,8 and 4 all sit and laugh at the Ghosts because it has not dated one little bit. I just wish there had been more made.