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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At least they exist!
Previous reviewers have based their reviews almost exclusively on the picture quality of the episodes. Yes, you can't deny that by 21st century standards it's well below what you'd expect but I don't think it's too distracting.

It's worth reiterating that these are not the original shows which the BBC broadcast early in 1970. This series, plus most of the...
Published on 17 Aug 2006 by Rain Man

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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Top comedy - Poor picture quality.
Very disapointing picture quality throughout. I appreciate that these domestic black and white recordings are all that survive but I think it is a bit much for the BBC to release this at full price without at least some restoration work, especially when you consider the work lavished out on the classic Dr Who DVD's. Another black mark for including a generic picture...
Published on 8 Aug 2006 by Neil Richardson


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At least they exist!, 17 Aug 2006
This review is from: Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
Previous reviewers have based their reviews almost exclusively on the picture quality of the episodes. Yes, you can't deny that by 21st century standards it's well below what you'd expect but I don't think it's too distracting.

It's worth reiterating that these are not the original shows which the BBC broadcast early in 1970. This series, plus most of the following series shown later that year, was subsequently lost or wiped. What you have on the DVD are copies of the show which were recorded by the writers Galton & Simpson on a primitive video recorder. They were discovered in a cellar in the early 90's and restored at the British Film Archive.

Of course, looking at this in 2006 it seems madness that the BBC would junk it's premier sitcom. However in the pre video era, the shows were expensive to repeat and it was costly for the BBC to maintain their ever expanding archive. No one considered that anyone would want to watch these shows 30 years down the line.

I for one am thankful that they exist at all and that the archives hold every episode of this classic series. Other legendary BBC shows of the era are not so fortunate. Only four episodes out of the first three series of Till Death Us Do Part still exist, Dad's Army fares far better, but three from the second series are still missing.

We live in hope that the originals will turn up one day but what we have got on the DVD still shows that the quality of the acting and writing was maintained throughout the series run.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Put Steptoe And Son Back As The Nation's Best Loved Comedy, 23 Mar 2007
By 
Amazon Customer "A Likely Lad" (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
I must say that I agree most strongly with the recent reviews of the quality of the episodes and have gone into detail about this in my review of season six. That review was titled "We Must Be Thankful That We've Got Them" and it's as simple as that. It boils down to the straight fact that some people are never going to be happy with the quality of the episodes while others like myself are just thankful that they are there and blow the quality.

Now that is out of the way onto the episodes themselves, seasons five and six have always been the most fascinating Steptoe and Son serials for me due to the fact that they were missing for years, I have had copies of all the sixties and colour episodes for years but this was a huge gap in my collection until their rediscovery and transmission on BBC2. Comparing the transmission tapes that I made to this DVD release it is apparent that some restoration work has taken place on the episodes as they do seem clearer and sharper.

A DEATH IN THE FAMILY was the first episode to be transmitted since the original run ended in 1965 and involves the demise of the horse, Hurcules this is a very funny but also one of the more moving episodes that had been shown to that point , there is real grief displayed by the characters and is more emotive than usual. One thing is for sure, it is as if Wilfrid Brambel and Harry H Corbett had never been away, they slip back into their old roles as brilliantly as ever.

A WINTER'S TALE is the annual episode about Harold wanting to go abroad for his holiday and the old man trying to stop him, it is very good but a little predictable as we have seen this type of storyline before.

ANY OLD IRON? is the absolutely corking episode of Harold being introduced to an antique dealer, Timothy who turns out to be gay. This was quite radical for the time and must have been particularly dificult for Wilfrid Brambel to act as though he despised gay people when in actual fact he himself was gay in a time when such things were considered taboo.

STEPTOE ANS SON - AND SON sees a heavily pregnant young woman looking for Harold, whom she then claims fathered her child. Harold's behaviour borders on pathetic when he sees this as an opportunity to escape from his father even when he learns that things are not quite as they seem, another great episode.

THE COLOUR PROBLEM is an attempt by the old man to con Harold into buying him a colour television, the only problem Harold wants to buy a car, cue one of the old man's must cunning plans ever. The best episode on the disc.

In the episode T.B OR NOT T.B Harold decides to blame his father for their poor health and forces them both to go for a check up, the results come back a few days later with information that will shake Harold to the core and for once he decides to take advantage of it and stay off work and in bed, much to the old man's disgust, but things don't work out as he hopes.

The final episode on the disc MEN OF PROPERTY sees Harold learn that the freehold of their house is about to run out and he cons the local bank manager for a loan, at the the cost of a massively expensive meal the bank manager agrees but Albert has othe plans for the money.

This season re-established Steptoe and Son as the nation's best loved comedy and it is for that reason that we should forget about the various quilty of the episodes and just enjoy it for what this and the rest of Steptoe and Son is, sheer brilliance.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Picture Quality of "Archive Material", 11 Jan 2007
By 
M. Hevingham "Mark Hevingham" (BIRMINGHAM, WEST MIDLANDS United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
Many of the reveiwers of this and related Steptoe titles have spoken about how awful the picture and sound quality are compared to releases of other shows such as Doctor Who and Hancock. I think it should be pointed out that all the Black and White "Who's" and "Hanckocks" are sourced from 16mm or 35mm telerecordings that have a much greater depth of picture than the Steptoe recordings. These episodes are recovered from their only (known) existing tapes - those being a domestic recorder tape that was made in the early 70s. These tapes in NO WAY reflect how the episodes WOULD have looked on transmission. If you want to know how they WOULD have looked,watch a colour episode or if you were watching in BW in 1970, turn off the colour on one of the other episodes that exist in its original format. These recordings are similar to if you recorded a VHS on long play and then in 35 years time someone with access to a much better Hi Def system compared the quality of the 2042 recording with the 35 year old tape from today. Today's recording would be rubbish! Therefore just live with the fact that at least we can watch these remarkable shows once more
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The episodes are what's important..., 17 Jan 2007
By 
Plonka - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
Ideally, the original broadcast copies of these episodes (created when the series returned in colour in 1970) would have been retained. They weren't... However, (as most people may know) early open reel format domestic recordings were recovered from the basement of one of the writers, so we do at least have something visual by which to appreciate these classic episode. The picture quality of course is generally poor asother people have said, but considerable effort was put into transferring them for the early 90s repeats. Furthermore, if you compare these DVDs with copies of those transmissions you will find that audio & video quality HAS been slightly improved, but there are limits. So don't expect HD and 5.1 surround sound, but just class writing, performances and laughs.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brill, 19 May 2014
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This review is from: Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
steptoe and son have been going for so long they are now an instution of comedy of there own ,recommend.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Everyone's favourite rag and bone men are back, 20 April 2014
This review is from: Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
After a four year absence, Steptoe and Son returned for its fifth series, originally shot in colour but after the original copies were mislaid the series was broadcasted in black and white and to this day no colour copies have been found. Fortunately, this doesn't effect the quality of the series whatsoever as it is even stronger than it was before.

The series starts with the episode 'A Death in the Family' where Harold returns home with some back news for his father on the condition of their horse Hercules. In 'A Winter's Tale', Harold plans on a skiing holiday to Austria with out his father and then has to worry about a friendship with an antique dealer in 'Any Old Iron?'. Things get even worse for Harold in 'Steptoe and Son- And Son' when a woman turns turns up on the doorstep with some startling news and in 'The Colour Problem' he dreams of buying a new car while his father yearns for a new television set. His father then worries about doctors finding something wrong with his lungs in 'T.B Or Not T. B' and the duo face the risk of being booted out of their house after their freehold runs out in 'Men of Property'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Steptoe & Son S5, 26 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
As a fellow Steptoer I can't ever write anything bad about one of the greatest sitcom's ever to grace the world
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5.0 out of 5 stars Steptoe & Son Season Five, 26 Feb 2010
By 
Paul W. Clark "P. Clark" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
Absolutely fantastic ! I know they should have been in colour originally - if it wasnt for Galton and Simpson recording many of the episodes themselves we would have had nothing to watch !

The writing is on top form throughout this season and for the time it was made quite daring - particuarly when viewing episodes like 'Any Old Iron' and 'Steptoe and Son and Son'.

They dont make 'em like this any more - not sure they would be allowed !!!
They may not be the best picture quality in the world - but the razor wit and gritty perfomances from Wilfred and Harry H shine through !!!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Top comedy - Poor picture quality., 8 Aug 2006
By 
This review is from: Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
Very disapointing picture quality throughout. I appreciate that these domestic black and white recordings are all that survive but I think it is a bit much for the BBC to release this at full price without at least some restoration work, especially when you consider the work lavished out on the classic Dr Who DVD's. Another black mark for including a generic picture quality warning on the case instead of one more specific.

The comedy however cannot be faulted, with Harry H. Corbett and Wilfred Bramble in fine form after the five year hiatus.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The shoddiness continues!, 7 Aug 2006
This review is from: Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] (DVD)
Like the previous reviewer the first thing that struck me was the dreadful pictures quality. If you didn't know you'd think this came from 1930 rather than 1970. I just can't believe pictures were so bad as late as 1970. The picture at the beginning of each episode which often features outside locations is absolutely appalling. I'm sure if Steptoe wasn't such a classic series they wouldn't be released. Although I was only a kid when the series originally came out I'm sure they weren't that bad when originally broadcast - perhaps the tapes have deteriorated? Even so surely they could have done something to restore them as so many other releases are digitally restored these days. Just as they junked shows back then it seems the BBC / 2 Entertain still have little regard for the BBC's fantastic legacy. Furthermore, I wonder when it was they actually lost the colour versions as I'm sure I can remember them being broadcast many years after they were originally shown. It was when I saw a grainy black and white version on TV of 'Without Prejudice' in the 1980' - an excellent episode from the next series later in 1970 - that I wondered what was going on. So It seems that some, if not all of Series 6 is also going to be released in black and white. This means that of the Steptoes only 2 out of the 8 series will be released in colour, apart from the two excellent Christmas specials. Furthermore, I wonder how they are going to be released? Not on their own I hope, but with series 7 and 8!

And I'm still wondering when and how we're going to get the Dad's Army Xmas specials (it appears they've already missed one).

Anyway what of this series? Well I believe by and large the seventies Steptoes surpassed the sixties episodes - the characters were more developed and the dialogue actually became deeper and more original. It's also easy to forget what a truly great comic actor Harry H Corbett was. He has the timing, intonation and facial expressiveness of Hancock himself.
The opening episode sees the death of the Steptoes' horse, Hercules, and like many of these great scripts straddles the fine line between pathos and comedy extremely well. 'Any Old Iron' would perhaps be seen as politically incorrect these days, but is still a classic; whilst 'A Winter's Tale', despite being a re-write of an episode from Series 1 is marvellous. Galton and Simpson must have loved the holiday theme, as they returned to it again in one of the subsequent Xmas specials. `TB or not TB' (a variation on Hancock's 'The Cold') and `The Colour Problem' (ironic in view of the fact that they lost the colour versions!) are also excellent episodes. If anything the series was to become even stronger in series 6 and 7 before dipping slightly in quality again in the last series.
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Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD]
Steptoe & Son - Series Five [1970] [DVD] by Wilfrid Brambell (DVD - 2006)
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