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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I can't stand around chatting all day, I've got men to lay off..."
Bradley Hardacre is determined that the Lancashire town of Utterley shall not fall victim to the Great Depression. This is because he owns it - from the cottage hospital (the former cottage workhouse where he grew up on a diet of kicks and gruel) to the crutch factory where he first began to master the dark arts of capitalism and, finally, to the mine, the mill and the...
Published on 6 July 2007 by Samweath

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Final let-down
I was really enjoying this series with it's brilliant scripts and the great Timothy West in his element. That has all been covered by other reviewers. However, towards the end of the second series I felt that it was starting to slip and that the third series was (apart from a few good lines) absolutely woeful. On that basis I certainly cannot understand how it gets so...
Published on 23 Nov. 2012 by Harry Armpit


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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I can't stand around chatting all day, I've got men to lay off...", 6 July 2007
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This review is from: Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
Bradley Hardacre is determined that the Lancashire town of Utterley shall not fall victim to the Great Depression. This is because he owns it - from the cottage hospital (the former cottage workhouse where he grew up on a diet of kicks and gruel) to the crutch factory where he first began to master the dark arts of capitalism and, finally, to the mine, the mill and the munitions factory from which he has earned a fortune. Now, having married a neurotic aristocrat and developed an abiding hatred of the working class among whom he spent his early years, Hardacre plans to climb to the pinnacle of British society - no matter what the cost (to be paid by others, naturally).

This is the premise of a inspired comedy from the early 1980s (apart from the final series, which was broadcast in 1990). The 32-episode series follows the fortunes of the Fairchild and Hardacre families as the relationships between their respective sons and daughters become intertwined in ever more bizarre ways. The whole thing is played very straight and deadpan, with suitably dramatic music and lots of theatrical touches.

Writers John Stevenson and Julian Roach hilariously exploit and discard one cliché after another, sending up Brideshead Revisited, Sherlock Holmes and Private's Progress among many other classic genres. In addition to the outrageously stereotyped characters themselves, brief glimpses of supposedly historical figures are also seen - `Murdoch' from the Utterley Bugle, `Fleming' in the laboratory and `von Braun' the fireworks engineer, among many others.

Quick delivery and sheer wealth of material means more than one viewing is needed to spot all the cultural and historical references. The acting is a delight throughout and the plot is enjoyably complex. Only the third series (in which Hardacre is determined that Britain should resist the Nazi onslaught for as long as he can turn a profit) shows hints of weakness, with some repetition of jokes and unresolved plot elements.

However, I would unreservedly recommend Brass to anyone who appreciates good verbal comedy and has some familiarity with the numerous genres on which the series is based (or debased).
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An everyday tale of northern folk, 23 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I very much enjoyed this series when it was on the 1980s, so I was pleased to see all three series in one DVD set. I was keen to see the third series in particular as, for various reasons, I never got to see it when it was originally broadcast. The DVDs were a bit of a disappointment in that they didn't have any additional features and hadn't been digitally remastered in any way. Better sound quality, or sub-titles, would have been useful as, in many cases, the actors' more dramatic lines are drowned out by the music, or made indistinct by their extravagant delivery - or perhaps I'm getting a bit deaf. I loved seeing the first two series again (26 episodes in total) and the third (6 episodes) was fun in places but by this time they'd lost two of the regular cast members: Geoffrey Hinsliff who played George Fairchild and Robert Reynolds who played Autin Hardacre. Their replacements do a reasonable job, but it's impossible to compete with the originals. I wish Granada had spent a bit more money when creating this set, but I'd still recommend buying it, it's classic TV.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun at Mill, 11 July 2008
By 
steve b (Dudley England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
The nineteen seventies was a great time for series set between the wars in the North of England. When the Boat Comes In, Sam and The Stars Look Down spring to mind. Worthy as they may have been, and When the Boat Come Comes In would get my vote as the best British Tv series ever, Brass means that it will be a long time before we see the genre again.

Brass does for the flat cap drama what Mel Brookes did to Westerns and Frankenstein and did it in just as funny a way. Timothy West is supurb as Bradley Hardacre the ruthless owner of the mine, the mill, the munitions factory and the crutch factory. The story revolves two families, Bradley his crippled wife (or is she), two daughters and two sons named believe it or not Austin and Morris are one. The second are the working class Fairchilds, George who is loyal to Bradley and as thick as a plank, his firebrand wife Red Agnes, who hates Bradley but cannot help sleaping with him or as she puts it pressing his trousers and their two sons, who fall in love with Bradley's two daughters.

The humour is not subtle and is a send up of other nineteen thirties dramas. George for instance is pathetically grateful when Austin gives him a suger lump, 'Me own suger lunp and they said I'd never amount to anything'

Agnes has a job testing ballons by blowing them up one at a time. Bradley enquires about the dangers of ballon testers lung. Elseware Bradley complains that men trapped down the mine has spent their time waiting to be rescued rather that digging out his coal.

All in all a very funny series with Timothy West at his best as Bradley Hardacre one of the great TV comic figures.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trouble at t'mill, 6 July 2007
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This review is from: Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I used to love this series when it was on TV and am looking forward to seeing it again. It's a spot-on parody of "upstairs, downstairs" historical dramas (think Catherine Cookson, Lady Chatterley's Lover, Brideshead Revisited). There's much heaving of ample bosoms under worsted shawls as working-class heroine Agnes Fairchild and her improbably noble offspring get romantically involved with the filthy rich - and slightly deranged - Hardacres, headed by tyrannical mill-owner Bradley (Timothy West is great in this "baddie" role). A not very accurate but incredibly funny portrait of life Oop North in days gone by.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Final let-down, 23 Nov. 2012
By 
Harry Armpit (Queensland, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I was really enjoying this series with it's brilliant scripts and the great Timothy West in his element. That has all been covered by other reviewers. However, towards the end of the second series I felt that it was starting to slip and that the third series was (apart from a few good lines) absolutely woeful. On that basis I certainly cannot understand how it gets so many 5 stars unless the authors have a vested interest in the product. I have donned my body-armour and await the assault.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carry on Up North?, 28 Feb. 2008
By 
Mr. John Crompton (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
Timothy West is splendid as the hard-nosed mill owner whose attitude is summed up by the sentiment: "I'm a fair man: I believe in a proper day's wages in return for a proper week's work." The script is full of references to film and novel clichés, tv programmes and current affairs both at the time it is set and at that when it was shot. There really ought to be some sort of glossary to help younger viewers. However, don't let that put you off as it is never too clever for its own sake and there are also a lot of double entendres, references to phallic imagery etc for which the only background required is having seen and chuckled at a few Carry On films. The rest of the characters are all well cast with Gary Cady being possibly the prettiest man ever to appear on prime time tv. Production values are decidedly mixed - on the one hand a lot of it has an authentic Northern feel - as you would expect from a Granada production but on the other hand there are a few instances of wobbly sets - unless of course this was a deliberate allusion to contemporary low budget tv soap operas?
The five discs have been packaged so as to take up very little space and there is a plot summary. However, only 4 stars as I feel that it is over-priced as the picture quality of the first two series leaves a lot to be desired and there are no extras on the discs or even sub-titles.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last!!, 5 Jan. 2010
By 
Christopher Lee (Nottingham, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
I remember this from my university days. Why it never seems to have been repeated I can't imagine. It is GENIUS. Played dead-pan, with no intrusive audience laughter, it's a wonderful micky-take of soap/kitchen-sink drama. A great all-round cast, but Timothy West's performance is, as you'd expect, fantastic. The humour comes sometimes subtlely, sometimes almost slap-stick, & it's clever, well observed, & just very funny. Was given this for Christmas, & it's an absolute treat. Hard to think of something better known with which to compare it; it's unique. Just be warned: it runs like a serial, not a series of unconnected half-hour stories; so you'll need to watch it straight through from start to finish. Just set aside a day, buy it, & enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Gold., 1 Sept. 2009
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Rev. Ian Ramsden "Rambo" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
Brilliant stuff! I'd forgotten just how funny this series was/is. Look out for the continuing thread of jokes and one liners which run through the series, as well as the stereotypes which abound.
Absolutely classic - British humour at it's very best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brass - The Complete Comedy, 12 Aug. 2011
By 
Amazon Customer (EXETER, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
The original first and second series. not the later 80s follow on. every bit as funny as i remembered it, and thats unusual isn't it?
Over-acting at its best and British as well. Well worth the money and still enjoying it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good buy, 10 Jun. 2009
By 
marcoscu "marcoscu" (Chorley,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] (DVD)
This great series is all here, even the much weaker final series - watch out for the other 'complete' box set which misses it out.

The price is great for what you get - one of the best TV comedies ever made.
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Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983]
Brass - The Complete Series [DVD] [1983] by Timothy West (DVD - 2007)
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