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VINE VOICEon 3 March 2007
One of the great TV comic creations Rigsby, the sexually frustrated penny pinching land lord of "Rising Damp" was played with incomparable brio by Leonard Rossiter. Rossiters triumph , and make no mistake that despite some fine supporting efforts this is Rossiters show, was to make a character who is by turns lecherous , bigoted, ignorant , meddlesome and at times openly racist so sympathetic . Stalking the dilapidated boarding house (remarkably all the drama took place within those four walls) in some un-named Northern University town, cradling his mangy moggy "Vienna", often bursting in unannounced into his tenants rooms Rigsby should have been a figure who elicited nausea in the audience but remarkably we shared his desire for him to consummate his desire for Miss Jones. Rossiters performance is a true triumph and just to show it was no flash in the pan he did it again with Reginald Perrin.

The pilot episode for Rising Damp aired in 1974 and led to it running over four series and 28 episodes until 1978. Scripted by Eric Chappell the inspiration for the series came from a play Chappell wrote in 1970 called "The Banana Box" which featured a seedy character called "Rooksby". The play toured with the main character being played by Wilfred Bramble before Rossiter took over where it was eventually noticed by executives from Yorkshire TV who commissioned the pilot.

A massive ratings hit "Rising Damp" was aided considerably by the ensemble cast. Frances De la Tour is a wonderful mixture of vulnerability and frustrated longing while Richard Bekinsale shone as the immature gauche medical student Alan and Don Warrington brought a touch of class as sagacious "son of a tribal chief " Philip who as well as being as recipient of Miss Jones frustrated longings constantly turned Rigsby,s ignorance and prejudice back on him always having the last laugh, something that the purveyors of the oft used jibe that this series itself was guilty of racism conveniently forget.

Though these four provided main characters for the series there were line up changes throughout the run with Gay Rose as Brenda temporarily replacing Frances De la Tour during the second season and Richard Bekinsale dropping out for the final season ( he died of a heart attack shortly after) The movie made in 1980 had Richard Strauli in the role of Alan and isn't up to the standard of the series , the half hour format suited it far better and the movie feels like one idea padded out way beyond endurance though it's still funnier than any sitcom of recent times.

Happily an episode from the first series "Stand Up And be Counted" missing from some DVD releases is included here as well. Everyone will have their own particular favourite episode .Mine is "Things That Go Bump In The Night" where Alan convinces Rigsby the house is haunted by "The Grey Lady" but the boxing match is tremendous as is the one where Philip kids Rigsby into thinking burning a special wood will win Miss Jones over with it's aphrodisiac properties. The third series does rely overly on drafting special guest stars but taken as a whole this a magnificent collection and without doubt the finest comedy series ever produced by ITV. If only there was a comedy with half its wit and characters in today's schedules. Even then though, there is no one around today who could match Rossiters performance. A true comedy classic and at this price an absolute bargain.
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on 16 May 2007
Not much to add to the review below, except to underline just how superb this series is (not was). Watching it again after having been a huge fan when the series first aired in the 70's (doesn't bear thinking about) and despite catching various reruns, this certainly deserves the cult status it now enjoys. Of course Leonard Rossiter is magnificent, and the rest of the cast are simply outstanding. And I'd also like to pay my tribute to Eric Chappell for his inspired genius.

Not much can compare with this. Get it now while they're virtually giving it away...
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on 15 June 2006
This box set, comprising the complete four series' of Rising Damp, plus the movie, is vastly improved when compared with the previous box set release. The picture has sharpened somewhat, and there are now subtitles. The movie is not really an important addition to the series (because its composition is comprised entirely from previously releasted material), but it does compliment on the whole a well rounded package for die hard fans who still, and who will always appreciate the inimitable genius of Leonard Rossiter.

An important point to note, which fans and completists will be pleased to know, is the inclusion of the previously missing episode 'For the man who has everything'. It is difficult to conceive why this was missing from the previous complete collection; anyhow, it is restored here - and one can only say that this present release is well worth the purchase even if you have previously purchased the earlier box set.

I would strongly recommend this set; and at such a paltry price, to dismiss it would be a crime in itself.
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on 29 February 2008
I'll not add much to the already comprehensive reviews by others. Just to say this must be the bargain of all bargains - you get five DVD's with almost 13 hours playing time. To me Rising Damp is the finest of all the sitcoms although there were others on a similar level during that wonderful TV era. Rising Damp just makes you laugh - you can't help it and it is never forced. Unlike the tripe that is offered these days (either boring and bland or nasty and foul) Rising Damp has the finest ever comedy writng and the finest acting. It wasn't PC (thank goodness) but never caused nor meant any harm in its comedy.

If ever you are feeling a bit depressed or low just put on any of the Rising Damp DVD's and within minutes you'll be laughing like a fool.

Thanks Amazon for selling this top quality set at a brilliant low price.
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This is British comedy at it's finest. 'Rising Damp' features a superb cast and many memorable moments. Leonard Rossiter, Richard Beckinsale, Frances De La Tour and Don Warrington each play their roles to perfection. Every single episode and even the feature length movie are included here and the price is very low for this fantastic DVD box set.

To give this brilliant series anything less than five stars would be an insult. It is up there with the likes of 'Dad's Army', 'Steptoe and Son' and 'Hancock's Half Hour', it really is that good. An essential purchase and a comedy that is just as funny now as when it was first shown.
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on 17 February 2012
I was doubtful about buying the whole lot but after viewing I have no regrets. The series is just brilliant. Opinions and statements in it are now dated of course but the script represents possible attitudes of the time period. In all a very funny set of DVDs and well worth buying. The film is a bit of a washout at the end but I expect that is because you have just watched the acting in a different setting and I think the film loses something in that translation. A good buy and well worth the money.

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on 28 August 2009
I sometimes think Rising Damp is forgotten when the role call of great UK sitcoms from the 70s is read out. Fawlty Towers certainly casts a giant shadow and is rightly held to be near the top of the pile, but Rising Damp is at least joint equal. Rising Damp created an eternally enduring comic monster in Rupert Rigsby in the same way that Fawlty Towers created Basil Fawlty, and both characters were played with manic energy and razor sharp comic timing from the actors who brought them to life. Rigsby is mean, self-deluding, arrogant, lonely, lascivious, racist and generally horrible to everyone and everything (poor Vienna!) but we still get a thrill the minute Len Rossiter walks through the door of Alan and Philip's room or Miss Jones's room as we know we are witnessing a comic genius at work. He didn't half take it out of himself playing Rigsby I fear but Len on behalf of a grateful nation can I say it was worth it!!!

The supporting cast in Fawlty Towers was gold: especially Prunella Scales and Andrew Sachs, and Rising Damp is the same with Leonard Rossiter being so ably supported by Frances De La Tour, Richard Beckinsale and Don Warrington.

Don Warrington's Philip is a bit like Polly in Fawlty Towers - a minor character who is there to move the action along - although that is not to say that he doesn't have some excellent exchanges with Rigsby normally over the subject of him being black. If this sounds a bit too racist and 70s then it is worth mentioning that Rigsby always comes out worse after their exchanges. Philip is everything Rigsby wants to be but is not: sophisticated, charming and intelligent.

However Philip doesn't have as much screen time as the other three characters and lets face it it is the sparring between Len's Rigsby and Beckinsale's Alan or De La Tour's Miss Jones that we remember and so look forward to.

Beckinsale played Alan as a good natured wide eyed innocent and De La Tour played Miss Jones as someone who was dying for the opportunity to be naughty and not so innocent. They each had their frustrations which they bounced off Rigsby and his many many frustrations. Only Philip seemed happy although even he is not what he seems. I suppose that only leaves Vienna the cat who was probably only happy when it was fish night! But the frustrations of these 4 characters: social, sexual, aspirational, political are never sad or depressing: instead they are simply very very funny. There is no other way to put it.

I worried when Beckinsale left at the end of the 3rd series that the 4th series would not be so good but it is still very funny with only a couple of weak episodes.

The movie is incredibly poor: very little about it is original. It just recycles whole scenes and lines from the TV series and because someone else is playing Beckinsale's part only nowhere near as well the whole thing feels empty and flat and the permanent absence of Beckinsale is very keenly felt. British comic movies are usually disastrous and sad to say this is no exception. But watch the movie once just to say you have and then never again. Instead go back to series 1 and start from the beginning and enjoy this little piece of comedy heaven. The movie may be a sad affair but the 4 series as a whole easily merit this 5 star review.
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on 1 February 2012
I purchased this box set,The first,second,three and the movie disc was fine,i found the 4th disc keeped stopping and starting,the picture qaulity poor and also freezing.I've sent it back to Amazon Marketplace (findprice)i hope they can send a replacement,hopfully all the dicsc will work o.k (although difficult to know until you play them). And hopefully, I'll then be able to make a more positive review.
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VINE VOICEon 23 February 2009
I was pleased to see this boxed set has got a unanimous five stars from everyone who has reviewed it.

It is constantly repeated recently on ITV 3 and even though I own the boxed set I still watch the episodes that come up.

There are no duff episodes and no duff actors in this series.

The much missed Richard Beckinsale as the naive student who never seems to find love in the physical sense. Don Warrington as the aristocratic black man who is the poshest person in the house and is lusted after by Miss Jones Frances de la Tour.

The scripts are near perfect as every line crackles with comedy. The writer never achieved such a pinnacle again even though he did Home to roost and Only When I Laugh.

It is a master class in how to write a sit com as he keeps all the action within a couple of rooms with a small cast.

Leonard Rossiter gives a fairly manic performance at times but was reputedly a perfectionist and was not always well liked by the rest of the cast.

There is racism but it is a form of reverse racism as the blakc man gets his own back on the racist by being posher and more successul in all respects to Rigsby.

They are all sad deluded characters and in the end even Miss Jones succumbs to Rigsby's charms

I own few comedy boxed sets and they cannot stand too much repetition but this one certainly can

Where are such good comedies these days. Series like rising damp got into the national conscience and people would take him off and laugh at the treatment of the lodgers.

They all liked each other really and needed each other although they yearned for greater things than living in rented rooms.

For years people would refer to accommodation which was down at heel and say Its just like rising damp. Rigsby became the epitome of the bad landlord.

A classic not to be missed
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on 9 May 2009
No one else could have played Rigsby better than Leonard Rossiter, this is as funny today as it was when it was made, its classics like this that show up today's comedy as banal.
British humour at its best, the one thing I would advise is to watch the film version at the end as it would spoil the series, and the actors we all come to love
Great all round comedy for all the family guaranteed to put a smile on your face
Recommended fun feast
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