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4.7 out of 5 stars39
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 15 June 2010
Anyone who is 'in' to variety will enjoy seeing this series again. In between the slightly annoying Chairman's (Colin Crompton) frequent interruptions, there are some fine variety acts, comedians and singers, such as Bill Haley and his Comets, The Three Degrees, Lonnie Donegan, Gene Pitney, Stephane Grappelli, Cannon & Ball, Jimmy Jewel, Little & Large, The Krankies, amongst who you also find other oddities like pianist Mrs Mills and entertaining circus-style cabaret acts like dancing Kossacks and vent acts, not to mention resident Compere, Bernard Manning. Perhaps a little 'cheap and cheerful', it none the less is a great double DVD giving nearly 5 hours of, on the whole (with the odd exception), good old variety acts. Recommended.
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on 4 March 2010
Two discs packed with fantastic variety from the 1970's. Music, comedy, magic, burlesque dancers.. it's got the lot!
Some well know acts on here such as Bill Haley, Frank Ifield, Cannon & Ball, Little & Large and The Krankies plus plenty of less known acts who are excellent.
Worth it for the cossack dancers in episode one alone!
Brilliant!
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on 18 January 2010
It's like a Who's-Who of the showbiz elite from the 70's and 80's.

Although these were made in the 70's some of the debutants went on to carve out successful TV careers in the 80's and you can see their performances in the raw on this DVD set.

I guess you'll only buy this if you know what it is. Otherwise you might find yourself confused and perhaps a little disappointed. It puts at least a nod in the direction of the Northern Working Men's Clubs of the 70's. In essence it is essentially just a parody of the genre and not a real representation of what they are/were truly like. Not that this should bother them, it never bothered Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights which was wholly innaccurate on the WMC front, making it much more middle class than it actually is.

The whole shows are here, all the acts, the specialities, the vents, dance acts and all the bygone stuff as well as the Gene Pitney's, Lonnie Donegan's, Little and Large and Cannon and Ball headliners.

A nice portrait of the 70's TV as much as a portrait of the 70's Working Men's Clubs and their entertainments. A snapshot of a bygone era and maybe a glimpse of one or two forgotten faces from the era.
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on 30 June 2011
I remember watching this t.v. programme on saturday night during the 1970's. this was long before Video or DVD was ever thought of. and yes, at one time watching t.v. was good because you had programmes that WERE entertaining and you did never want to miss an episode. the programme is set in a t.v. studio it certainly fooled quite a lot of people who really thought that this show was really coming from a working men's club! and how greatly impresive the studio set was. barmaids taking beer to customers. sitting down at tables and smoking. today smoking in a studio is totally prohibited. the acts were something else. yes, there's going to be acts that will not be suitable to some people but this show catered for some of the biggest names in show business. how they ever got these people is beyond belief. as most of these artist are more at home in large theatres and sell out concerts. and yet they appear in front of a t.v. audience. this dvd is also quite sad as most of these artist are sadly no longer with us. this series was pure solid gold entertainment watch this and compare the dribble of crap we, have to endure on our t.v.'s today. yes, the programmes are old yes, you may not like it. but, for me and thousands of others we found this very entertaining and very enjoyable. and what about the "Committeee" hosted by Colin Crompton ringing a very large fire bell? and adding his humourous witt. and of course there is Bernard Manning the compare who too, adds to the atmosphere of making the show a success. this is a lovely trip of pure nostalgia back to how t.v. use to be enjoyable. I have since ordered the other dvds of this show. and quite honestly if, there was never a video or dvd developed we today would never be able to enjoy these old t.v. shows that gave so much pleasure and enjoyment to many people. and if it was not for "Network" video we would never see these golden glories of the past. so, my friends relax and be entertained.
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on 17 July 2010
This is show was an essential purchase when I found out it was getting it's DVD release. It's as sharp and as unashamedly entertaining as it was back in the seventies. No doubt anyone below the age of thirty will scratch their heads baffled by it all. Who cares? It wasn't made for them any way.
Just in respect of one of the reviewers who said that it wasn't realistic. In the sixties and seventies it wouldn't be uncommon for American star names to play traditional northern clubs. The likes of Louis Armstrong, Mel Torme and Buddy Greco, amongst others, really did play the circuit up to the mid-seventies. (Hell, Frank Sinatra played Blackpool Tower, three months before he was given the role in 'From Here To Eternity', so the idea of star names casually appearing at the club, really wouldn't have been far-fetched.)
Also, please remeber, one of Johnny Hamp's intentions was to make the show as realistic as possible. Hence, you had an accurate and realistic set, with real members of the public being served real beer, by real bar maids. This combined with canny use of hidden camera on the set ensured that, in both detail and atmosphere, it was as accurate and realistic an experience outside a club as you were going to get. This is not spoof, though Pter Kay was as clearly impressed as influenced by it. As for the partnership between Bernard Manning and Colin Compton? It was critical that unless the show was held together by two anchors who knew the northern scene, then it would fall apart. It doesn't. They're brilliant. Manning is as laconic and as sharp as ever, whereas Compton - deliberately- looks like a schizophrenic looking for the medication trolley.
I love this show. Season 2 beckons.
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on 23 June 2010
"The Wheeltappers and Shunters Workingman's Club (affilliated!)" could only have happened in 1970's Britain.Set in a fictional and smoky northern workingmen's club it is a very accurate portrayal of Britain's sadly no longer cabaret scene.
Some acts (or "turns") in this first series were already big names such as the wonderful Freddie Garrity,Bill Haley,Gene Pitney,Frank Ifield and Lonnie Donegan,others such as Cannon and Ball,Little and Large,The Krankies and Norman Collier were relatively unknown at the time but would become household names.Other acts simply sunk without a trace!
The lesser well known acts are also entertaining such as Tina the Canadian baton twirler,The Ukranian Kossack Dancers,the camp comedy duo Lambert and Ross and The Leeways ("this next act is responsible for turning the Manchester Hippodrome into a supermarket!") remarks 'Our Bernard',good all-round entertainment!
Colin Compton interrupts the "turns" with his witty announcements "on behalf of The Committeeeee" and exchanges banter with Bernard Manning.
Some people including myself could never take to Bernard's live shows but it's difficult to imagine a more suitable compere as he introduces Eve Boswell-"she performed before The Duke Of Edinburgh........was born" and The Krankies-"when I drove through Scotland the other night it was shut"!
"The Wheeltappers and Shunters" was set in an age when camp and corny jokes were the order of the day,political correctness was yet to be invented and it was great to be British.Pictures of Harold Wilson and The Queen decorate the walls and in one episode when the orchestra play "Land Of Hope And Glory" nobody is left seated.
An entertaining and nostalgic trip down memory lane.
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VINE VOICEon 20 November 2013
It is what it is - entertainment. This comes from the same stable as 'The Comedians' which was truly great and this is perhaps considered as a 'spin-off'. I saw these 'live' years ago when they first aired on the telly and they don't seem dated in many respects now and its nice to see some of those who were 'starting out' then. Compared to the rubbish nowadays on the box, this is world class as you don't seat with company or family with the fear of being embarrassed by anything to come out as there is no bad language or swearing in general like to today's crude offerings from supposed 'comedians' , just great fun and its sad to think a lot of those performing are no longer with us as they are truly missed. Grateful thanks to Producer John Hamp for having the vision to put it on the telly in the first place - they don't make them like him any more sadly. 10/10 :)
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VINE VOICEon 10 November 2011
I'm not ashamed to say because of my age - I thought (and still do believe) that these Shows were simply marvellous! From start to finish, it's pure entertainment - and even Colin Crompton (who seems to get on many people's nerves) does not annoy me - because it was all part of the format.

My Partner had never watched these at the time (yet he is older than me!) but having been 'persuaded' to see them - he was very impressed and thoroughly enjoyed them!

There's some really top acts here - from 'The Three Degrees' through to 'Bill Haley & The Comets'! (and look out for an award-winning performance from 'The Krankies'!) As someone else has already said; I don't know how they got them... But you have to remember; today there is so much opportunity (too much - and with too much rubbish with people getting to the top too easily...) only three main TV channels in Britain at that time, and so if you wanted to be seen and to perform before the British public in general - then the only way was on Shows like this.

Some very entertaining and unusual acts - like Terri Rogers - the Ventriloquist who was one of the first transsexuals to undergo gender reassignment. But again as somebody else has said; it does have its sadness when you realise that many of these Stars are no longer with us...

I've searched and waited for these to come out on DVD for years (they never came out on Video) and here they are at long last! I'm now going to get the whole lot! Dirt cheap - but solid gold! Thanks again to good old 'Network' who constantly release the great old stuff we want - Network - we LOVE you!!

Come back yesterday - all is forgiven...

NOTE: I'm unsure if these have been 're-mastered' but no need to worry about sound and picture quality - they're PERFECT!
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2012
I bought the DVD of the Wheeltappers because i remember so many of the comedians that appeared at the time (1974)on the TV show. Well....what I've got is a huge treasure trove of real showbiz history on two DVD's,I didn't realise so many up and coming artist's appeared on the shows guest spots.From the very young Cannon and Ball ,the Krankies ,the lovely Kathy Kirby and even Bill Haley and the Comets the list is endless. Fantastic DVD ,absolutely worth every penny.Watchable over and over again....PRICELESS
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on 3 July 2010
Brought back memories of `real` television.They don`t make `em like this anymore-some may say `thank God!` but I say that it`s a crying shame.Good old Northern humour at its best.Fair enough,I can`t watch like every day but,when I feel a bit `down`,it`s great for bringing back the smiles ...as well as some `dearie-me-could-they-get-away-with-it-then` moments
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