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4.7 out of 5 stars67
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 21 April 2012
Was it that long ago?! It say's something about this series that it made such an impression on me that I was staggered to find out when it was first released. Looking at it now you're reminded how far the technical improvements in Television have come. However you're also reminded how poor the quality of many TV programmes has become? This is an excellent documentary that covers many aspects of the life of a great ship, warts and all. No one can fail to be enthralled by the flight deck action which is very well presented from all angles. As fascinating is the coverage of the live's, problems and responsibilities of the crew. The calm understatement in the face of extreme situations seems to recall a way of life that's maybe lost to us now? Technically the 4:3 film format transferred from the video looks a world away from todays HD video but is non the less excellent. The copyright issues with the music mentioned by other reviewers are soon overlooked because the scripting and editing of this series means you're attention is focussed from the first scene to the finale. The bonus revisit with characters from the series 8 years on is interesting and a further bonus of a short about the operation of the carrier in the Med, whilst interesting, makes you appreciate how good the series was.
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on 22 June 2011
I left the RN in 1973 and was living abroad when the BBC showed this series. As an ex matelot, it brought back a lot of happy memories of my time in the "Andrew" although I never served on a ship as large as the Ark Royal. It shows life as it was on board a ship in the days when "Wrens" didn't go to sea. I would recommend to it any ex matelots or bootnecks and anyone else who wants to know what life was like in the Royal Navy.
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on 6 August 2012
This has to be the most realistic documentry series I have ever seen covering the life of real people serving aboard one of the greated Aircraft Carriers ever to sail. It is not scripted or staged and there is no interview going round asking questions. It is just an honest snap shot into the lifes of the Sailors at all levels through out the ship. It is probably one the finest examples of work from the BBC I have ever seen for just showing it as it is and not coloring or biasing any view points in any way. Worth a watch by anyone, it shows real people, working as a team in real life situations and in total open honesty. Something I think might have been lost with modern television documentaries.

Brilliant, Sobering and Heart Warming.
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on 5 May 2013
I actually served onboard HMS Ark Royal at the time this series was made and featured in a couple of episodes. It has been brilliant to watch it again and relive some very happy memories.
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on 3 September 2012
I have been after this programme for many years but up until recently it's only been available in VHS format and, really expensive.
I first came across the DVD version on a well known internet auction site but the seller wanted £50 for it so I decided against it and looked on Amazon where I found it for a much more realistic price. Like other reviewers I too was disappointed that the original Rod Stewart or Pink Floyd tracks were not on this version but I knew this to be the case before I bought it thanks to the reviews. This programme was a great recruiting tool as far as I was concerned as I joined the Navy in 1977 following its broadcast in 1976.
If you, like me, were in the Navy in the 70's & 80's then this series brings it all flooding back.
My advice for all the ex matelots out there......go buy Sailor........
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on 21 June 2013
Having watched this series th first time round it has been great to relive the memory. What a wonderful Navy we had back then!
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on 17 July 2013
I bought this as a father's day present my dad loved this seris back in the 70s and enjoyed it all over again
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on 13 January 2016
Originally broadcast in the 1970's and as the packaging states - digitally restored, the first thing that's noticeable is that it lacks the Rod Stewart rendition of "Sailing". He's been replaced by a brass band. Never mind, as long as Gavin Sutherland still gets the royalties.

The three disc edition covers many different aspects of life on board HMS Ark Royal. Be prepared, because it comes from a time when there was no such thing as political correctness. Yes, it's all there-letters to and from home, the on board Chaplain, crew disciplinary measures and a strange crew member called "Wilf". I found his appearance quite wooden. But he seemed to take up quite a bit of airtime on the Ark's TV station. But enough about the Captain. Wilf is a ventriloquist's dummy bought through mail order by a crew member.

The professionalism of the crew has to be admired. Watch the rescue of an American submariner by the crew of the ship's helicopters. Aside from duties, many of them studied for further qualifications while at sea.

If you like naval aviation, this is a video for you. Phantoms, Buccaneers and a Fairey Gannet can be seen often.

One of the most hilarious highlights is the crew's performance of "The Magic Roundabout". It's definitely not suitable for children. But worth watching. The performance is rounded off with the crew singing "Remember You're a Womble" and "The Wombling Song". (it's Navy thing, you may not understand). Wombles were popular in the 1970's.

The third disc features, the Ark Royal and its crew eight years after that televised voyage. Witness one of the crew in tears when he saw the remains of the ship being torn apart for scrap.
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on 8 May 2013
I bought this for my dad as he actually appeared in this series when he was a very young man. Said it brought back lots of happy memories for him of his time on the Ark Royal and all the mischief they got up to whilst the cameras were rolling and not. I enjoyed watching it as well as it was a part of my dad's life when I was little so nice to see what he was like as a young man. Well worth buying especially if you have a dad or grand-dad who served aboard this lovely ship.
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on 20 August 2013
As an ex serviceman (RAF) who worked on Phantom aircraft of the RAF and Navy I loved this series and was pleased to find it available on DVD.
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