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15
4.1 out of 5 stars
Citizen James [DVD]
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2012
Well there's only one question I really needed answering of Citizen James. Is this a worthwhile and enhancing spin off from Hancocks Half Hour.Galton and Simpson, Sidney Balmoral himself plus a host of familiar faces from the TV HHH plus a slightly irritating performance from radio show regular Bill Kerr do make this collection charming and amusing while never hitting the heights without The Lad Himself. Sid has become the moral centre of the piece, a feat he achieves through an extra workload of lines and a strong loving relationship with long term girlfriend Liz Frazier.The one liners are as one would expect sharp,poetic and funny, the plots intricate and busy.The social history on view in the Soho cafe is fascinating, the new fangled TV in corner for the racing,the bookmaker with his blackboard in residence,the Soho drinking club with 48 varieties of bottled leg wobbler.But the sadness, angst and frustration the Hancock character brought to the piece,an element Galton and Simpson were to recapture in Steptoe and Son, means that extra level of exploration of what it means to be human, the genius of Hancocks Half Hour, isn't really here.
So a recommended and enjoyable but slightly disappointing return to the world of scams,salt beef sandwiches and a punch up the brackett.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2012
First off, this is a quality release from Acorn Media (fast becoming one of the major retailers of archive television); an extensive interview with Liz Fraser, production notes by the geniuses that are Galton and Simpson and all the surviving episodes spread across two discs make this a fitting tribute to a largely forgotten but nonetheless important series. Pity Bill Kerr couldn't be involved in some way, but that's a minor gripe.
In terms of Citizen James itself, we're seeing the late great Sid, post-Hancock's Half Hour, establishing himself as one of British television's favourite comic actors in arguably the first spin-off comedy series (well, in this country anyway). It's fair to say the show takes a while to find its feet. Sid is a great comic character, but for the first few episodes his relentless sponging and cowardly self-interest mean he isn't quite the loveable rogue we all remember. In Hancock's Half Hour, there was always a sense of justice that the pompous and childish Hancock deserved to be taken for a ride by Sid. In Citizen James, there's something genuinely cruel how the poor, idiotic Bill and Sid's long-suffering fiance Liz become unwitting pawns in Sid's schemes. Thankfully, Sid's better qualities begin to surface by the end of the first series. By the second series, Sid is recast as a social campaigner, now aided and abetted by Charlie (Sydney Tafler) with scripts by Morecambe and Wise's former writers Sid Green and Dick Hills. It's an unlikely change of direction for the character, but it allows for some terrific two-handers between the two Sids and sparkling performances from all concerned.
For those with a taste for classic television and half-forgotten gems, this DVD is an essential purchase. I can't see Citizen James ever being held up alongside, say, Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son as one of the greatest television comedies, but I can't imagine anybody being too disappointed with it, either.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 15 July 2013
These shows stand up remarkable well, especially those scripted by Galton and Simpson. They can still be viewed for pleasure as well as for historic interest and Sid James fans will love seeing him in sit-com situations without backing Tony Hancock. Episode 1 is a masterly example of how to introduce the characters and situation, a lesson for aspiring scriptwriters even today.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2013
I have seen these programmes in the sixties and aspects of them have worn reasonably well. Sid James was a versatile actor with excellent comedy timing
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2011
Lets hope this is the start of further vintage release's from BBC archive. Well done acorn. Galton & Simpson wrote the first series with Sid Green And Dick Hills taking over from series two. This was Sid's first series since being ousted from Tony Hancock's Tv show. Like many shows from that time, many have been lost or wiped , so only 10 (i believe) exist out of the 32 made. Having been able to view the first two episodes at convention a few years back, i know you won't be disappointed. Sid's character in the first series is very much like his Hancock character but as series two & three progressed, and new writers took the helm, Sid's character became more mellow, more the local hero type. I for one can't wait for this release. Lets hope Acorn makes the most of it and does it's best to restore these episodes as much as they possibly can....roll on Feb 2012.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 30 September 2012
As usual with Amazon from purchase to delivery, the service was excellent.
As for the DVD,it has been great to see a show from a another era available.True, a lot of episodes are missing,but this show fronted by Sid James is a must for his fans.He was a great comedy star, although many fans know he could easily take on serious roles and even musicals.
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on 18 August 2015
Sound good but picture quality leaves a lot to be desired. Series "One" episodes all open with Sid James appearing out of what looks like an old London pea-souper and smoking his head off as they used to in those days. The thing brightens up a little from there on but nothing to write home about.

The series gets off to a wonky start but in common with many of the productions from Simpson and Galton (as with the "Hancock" series) the scripts vary in quality from crass to the almost (but not quite) brilliant.

Series Two and three (both) two episodes each, lack the talents of Liz Fraser and, Bill Kerr but retain Sydney Tafler. Series Two & Three scripted by Sid Green and Dick Hills who have really had to scrape the barrel to makes up these four episodes.

A bit dull at times I have to admit!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 24 June 2013
Written by Galton & Simpson following Sid's departure from Tony Hancock's series, this is a good vehicle for Sid James but not as funny as Hancock. Picture quality is acceptable given it's age. Pity there's only 10 of the 32 episodes remaining
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on 21 September 2014
When it was decided for Tony Hancock's last series of Hancock to feature Hancock without Sid James, a spin off was created featuring the Sid James character entitled 'Citizen James' and while it's not on the level of Hancock, Sid James is on top form as usual as he goes through life scheming and plotting with best friend Bill Kerr and trying to avoid getting into marriage with his fiancé Liz Fraser.
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on 27 February 2014
Sid James and Liz Frazier in a classic 60,s BBC sitcom, with Sid up to his ually tricks for a quick buck any but work
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