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117 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About time!!!!
It is amazing how this gem of a series has been bypassed by DVD distributors for so long. This classic series was shown only once on ITV in 1978 (episodes 1 - 13) and in 1979 (episodes 14 - 26), and NEVER repeated following the demise of the regional ITV company that made it (for those too young to know, every 10 years, various companies had to bid to transmit their...
Published on 3 April 2012 by Mark Anthony Craig

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well Received
My eight year old daughter watched these dvd's back to back and enjoyed them very much..I tried to watch them with her, but found them very dated. If it had been set in the late 1930's? like the books, somehow the atmosphere would have been more in keeping with the original I think.
Published 16 months ago by R. Kerr


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117 of 119 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About time!!!!, 3 April 2012
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This review is from: The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition [DVD] (DVD)
It is amazing how this gem of a series has been bypassed by DVD distributors for so long. This classic series was shown only once on ITV in 1978 (episodes 1 - 13) and in 1979 (episodes 14 - 26), and NEVER repeated following the demise of the regional ITV company that made it (for those too young to know, every 10 years, various companies had to bid to transmit their programmes on the ITV network, hence the old fashioned regions of "Granada, HTV, Anglia, etc; Southern TV which made this disappeared in 1981 when the franchise for the south of England was won by TVS). Interestingly, many viewers never got to see the very last episode, part 2 of "Five go Down to the Sea" as - just days after part 1 was screened - ITV was hit by a long and protracted strike through several months of the summer of 1979.... the days when, with only 3 channels in the UK, we had to make do with just BBC1 and BBC2. When ITV flickered back to life in the early autumn, some ITV stations showed the last two episodes, but some didn't.

At least viewers were lucky enough when the series was one of the first to be released on sell-thru video when the home video market took off in the early to mid 1980s. So how come it has taken until now to be officially released on DVD? According to the Enid Blyton Society website, it was "copyright issues" which prevented this from happening, with DVD distributors apparently reluctant to release it incase someone popped out of the woodwork claiming the copyright belonged to them.

So Congratulations to the German company Koch Media for finally doing what UK distributors should have done over 10 years ago. "German?" you ask! This is because the series has remained extremely popular in Germany where it was repeated on tv a number of times over the years. I bought their German release when it came out some time ago with a number of extras not mentioned in Amazon's description above. This included a booklet about the series and how it was made, whilst the disks contained new interviews with the surviving cast members. "Surviving"? - you ask again. I'm sorry to upset anyone who didn't already know, but Michelle Gallagher who played George died over 10 years ago. This is very sad, as those of us who grew up watching the series as children almost felt as if we knew her, as we took her's and the others' performances to our hearts. I hope Koch include the same extras on the English version.

So now you are asking why am I, a 49 year old going on about a children's television series? This is because this particular version of the Famous Five is once seen but never forgotten. It was so well made with incredibly well adapted (and shortened) scripts that did not always follow the books, had child actors who you could believe in, and was sumptuously filmed on location around the New Forest area of Hampshire. I bought the German release to show the series to my daughter, who loved it as much as I did when I was her age.

My message to parents of children of all ages today is to buy this series and let your kids see how good quality television drama made specifically for them looked in the 1970s. For those of us who watched it the first time round as children, buying it for your own children or even grandchildren is a perfect excuse to wallow in some 70s nostalgia ... a time when things were less complicated than they are now.

And before I finish, I must add - before anyone starts asking - why the first story on the disk is not "Five on a Treasure Island" as written by Enid Blyton, and is - instead - a totally new story called "Five on Kirrin Island" that introduces us to the characters in a different way. This is because, at the time the series was made, the Children's Film Foundation still had the rights to make a film of the first book, so Southern Television had to commission a brand new story to replace it. Southern wanted to make a third series of 13 episodes with more brand new stories specially written for them to screen in 1980, but the Enid Blyton Estate apparently refused to authorise this. Instead, Southern looked to make something else, and turned to Barbara Euphan Todd's "Worzel Gummidge" which they subsequently filmed starring ex Doctor Who, Jon Pertwee.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Famous Five-excellent dvd-white elephant in the room though, 17 Jun 2013
This review is from: The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition [DVD] (DVD)
I have always been a big fan of this show when I was a child and was delighted to see it released finally on DVD (no more paying the internet pirates for copies of the show taped off the old VHS!) The episodes are re mastered (or certainly look it) and the box the DVDs comes in is very attractive designed like a book in itself. The episodes are as you would expect, very good wholesome fun, although it can be amusing to watch some of the characters (the male guest stars I'm thinking about) They all are camper then a row of tents, and some of them were far too over the top, but I suppose that adds to the charm. The thing that everyone was looking forward to is seeing the cast members speaking about their time on the series. The interview lasts for 50 minutes and one wonders why they didn't think to have the cast do episode commentary as an extra feature. Anyway, it was good to see them together (the woman who plays Anne is now a teacher and looks vaguely embarrassed about ever having done it, while the guy who played Dick seems to be the one who is more into the series, recounting things which the others say "oh yeah!" as if they hadn't thought of it for years. The main "elephant in the room" however is the absence of Michele Gallagher who played George. Sadly Michele died around 2000 but this is not mentioned except for right at the very end of the documentary where they simply say "Michele would have liked this", then before they speak more, the guy who plays Julian chimes in with "Well, there are lots of actors who appeared in the Famous Five who are no longer with us" That steers the conversation away from the subject that every fan wants to know about. Basically (from what is repored on the internet) it seems that Michele did not have a happy life, got into things she shouldn't and then (it has been reported) took her own life. Not a very Enid Blyton way to live and therefore does not fit well into the "jolly good show, anyone for more Ginger Beer?" vibe of the Famous Five, hence why she is not mentioned much. Other than that, the DVD is a great way to relive your youth.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous!!!!, 29 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition [DVD] (DVD)
Wow,this is great and long overdue. I grew up in the 80s so missed this series. It is brilliant-so true to the books and reflects the books so well.
It arrived today and already on episode 5!

Lovely packaging and info too

A must buy for any Famous Five fan!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Justice done to a long-awaited release, 18 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition [DVD] (DVD)
My favourite programme as a child of the 1970s and early 1980s, I often wondered whether this would ever materialise on DVD. Not only has it finally arrived, but on receiving my copy, I was releived to see that this has been treated as something special, with its packaging and extras.

THE BOX SET: It does not come in a slip-case box, but is made in the form of an A5 book that unfolds into four panels which hold the six discs, and has a full-colour, high quality 10-page booklet attached in the middle. This contains cast and location photographs from the shows, covers of the various annuals, video tape covers and original film cannisters. Co-writer Gail Renard gives a lengthy account from the time with updates on where key figures are now. There then follows a brief synopses of each of the twenty six episodes.

THE DISCS: The twenty six episodes are spread over the six discs. DISC THREE contains a trailer and 50 minute interview with Gail Reynard, Marcus Harris (Julian), Gary Russell (Dick) and my childhood and teenage crush, Jennifer Thanisch(!). For fans and the curious alike, this is the jewel in the crown. It's wonderful to see them as they are now, all together and giving some wonderful accounts of this time which they all fondly remember. Their comparisons of the changes in Health & Safety is particularly amusing for people of my generation! DISC SIX contains numerous stills of the cast on-set and locations both then and now, various annual and video covers, a short 'Tribute to actors' which is basically just a segue of scenes of the locations today with some moving music. For some reason, there is also a repeat of the trailer.

WISH LIST: The galleries are not comprehensive, and there is rare (but available) original footage out there that has not been included: in a news interview with Marcus and Jennifer in 2008, it showed a clip of behind-the-scenes filming of an episode, which must be available in full somewhere. The German edition contains an extra disc, and I THINK it has more filmed extras (although I can't remember where I got that impression from, so please don't quote me on that!), so I may get that edition as well.

CONCLUSION: Although a fan will always want more, this could have been so much less. A real effort has been made to produce a quality product that makes you feel you have something special, with a booklet and extras that are worthwhile and not just token gestures. Something to treasure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Famous Five DVD Collection, 27 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition [DVD] (DVD)
This was bought for my son who is 8 years old, he is totally absorbed by it.This is clean old fashioned adventure fun which is so lacking in childrens lives at the moment. It encouraged him to read the books as well.
I would definately recommend it, we also enjoyed it as a family.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully packaged bundle of sweet memories, 19 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition [DVD] (DVD)
Pleasantly surprised by the beautiful box set which contained 6 DVDs which includes 26 episodes and some additional items like cast interviews (as adults. no Georgina), photographs and original trailer. Quality is decent and still in 4:3 format. I would recommend it for a trip down memory lane.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally :), 27 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition [DVD] (DVD)
At last, I get to see the final minutes of each episode I had to miss in order to get to cubs on time! This beautifully presented collectors set (laid out as a book) is capable of taking pride of place on any book or video shelf. After searching through many other productions for some years (including some poor VHS issues) I must say that, in my opinion, this is the definitive production.
On viewing again after 30-odd years the first few stories did sit a little uncomfortably (it is all too easy to see the inspiration for the irreverent `Five go Mad...') but as the style settled and as the actors matured in their roles I really did find the stories exciting and quite gripping. Or maybe I was simply revisiting my childhood mind-set?
Anyway, with some pretty good production values (both originally, and in this DVD edition), superb character actors, classic 70's incidental music, and super scenery around the South Coast (such as the Solent and New Forest) it is almost a shame that the episodes were never longer. And this collection, at 700 minutes, is great value for money. I thoroughly recommend `The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition', especially to those who wish to recapture their youth!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smashing!, 8 Sep 2013
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This review is from: The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition [DVD] (DVD)
For anyone who loved, read, re-read and is still reading The Famous Five books this is for you. Expect each episode to be totally unfaithful to the actual books of course, mainly due to time constraints and presumably the assumed attention span of the original audience. However, the characterisations of the cast are spot on and how we all actually imagined them when we read the books. They could have made the series as tense and exciting as the original books, and concentrated more on their delicious meals, as the books did but we can't have everything.

The DVD collection is enjoyable if only to see our heroes come to life and will suit anyone who still dips into their dog eared Enid Blyton paperbacks every so often to recapture their youth or simply enjoy a good delve into a simpler time when Farmer's wives were friendly, you were still allowed to go on holiday on your own no matter how many times you faced danger the previous hols and you could bathe in and drink from any random lake safely as long as the water was cool and clear and Timmy was with you.

Just be be absolutely clear the audio is in English.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BIG HIT, 19 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition [DVD] (DVD)
our special needs son loves these, taken me back to my childhood , i only have to hear the openng tune and i go back to yesteryear, thank you he loves watching these , he has the lot now
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic boxset, remastered, timeless adaptations, 23 Aug 2012
By 
Lee Peachair (Barnsley, South Yorks United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Famous Five - The Complete Collectors Edition [DVD] (DVD)
Unlike the adventure series I bought recently, the Good old Famous Five, hold precious memories for me. The episodes are good adaptations of Blytons books, the dvds are remastered and the quality of picture and sound are excellentm especially when one considers these were shot back in the 1970s.

Brilliant for kids and adults alike who grew up with the tv show or reading the books.
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