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Pleasantly dated comedy series
on 5 May 2013
MARRIAGE LINES was a comedy series produced by the BBC from the early to mid 1960s, a pleasantly simple & dated yet fairly charming series which follows the early tentative steps along the marital road of newlyweds George & Kate Starling (Richard Briers & Prunella Scales). A fairly whimsical look at a young couple adapting to married life & eventually starting a family. The performances are excellent... Early in their TV careers, Richard Briers & Prunella Scales slip into their characters with consummate ease, while Christine Finn is equally impressive as the Starling's next-door neighbour.
It's the type of cosy, middle-class comedy the Beeb do so well, so why only 3-stars?... I know I'm gonna get slaughtered for this, as although I found it to be pleasant and gentle enough entertainment, when compared to other reviewers here (at the moment) I just didn't find it particularly funny & only occasionally amusing - maybe leaning more towards light drama perhaps? I love vintage TV comedy, but for me there just wasn't enough wit or biting satire in the writing or scripts. I know this was half a century ago, but when compared to other black & white 60s TV productions such as "Hancock's Half Hour" "Steptoe & Son" as well as "The Likely Lads" it was just a little too twee for my liking. With almost every sentence punctuated with the word "darling", the audience (or canned laughter) were in stitches at the sight of something burning in the oven, as well as George stubbing his toe in a very contrived manner. A nice, inoffensive series but not one I will be returning to for quite a while. Give me "The Good Life" "Fawlty Towers" and "Ever Decreasing Circles" every time!
As with many BBC productions of the era, the series is incomplete (presumably 'lost' or 'wiped' as is often the case) so what we have here is the surviving seventeen, 25-minute episodes which make up series one and three. For those who own any of the Beeb's DVD releases of "Hancock's Half Hour" "Adam Adamant Lives" or early black & white episodes of "Steptoe & Son" you will have a fair idea of what to expect on this Acorn Media release - very grainy B/W picture quality with OK/acceptable sound. The product info is also correct - there ARE English subtitles. Amongst the picture galleries and Richard Briers/Prunella Scales filmographies, we have a very nice 20-minute Q&A reunion interview with Richard & Prunella. The 3 discs are stored in a single-size DVD case.