Agony - The Complete Series [DVD] 
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All 20 episodes of the early-1980s sitcom starring Maureen Lipman as radio agony aunt Jane Lucas. As well as solving her callers' problems, she's got plenty of her own, including her very Jewish mother, the gay couple who live upstairs, and her strange work colleagues. Episodes comprise: 'Help', 'An Unmarried Couple', 'Conjugal Wrongs', 'Wedlock, Deadlock', 'Forever and Never', 'Too Much Agony, Too Little Ecstasy', 'Back to Reality', 'Working Girls', 'Coming Out... and Going in Again?', 'Television Can Damage Your Health', 'Problem Parents', 'Second Time Around', 'A Woman Alone', 'From Here to Maternity', 'Arrivals and Departures', 'Hospital Romances', 'Communications Breakdown', 'Holy Wars', 'Lucas v Lucas' and 'Rings Off Their Fingers'.
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Top Customer Reviews
Simon Williams as her husband is excellent as always and her infuriating mother is just annoying enough to be entertaining. Also memorable are the ever-reliable Peter Blake and a very early appearance by Bill Nighy. The comedy is quick-fire and erudite. Although vastly different in nature it puts you in mind of Frasier, with which it very loosely shares a set-up, not least that it provides intelligent and thoughtful comedy that never talks down to the viewer.
What sets the show ahead of the rest is the use of drama, which develops as the series progresses and which adds a structure to the series and a belief in the characters and their situations that is rare in a sitcom. As that drama dares to be tragic too this show remains one of ITV's finest.
This is a very funny sitcom, but one that really has something to say about mental & emotional wellbeing. It is mature and thoughtful, by turns very funny and then desperately sad. It raises issues that 30 years on are still often handled clumsily by modern productions - in particular it's depiction of a gay couple which was really trailblazing.
While some of the sex & race references can occasionally jar a little with a modern audience, all these series stand up extremely well to the passage of time and are in fact far superior to any current British sitcom I can think of.
Do I still think so? Well, no, but I still enjoyed this comedy for what it is. Admittedly, the writing is a bit patchy, but no more so than some contemporary offerings. Each episode managed to make a point in half an hour that hadn't really been made by comedy before and what is a bit shocking now is that we were so narrow minded back then, and that some things haven't really changed in the last thirty years.
There are some good laughs here, which is what comedy is about. Maureen Lipman works the comedy well, but is equally good at the pathos. Yes, there are stereotypes - Bea couldn't be anything but, we still love her for it. Rob and Michael are so unstereotypical that it's a joy. Val is a strong female role, shame about the clothes. The same could be said for Diana. But it was doing something that comedy certainly doesn't try to do today - change attitudes. Itshould be studied on university courses.
It looks old-fashioned, which it is, but there is some excellent comedy writing here. And the usual corny British one-liners you didn't need to hear again.
However, it's still a great three series of British comedy of fine vintage.
Take yourself back to the end of the 70s and forget up-to-date attitudes to gays, Jews and drugs. Just watch out for the dog in pyjamas.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great TV from the 80's with a great cast, Maureen Lipman is brilliant. As fresh today as it was back then.Published on 25 July 2014 by Mr I Batey
Bit dated but Maureen is good value. I would like to see this updated and remade with maybe more emphasis on the job rather than the personal life. Read morePublished on 15 Aug. 2013 by Amazon Customer