Dinnerladies - The Complete Collection [DVD] 
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All 16 episodes of the BBC sitcom set in a factory canteen, written by and starring comedienne Victoria Wood. In 'Monday', the dinnerladies are unimpressed by the attempts of Philippa (Celia Imrie) - the new 'HR' woman - to motivate them. 'Scandal' sees the factory visited by a television crew making a docu-soap. In 'Royals', the canteen goes into overdrive when it is announced that HRH Prince James is to pay them a visit. In 'Moods', tensions run high in the canteen and Stan (Duncan Preston) seeks solace by locking himself in the loo. 'Party' sees Bren (Victoria Wood) dolling herself up for the Japanese-themed Christmas party, but will tonight be her night? In 'Night Shift', the staff walk out in protest at the methods employed by Tony's (Andrew Dunn) stand-in canteen supervisor, Nicola Bodeux (Sue Wallace). In 'Catering', Bren has her work cut out when a team of decorators, who are supposed to be painting the canteen over the weekend, arrive early. In 'Trouble', Jean (Anne Reid) is struggling to cope with the fact that her husband has run off with a younger woman. 'Holidays' sees Bren looking forward to going to Marbella with Tony. In 'Fog', Bren has a bad day, not helped by a visiting blood donor unit, a prisoner on the run - and a compromising photo taken by Tony on holiday. 'Gamble' finds the dinner ladies looking forward to Christmas - but Bren's festive plans are unambitious to say the least. In 'Christmas', Bren and Tony are having problems, and Bren considers handing in her notice at work. 'Minnellium' sees Philippa getting herself into a tizzy over the factory's New Year celebrations. In 'Christine', a new employee comes to replace Anita, but her chronic flatulence causes more than a few problems in her new workplace. 'Gravy' sees Petula (Julie Walters) delivering some shocking news. Finally, in 'Toast', Bren's success on 'Totally Trivial' has healed the rift between her and Tony. But the canteen's future could be in jeopardy...
This tape presents the second half of the first series of Dinnerladies, Victoria Wood's self-penned sitcom set in a Northern works canteen. Holding it all together is Wood as Bren, well meaning, entirely guileless and not especially bright, but still an intellectual beacon besides Twinkle (Maxine Peake), who in "Moods" has reason to think she may be pregnant following an encounter with the pizza man. The episode has a star turn from Julie Walters as Bren's absolutely fabulous mum. And of course this heavily female comedy does share with Absolutely Fabulous (1992-6) the horrors of suffering mad-mother-syndrome. Walters is back for "Party", naturally enough about the Christmas Party. This is the funniest of the three episodes, raising the non sequitur to a comic art, though "Nightshift" is surprisingly moving in an Ealing comedy "let's-all-pull-together" sort of way. This being an ensemble piece there are fine performances from all concerned, though inevitably Wood herself gives the outstanding turn and Celia Imrie is wonderful as middle-class Philippa. Laugh out loud stuff all the way, Dinnerladies revitalised the traditional innuendo-laden sitcom with fast banter and sublime, sometimes surreal, dialogue. The The Royle Family (1998) simultaneously offered a more docusoap-comic take on modern working class life. --Gary S. Dalkin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The lion's share of the credit has to go to the writer (and star) Victoria Wood. She exhibits the highest form of humour, quiet but biting, satirical without being exploitative, filled with humanity while at the same time laughing at every aspect of humans, you can see yourself and people you know in virtually every character. The actors are all on top form, and Wood makes full use of what seems to have become her acting company from her "As Seen On TV" series. Some serious themes creep in now and then, but Wood's matter-of-fact non-melodramatic approach suits the situations perfectly, and actually seems more realistic than the way serious dramas make plausible situations into contrived crises.
It's difficult to know why Dinnerladies and Wood herself aren't more widely acknowledged, this is possibly the best sitcom since Dad's Army, and it's certainly as pleasurable to watch. I only hope that we see lots more from Wood in the future, if she can write as well as this we need to see more from her.
As for this particular DVD presentation, I bought it on Amazon for a special offer price of £9. £9 for all two series of something as good as this doesn't deserve any less than five stars, and even at double the price I wouldn't have any hesitation in purchasing it.
It doesn't come with any extras though, which is a shame as an interview with the cast and crew would be a most welcome companion to this complete collection. This is a landmark series, make no mistake about it.
Dinnerladies is very funny with its humour being primarily character-driven. In fact, all the action takes place within the confines of the kitchen and canteen where the dinnerladies are employed. The script is so wonderfully crafted that there is no need for changes in location in order to make it work. (Victoria Wood is a genius!) What is more, because the characters are developed so well and so realistically, you care about what happens to them. You are drawn into their world and some episodes can make you cry as well as laugh. That is a truly rare quality in British comedy.
In short, Dinnerladies is one of the best sit-coms ever to be broadcast.
The cast is exceptional. Victoria Wood has talent and reputation enough to attract a wonderful ensemble of actors, and she has remained loyal to them for many years. The performances and characterisations are all beautifully observed. The comedy is done very gently, but there are some savage asides and some really caustic lines. The writing is outstanding. Victoria Wood is a decidedly self-effacing lady at the best of times, but she is a writer of genius, a writer capable of incisive insight into British life, a writer who can be brutal at times, but who never lets go of a warm, tender love of her characters and a very human outlook on the world.
This is extraordinary television, extraordinary writing, and a comedy performed with aplomb and passion. 'Dinner Ladies' is a classic; this is the sort of programme you can return to again and again and laugh and cry - excellent value on DVD.
Victoria Wood ~ Senior Dinnerlady Brenda (Bren)
Andrew Dunn ~ Catering Manager Tony
Anne Reid ~ Dinnerlady Jean
Thelma Barlow ~ Dinnerlady Dolly
Shobna Gulati ~ Dinnerlady Anita
Maxine Peake ~ Dinnerlady Twinkle
Celia Imrie ~ Human Resources Philippa
Duncan Preston ~ Maintenance Stan
Julie Walters ~ Bren's Mother Petula
Dame Thora Hird ~ Enid
Eric Sykes ~ Jim
Dora Bryan ~ Connie
Kate Robbins ~ Babs
COMPLETE FIRST SERIES (all included on the first disc):~
1. Monday ~ During the general Monday morning catering organisation in the kitchen, you are gradually introduced to the characters. Plenty is continually happening which carries right through each episode. Something seemingly insignificant occurs, which gives rise to an unexpected outcome in the last episode.
2. Royals ~ The staff prepare for a Royal visit. This has a profound impact on Stan. Beautifully written and brought a tear to my eye.
3. Scandal ~ Bren's mother and her new 'boy' friend cause a stir...nothing to do with cooking!
4. Moods ~ Emotions are rather fraught; November blues intermingled with a variety of other factors like bad hair and a possible pregnancy. Mother's are invited to 'bring your mother to work day' Eric Sykes attends. Thora Hird makes an appearance which adds a level of gravitas as only she could give... and Bren's mother...
5.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Loved the series! Having worked in shops and canteens I know people like the charaters, so I can relate to them. I lovely gentle comedy that doesnt need (much) smut.Published 18 days ago by not_THAT_girl
what can I say Victoria wood with an amazing cast just love it, think I'm gonna watch this over and over againPublished 26 days ago by john.bentley
I wanted to introduce a friend who missed this series to the wonderful turns of phrase, and it was lovely to watch the series again. Read morePublished 28 days ago by K. Partridge