Steptoe & Son - Series Three  [DVD]
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All seven episodes from the third series of the classic BBC television comedy about the father and son who run a junkyard and scrap metal business. In 'Homes Fit For Heroes', Harold (Harry H. Corbett) tries to persuade Albert (Wilfrid Brambell) to go into an old people's home. In 'The Wooden Overcoats', Harold acquires a job lot of coffins. In 'The Lead Man Cometh', a conman (played by Leonard Rossiter) tries to sell the scrap dealers some cheap lead - which he has just stolen from their own house. In 'Steptoe a la Cart', Harold falls for a French girl. In 'Sunday For Seven Days', Harold decides to ruin Albert's cinema night. In 'The Bonds That Bind Us', one of Albert's bonds comes up and nets the scrap dealers some money. Finally, in 'The Lodger', Harold threatens to leave after Albert advertises for a lodger.
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Their DVD releases of this legendary series are sloppy in the extreme. Surely they could have made some attempt to restore the dreadful picture quality? If films from the 1920's, 30's and 40's can be digitally restored and 70's TV series such as 'The Sweeney' why not this landmark comedy series from the 60's? Is it purely a matter of cost? I'm sure people would be prepared to pay a little extra for improved picture quality. I'm no digital obsessive, but the picture quality on some of these episodes is poor enough to impinge upon one's visual enjoyment and is far worse than my Laurel and Hardy collection which were filmed thirty years before this, but have been restored!
It isn't just the lack of picture restoration that is annoying; once again there are no extras whatsoever and the packaging is minimal in the extreme with only the most basic annotation and detail. Compare it with the much fuller detail and more attractive packaging of the Hancock radio cd release series for example. It's as though the BBC can hardly be bothered to toss these out. I see the fourth series is due soon and I expect it'll be the same slipshod format. I wonder if they'll put a bit more effort into the 1970's series if and when they are released? I don't hold my breath!
So a big thumbs down to the Beeb for the quality of the release which doesn't reflect the quality of the content. Like all the sixties Steptoes this series doesn't match the consistency of the seventies output, and the episode 'The Bond That Binds Us' in particular is rather unpleasant, unfunny, disturbing and somewhat out of character with Harold treating his father cruelly towards the end, albeit supposedly for his own good. However, like the previous series which had at least one Steptoe classic in '64 Today', this series boasts another in the cinema visit 'Sunday For Seven Days'. The fourth series classic episode would be 'Those Magnificent Men and Their Heating Machines', but by the 70's the series was altogether much sharper with several classic episodes per series.
Theree stars then with one being knocked off for the Beeb's shoddiness!
And enjoyed some of my most favorite episodes on the way home on the plane via my portable DVD player and promptly could not wait to order series 4 when it was released through amazon.
I had every availble episode on tape starting from when they started to come out in the late 80s plus the two films and missed them terribly when i came to live in the U.S 7 years ago.
I was thrilled when the BBC eventualy started to put them out series by series which they have done for the first time ever.
Ive waited quite along time for them to do this as i did not want to buy the best of steptoe and son due to only getting a selection and not the entire series like they have done in the past.
Anyway series 3 shows just how the show is growing through the actors getting to grips with their characters and you can actualy tell that they are bringing in elements of themselves to the part.
For example Harrolds style and voice and facial expressions have changed a great deal since series 1 in 62 he is more animated and expressive from being basicaly stoic .
The same can be said of wilfrid bramble.
As for extras from the BBC to be honest i dont really care but it would be nice if the BBC did add some interviews or clips from other parts in the actors careers or included the program when steptoe met son or something like that.
Not to worry im just glad ive finaly got to watch one of my most favorite shows again.
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