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The Very Best of Steptoe and Son  [DVD]
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Five of the best episodes from the classic BBC sitcom. In 'A Star is Born', Harold (Harry H. Corbett) is offered the leading role in an amateur dramatics production. 'Oh, What a Beautiful Mourning' sees Albert (Wilfrid Brambell) hurrying to his brother George's funeral to see what he can scavenge. In 'Men of Letters', Harold writes an article on rag and boning for the parish magazine, while 'Desperate Hours' sees the Steptoes trapped in their freezing house with two convicts on the run. Finally 'Back in Fashion' features an opportunity for a photo shoot for the Steptoes when a fashion photographer wants to use their yard.
The Very Best of Steptoe and Son is wonderful collection of "Steptoe" moments...but not entirely what it claims to be. This selection, is in fact a collection of five episodes from the two surviving series of the four shot in colour in the 1970s--the four black and white series shot in the 1960s are neglected entirely. However by the 1970s, Wilfred Brambell and Harry H Corbett had been playing Albert and Harold Steptoe for almost a decade and the parts of the greedy needy old man and his witty feeble son were second nature to them. One of the best episodes on show here is "The Desperate Hours", which sets the father and son duo off against a similar couple--Leonard Rossiter's escaped bank robber and the old lag who taught him everything he knows--both couples come to understand the shared dynamic of their relationships. The 1970s episodes included more external shots and opened the show out from its original two-hander format--"Oh What a Beautiful Mourning", for example, introduces us to a large selection of the Steptoe clan, played by a variety of well known character actors.
On the DVD: The DVD is presented in a standard television 4:3 aspect ratio and adds the luxury of Dolby Sound to the show's original mono; the Ron Grainger signature tune has never sounded so good. There are no subtitles, but the DVD includes a short account of the two stars' careers and an extended interview in which Galton and Simpson, the scriptwriters, talk about the history of the show from its origin as a one-off Comedy Playhouse episode through to the eventual decision that after the eighth series it was time to call it a day. --Roz Kaveny
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On the plus side, there's what appears to be a recent interview (about 25 minutes long) with Galton and Simpson which is a nice extra.
Encouragingly, the disc calls itself volume 1, so hopefully we can expect some more episodes on DVD soon.
I would recommend it to anyone. Thank you Galton and Simpson, stand up and take a bow.
Menu isn't bad but nice extra is the interviews conducted
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