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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 20 November 2009
This was the BBC doing comedy at its best in the 1970's. Written by the marvellous Roy Clarke (80 next year) and with superb performances from Ronnie Barker as Arkwright the stammering shopkeeper, David Jason (pre Only Fools & Horses) as his naive nephew Granville, Lynda Barron as the shapely nurse Gladys Emanuel and a stellar supporting cast, this was as close as situation comedy can get to perfection. Over 4 series this brilliantly comic and well observed show explored every human foible and weakness known to man - and a few that weren't (before viagra there was ginger cake!) and developed cult status. If you missed it the first time, do yourself a favour and see it now. If you already know how good it is, enjoy it again. Highly recommended.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 December 2013
After being away from our screens for 40 years I was made up to hear BBCOne was bringing back Open All Hours for a Christmas special & maybe a brand new series in 2014. So I decided to watch all the old ones & buy this box set.

Disk 1: Full series 1 including the pilot episode as a bonus. Just over 2 hours of Open All Hours. (175 mins)
Disk 2: Full series 2. Just over 3 hours of Open All Hours. (207 mins)
Disk 3: Full series 3. Just under 3 hours of Open All Hours. (177 mins)
Disk 4: Full series 4. Just under 3 hours of Open All Hours. (178 mins)

All in all very happy and as funny as always, yes there is some sexual jokes the BBC would not get away with now. But remember this was back in the 70's & 80's so you could get away with some stuff you can't get away with now :)
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22 comments| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Ronnie Barker was at the height of his powers when he took on the role of Arkwright in Open All Hours. Plenty has been said about the high watermark of British comedy which this series represents so, if gentle, knowing, and mildly suggestive banter is your thing, then this will suit you well. The scripts are wonderful, written almost as a stage play, and are character-driven like nothing is these days.

The set includes the pilot episode. It is well worth watching this first, as it fills in Granville's back-story, which is mostly absent from the four series. It also features an Irish nurse Gladys, a character that is the very opposite of the grasping materialist Arkwright. The lofty stuffiness made her come across as remote and unattainable in my view. Presumably the production team thought so too, as her character was switched to that of a local lass, retaining the conservatism but losing the religious sensibilities. Lynda Baron's nurse is friendly, witty, and even motherly at times. Many of the opposites thus pass to Granville's character.

The stories are domestic and often ostensibly trivial, but familiar too. This is, I suppose, what makes it such comfortably engaging material. The stories generally have three themes: Arkwright's ill-starred bids to win Gladys's affection; Arkwright's money-making schemes; and Granville's failing lovelife. These themes often interplay, giving each half-hour episode several plot threads. Always they end with Arkwright's thoughts as he shuts the shop at night.

The only thing missing from the set is the 1982 special at the end of series 3, called "The Funny Side Of Christmas", which I don't think was ever available on any Open All Hours DVD.

It is tightly scripted, never missing an opportunity to squeeze in a quip or exchange of looks. There is generally a veneer of seaside postcard naughtiness about it, but scarcely a foul word anywhere. There are so many hundreds of one-liners and story twists, that it stands replaying very well.

The set is presented on four DVDs, each in a proper plastic box (not the nasty slimline or cardboard ones). The pilot episode is on the series 1 DVD. The DVD menus are in ghastly shades of orange and brown, and look like they were designed in five minutes. A little more attention to package design would have helped.

It's great value for money.
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on 11 March 2012
I've always loved Open All Hours and the box set pulls all the episodes together. Ronnie Barker is perfect as Arkwright the tight-fisted corner grocer and he has perfect foils in David Jason as his nephew Granville and Linda Baron as his object of desire, Nurse Gladys Emmanuel. The writing is tight and focussed and gives all the cast plenty of time to shine. There has been criticism of Ronnie Barker using his stammer to get cheap laughs in it's being insulting to genuine sufferers - I don't know how they feel but to me the stammer is very much in character and does not come over as intentionally insulting.
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on 10 March 2007
I dont remember this when it was originally on tv, but like the other reviewer i saw it on Uk Gold and had to have the box set. Classic british comedy with Ronnie Barker as the stuttering shopkeeper Arkwright and David Jason as his long suffering errand boy. Very funny, a must for your comedy collection, includes all 4 series and the pilot episode. 5 Stars!
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on 20 November 2013
This DVD brings back happy memories from the past. Although slightly dated it is all good CLEAN fun. I didn't realise how David Jason has aged since these were made. Oh my gosh so have I !!!
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on 13 November 2009
I don't remember Open All Hours when it was first on TV. My first memory of it is watching it on a Saturday or Sunday evening at my Nan and Grandads. My dad purchased Series 4 last year and when I received an email from Amazon showing the release date for the box set, I had to have it. Also the fatastic price of £20 was not to grumble about!

The series is fantastic with every episode as funny and easy to watch as the next. If you only learn one thing from the tight-fisted stuttering Arkwright its never to hang your trousers out of a car window!!!
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on 19 January 2015
Excellent value for money set of the entire collection of Open All Hours. I used to watch this on a Sunday evening with my mum when I was a kid. It was the last good thing to happened each weekend, before going to bed realising it was back to school the next morning. I have a vivid memory of looking up to the clock towards the end of an episode, hoping that there were still 10 or 15 minutes left to go before it ended.

Ronnie Barker is of course amazing as Arkwright, and David Jason backs him up well as the hapless Granville. The whole support cast is good, and while I admit that one or two lines in occasional episodes are "of their time", overall this is a gentle and truly funny comedy from another era. At this price it is an essential purchase.
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on 16 July 2015
How can anyone not like Ronnie Barker and David Jason? They are absolutely perfect together. Modern comedy writers forget that in order for comedy to be funny, the characters need to be both likeable and believable. And this is why, 40 years on, this sit-com still makes me cry with laughter, and I'm a 30-something! The writing is class, the comedy timing is class. It is just pure class, and a lesson in how to do comedy. You can shove 'Mrs Brown's Boys', and 'Citizen Kahn' where the sun doesn't shine. It's a sad indictment of the BBC that I have to watch comedy from 40 years ago - from a time when they actually knew how to do comedy - instead of the lowest-common-denominator, widest-possible-appeal, politically correct garbage they spew out today. No I'm not an old fart; I just know what solid comedy and excellent writing sound like. And this is why 40 years hence people will still remember Ronnie Barker's legacy, and utterly forget the comedy drivel which has now superseded him.
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on 14 February 2007
As im only 23yrs old i don't remember this series when it was on tv. But after watching repeat episodes on BBc 1 & UK GOLD.

I just just had to see if it was on dvd as it star two of the greatest british actors Ronnie Barker (RIP) & Sir David Jason.

Every episode is a laugh a minuet as Arkwright who owns the shop and this nephew granville get upto mischef every time

besides its much better then todays modern comedy
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