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4.9 out of 5 stars
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4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 3 October 2010
I absolutely love Jam and Jerusalem. Admittedly it does take a while to get into as this is far slower and gentler than Jennifer Saunders' other sitcoms. There is a greater depth within the writing this time as there are far more serious moments within all three series (which I shant tell you of course!). It's so good to see a cast that gel together and there is no awkwardness among the cast, it just looks natural - and they are all popular celebrities that make each character their own. What is even better is that the DVDs contain the specials that were also aired and some also contain picture galleries. All three series are definitely light and gentle and admittedly not 'a laugh a minute' but that works in this! It's definitely one to watch and treasure.
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This boxed set comprises all three series of `Jam and Jerusalem', as well as the Christmas Special for the first series.

The focus of this witty drama set in a Devon country town is the recently-widowed Sally, played by Sue Johnston. In the opening episode she tells her best friend Tip (Pauline McLynn) to kill her if she ever joins the local Women's Institute. Tip agrees, stating that not only will she kill her, she will also knit her a coffin. This gives an idea of the kind of humour that permeates this gentle but often wickedly-funny series.

Other highlights include Caroline, the equivalent of the lady-of-the-manor, played expertly by the writer of the series, Jennifer Saunders. Caroline lives in the manor house and her husband John (never seen) earns oodles of money in the City, but rather than play the character as somebody imperious, instead she carries a subtle naivety that sees her talk in all innocence about going dogging down by the river, cottaging in Norfolk, rimming, and having a spit-roast. Her son `Mikey' (again never seen) is a pop star, and so Caroline can express casual annoyance about Sting playing his lute and Trudy reading her poems.

It's not all comedy, though, as serious relationships have their ups and downs. The town's WI itself appears always to be on the edge of collapse: what would they do without the ever-resent Pauline to stand in at short notice because the lecturer they had booked was unable to make it?

Don't be put off by Dawn French's take on `Sybil', a woman with multiple personalities. Dawn French's character is fun but naïve Rosie; but under pressure she becomes the formidable and no-nonsense Margaret. There are hints that the origins of this transformation are due to some childhood trauma. Viewers new to the series might find Dawn French's brazen in-your-face interpretation disconcerting to begin with - I did - but things settle down as the series progress, and in fact there are some fantastic and wickedly comic moments between Rosie and the pompous vicar played with a straight-faced by the brilliant Patrick Barlow.

I am a Devonian born and bred - indeed, one line of my ancestry comes from the very town (North Tawton) in which the series was filmed - so I can appreciate how some of the accents in the series are a bit dodgy. Nevertheless, these tales of a group of middle-aged women in a small Devon town is not that far from the truth: as well as the comedy and the heartache, there is much warmth to be experienced too.

Apart from the Christmas special, there are - alas! - no extras. One would have liked to have known why Steve Bendelack directed no more than the first episode, and it would have been nice to have seen what must have been many outtakes, particularly in scenes comprising only Rosie and the vicar.
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on 27 December 2010
It takes an episode or two to get used this this comedy/drama from Jennifer Saunders. I wasn't quite sure at first how to take some of the characters - particularly Dawn French. But I warmed to this heartfelt comedy set in a small Westcountry village. The stories of the women of the WI are entertaining, but also tinged with a touch of sadness.

Sue Johnston is superb in this series... the glue that holds the whole thing together. Dawn French - endearing as always and Jennifer Saunders one liners were well timed and added nice touches to lighten some serious moments.

Well worth buying and sitting back and relaxing at home with. We found after we navigated the first episode or two we wanted to watch all the way through. For fans of French and Saunders this is a must, but also worth purchasing if you like a good well acted, well scripted comedy that also has a lot of heart.
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on 17 December 2010
Fabulously written and beautifully perfomed this gentle comedy has the feel good factor. Revolving around a group of women in a local village, the storylines explore their differences and similarities, but ultimately show that the bond of friendship is stronger than anything. Definitely one to watch when you need to lift your spirits and feel the world is a good place. The whole cast shine.You will laugh and cry- sometimes at the same time- but you will feel a warm glow when its finished that makes you want to see it all over again
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on 13 May 2013
I don't remember this coming on television but I'm so glad I caught up with this now. Depsite the sugary-looking cover and soppy name, this is very adult humour delivered by a myriad cast of some of Britain's most famous and talented tv comedians. I'm very pleasantly surprised - this is a comedy gem.
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on 25 October 2016
It's been 10 years since I first watched this show, and I remembered loving it, so I bought the boxed set to re-watch. It didn't disappoint! In fact, I think I enjoyed it more the second time around. The cast is amazing, especially Rosie. Nobody could play that part better than Dawn French! And I love anything that Sue Johnston is in. Throw in David Mitchell, Sally Philips, Simon Farnaby, Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders (the writer of this show), and Rosie Cavaliero, and you've got one of the best comedic cast ensembles ever! I love how Jennifer Saunders' character, 'Caroline', is always confusing sexual terms for common activities - like when she says she's going "dogging" (walking the dogs), or that after dinner she enjoys "rimming" (running your finger 'round the rim of wine glasses to make music). Lol.
If you haven't seen this show, I HIGHLY recommend it. The second series is the best of the lot, but it's all very enjoyable to watch.

- A fan in Canada
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on 27 April 2013
An absolutely brilliant series! Jennifer Saunders writing delivers on so many levels, its funny, sad and heartwarming with some wonderful characters.
I wish the BBC would commission another series as it was just what T.V needed, a cosy, unoffensive but fantastically funny programme
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on 4 November 2016
I didn't see this series when it was on TV, simply because I no longer watch TV!! But, I'd heard about it, and it has some great actors in it so I thought I'd buy it and try it. I loved it. Laugh out loud moments, but with some sad moments and some 'cringe' moments! I have given it 5 stars, but I did find the last episode a bit of a let down. It was like it had just been thrown together in 5 minutes. Dawn French is a main character, you see a lot of her, and if you don't like her, you will struggle with this, because she acts the same in this as she always does! Sue Johnstone is brilliant, as always. You don't see much of Joanna Lumley, just bits in each episode (except the last), but she is the one character who really made me laugh out loud. Sometimes it was hard to hear some of the characters, due to what has become 'normal' mumbling speech. A good buy though all in all, and if you need a bit of a cheer-up on a wet day, this might just do the trick. If you know a 'group' of ladies, you will certainly recognise all the characters!
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on 5 December 2010
Absolutely loved it! Wonderful, eccentric characters who you really grow to love, played by an equally wonderful ensemble of comic actors. Leaves you wanting more, but at least if you own it, you can re-watch when you get J&J withrawal symptoms!
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on 9 April 2016
I absolutely adore this show...it's by far one of the funniest programs I have ever seen. Dawn French is hysterical as Rosie/Margret as are the other members of the guild! The characters have a very ffamiliar feel to them, I'm sure we all know some of these in real life. The script is funny and well written. I've rewatched this set a dozen times since buying it and would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys good old english humor. The only drawback I have is that there aren't any more episodes! I wish the show had continued beyond series 3. The boxset doesn't have many special features, however the christmas special is included :)
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