No, it wasn't voted up there in the top 100 sitcoms, but I adore Brass above all but the cream of the crop. To begin with, it's not tainted by canned laughter or other artifical additives - the excellent cast play their roles totally straight-faced, and nothing emphasises humour in a farce better than deadpan delivery. Secondly, Brass knowingly takes apart the cliches of kitchen sink soap operatic Northern dramas like no other series I ever came across - the ultimate parody, down to the last pseudo-Lanky accent. Not even Mel Brooks could do it better! And like the best parody, it's done lovingly and with deep-seated admiration for the subject matter - the spoiled and bored neo-Victorian family of factory owner Bradley Hardacre and the split loyalties of the working class Fairchild family. Neither side is exactly sympathetic, but so knowing is the satire that you couldn't fail to enjoy their ever more complex relationships. Third, this is a truly excellent cast to bring home the interconnected rivalries between the haves and have nots. Also, fine scripting to develop a beautifully-plotted and fast-paced farce laced wih genuine belly laughs.
I've waiting for Brass to appear on VHS or DVD while the last few years and now it's available. And I'm not disappointed. After twenty-odd years it is still fresh and original even if some of the more contemporary and topical references might be lost on a younger audience - such as Young Scargill, Anthony Blunt, Brideshead Revisited (which was on TV about then)- much as a bribe in the amount of an "Archer" (£2,000) as coined by Alan B'stard in "The New Statesman", might go over their heads. The comedic references come thick and fast and this is a series which will yield fresh laughs through a repeat viewing as one picks up on subtleties which might have been missed the first time round. Parodies of the characters and storylines in "When the boat comes in", "The Citadel" and others are wonderfully understated - the scriptwriting is absolutely First Class. Reading the other reviews of the series shows how other viewers have picked up different nuances and references. I am now anxiously awaiting the second series -"Father, it's snowing - it's the start of the eviction season". This is a must for anyone who enjoys Monty Python's professional Yorkshiremen sketch translated from White Rose to Red Rose country. My only quibble might be the PG rating - not every episode makes entirely suitable viewing for my ten year old son.
Back in 1982 a genuinely clever, different and refreshing comedy series hit our screens thanks to Granada. It was so clever in fact, and so disparate in its comedic references that a lot of viewers entirely failed to get it. At one level a parody of gritty, northern dramas of class conflict, it introduces us to the mine, munition and mill owning family, the Hardacres and the working class Fairchilds in their employ. Timothy West, at the height of his powers, plays the villainous Bradley Hardacre - the sort of man who bemoans damage to the company overalls worn by men injured in industrial accidents. A man willing to pay a fair day's pay for a fair week's work. The comic, romantic entanglements between the Fairchild boys and Hardacre girls (every character a droll cliche) are the stuff of pure soap opera parody. The satire also embraces (amongst others) Brideshead Revisited, Cambridge spy scandals, D. H. Lawrence, Arnold Toynbee, Jane Austen, much 20th Century history, Black Beauty, soap powder commercials, Dr Finlay and the general style and overly dramatised style of Dallas and its ilk. This is sheer genius. A complete joy to replace my 20 years old and incomplete set of TV recorded VHS.
Quite, quite brilliant. A non-stop barrage of beautifully timed, cleverly understated verbal and sight gags, delivered with po-faced intensity by a hugely talented cast. "Brass" tears into every god-awful cliche ever suffered by those forced to watch the endless stream of Catherine Cookson adaptations and gritty Northern dramas in the 70s and 80s, and "Brideshead Revisited", with an over-the-top panache made all the more effective by the lack of a laugh track. Timothy West, Caroline Blakiston and Barbara Ewing are perfect, maintaining stone-faced intensity under a succession of increasingly surreal (and hilarious) gritty Northern crises. The rest of the cast is excellent. The script is wonderful. My only concern is whether series 2 and 3 will ever be released.
Anyone who watched the original on TV will relish reliving this intelligent series in the best tradition of British comedy - if you didn't see it first time round prepare for a treat. Timothy West is the archetypal "trouble at t'mill" boss Bradley Hardacre with a totally disfunctional family - secret-drinker wife, over- sexed daughters, camp younger son, over-confident elder son etc. interacting with the downtrodden workforce, brilliantly led by "Agnes Fairchild" - wife of a hopelessly weak husband but a socialist firebrand in her own right and the proud owner of Kier Hardy's cap. The script is a mixture of witty allusions (e.g. teddy bear Hesketh - who's close cousin must have starred in Brideshead Revisited!), double entendres and farce - often rude but always very funny.
Here it is at last! the video set of Brass, one of the best comedy series ever shown on British Television. This does for comedy what "When the boat comes in" did for serious drama. Crisply scripted by John Stevenson and Julian Roach, it is full of pithy political commentary on the bygone age of industry and empire, with lines deftly delivered by the magnificent Timothy West. Also excellent was the pathos of George Fairchild, bosses toady played to perfection by Geoffrey Hinsliff, and Barbara Ewing as his principled and despairing wife.. What gives this series it's comic edge is the witty dialogue punctuated with occasional bouts of surrealism, .... Relentlessly funny, uplifting and unmissable. Get it today!
A terrific comedy that should be far better known than it is. Few in the U.S. ever saw this due to limited run on PBS but anyone who loves wit, puns, clever writing, and first rate acting, should seek this out. Worth watching and rewatching many times to get the jokes and puns missed the first time. U.S. users should be aware that this tape in PAL and they will have to get it transfered to NTSC. Yet it is well worth it. Truly one of the best tv shows ever. Am eager to see next series, which won't be out fast enough for me.
It's about time this came out on video - we have been waiting for it for years. Phrases from the series have entered the family vocabulary - who could forget the significance of Keir Hardy's cap, the poignant silent hooter and the innovative truss flange? One to see again and again.