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on 12 July 2008
I bought this from Amazon and received it on 9-Jul-2008. The version I received had no technical problems.

This complete collection of both The Herbs and The Adventures of Parsley for less than £9 is excellent value and a lot less confusing to buy than the series 1 and series 2 and part-mixed series of Herbs and Parsley DVDs. To buy the two complete series collections as separate DVDs, at the current prices available on Amazon, costs over £50.
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on 5 February 2014
You have to be a certain age to remember 'The Herbs'. It seemed to disappear at some point in the mid-70s, along with a fair number of other 'Watch with Mother' shows that illuminated my early childhood, such as 'Andy Pandy' and 'The Woodentops'; but distance hasn't diminished the charm of this series, which has retained a hold on the memory ever since. I still think of the characters whenever I see herbs lined-up on the supermarket shelf, and it's no wonder. These characters are instantly memorable and prove to be an imaginative take on a novel idea, making Basil and Rosemary slightly dim aristocrats, Bayleaf a cap-doffing 'oo-arr' gardener, Sage a grumpy owl, Parsley a less-than-ferocious lion, and Dill a manic dog with crazy hair. The series also has that same brilliant use of colour that Gordon Murray's Trumptonshire trilogy had when British TV was poised to switch from monochrome.
The fifteen-minute 'Herbs' episodes were aimed at pre-school children and have a sedate pace that is very seductive and calming in the Postgate vein, whereas the spin-off, 'The Adventures of Parsley', aired in the later, 'Magic Roundabout' five-minute slot before the news and consequently acquired a cult adult audience, with Parsley's laconic humour and various cultural references that went over my head during their original broadcast. It's great to have both in one package and this set provides 40-somethings with enchanting time-travel TV from a time when children's television had a quality threshold it rarely dipped beneath.
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on 13 July 2010
The Herbs offers up that strange yet typically British combination of G&S and obstinate paganism (check the music and herb-lore). The style of stop frame along with the colour sensibility has clear links with the stunning work of Smallfilms, and The Herbs could easily be miscredited to Postgate. Nothing patronising here either - Bond (through the narrator) really does speak to children. There's plenty in the way of vocabulary (as with The Clangers), excellent articulation of ethical quandaries, and endless laughs along the way. I can see no reason why this show shouldn't be enjoyed by today's children, though I am sure that plenty of people like me will have a great time revisiting favourite characters - the chives spring to mind!

I suppose a comment about class relations is in order - little wonder that The Herbs' successor somewhat does away with the previous social order, although in doing so something literary seems to be lost. Still, The Adventures of Parsley is riotously funny. The magical book is a particularly inspired narrative device that I am sure would motivate children to read today as much as it encouraged us back in the pre-digital era.

In Adventures Parsley has developed the ability to speak directly to his friends (as have Dill the dog and Tarragon the dragon). Again I think something is lost - if nothing else the endless lessons in communicating confronted by children now become a string of misunderstandings instead of the previously highly entertaining but informative and reassuring stories enacted by The Herbs. Additionally, although much of the animation techniques remain identical, the setting of Adventures begins the trend towards a generic landscape of children's TV.

So I guess The Adventures of Parsley is the weaker of the two series in this collection. Still, an entirely worthwhile purchase that holds substantially more charm and imagination than any contemporary TV programme aimed at children. Definitely one to buy ...
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on 3 June 2009
Seeing these again brought back some happy childhood memories! If you are a fan of those classic children's programmes from the 60's and 70's, such as the Clangers and The Magic Roundabout, this was my personal favourite and full of the same gentle humour and charm, which time has not changed. With around 50 episodes it is excellent value for money, well packaged and with some laugh out loud episodes and quirky stories and songs. The version I got from Amazon still has the episode, 'Miss Jessop Tidies Up' cutting short before the end, but Amazon say they're onto this now and will sort the matter out. A world away from today's children's programmes, this will stir the imagination and I can't recommend it highly enough for those with children or as a gift for someone. Seeing it was placed around #22 in the top 100, was a pleasing surprise for something originally aired so long ago. Enjoy it!
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on 1 October 2008
Ordered this at the end of September '08, and I am glad to say that it appears to play just fine - hopefully the DVD has been re-mastered to resolve the fault mentioned by the reviewer below, and I wasn't just lucky when I tried it.

I have very fond memories of this from my childhood and it was delightful to meet the eccentric characters once again.
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My son (8) and particularly my daughter (10) were very taken with this 'The Herbs & Parsley' complete collection, and rated these old late 1960s childrens programmes very highly at 5*. This DVD set has all the episodes of 'The Herbs' and the later 'Parsley the Lion' spin-off. The earlier episodes of 'The Herbs' are longer at 13 minutes each, while the later 'Parsley the Lion' ones only last 5 minutes. The Herbs episodes also have the opening introduction and "Herbidacious!" bit, while the latter have the Parsley spoof of the MGM lion. In the 'The Herbs' Parsley doesn't speak and just reacts to what is going on, with his thoughts being voiced by the narrator.

The Herbs was a television series for young children made for the BBC by Graham Clutterbuck's 'FilmFair' company. It was written by Michael Bond (of 'Paddington Bear' fame), and directed by children's TV legend Ivor Wood using 3D stop motion model animation. Ivor was born in Leeds to an English dad and French mum, and spent his later teenage years being educated in Lyon France. This was Ivor Wood's second project after animating The Magic Roundabout series for French TV, and he went on to produce The Wombles, Parsley, Hattytown tales, Postman Pat, Gran, Bertha and Charley Chalk amongst others. The Herbs first transmitted in February 1968 in the BBC1 15 minute Watch with Mother timeslot. There were 13 episodes in The Herbs series. The spin-off series entitled 'The Adventures of Parsley' was transmitted from April 1970 in the 5-minute slot between the end of children's TV and the BBC Evening News. This had 32 episodes, some of which were later released on VHS as 'Parsley the Lion and Friends'. Although aimed at youngsters 4+, the series sophisticated style and Parsley's dry sense of humour made 'The Herbs' a hit with older kids and their parents alike.

We have a few of 'The Herbs' episodes on VHS video and I was a bit surprised that picture quality isn't much better on DVD (though it is a great deal more stable) - probably due to the original colour film and the 'fuzzy' oil painting feel to the images may be deliberate. I expect this DVD will only be bought by parents or those who remember the series from when it was aired back in 1968, but it clearly is a hit with the new young generation as well. It is just as 'different' now as was back then, and time hasn't really dated it despite the 'stately home' setting. It's mostly just a series of gently amusing stories with a little mild 'cartoon violence', as Parsley the lion and Dill the dog always get into trouble, although the witch Belladonna is a bit of a vicious veggie. The series is also quite musical, as each herb has their own song, e.g. The Parsley Song:

I'm a very friendly lion called Parsley.
I am always very glad to see you wave.
But please don't shout or speak to me too harshly.
Because I'm not particularly brave.

The set is rated U (any age) and it's old style 4:3 TV not wide-screen. If you can't find this complete collection cheap from Amazon or their resellers, try ebay. Watch out if buying second hand as there was a problem with the first batch of pressings where Episode 7 of The Herbs "Miss Jessop Tidies Up" ended abruptly lopping off the last few minutes of footage. Apparently it was rectified for subsequent pressings (and the distributors AbbeyHomeMedia offered a free DVD replacement), although to be honest I doubt my kids would notice either way. Our The Herbs/Parsley The Lion - Complete Collection [1968] [DVD] was ordered from Amazon resellers the 'Book Depository' for £10 in March 2011 and plays perfectly (we also go to the credits in 'Miss Jessop tidies up'). There's no subtitles, it's English audio only, and the two DVDs are Region 2 PAL UK locked (DVD1: The Herbs 13 episodes, DVD 2: Parsley the Lion 32 episodes).

The Herbs intro [narrated by actor Gordon Rollings]: "Long ago, people believed herbs had some kind of magic power. Some people believe it still. I know a secret herb garden behind that door, where all sorts of strange things happen. I just have to say a magic word. 'Herbidacious'."
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on 24 January 2014
I recently received (not from Amazon, but from a retailer that offers just a return and refund) one of the well-documented faulty DVDs .. so they still exist. I contacted Abbey Home Media at the only obvious address they provide, but twice received no answer. So it looks like I'm stuck with it (because it was quite cheap).

What others with the faulty disc may like to know is that the 'missing' end of the Miss Jessop episode IS on the disc - it's just not referenced from the menus. You can watch it on a computer with VLC media player (or similar - but not Windows Media Player or similar) by opening the file VTS_01_4.VOB which contains (somewhere around its middle) the whole episode. This only works because the disc appears not to be copy-protected (otherwise playing an isolated .VOB file would give a scrambled picture).

The programme itself is a delightful reminder of when children's TV was calmer and wittier (and stranger) than it generally is now. One star off for the picture quality, which I suspect is not quite as good as it could be.
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on 23 July 2013
How wonderful!
No c.g. so I thought that the grand-children might have found it a bit boring, but no - they loved it, and insisted on seeing all the stories before they went to bed. Their Mum is entranced,too.
She says that it would not be made today because Lord Basil shoots and fishes. But then, lots of people do.
Just goes to show that children are far more sensible than the PC brigade give them credit for.
One drawback, however - you have to be word and tune perfect on all the signature tunes!
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on 29 December 2013
Just as funny as it was when I first saw it. I love it as it is funny for children without being nasty or patronising, just sweet, gentle humour. A sneaky way of getting kids to learn herb names too!
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Growing up I loved watching the Herbs and Parsley on TV. These are timeless classics. :-)

Just had to have this in my collection so I could watch them all over again.

I'm really glad I got the collection. ;-)
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