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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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on 7 September 2017
Excellent for bored children, well acted and quite amusing for parents. Better still, read them the books!
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on 21 April 2016
I loved these episodes when they were first shown, back in the 'seventies - though I always thought Adrian Dannatt was an odd choice to play William. A bit on the chubby-faced side and not enough wiry, rough-and-tumble about him. Having said that, you quickly discount that and get drawn into the stories - which were adhered to very faithfully from the books. As a lifetime fan of my 'William' books, these are a wonderful adaptation for the screen. Not to mention the legendary Bonnie Langford as Violet Elizabeth Bott - she has become the yardstick against which all other Violet Elizabeth performances have been measured - utterly brilliant! She sparkles, and you can see from these films that she was destined to go on the be a wonderful actress. I'm also glad that they made so many episodes - twenty-seven - before the child actors got too old to do it! The more recent, 2011 series only had four episodes - far too few!
This is a wonderful piece of 'William' history, and I'd highly recommend it for any fan of the books!
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on 3 January 2012
My two sons love this...they have watched the series numerous times and still get a good laugh. It's old fashioned, but the stories are so good and really strike a chord with boys. Ignored by his parents, just tolerated by his boyfriend collecting sister and bullied by his frightfully awful and self centred big brother poor William can never stay clean or see the point in doing fractions. There is a lot about this 1920's schoolboy for kids of today to relate to! Just William is just great. I would recommend for 8-12 year olds.
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on 24 August 2009
Several series have been made about Richmal Crompton's unruly schoolboy. Some have worked and some haven't, but this engaging version is probably the most pleasantly watchable. It's clear that everyone involved had a great love of the stories and they put every effort into making this work. Crompton's original tales were short and lent themselves well to a weekly series, and this version, which lasted for 2 seasons and a Xmas special did well to capture the feeling and spirit of his adventures while not ruining the nostalgic elements.

Adrian Dannatt appears at first to be an odd choice for William, appearing just too different to the wild-haired scruff that we've become so familiar with from the illustrations and tales. But he soon overcomes those misgivings to give a performance that perfectly captures William's rebellious spirit, making me wonder why the actor never worked again.

Aside from the excellent Ginger, William's supporting Outlaws are not so convincing, coming over as fairly generic naughty kids rather than the epic characters on the page. To some extent this is probably deliberate as the adult roles are delivered in a more-rounded fashion, rather than being shadowy authority figures. So William's long-suffering parents are appealing as are Bott's parents, characters who I can hardly remember from the books, but who with deft performance from Diana Dors and John Stratton work well in their occasional appearances. Other guest stars include Freddie Jones and Simon Chandler in top form as William's older brother. Best of all is a gloriously infuriating Bonnie Langford as Violet Elizabeth Bott, surely the most nauseating kid ever to appear in fiction.

What also works is the feel of the show, in which it manages to be both modern, or at least it was at the time, while still presenting Crompton's original vision of an idyllic England from long ago that could never really have existed, but which probably should have. The production values are high, helped by re-using sets for Raffles, which was apparently being filmed at the same time. This gives the show considerable class for what is, in essence, a children's sitcom, even if it is one that is likely to be enjoyed by just as many adults.
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on 1 January 2011
It's quite a good DVD, plenty of episodes for your money. Unfortunately just days after I bought this the BBC released a new Just William series that knocks this one into a cocked hat. The only real problem I had with this one is that William is actually shown as naughty when he's just supposed to be a bit thoughtless. Otherwise, certainly worth a watch and Violet Elizabeth is brilliant.
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on 5 May 2011
A good collection of the whole series of Just William. The set comprises four discs mounted across one another in the case, so that it is necessary to remove the top one to extract the lower. This is a slight inconvenience. Of more irritation is the quality of the episodes. Most are good, but some have considerable judder to parts of them. I do not mind too much, but more sensitive types might find it spoils their enjoyment of the production. There are no subtitles on these discs, so the hard of hearing miss the brilliant and sometimes rather rapid dialogue.
I still rate this as the best series of William I have seen so far. The characters are well portrayed and very silly, just as they should be, and the quality of acting of William, Ginger, and of course Violet Elizabeth is wonderful.
There is a break where the adverts would have been when originally broadcast, and I sometimes find myself hankering for some period adverts to finish off the experience and take me fully back to the seventies and my teens.
I consider this a good buy.
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on 26 October 2009
Since the previous reviewer has summarised the quality of the scripts and acting quite nicely and in agreement with my own opinions I'll concentrate here on the actual quality of the DVD itself. To be blunt, the transfer is awful. Any rapid movement across the screen is accompanied by artifacts that make the average You Tube video look like Blu-Ray in quality. The flaws are most apparent on scenes shot on film (usually external scenes) and those involving rapid movement, and almost un-noticable on scenes shot on video or where in static, dialogue-heavy scenes. Even the animated opening titles are practically unwatchable on some (but not all, surprisingly) of the episodes. I've examined 5 episodes on different discs so far, and they all had these flaws to a greater or lesser extent. As it stands I can't really recommend this box set unless you're willing to put up with occasional scenes so jagged and broken they cause nausea.
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on 19 September 2013
I bought this as I read all the William books as a youngster and wanted to see if this very old TV series was as good as I remembered it to be.
And yes it's pretty good, the stories are generally quite funny and the whole production has a nice feel to it.
Glad I bought it!
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on 22 April 2011
I remember this when it first came out. We loved it.....and it's hard to go wrong with the William stories. Still great but maybe feeling its age now and the outlaws seem to have escaped from local amateur dramatics....except William. Bonnie Langford is amazing, the adult actors, especially the famous ones, save it. All in all a nostalgic trip to my childhood and that of my parents. William is addictive and this was a good shot at reproducing the original books.
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on 19 February 2010
Great to see all the old favourites again. This is a long-overdue release and is a welcome blast of nostalgia for all lovers of the Richmal Crompton books.
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