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on 10 April 2011
In response to the previous review, yes the picture quality isn't up the current standards, but it's no worse than most any other DVD of a television production of this vintage. I found it quite watchable on a large screen television. Note: This is an Italian edition of the programme. I purchased my copy at a shop in Naples. The dialogue has been dubbed in Italian. The English soundtrack is also available, with Italian subtitles.

The performances are excellent, particularly the representations of Alexander VI and Cesare Borgia. The series provides a glimpse behind the scenes of papal politics at the outset of the Renaissance, but it shouldn't be taken too literal as history. Many of the popular bits of spicy rumour about the Borgias make their way into this drama. So, it may not be reliable history, but it's lots of fun.
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on 31 July 2013
This BBC production of The Borgias suffered from the timing of its original scheduling. Put up against the very stiff competition of Brideshead Revisited on ITV back in 1981, it got slagged off by the then TV critics, which damaged its ratings and its legacy. The BBC went into a massive sulk at both its ratings disappointment and that Brideshead grabbed the awards. The Beeb then hid The Borgias (1981) away in their vaults for the next 30 or so years, and didn't even give it the benefit of any further showings. You still cannot get a DVD version where you can turn the Italian subtitles off, but at least this Italian edition does have the option of turning the English soundtrack back on.
The storytelling and performances hold up quite well against the current Showtime reworking. The characterisations are not quite as colourful as the Showtime telling and the colours and general quality of pictures certainly are not what we are used to in this day of high definition and digital recording, but this version has its own pleasures. Adolfo Celi makes for rather more 'Mediterranean' Pope (basically because he was a native of that part of the World). That he is also convincingly villainous is probably helped by his far more famous performance as Emilio Largo in 'Thunderball'. Oliver Cotton's Cesare is also excellent and quite a lot more sinister and less likeable than the HBO version. Given Cesare's reputation that is probably much closer to reality.
So, if you have just enjoyed the Neil Jordan directed take and want more, or if like me you saw this long ago and want to see it again, then this version can provide good entertainment and proves that some TV criticism is bast just ignored.
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on 19 March 2011
The quality of the picture on this DVD is really, really poor. It is not worth the money! It looks as if it has been copied from an old VHS tape.
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on 13 March 2012
Disappointing as the Version was in English with Italian Sub Titles. Expected an English Version with no Sub Titles.

If you like a BBC Documentory with Italian Sub Titles OK but not for me as I wished to add it to my collection.
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on 9 June 2015
Oliver cotton as Caesars is amazing
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on 13 May 2013
I have been waiting 30 years for this to be released on video/dvd ..... well worth the wait. Great packaging. Great picture and sound. Top quality box set of a top quality series. Highly recommended.
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on 17 May 2013
Well worked history of deceit & politics by other means, a professional & very enjoyable saga of 15th century Italy
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