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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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on 4 November 2010
It's great to see that this much-loved romantic comedy series (43rd in "Britain's Best Sitcom") has finally been released on DVD in its entirety. Just Good Friends is rare amongst sitcoms of its era in featuring a genuinely well-developed female character in the lead, and is worth seeing just for Jan Francis's excellent performance as vindictive, but vulnerable Penny. Paul Nichols is also good as Vince, and Sylvia Kay and the late John Ringham manage to steal any scene they're in as Penny's formidably middle-class parents.

As can be expected from the writer of Only Fools and Horses, the scripts by John Sullivan are sharp and witty, but also manage to make you genuinely care about the characters. It's also worth watching for the 1980s-ness of the fashion and so forth. In my opinion, the appearance of Georgina in series 3 rather spoils the original dynamic, and therefore series three isn't quite as good as the first two.

The DVD set contains four discs - one for each series, and one with the rarely seen feature-length 1984 Christmas special. They're all in their original 4:3 aspect ratio and the picture and sound are as good as a 1980s sitcom can be expected to be. Each set features episode selection and subtitles, but unfortunately that's it. The DVD packaging design is fairly bad - I'm not quite sure what they were thinking with the "Terry and June" font and boudour pink.

If I was being petty, it would have been nice for this (fairly expensive) release to have included the 2007 "Comedy Connections" documentary about the series as an extra, as this had quite a few interesting interviews with the cast and writer, which gave a good background to the series. I'm guessing it was probably left out because that programme features lots of clips from other shows, but its omission is a bit of a disappointment.

The big "discovery" of the release is the 1984 Christmas special. It's essentially a prequel film, being an hour and a half long and shot on film instead of the studio-based sitcom production 'look' of the main series. The special documents the backstory of Penny and Vince in the lead up to their meeting in the first episode of the series, and in a way, it would make sense to watch the special before the series episodes.

As noted by other reviewers, the opening party scene of the special is sadly spoilt by the legally required removal of the original Rolling Stones track due to rights issues, which unfortunately leaves almost the first 12 minutes of the characters' dialogue entirely silent and subtitled instead. The subtitles are a reasonable compromise in the circumstances, but it does make it a strange viewing experience. (Some people might suggest it would be sensible to watch the opening 12 minutes on YouTube, and then switch back to the DVD, but you didn't hear it from me...)

Overall, don't let my petty criticisms put you off buying this excellent series - I'm very glad that this has finally been released, and Eureka are to be congratulated for putting it all together in one package.
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on 29 October 2010
Well worth it to get all 3 series together, but I'm really not too sure how I feel about the edits made to the Christmas episode. The box mentions that a small portion has the soundtrack replaced due to copyright obstacles (love to know what these were!) and subtitles used for the dialogue. This section actually runs to some 12 minutes - pretty much the whole party scene where Vince and Penny first meet. In their defence the producers do state that while far from perfect, they felt that this would be preferable to cutting the scene altogether. So if this is going to be the only version available, then I would rather have this - I would probably fast forward through the subtitled section for future viewings though! There's still an hour and twenty minutes to go.

I won't be a happy bunny though if they do sort out the copyright problems in future and re-release it.

The Christmas episode is very good though, hasn't aged at all - very funny, and also very sad in places. Intelligent dialogue too! Overall, well worth it, but the strange editing is a little off-putting.
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on 13 March 2011
I was pleased when the complete series and Christmas Special came out on DVD having enjoyed it so much the first time round. I was a bit disappointed with the Christmas Special with regard to the dialogue having to be replaced by music and sub titles at the beginning it did spoil it somewhat. Vince did make me laugh though but I must admit Penny was beginning to get on my nerves towards the end. Having purchased a number of complete series of other shows I felt the price of this one to be a bit expensive.
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on 20 December 2011
Absolutely brilliant. I love these series. Only fault is the soundtrack for the christmas special, they couldnt get permission to use some of the music in the original episode, so they used subtitles and other music. It ruins it unfortunately.
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on 23 February 2011
I loved this series when it first came out in 1983,I was a teenager at the time.I remember The Christmas Special from 1984.It tells the story of how Vince and Penny met.
I have just watched the whole of the Dvd From Series 1,2,3 plus the Christmas special again,great series never laughed so much,like someone said earlier the episode when Penny thought she was pregnant and the one word Vince used"congratulations!" when Vince said it must be caused by something simple and she said yes "you".
A good series pity they didn't bring another series out 10 years after to see what would they be doing now!
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on 10 February 2011
After all the drivel which is on TV these days this is a blessed relief. A good romantic comedy with plenty to make you grin. Just got to love Vince! Great to be able to watch these again and to have all the series and watch them back to back is pure pleasure! I give it 5 stars!
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on 31 December 2010
After years of telling my children that Just Good Friends was the best thing ever on TV, especially the Christmas special. We were left disappointed that the party meeting of Penny and Vince was subtitled. We had to keep reverting back to the copyright foreword to try and understand why this was happening! It would have helped if we had read ROBW's comments before purchasing. I still cannot get to grips with the legalities but surely it is an honour to have your music included in anything John Sullivan writes.

However we persevered and it did bring back nostalgic memories to me. Happy days and even better nights when Just Good Friends was on our screens. I've heard the lines a thousand times but they are still make me laugh. My kids are completely taken by the story line. I've warned my girls not to be fooled by a good looking guy with a nice smile. Especially if he's an ice-cream seller!

If ever the copywright can be resolved I would certainly pay out again for this particular episode.
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on 17 September 2010
At last, all three series plus the Xmas special unedited...well almost! As you may be aware, music clearance issues have been at the heart of the reasons for the non-release of this classic series in its entirety. Unlike Universal Playback, whose solution to this problem was to simply chop out the offending scenes, Eureka have chosen to leave the programmes intact, but have replaced the music with library tracks, and used subtitles in place of the original audio. Whilst clearly the best outcome would have been to clear the tracks, given the economics involved, I'm glad that Eureka have come up with an innovative solution which means that at least we get the choice to buy the show. Sure the idea won't please everyone, however I for one have pre-ordered and am counting the days.
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on 3 May 2011
After originally seeing a couple of episodes on BBC one about ten years ago and seeking out the full series on the internet at that time without sucess, my interest in this lovely sitcom was re-awoken last week when i caught an episode on uk gold. I received my collection from amazon two days later and have watch the 3 series and Christmas special in their entirety in less than 30 hours! It is such a funny light hearted comedy and I absolutely adore Vince. I agree with the other commentators that the scene where Vince and Penny meet in the Christmas special is rather ruined by the need to subtitle their conversation however I am delighted with my purchase overall and am only disappointed that they did not comission an episode 10 years later to show us how Vince and Penny were getting on!
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on 19 November 2012
I have just asked my wife to order this for me for Christmas 2012. I remember the original which my wife and I used to watch before we married. It brings back happy memories for me.

I loved Vince and Penny's characters,l but more than aything else it was Daphne's sparring with Vince that used to make me laugh most. I also loved the last minute after every episode during the end credits. One classic example was when Penny was hiding behind the door, asking her mum to answer. Vince guessed she was there and said 'Night Pen' at which Penny replid night Vince then covered her mouth in shock, with her hand. Classic simple but effective humour which stands the test of time.

The Stones track which has had to be written out due to copywrite problems was the Stones version of their song they wrote for Marianne Faithfull - As Tears go By. Whenever I hear that song I always automatically associate it to Just Good Friends and I am really sorry the makers had to do this. I automatically think also of Penny's tears in her room after she has been jilted, a point of which I came very close to joining in with her!!

Great series which they rarely make the likes of any more! I wish the current TV makers would go back to what they did best with programmes like these.
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