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3.8 out of 5 stars
42
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 3 March 2013
This DVD has attracted polarised reviews; I think I understand why. Fans of other Arthur Lowe sitcoms may have been disappointed to find that this is something altogether gentler which would have been ruined by an audience: it's not about belly laughs but wry chuckles. Accept that, and the fact it dates from the time when sitcoms were shot on video, and there's quite a lot to savour.

That said, I do think some of the slapstick moments are a little bit clumsily handled: books obviously dropped rather than knocked out of Arthur Lowe's hand, for example.

And fans of H.F. Ellis already primed to expect something in a lower key than other Arthur Lowe vehicles may have their own reservations for different reasons. I remember watching and quite enjoying this when it came out in the mid eighties, but feeling that it didn't quite live up to HF Ellis's original pieces, which can be found in several collections (Faber have recently reissued The Papers of A. J. Wentworth, B.A.).

The trouble is that in print Wentworth is the narrator: we see things from his point of view and have the fun of imagining how others react to him. As with Diary of a Nobody, an adaptation can't quite supply the same thing: we've got the people in front of us and our hero is suddenly a little more buffoonish.

Nevertheless, this is probably as well realised as it could be - and certainly Harry Andrews as the Squid (the headmaster of Burgrove) well deserves his status as co-star, hinting at suppressed giggles each time A.J. tries to explain his latest mishap. The actor playing Gilbert isn't given that much to do but you do buy his affection for A.J. The schoolboy actors are okay, not great. It passes the time most agreeably, and it doesn't deserve the opprobrium heaped on it by some reviewers, but essentially it's an homage to the original pieces, not a replacement for them.
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on 22 September 2012
Quite a blast from the past! Arthur Lowe's last TV series, and perhaps not up to what had gone before (Dad's Army in particular), but it is a channce to see a bit more of the sort of character that he played so well.
Nice to see the period settings properly observed.
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on 23 September 2015
Set in a 1940s Prep School this was a rather disappointing swan song for Arthur Lowe. He plays a bumbling maths teacher who is always creating havoc for his domineering headmaster played to perfection by Harry Andrews. Sadly the scenes are very stagey and even though the setting is 40s Britain there is a staleness to the action that even such a talent as Arthur Lowe can't raise. There are the traditional scenes of boyhood dares and jokes against Wentworth but these are somewhat hit and miss. I suppose it was a 70s attempt to recreate the success of the quaintly named 50s TV series 'Wacko' and it's relatively successful film counterpart 'Bottoms Up'; however, it must have been a success as a second series was programmed but Arthur died. I've given the DvD three stars for the quality of production and occasional flashes of humour albeit of the schoolboy variety.
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on 18 September 2013
I bought this series because I'm a 'fan' of Arthur Lowe's work. It was quaint period piece from towards the end of Arthur's long career. I felt the writing wasn't up to scratch and he didn't have a good support cast - certainly no where as good as Dad's Army. He seemed quite tired and his comic timing was very muddled, IMO. Still, I have no regrets buying this bit of TV comedy history.

Great service from Amazon as always.

Bazza
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on 11 January 2017
Have now watched in one sitting. FANTASTIC.OH How actors like Arthur Lowe are missed.
SUPERB picture quality and well priced.Thanks
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on 4 March 2015
Arthur Lowe was such a funny man and this series was no exception. To me he was one of Britain's greatest comedy actors and he should be recognised for his extraordinary talent.
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on 11 March 2016
Excellent, my Dad and Uncle really enjoyed it! Thank you!
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on 10 October 2016
Ok for Arthur Lowe fans. Entertaining enough but the script is a bit predictable.
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on 16 October 2015
Great fun. Lowe captures Wentworth brilliantly. If you like this, search out the book.
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on 19 July 2015
Ever bit as good as the books - which were genius - captured the characters to perfection.
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