You really can't go wrong with this set so I'll skip the critical analysis here (would be sort of like reviewing Big Ben or something ;-)
I'm just going to paste in the details from an online article, which I think will be helpful to others who might be interested in this series. Amazon's description is pretty thread-bare so here's some more info:
British Legends of Stage and Screen is a new series of in depth interviews with Britain's finest post-war actors, reflecting not only on their careers in theatre, film and television but also on a changing time, a life of extraordinary encounters and the events that shaped their lives. Starring Sir Derek Jacobi, Claire Bloom, Sir Michael Gambon, Dame Diana Rigg, Sir Christopher Lee, Glenda Jackson, Michael York and Sir Ian McKellen.
Late 1940s/early 50s: Britain is emerging from the gloom and austerity of the war years with an appetite for change and fresh optimism. Social upheaval and urban renewal brings with it a demand for different forms of culture and entertainment. It is a time of enormous growth for the British entertainment industry and new stars are bursting on the scene to lead the way.
Many of these extraordinary artists are still alive today. These cultural icons, whose collective memories and experiences are of incalculable, historical value, have taken part in an exciting new interview series called British Legends of Stage and Screen.
The series which originally screened on Sky Arts in September is shot in HD. Consisting of eight forty-five minute episodes in one fantastic three DVD box set. With archive material from the artists' careers used to illustrate the interviews, as well as footage from key national events, this series is educational and entertaining.
Created by Voice Productions Ltd British Legends of Stage and Screen and released by Odeon Entertainment on 10th December 2012.
Directed by Anthony Fabian Produced by John Dunworth & Anthony Fabian Executive Producer: Sandy Lieberson
Starring: Sir Derek Jacobi Claire Bloom Sir Michael Gambon Dame Diana Rigg Sir Christopher Lee Glenda Jackson Michael York Sir Ian McKellen
This three disc DVD set offers an excellent insight into the careers of eight British actors whose work covers the period from roughly 1945 (Christopher Lee) to the present day. Their interviews have been produced in such a way that they speak effectively without any interruption from an interlocutor - and in these days where interviewers and show hosts are all too keen to get between a guest and his or her listeners - that particular feature is a very welcome bonus. Valuable background information is provided in the form of a discreet narrative spoken by Sue MacGregor that punctuates the accounts given by each individual, and in a series of well chosen and highly apt excepts from movies, plays or stills from various key productions.
Every one of the actors featured offers an absorbing and often entertaining account of his or her work, and the set is highly instructive in terms of providing insights into the nature of acting as a profession and the techniques employed in the theatre, in movies and on television. Quite apart from its intrinsic merits, which are considerable, this DVD set is would be a worthwhile present to any youngster aspiring to be an actor.
Surprisingly deep, intelligent, excellent yet FUN interviews with top British stars. Accurate, too, as I've worked on theatre shows with most of them, and these interviews got the best out of them without too much self-serving PR stuff in the way. Impressive and a wonderful record of them to treasure.
The interviews and presentation are excellent. The interviewees are on the whole well deserving of the title of "legends" and are given the opportunity to talk directly to the camera without an irritating celebrity interviewer dominating proceedings and, "Dumbing" things down (Michael Parkinson excluded, of course.) They each get the better part of an hour all to themselves and fill that time effortlessly and entertainingly. Perhaps because of the more generous time given they seem much more relaxed and natural, less mannered and not in least as though giving a performance for the camera or audience. As a result they appear far more true to themselves than in any other interviews I have watched/listened to. They are all talented people who are well capable of talking with great insight on not only their own careers but the times in which they came of age. Many of them are also wonderfully indiscreet (not in a tabloid style of way) about others they have worked with, met along the way, lived with, loved etc. I only bought the DVD for the Diana Rigg interview so it has taken me some time to get through everybody else but, having now watched the others (even those I previously had little or no interest in) I was thoroughly entertained by all of them.
I have given this ONLY 4 stars because the quality of the dvd copies I received wasn't great, in fact, Clare Bloom's interview "froze" and nothing I could do would make it unfreeze. Gave feedback to company but no response yet. Will update feedback and rating if offered a replacement disc for the Clare Bloom section. Very irritating as she was certainly one of most "interesting" in terms of gossip and she froze about halfway through her interview......
A very well documented programme with generous interviews to some of the most outstanding actors and actresses of the British stage. I wish there had been more names included. However, it is a sheer delight to listen to all of them talking about their careers and to more than done anecdote which makes these interviews a real joy to watch and listen to. Highly recommended!