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on 5 July 2016
A quite brilliant series! I remember it being shown on TV in the early 90s and was aware that it was held in high esteem but for some reason I missed it then. I'm very glad to be able to catch up with it now. the plot of politicians stabbing each other in the back is timeless. They did it then and they are still doing it. Very clever!
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on 23 February 2018
Incomparable - a must see

A trilogy whose screenplay, acting and production values are flawless.

Insofar as comparison with the USA series, these characters have empathy whereas the characters in the spin off are entirely lacking in empathy - unlike the "West Wing" series.
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on 9 June 2010
I have recently borrowed the House of Cards DVD set from my local library and felt compelled to leave a review as well as buy a copy of my own. This series is worthy of comparison to the much famed and acclaimed Francis Ford Coppola and Mario Puzo's "The Godfather Trilogy".

This series is a much darker tale of political intrigue and scandal than its nearest contemporary of the Yes, Minister/ Yes, Prime Minister comedy series. Centred around Francis Urquhart (sublimely acted by Ian Richardson), this Party Chief Whip schemes to frame, blackmail, murder and generally scandalise his way up the greasy pole to Downing Street, all in the first installment! Urquhart proceeds to endure the trilogy as a thoroughly compelling but entirely ruthless individual, not even letting moral qualms about his mistresses stop him from attaining and retaining glory and power.

Michael Corleone in Godfather follows a similar arc in his rise to the leadership of the Corleone Family, but throughout the series, particularly the first, there is evident reluctance for this path. Urquhart, by contrast, embraces the opportunities that lie before him without compunction or concern about bloodshed. Similarly, the duplicity and manipulation of both his senior and junior colleagues, and near perverted embarrassment of his rivals would make Sir Humphrey from Yes Minister quail in terror and outrage!

Naturally, Richardson justifiably absorbs his audience in fascination and shock in equal measure, but he is ably supported by a rich cast who aid in making his character so real and convincing, including such names as Michael Kitchen, Susannah Harker, David Lyons, Nicholas Selby, James Villiers, Kitty Aldridge, Colin Jeavons, Tom Beasley, Paul Freeman, Diane Fletcher, Isla Blair, even John Bird as a very apt cameo!

This drama is a superb example of the kind of quality the BBC is capable of producing, so much so that over 10 years after its broadcast, a lot of the issues in it are strongly resonant in todays political climate, mainly in the blackmail that is used to compel characters to behave.

Is this a worthy addition to a DVD collection? You might think that, but I couldn't possibly comment!
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on 4 April 2009
This is magnificent,a perfect reflection of the putrid underbelly of political sleaze,that seems to engulf all parties after years in power.
This of course is all fiction,but the late Ian Richardson(as Francis Urquart,FU to his friends)brings a wonderful malevolance to the part that makes you believe that this is true.you want to hate him for his arrogance and self belief,but secretely you have to admire his drive.
Who could possibly be against him?well,virtually everyone! there is scheming everywhere in this 3 disc set,throughout the whole set there are red herrings galore,
The first DVD tells the story of FU's rise to the position of Chief whip and the ruthless way he dispatches his political opponants on the way.
The second DVD sees Francis at the top of his game clashing with the King
and winning by any means (Legal or not)
The final DVD is the one where you realise that all is not well in 10 Downing street,and who really is the puppet and who is pulling the strings
more red herrings than Grimsby,British television and acting at its best.enjoy!!
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on 21 May 2014
This well presented set of DVD's needs accompanying words as to the title and subject of each of the four DVDs as they are completely blank as is the underside of the title wrap ! Having played one side one does not know if the disc has been put back ready to play the next side or not which can be very confusing.
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on 7 July 2014
Previous reviewers have made comment on this excellent BBC series from the 1990's and there is nothing more that I can add. Of the three series, the second is the weakest (To Play the King) with the otherwise excellent Michael Kitchen trying to be the future King Charles, complete with fairly dodgy impersonation. That aside it still ranks as one of the finest BBC dramas from that era.

However, the technical details make no mention of the fact that this is a Dutch import (fortunately still Region 2) and that the trailers and indeed the menu page are in Dutch! Subtitles appear by default, although they can be turned off at the menu page. An irritation, but nothing more and should not dissuade anybody from acquainting (or re-acquainting) themselves with these excellent dramas.

Five stars all round.
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on 25 November 2016

And this it IT!! No arguments, no discussions. This is the ONLY version you should watch.

My only regret is that the BBC are to scared to commission somthing of this calibre in this day and age. Mores the pitty
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on 9 February 2018
Bought this ages ago as a gift; they’ve just got round to watching it. One recipient liked it, the other loved it but was incandescent at the ending! I remember seeing it years ago and being mesmerised by Ian Richardson’s performance.
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on 3 February 2018
I saw this great series in the nineties, hope it still stands...and it's always a relief to see and judge a series without the baggage attached to an actor (the remake will probably be forever tainted in my memory because of the scandal)...
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on 31 March 2014
Can't recommend this enough. The transfer to blu ray has been done impeccably, the picture is stunning, so if you can, get the blu ray version. The series itself has been reviewed over and over, but it still deserves a plug. Ian Richardson was obviously having the time of his life with this part. The intials FU give you some idea of his attitude to the world in general, and the suave, calm, piercing intelligence with which Urqhart cuts his way through the swamp of political life is a dazzling masterclass in underplaying. You like the man, despite his callous ruthlessness. A gem.
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