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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Clatterford: The Complete Season Two
Clatterford: The Complete Season Two
BBC Worldwide // Unrated // September 1, 2009
List Price: $19.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted September 22, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:
 
The quite British dramedy Clatterford (Jam & Jerusalem in the UK) returns for a second season of only six episodes.  Just as charming and enjoyable as the first season, the worst thing that can be said about this set is that it's irritatingly short.  Just as viewers really get interested in the odd characters of the small British village the season is over.
 
The show revolves around the lives of the members of a Lady's Guild in a small town in England.  The club is headed by Eileen Pike (Maggie Steed), who is never seen without the home made regalia of her office, and other members include Sal Vine (Sue Johnston) a recent widow who works as a nurse part time in her son's medical office and her best friend, Tip (Pauline McLynn, Mrs. Doyle on Father Ted).  Rosie (Dawn French) is a sweet, if very dim woman usually.  The only time she's trouble is when her other personality, Margaret, emerges which doesn't happen as long as she's sitting in a room lines with tin foil. 
 
There's a larger story arc which runs the full season this time.  Sal is a bit worried about her 36 year old daughter, Tash (Sally Phillips) who still doesn't have a job and has no prospects for getting one.  The vegetarian/druid Tash is dating a local hunter, and anyone can see that they're not right for each other.  Sal is determined to get Tash to notice her friend Spike, a similar free spirit who seems to be a perfect match.  Of course Tash doesn't get her mother's not to subtle hints.  When she goes to work on Spike himself, telling him that he has to sieve the moment and pursue the woman that he wants, he ends up kissing Sal.
 
The show was created by Jennifer Saunders, the comic mastermind behind the hilarious BBC program Absolutely Fabulous, as well as the sketch show French and Saunders, but it's quite different from either of those shows.  First and foremost, it's not strictly a comedy.   Though it is very funny the show is more of a look at a unique assortment of people rather than a typical sitcom.  A lot of the scenes are not played for laughs and many moments are very touching.
 
One of the things that appeals to me about the show is the way they treat Dawn French's character, Rosie.  She has a split personality and she's not very smart, but they never use her mental disorder for cheap laughs.  In this season a substitute foreman at the cheese factory where she works tells her to perform a task by herself since someone has called in sick.  That's is strictly against the rules, and being ordered to do something that is wrong sends Rosie into a tizzy and Margaret comes out.  They could have easily made this into a slapstick moment, but it wasn't.  The women of the guild band together to help Rosie overcome her problems, and while they don't 'cure' her, they do manage to get Rosie to come out again and eventually return to work.
 
I was very disappointed to see that Joanna Lumley's character as Delilah Stagg, the senile okd church organist, was written out in the first episodes of this season.   Lumley was absolutely hilarious in the role, but apparently won't be retuning.   
 
The DVD:

 
All six episodes of season two are presented on a single DVD. 
 
Audio:
 
The English stereo soundtrack sounds very good.  While the program doesn't have dynamic and exciting audio, the sound fits the show well.  The dialog is easy to discern and there is no distortion or background noise.  There are subtitles in English, which was a bit of a surprise since many BBC imports lack that feature.
 
Video:
 
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 image looks great.  Many BBC shows are soft and a bit dull by the time they make it across to pond to region one, but this show doesn't suffer from that.  The image is clear and crisp and the colors are strong.  On the digital side, things also look good.  Aliasing is absent as well as blocking and other common compression defects.
 
Extras:
 
Unfortunately there are no bonus items.  Not even text biographies of the cast.
 
Final Thoughts:
 
It does take an episode or two to get the feel of the show but once viewers do they'll find a nice, amusing show that is appealing and fun.  Just keep in mind that this isn't a straight comedy, it has some drama and the jokes aren't as thick as in many other British shows.  Even so, it's a show worth checking out.  Recommended.
 
 
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