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
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,
other members include Sal Vine (Sue Johnston) a recent widow who works
nurse part time in her son's medical office and her best friend, Tip
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
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
no prospects for getting one. The
vegetarian/druid Tash is dating a local hunter, and anyone can see that
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
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
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
her mental disorder for cheap laughs. In
this season a substitute foreman at the cheese factory where she works
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
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
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
the first episodes of this season.
Lumley was absolutely hilarious in the role, but apparently
All six episodes of season two are presented on a single
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
noise. There are subtitles in English,
which was a bit of a surprise since many BBC imports lack that feature.
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
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
Unfortunately there are no bonus items. Not
even text biographies of the cast.
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
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
other British shows. Even so, it's a show
worth checking out. Recommended.