The third season of the delightfully comic Clatterford
& Jerusalem in the UK)
hits the shores of region one just in time for the holidays. A low key show from the creative mind of
Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous, French
& Saunders), it's both
charming and amusing with a few hearty laughs in each episode. The worst thing about it is the length: each season (including this one) is only six
halk-hour episodes long.
show revolves around the lives of the members of a Lady's Guild in a
centering on Sal Vine (Sue Johnston) a recent widow who works as a
time in her son's medical office. Her
best friend is Tip (Pauline McLynn, Mrs. Doyle on Father Ted),
club is headed by Eileen Pike (Maggie Steed), who is never seen without
home made regalia of her office. Other
include Rosie (Dawn French), a very sweet but mentally unbalanced
gets into trouble is when her other personality, Margaret, emerges
doesn't happen as long as she's sitting in a room lines with tin foil)
(Sally Phillips), Sal's 30-something free spirited daughter who doesn't
job and has no prospects for getting one.
There's also Caroline Martin (creator/cowriter Jennifer
wealthy jet-setter who belongs to the guild and is always
and terms. (When talking about her
husband's enjoyment of social networking sites she proclaims that he
last night on my face.")
season Sal runs into some trouble when someone buys the farm next door. The new owner hires a crew led by the rugged
but handsome Jock (Clive Russell) to convert the barn on the property
house. This will ruin Sal's view, not to
mention her privacy, and she's up in arms about it.
She rallies the guild to her cause, and they're
ready to complain and protest until they hear the rumor (from Rosie no
that the barn is being converted for the stage and screen actor Charles
Dance. Everyone gets very excited at the
prospect of someone so prestigious living in the village, and the barn
conversion is welcome whole-heartedly by everyone but Sal.
workmen, especially Jock, inadvertently throw Sal's life into a
shambles. She's been running an unlicensed
of her house for a while, since the villagers don't like the doctor's
is also his nurse, Yasmin, and when Jock sees men sneaking in and out
back door all day, he wonders aloud if Sal might be the village
rumor that spreads quickly.
course, no one has bothered to confirm that Charles Dance is going to
in, but the guild goes ahead and plans a welcoming ceremony anyway,
Catterford takes a
back approach to humor than many of the BBC shows that arrive on these
It is almost equal parts drama and comedy, with many of the plot
having heavy overtones. One of the best
scenes in this season is when Caroline, who has spent the episode
everyone that she's not worried about her son who is in the army and
stationed in Afghanistan. When she
finally watches a message to the family that he's posted on You Tube
finally breaks down and loses her staunch British reserve.
The show is more charming than out and out
funny, though each episode does provide a good laugh or two.
charm of the show comes from the colorful people who populate the
especially Rosie, played by Dawn French who does a fantastic job and
every scene she's in. The show also omits frequent jokes in order
up to one or two high points in each episode.
It works wonderfully and is a nice change of pace from the
up, punch line, repeat' sitcom.
All six episodes of season three are presented on a single DVD.
The English stereo soundtrack sounds very good. While the program
have dynamic and exciting audio, the sound fits the show well.
is easy to discern and there is no distortion or background
are subtitles in English, which was a bit of a surprise since many BBC
lack that feature.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 image looks fine but not
great. The show
is a bit drab in appearance, with the colors being just a bit muted. The lines aren't tight and the whole show is
fairly soft. . There's
a bit of aliasing too, but nothing
major. These aren't grievous faults, and
they don't ruin the presentation, but it's not going to be a reference
Unfortunately there are no bonus items. Not even text biographies
It does take an episode or two to get the feel of the show but once
they'll find a nice, amusing show that is appealing and fun. Just
mind that this isn't a straight comedy, it has some drama and the jokes
as thick as in many other British shows. Even so, it's a show
checking out. Recommended.