Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorable Final Episodes!

If you have not seen the final episodes of Blackadder Goes Forth, Man About the House, The Good Life, Only Fools and Horses, Upstairs Downstairs, Yes Minister or Blake's 7 please note that this article is very spoilerific of their final episodes and I will give away plot points. If you do not want to be spoiled please do not read further or read at your own risk.

I am fascinated about how successful TV series ends their run. As I mentioned in other articles, I devote the entire month of May to final episodes. Anything I randomly pick during the month of May will be the last episode of that series but that often works against me. Normally May is a flop with what I pick. Sometimes I will pick a series that has a really good last episode but generally the rule seems to be that I end up picking something that just ends without any real resolution. It’s OK, it happens; it’s random. You never know what you are going to get. The way I pick these programs randomly generally involves the name of the series which I pick out of an envelope. Not very high tech! I also put in other *things* that I can choose that can break up the monotony of just picking series out of an envelope. One of them is a sheet I put in there that just says “Theme Night”. The idea behind that is that if I pick “Theme Night”, I could pick to watch a whole evening dedicated to War programs, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Crime, etc. I figured as I picked this during May, how interesting it would be to finally pick some final episodes of some of my favourite TV series.

This article is devoted to Memorable British television Series Finales. Please note: I am not saying the best series finales but ones I find memorable. These are just my opinion and nothing else. Also, these series I took from are all found in my collection. I know there are a ton of other memorable endings out there but these are some of my favourites I can just take off the shelf. I find that final episodes fall into a couple of categories: death, weddings, meeting a goal, cast dispersal, and storylines that involve dreams.
This is your final warning that I am seriously going to start spoiling the ending of these series. If you haven’t seen these series and don’t want the ending ruined, stay away! I am not going to go into much detail about the plot of the episodes but more as to why they were great final episodes.

Blackadder Goes Forth Goodbyeee  TX: 02/11/89
Every series of Blackadder ends with some finality but this one was permanent. The whole series of Blackadder Goes Forth focused around Blackadder, Baldrick, and George fighting in a trench for the British in World War I. Although throughout the series there were great comedic moments, the whole series felt somber and almost depressing. The final episode is even more so. The episode starts off with Captain Blackadder know that they will be requested to go over the top for the final push and attack the Germans. Blackadder wants out and he is willing to go as far as trying to convince everyone that he has gone mad. Even his last attempt to get out of the push was to call Field Marshall Hage but he does absolutely nothing to help Blackadder except tell him how to act like he’s just gone mad!

The episode has some great comedic moments such as when Baldrick explain how he has been making coffee when they ran out of supplies months ago or Baldrick poem titled “Boom”. During the entire episode there is a feeling of doom hovering over them. I think the moment where we see that things were going to get bad is when Melchett orders Darling to join Blackadder and his team at the front instead of being Melchett’s personal assisitant. At the end, all of them go over the top and attack the Germans. The action moves to slow motion as they are running and we here the deep bellows of artillery go off while a sad piano version of the theme song plays and ends with ominous chords as the visuals switch from the trenches to a field of poppies.
Obviously this episode falls into characters dying section but what makes this episode special is that there is a serious anti-war message in it. Even though the series is set in 1917, the message is loud and clear as George and Baldrick talk about their friends and how they have all died. Blackadder himself is even somber in this ultimately knowing there is no way out. In fact, just before they go over the top, there are a few moments that you would think that Blackadder could use to get out of advancing on the Germans. These include Baldrick saying he has another plan and Blackadder noticing the one of the rungs of the ladder going out of the trench is broken. Ultimately Blackadder resigns to his fate and leads his men into death. These are more victims of war.  I cannot help but tear up as I watch that sequence. Blackadder is a horrible person but one cannot help but like him especially not to see him or his men killed in a futile attack.

Blackadder would return in 1999 with Blackadder Back and Forth. I enjoyed that one off but Goodbyeee is the real final episode of Blackadder.

Man About the House Another Bride, Another Groom TX: 07/04/76

Man About the House was hugely successful and after 6 series (in 3 years) it came to an end. This is very much a typical ending with one of the characters being married off. The thing is that Man About the House was never a typical series. It was about one man who moved into a house with 2 other women to share on living expenses. Sounds familiar? This was remade into Three’s Company.  Over the course of the last series, Chrissy had started seeing Norman Tripp which was Robin’s brother. Norman is played by Norman Eshley who would go on to play the Ropers’ neighbour in the spin off series George & Mildred. The whole episode is about watching Chrissy prepare for the wedding. Robin makes a beautiful wedding cake for Chrissy only to accidentally destroy it when he trips over his friend Larry when they were both drunk.
Although the ending of the series is pretty straightforward sort of ending, the way it was written (as well as all the episodes of the series) is never straightforward. In Man About the House there are always nice little details to accentuate the comedy. Such as when everyone comes in to the Registrar’s office reception area and they are all waiting for Chrissy to show up. The Registrar comes out to check on them and tells them they can come in once the bride arrives. Once Chrissy does arrive Norman takes her to the Registrar’s office but being nervous goes a little too far down the wall to another door we didn’t see on screen until now. He opens a closet where a whole bunch of buckets come down on them. There is also when Robin is trying to make a speech at the wedding and he clinks his glass with his fork to get everyone’s attention but shatters the glass with it. When he tries to give his best man speech, he starts to read his speech he prepared then decides he doesn’t need it. After 2 seconds of fumbling to find the right words to say, his dad hands him back the speech to read which he does but it is only about five words long.

Then of course there is George & Mildred. Whenever they are on screen it is magic. At the end, everyone gives Chrissy a little kiss goodbye as she and Norman about to go on their honeymoon. George goes over there and gives her a little peck on the cheek which Mildred observes, “That’s as romantic as George gets.” The last one to give Chrissy a kiss is Robin and those two kiss for a very long time in front of everyone. It’s uncomfortable and hilarious all at the same time. A great way to end a great series.

The Good Life Anniversary TX: 22.05.77

The final episode of The Good Life focused around Tom’s birthday, Jerry getting a big promotion at the toy factory and the anniversary of when Tom talked Barbara into changing their lifestyles and become self-sufficient. Tom has been in a bad mood as nothing has been going their way and he is starting to doubt why he even bothered to change their life so drastically. After Jerry finds out he got his promotion, they all grab bottles of champagne and go back to the Good’s house where they find the house has been broken into and vandalized. It’s a really sad moment as no one deserves this kind of destruction, especially the Goods. It’s a moment where we are not sure what the Good’s reaction will be. Nothing has gone their way. Tom and Barbara, although very saddened as to what has happened to their house, ignore their surroundings and start talking about what they will do tomorrow in their back garden. They will not let this deter them from their dream. They all toast with the champagne to the Good Life. Of course that was lost on us Americans as the series was renamed over here as Good Neighbours.
The last episode sees the Goods forced with making a decision. The anniversary of when they gave up all worldly possessions and they feel they have not been as successful as they thought they would be. In fact they feel like things are getting worse. This is a great finale because it’s not a hard out for the series. It’s not a big goodbye episode. In fact, it allows them to come back to do more episodes….in fact they did, twice! The episode also shows off the close friendship between the Goods and the Leadbetters. Margo and Jerry may sometimes look like they are snobs, mainly because Margo basically is, but they are always there for the Goods.

Only Fools and Horses Time On Our Hands TX: 29/12/96
This is one of those series endings where the characters you have watched for a considerable number of years achieve a goal they always wanted. Since the beginning of Only Fools and Horses, Del Boy has been telling people that “By this time next year, we’ll be millionaires”.  By the end of Time On Our Hands, he was. Del and Rodney made their money from a very old one of a kind time piece. It’s called the Harrison “lesser watch”. It had been in their garage for years. In fact it dates back to the first episode. In the first episode, Rodney wants to keep track of their inventory which makes Del Boy furious. Because of the nature of their business and where they get their stock from, it’s best not to keep records. In Time On Our Hands, it was a good thing that Rodney kept records and receipts because that had proven they were the rightful owners of the watch. At auction, their watch went for over 6 million pounds and they bought houses, cars, the lot. By the end of the episode Del, Rodney and Uncle Albert were walking off into the sunset.

That was until 2001. For some reason, a perfect ending was not good enough for John Sullivan. Succumbing to public pressure of people wanting to see more Only Fools and Horses, he brought us the first of the new final trilogy, If They Could See Us Now. I lambast it here. Time On Our Hands was the perfect ending for a series that lasted 16 years. The whole cast was together and it was funny. When the series came back, it was alright but comedy is about timing and when Only Fools and Horses originally went off the air, it left at the right time. Wherever possible, I consider Time On Our Hands as the proper finale to Only Fools and Horses.

Upstairs Downstairs Whither Shall I Wander TX: 21/12/75

Be careful. All sorts of Upstairs Downstairs spoilers here. From the very start of the episode it is clear that the series is ending. Right from the start Richard Bellamy and Sir Geoffrey are discussing what is left of James’ estate. James committed suicide in the previous episode. He owns the house 165 Eaton Place but had so many debts that the house needs to be sold off. Georgina is going to get married and eventually will become a Duchess (just not on Duke Street) and the staff downstairs are figuring out what to do with their lives once the house closes. Probably the most surprising is Hudson and Bridges getting married. As a form of charity, they take Ruby with them too.
It is an emotional episode with a lot of good things happening such as the marriage and all the goodbyes. A couple of scenes really stick out. When Hudson is helping Richard to get dressed, Richard remarks how much he will miss him. There is also a moment when Edward tells Hudson that he will be the butler to the Stockbridges. Edward wasn’t originally going to be a Butler but a lesser role until Hudson told Edward to go back to them request that he becomes butler. It is on Hudson’s advice that gets Edward his new job.  Hudson is moved by this and gives Edward his book of notes he has always kept as he will no longer need it. I would have rather seen a spin off with Daisy and Edward rather than Thomas & Sarah who I never liked but that’s for another day. The final scenes with Rose going through the empty rooms of the house are really nostalgic as we hear the voices of her past. I have not seen the new series from 2010. It was shot in HD yet was not released on Blu Ray. If there ever is a Blu Ray release, I will then pick it up. For now, I couldn’t have asked for a better episode for this series.

Yes Minister Party Games TX: 27/12/84

Two years after the final episode of Series Three and over a year before the start of Yes, Prime Minister we have this little gem. I know I went through a big argument about how Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister are one series. I still do look at it that way but this is the final episode of the series to say Yes Minister on the titles but more importantly it is a transitional episode. At the beginning of the episode you would have no idea that Hacker could be PM by the end of it. Yet only Hacker could find his way into Number 10 by taking a stance on the British Sausage. The EEU was going to have it made illegal because of what was in the sausage. Well, that’s not entirely true but that’s what Hacker wanted you to believe. I wish I had more space to write about this episode because I really do think it is one of the best. Even Humphrey and Bernard get promoted. At the beginning of the episode Humphreys is promoted to Cabinet Secretary taking over from Arnold who is retiring. By the end of the episode before Hacker becomes Prime Minister, he asks Bernard to become his Principal Private Secretary.
If this episode would have been the last episode ever it would have made a great ending to the series. Having it go on two more years as Yes, Prime Minister was just fine with me. I don’t think Yes, Prime Minister is as strong as Yes Minister but that’s like saying platinum is lesser value to gold. They’re both precious! For many years, at least to me, it was very hard to get a hold of a copy of this episode. PBS would show the first three series of Yes Minister, skip Party Games and go right into Yes, Prime Minister. For years the best quality copy I had was a dub from an A&E off air recording. Not perfect but the comedy shone through even 3rd or 4th generation video.

Blake’s 7 Blake TX:  21.12.81

If you have never seen the end of this series, leave this page now! I had seen Blake way back in the late 1980s. It actually was probably one of the first episodes of the series I have ever seen. I really only remember the ending. It’s weird as it seems like it was an old series when I saw the finale but in fact the episode was probably only like 8 years old.

Everyone, including the cast and crew, thought Blake’s 7 was done at the end of Series 3. How shocking it must have been for them to hear the continuity announcer at the end of the episode saying how the series would be returning next year! Gareth Thomas was asked to appear one more time as Blake and he was happy to do so only if his character would be completely killed off. Hell, they threw in the deaths of everyone else too for good measure. Of course, that is the point of debate. Did the rest of Avon’s crew really get killed? When Avon shot Blake, he blew a big whole into Blake’s stomach and we saw blood. Everyone else could have just been stunned. The producers probably did it this way as they were watching to see if there were any more continuity announcers who were going to re-commission their series. Of course, this really was meant to be the final episode the series. It’s weird how Avon is looking for Blake (and conveniently found him) to be nothing more than a figurehead. Avon was going to use him. When Avon saw Blake and thought he betrayed everyone to the Federation, he was shocked. Not surprised but shocked in a hammy and comedic way that only Paul Darrow can deliver. He was also very trigger happy. Don’t think for a moment that I didn’t recognize how profound and serious this moment was. Avon killing Blake ended Blake’s 7. Regardless if anyone else survived, it didn’t matter the Federation won….at least on that front. I do wish Servalan would have been in the episode in some way.
Clearly Star Trek Generations looked to this episode to see how a spaceship crashes. Scorpio crash lands on Gauda Prime. It crash lands on the planet taking out tons of trees. Inside the ship, all of the consoles and equipment get ripped up from the floor and hurdles everything to the front destroying everything. It sounds just like how the Enterprise D crashes. Both good ships; too bad.

I have said that I have not really been able to get into this series here. Watching Blake, may have changed my mind. It was very good and had a very doom-laden feel to the whole thing, especially when Blake was on screen. The final shot before the credits of Avon surrounded by the Federation guards is excellent and the gun shots firing over the closing credits is chilling. Nice job!

Like I mentioned at the start of this article, these are just some of the great final episodes of series in my own collection. Others that are very notable (in my collection) are The Brittas Empire, ‘Allo ‘Allo! , Butterflies, Dad’s Army, Lovejoy, Men Behaving Badly, The Prisoner, Sapphire and Steel, and To The Manor Born. But all of those are for another day.

What are some of your favourite final episodes? Be careful of spoilers!
Next week: On 17/5/12 Richard Marson made a documentary that was actually a love letter to BBC Television Centre. Next week, I will be constructing a love letter to Richard Marson’s BBC4 documentary Tales of Television Centre.

Have a great week!
Do you have feedback, article requests or want to talk about a program but do not want to leave a public comment? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Vintage BBC Television with Softly, Softly

In the beginning (if you call 1962 the beginning), there was Z Cars. Z Cars was a series about the work of mobile uniformed police in the fictional town of Newtown. This series was very successful but came to the end of its original run in 1965. Two characters from the original series were considered so successful that they were moved over to another series that moved away from uniformed police but onto regional crime squads and plain-clothed CID (Criminal Investigation Department). These two gentlemen were Detective Chief Inspector Charles Barlow and Detective Inspector John Watt. They are the first regulars we ever see in Z Cars and that was the start of a very long working relationship. The series that spun off from Z Cars was Softly, Softly. The series name comes from the proverb “softly, softly, catchee monkey”. Like Z Cars which came back in 1967, Softly, Softly did not have a straightforward run and the duo of Barlow and Watt would be making appearances in other series beyond this one. This week, I look at the fifth episode of the fifth series. Although it was not the end of the series changes were coming up for the Softly, Softly.
Dead Aboard 9/10/69
Sometimes it is not always clear to know what is happening in a series. I have a few episodes of this series in my collection but have not really watched much of it; it sometimes is hard to know who the regular characters are and who are lesser or guest characters and I have to admit I feel a little vague on this one. This episode revolves around a dead prostitute found in a shipping boat owned by two brothers. A young woman by the name of Carol seems to know more than she is telling officers. Eventually, Carol was able to help the CID figure out who murdered the woman. It was Bob Mason who was one of the owners of the boat the body was found on. In fact he was questioned when the body was originally found but played it straight about not knowing how it got there, even fainting when he heard there was a dead body aboard his ship.
I was really interested in seeing this as Softly, Softly is a series I have seen mentioned in other articles about British television many times over the years. It is one of those BBC programs you hear so much about but really never get to see. In particular I wanted to see how Barlow acted  in this episode. Like I mentioned earlier that Barlow (along with Watt) were part of Z Cars. Barlow could be really difficult and hard to work with on the force and I wanted to see how much we got of that in this episode. I was surprised to say that he wasn’t that difficult to anyone. It may have been down to the fact it was the birthday of another character Det. Sgt. Barbara Allin. The whole episode started out with Barlow, Watt, Cook, and Allin waiting for Detective Hawkins to show up for Barbara’s birthday lunch. It’s interesting that there is some kind of issue going on between Barlow and Watt. It is more interesting seeing they have such a long working relationship. Watt is not very responsive through most of the episode as if trying to stay away from Barlow. At one point in the episode, Watt points out to Allin that Barlow is up to something but he doesn’t know what it is. As I do not have any Softly, Softly episodes beyond this point I am in the dark as much as Watt.

This episode has some familiar faces that people who are not obsessed with British television may recognize. This includes some of the main cast. Charles Barlow is played by Stratford Johns. Not only has he appeared in such programs as I, Claudius some people may know him best as Monarch in the Doctor Who story Four to Doomsday, Belkov in Blake’s 7, and Mr. Stockton in Neverwhere. Watt is played by Frank Windsor who appeared in Doctor Who as Ranulf in The King’s Demons and as Inspector Mackenzie Ghost Light. He also appeared in other series such as The Avengers, The Goodies and I most recently wrote about him in my article for A for Andromeda. There are also some familiar faces in the guest cast such as Howard Lang who plays Captain Donaldson. He was immediately recognizable from his appearance Horg in An Unearthly Child.
This episode was filmed/transmitted from 35mm film. There are a lot of location shots in this episode which may be why it was shot on film as most of the other episodes were recorded/transmitted  on videotape and later telerecorded to 16mm film. Most of these episodes took place around a shipping dock and I don’t think any interiors were shot in studio. It all looked like location work which would make sense for everything to be shot on 35mm. At that time film was much easier to edit than videotape.  It is also interesting to note that apart from the catchy theme music (which was a folk song arrangement by Fritz Spiegl) there was no other music. No incidental music at all. I will have to see if that is the same with other Softly, Softly episodes or for that matter Z Cars episodes. The episode I watched does not look like 35mm quality. There are a ton of things in my collection that have been dubbed directly from the BBC archives specifically for me and they are digital beautiful quality. This is not one of them.  In fact, it is my guess that it was taken from the VHS viewing copy the BBC Archives makes available to people internally if they need to look at copies of stuff for research or reference purposes. One huge giveaway is the onscreen timecodes. I am sure you see them in the pics attached to this article. The timecode is used by researchers if someone only needs to lift a clip from a program and they can give the time code to get the extract of the episode they need.  In fact, I have a ton of other things in the collection that have timecodes. Though I have a few different types of timecoded programs in the collection that show up differently which could means that this may not have been from the BBC Archives. Looking below the other one is more descriptive in nature which is definitely from the BBC Archives. This also has a film leader 25 minutes into the episode as 35mm reels don’t last for as long as the episode duration. The episode exists on two separate 35mm film reels.
The Screengrab on the left is from this Softly, Softly episode and from the right is from the Z Cars episode "Limping Rabbit". The timecodes are very different.

Even though I mentioned that May is the month of final episodes to series, this episode from Softly, Softly is not that at all. It is the 5th episode of the fifth series. It is the last episode I have of this series in my collection. Though, technically even that is not true. The eleventh episode of the fifth series saw the show renamed as Softly, Softly: Taskforce. The entire series consisting of Softly, Softly & Softly, Softly: Taskforce lasted for 12 series and ended in 1976. Stratford Johns left Softly, Softly but stayed with the character of Charles Barlow for Barlow at Large in 1971. The series lasted until 1975. Frank Windsor stayed with Softly, Softly: Taskforce until the series end. The iconic characters of Barlow & Watt reunited one last time in 1976 for the series Second Verdict. This was a series where these two characters look at unsolved mysteries/cases and try to come to a verdict themselves. Among the cases they look at are Lizzie Borden and Who Burned the Reichstag. They first did this type of program in 1973 with a look at the case of Jack the Ripper. During all of this Z Cars was still on the air. Z Cars ended in 1978 after 800 episodes made and although the characters of Barlow and Watt never appeared together on TV again after Second Verdict, Windsor reprised his role of Watt in the final episode of Z Cars, Pressure.

Sadly with this year being the 50th anniversary of Z Cars, it would have been nice if these programs officially saw the light of day. Like I mentioned, a lot of people may have never seen these programs but if you are into British television, you probably have heard of them. Programs like Z Cars & Softly, Softly are important to the history of British television. I understand how releases of  hundreds of episodes is daunting but I think if a sample set is released of not just Z Cars but maybe a Barlow/Watt set including episodes from all of the different series they appeared in would not go amiss and probably wouldn’t sell as horrible as some people may think. These are good programs and they should be seen by everyone.
Next week: This is where I deliver the goods. This article really did not have anything to do with final episodes but next week will. I will be writing about a theme night where I watched the final episodes of Black Adder Goes Forth, Man About the House, The Good Life, Only Fools and Horses, Upstairs Downstairs, Yes Minister, and Blake’s 7. I will explain why I think all of these episodes are great final episodes and why, in some cases, some people never learn when to keep a final episode final!

Have a great week!
Do you have feedback, article requests or want to talk about a program but do not want to leave a public comment? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at I am on Twitter: @FromtheArchive I still have 1 follower!

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

IOU A Fall: The Reichenbach Fall

If you have not seen any of Series 2 of Sherlock, please note that this article is very spoilerific and I will give away plot points to not only this episode but the entire Series 2. If you do not want to be spoiled please do not read further or read at your own risk.

It is very rare for me to write about something that has been broadcast in the twenty-first century. Pretty much by design my blog exists to celebrate classic British television mainly from 1950s to 1980s. That is not to say nothing good was made in this century (in fact quite the opposite) but I know what I generally prefer. A major exception to the rule here is Sherlock. Sherlock is the twenty-first century modern day version of Sherlock Holmes. It generally is a visual stylish treat that is a feast for the eyes and usually is accompanied by a great story. Sherlock employs a lot of the technology available to us now and often a highlight is dialogue presented on screen as characters are texting each other. The whole thing is very enjoyable.
During the month of May I like to indulge myself with a theme that runs throughout the month. Here in the US, May is the time of year that new episodes of a TV season to the end of the run taking the summer off. Often this means that TV series end for the year and will return that fall or it may be the end of the series all together. I thought it would be fun that everything I pick and watch during May is a final episode of a series or season. A strong start to this would be by picking Sherlock which means picking The Reichenbach Fall. Series 2 of Sherlock has been taking Arthur Conan Doyle titles and have been skewing them based on the story they are based on from the original source. A Scandal in Belgravia is a takeoff of the title A Scandal in Bohemia, The Hounds of Baskerville is a takeoff from Hound of the Baskervilles and finally The Reichenbach Fall is loosely based on The Final Problem. Going into the episode it is clear that as it was the finale for series 2 and based on The Final Problem, things were not going to go well for Sherlock.

The Reichenbach Fall 15/1/12
To prepare for this article, I watched all of Series 2 over the course of 3 days as I had not seen it before. I recently got the Blu Ray discs and sat down and thoroughly enjoyed the series which I thought was better than Series 1. I think one enduring theme that ran through Series 2 was how Sherlock Holmes was starting to gain the notice and attention of people who were aware that he was solving mysteries. Holmes was becoming a sensation.  John Watson keeps a blog (which is a lot more successful than this one) which chronicles the cases of Holmes. This is the modern day equivalent of the journal Watson kept in the late 19th century. By the time we get to the start of the episode, Holmes had just helped the police track down the painting of The Reichenbach Falls. It is the case that garners the most attention for Holmes. Holmes is not interested in getting this attention but the attention is there. With each case we see Holmes and Watson getting accolades for, we see people lavish attention on the amateur sleuth.
Another theme that equally has been running through Series 2 if not the entire series is how difficult Holmes can be to other people and how badly he wants to show off how clever he is even when he is not trying. This is not really to impress anyone but more so he can show himself how clever he is. Watson is constantly trying to tell Holmes certain things he can do to allow himself to come across to others more graciously or even just more human. Even when solving the cases we see at the beginning of the episode, when people try to give him tokens of their thanks, he doesn’t even handle that very well. Granted one gift was a deer-stalker hat.  There is only one person as smart as he is who knows Holmes weakness and knows exactly how he is going to bring Holmes down. Jim Moriarty.

We first learn about Moriarty in A Study in Pink. Throughout all the episodes we pick up a little more information on Moriarty until we finally meet him in The Great Game. When the series returns with A Scandal in Belgravia, we know that Moriarty is going to come back after Holmes. After all the action dies down from Hounds of Baskerville, the episode ends with a shot of Moriarty who has been imprisoned or being questioned. Holmes’ brother Mycroft is there but when Moriarty is let out of the room, all that is scratched everywhere on all the walls is Sherlock’s name. For a man who is a consulting criminal and is extremely powerful yet lives in the shadows, he comes out in a big way.

At the Tower of London, Moriarty is able to disrupt the security there plus at 2 other places (Bank of England & Pentonville Prison) seemingly from his phone. On the security camera that he knows the footage will eventually be seen everywhere, he writes on the glass case of the crown jewels, “Get Sherlock”. Moriarty does nothing to avoid arrest and is brought in with a court case looming.  Sherlock is being called onto the court as a star witness to testify against Moriarty. Before he goes to the courthouse, Watson and Sherlock leave 221B Baker Street to find a crowd of fans cheering them on as they leave to testify. Once at the courthouse, Holmes gets accosted by a young journalist in the men’s room, Kitty Riley, who wants to get the “real” story of Sherlock and run a feature on him. Sherlock tells her that she (as a journalist) repels him and leaves to go testify. Throughout all of this Watson reminds Holmes that he needs to just answer the judge’s questions and not to be condescending to the judge or anyone in the courtroom. Unfortunately it doesn’t really go like that as Holmes’ rudeness and smugness lands him a contempt charge and he is jailed and needs to be bailed out.

Moriarty’s case is no case at all. He calls no witness and does not allow his defense to cross-examine any one.  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter as Moriarty is found not guilty of any of the crimes by the jury. Of course the reason the jury found Moriarty innocent is because he was going to kill their families if they found him guilty. Once Holmes finds out that Moriarty is not guilty, he knows that Moriarty will come and see him. Moriarty enters 221B Baker Street and sits down with Sherlock Holmes for some tea. Moriarty explains that he has some code that allows him to get into anything, anywhere. The code is simple yet is highly sought after. Moriarty also threatens that he will finish off Holmes at some point soon. Moriarty carves into the apple he was eating I.O.U. and these three letters show up in a few places throughout the story almost like "Bad Wolf" in Doctor Who. Moriarty’s visit accomplishes a couple of things. Moriarty needed to threaten Holmes but also other people may have seen Moriarty visit Holmes. That is important because Moriarty implies that Holmes has the programming code to get into anything. He lets the world know this through him writing “Get Sherlock” on the case of the crown jewels. Suddenly within feet of where Sherlock lives, there are known assassins moving in around Holmes.

This is where it gets interesting because we start to get to know Moriarty’s plan and it is pretty ingenious. The plan isn’t so much about killing Holmes (at least it doesn’t seem that way at the start) it is more about discrediting him. Sherlock is asked to investigate missing children of the British Ambassador to the US. Holmes using his genius of observation to solve the case finds the children relatively easy. The kids are scared but safe. A couple of officers have questioned them yet when Holmes questions the little girl, she screams in terror implying he took part in the plot. In fact, Lestrade’s people start to believe Sherlock has been responsible for all the cases he has solved with them. This starts to be investigated further as a warrant is brought out for Sherlock’s arrest.

In fact, Lestrade approaches the Police Superintendent to get a warrant. There the Superintendent finds out the Sherlock has been helping Lestrade solve these cases. He is shocked and angered that Lestrade has allowed this outsider to work on these cases and solve them on behalf of the police. Where the hell has this guy been? The opening of this episode is nothing but scene after scene of all the accomplishments that Holmes was able to do solving cases. Lestrade is in some of the shots and all covered by different types of media. Holmes was famous yet this guy knew nothing about him? To me that was silly. Watson must have agreed with me because he was arrested just after Holmes after he punched the Police Superintendent in the face. They both escape but decide to seek out Kitty Riley.

Going to Kitty Riley’s house, they have a conversation with her only to be interrupted by Moriarty entering the living room. He freaks out when he sees Holmes. You see, apparently there is no Moriarty. Moriarty was a character that Holmes’ created as a way to stage all of his cases he solved thus becoming famous. In fact Moriarty was an actor names Rich Brook who was famous for presenting a children’s television program. Rich Brook is also translated as Reichen Bach in German. Kitty knows Rich because she interviewed him about his role in Holmes’ weird world of perpetrating his own successes by masterminding the cases he solved. Because of the article Kitty wrote, Holmes is a fake. Kitty explains to Holmes that he repels her as she is happy to get the last word to him before Holmes and Watson depart.

Holmes and Watson go separate ways. Holmes goes to Molly at the hospital to get her help on something that we never know…or do we? Watson goes to the Diogenes club to have a word with Holmes’ brother Mycroft. Mycroft explains that while they had Moriarty in custody they could not get him to talk at all. They would question him and even beat him yet he would yield nothing. Finally, it wasn’t until Mycroft started to give information about his brother to Moriarty that he would start saying something. An interesting and pretty cool thing about the scene in the Diogenes club is that when Watson enters the club the first time in the story, there is a man who is unhappy that Watson is there and raises a bit of fuss about him being there. The actor who played him was none other than Douglas Wilmer who played Sherlock Holmes for the BBC from 1964-1965. If you have never seen his version of Sherlock Holmes, I highly recommend it. It’s only available in the US currently.  The series is in Black & White and is quite, quite good.

Watson reconnects with Holmes at the lab at the hospital. While there, they get word that Mrs. Hudson has been shot. Watson frantically tries to get Holmes to go back to 221B Baker Street with him. Holmes refuses much to Watson’s annoyance. Holmes knows that Mrs. Hudson is not shot and when Watson leaves, Holmes texts Moriarty to meet him on the roof to solve their final problem.

Moriarty has a surprise for Holmes. Moriarty explains that there never was a computer code that could open anything in the world. It came down to bribing people who were in the position to make the security lapse. Moriarty explains to Holmes that Holmes needs to jump off the Hospital roof and kill himself or snipers are ready to kill off Mrs. Hudson, Watson and Lestrade. Holmes would die disgraced and as a fraud but his three friends would be safe. Holmes realizes that of course Moriarty would have a fail-safe that Moriarty could use to call off the killings. Holmes will do anything to get Moriarty to initialize the fail-safe. Moriarty admits they are both alike but then takes out a gun and commits suicide right in front of Holmes. Moriarty is dead which means the fail-safe is now gone. Holmes is forced to having to commit suicide or his friends die. Back at 221B Baker Street, Watson sees that there is nothing wrong with Mrs. Hudson and heads back to the hospital. As he is outside, Holmes calls him and tells him to look up. Watson sees Holmes on the edge of the roof of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. A tearful Holmes explains that this call is his “note” and tells Watson that he is a fake. He orchestrated all the cases and none of it was real. Writing about it, reminds me of how emotional and beautiful the scene is as even now I start to tear up. Of course Watson believes none of it yet it is at that Holmes leaps from the roof and falls to his death. Watson tries to get to Holmes but is knocked down by a biker passing by him. When he gets to Holmes, he is dead. We see shots of the aftermath of this. One shot is Mycroft reading the Sun with the headline, “Suicide of Fake Genius”. Watson and Mrs. Hudson visits Sherlock’s grave. Watson still cannot believe that Holmes is dead and demands that he not be dead and to come out of where ever he is at. Nothing happens. Sadly, Watson and Mrs. Hudson leave the cemetery yet watching from behind some trees is Sherlock Holmes.

There are areas where I think Sherlock excels at and other areas where I think it tries to be too “clever”. To me, this applies both to the overall visual direction and the story telling. Don’t get me wrong, I think Sherlock is one of the most visually pleasing series ever made. It has to be very difficult to keep that standard up. In A Scandal in Belgravia, there is a shot that transitions Sherlock from a dream he is having with Irene Adler to him being in bed sleeping off a drug he had been given. It basically transitions the character standing in a field to a bed coming up behind him to show he is now asleep. It doesn’t work. When that scene starts, you can tell he is being shot on green screen to achieve the effect. What bugs me the most is the last shot of The Reichenbach Fall.

Obviously, The Reichenbach Fall is a retelling of The Final Problem therefore we know that Holmes and Moriarty will die in some way. Knowing that Sherlock will be returning for a third series, we also know that Holmes will live. How will this be achieved? First of all, we see Moriarty take out a gun and kill himself in front of Holmes. Is he really dead, who knows! Characters never really die. Holmes is seen jumping from the roof of the hospital but at the end of the story we see he is alive. Now Moffat has said in an interview with The Guardian in regards to Holmes surviving that fall, "there is a clue everybody's missed ... So many people theorising about Sherlock's death online – and they missed it!" Now forgive me if I may sound a little cynical. You see, I watch Moffat’s Doctor Who too. Fine, so we missed the obvious or the clue but sometimes the clues are pretty miniscule to non-existent. For example, the opening story for Series 6 of Doctor Who, The Impossible Astronaut, we see the Doctor shot down, start to regenerate and fatally shot. Pretty heavy stuff! Then, when we get to the end of Series 6, The Wedding of River Song, we find out it wasn’t the Doctor shot at all but in fact a robot. Maybe we find out that instead of Holmes jumping from the roof, it was a robot piloted by the Teselecta from Let’s Kill Hitler. Maybe, Holmes can re-boot the Universe so he doesn’t die at all; or the best of all maybe Danny Boy (The WWII pilot from Victoryof the Daleks) flies his Spitfire right under Holmes as he jumps, scooping him up to safety! I just would like to see the resolution be plausible. My concern is not even the jump or how it will be resolved, more so as to why we had to end the series on a shot showing Holmes had survived the jump. I don’t think anything would have been wrong if the series ended with everyone thinking Holmes was dead. I think most people knew the series was coming back.  Showing him at the end, for me, ruined that beautiful scene with him on the roof and talking with Watson on the phone.

As with Series 1, I thought the main cast was perfect. Benedict Cumberbatch is amazing as Holmes. He is perfect for it just as Jeremy Brett was perfect for the Granada series. The timbre of their voices is very similar too. The funny thing is that I think Cumberbatch probably wouldn’t play the 19th century Holmes as well. I don’t think he would be as successful at it. This role is perfect for him and is a treat to watch. There is always talk of fans wanting him to be in Doctor Who as The Master or something like that. Quite honestly, and I can’t believe I am saying this, why not have him in Doctor Who as his Sherlock Holmes character and do a crossover. Matt Smith as the Doctor working with Cumberbatch’s Holmes would be a lot of fun. That way you could also have the new companion team up with Watson with them working together and Watson trying to impress her and fail as he does with all the other women he knows. That’s the closest you will ever get me to do fan-fic. Speaking of Watson, Martin Freeman is great as Watson. In some ways it seems like he had less to do in this series but yet looking back on it, I can’t back that statement up. I don’t know why I feel that way but I do. It certainly feels like more stress was but on Holmes and Watson’s friendship and the strong bond they have together. This is also the second week in a row I watched something with Una Stubbs now. Last week, I wrote about the 1981 episode of TillDeath…. with her playing Rita. She is 74 now and still looks great. I have always enjoyed watching her in everything she was in. Andrew Scott as Moriarty has really grown on me. I am not sure if his performance was toned down or if I finally had time to get used to it. In this role, he was asked to do a lot of different things which must have been a treat for the actor. I think one of my favourite scenes is how he is playing “Richard Brook” as he is trying to fool Watson in believing that all the cases Holmes had been solving was Holmes’ own invention. I would like to see Moriarty back in the series but if you are going to kill him off as they did here, it would be nice if they keep him dead. Otherwise, to me, the series loses credibility and becomes almost a superhero parody. It came dangerously close to this with A Scandal in Belgravia based on how many times Irene Adler “died”.

The Reichenbach Fall took some of its plot from The Final Problem while still being a fresh story on its own merits. Obviously Holmes and Moriarty come to their end at the story. Also, in The Final Problem Moriarty sends a note via a boy to Watson at the Falls saying an Englishwoman is sick and needs a an English Doctor. Watson goes back yet Holmes knows that this is a hoax. In The Reichenbach Fall, Watson gets a phone call that Mrs. Hudson was shot and he needs to go back immediately yet Holmes knows this is the work of Moriarty. Even the phrase “The Final Problem” is mentioned by Moriarty and Holmes throughout the story. Moriarty sees Holmes as his final problem and eventually Holmes sees it this way too. There are some things reminiscent in The Reichenbach Fall that are from The Final Problem but inverted. For example, in Doyle’s story Holmes and Watson go on the run to get away from Moriarty’s men. In The Reichenbach Fall, Holmes and Watson are on the run from Lestrade’s men. In fact the terrorist and snipers are trying to protect Holmes because they think he has Moriarty’s code that doesn’t exist. Even the Falls themselves are important. In Moffat’s & Gatiss’ version, Holmes never goes to Switzerland to the falls. The whole point is the paining he recovers is what brings Holmes to the attention of the world but it is also what Moriarty uses as the starting point for his plan to discredit Holmes. The Reichenbach Fall is the Fall of Sherlock Holmes. As for the paining that is returned at the beginning of the episode, it is a real thing. It was painted in 1804 by English artist J.M.W. Turner. The original resides at the Cecil Higgins Art Gallery & Bedford Museum in England.

As I mentioned earlier, this was is a beautiful series to watch. The typography, the colour grading and how the shots are constructed are a real treat to watch and the BBC should be so very proud of this series. I watched this from the Blu Ray release and it looks great. It is not quite clear when a third series of Sherlock will be made. It sounds like production should begin next year. The third series was commissioned at the same time as the second. I think this is something to really look forward to in the next year or so.

Next week: Not so much a final episode of a series or even a final episode of a season. In fact, it takes place in the middle of a series. If this were a radio station playing classic rock this might be considered a “deep cut” because it is not played very often or not too many people have seen it or know about it. I look at an episode of the Z Cars spin off series Softly, Softly as I watch Dead Aboard.
Have a great week!

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Till Death..... Well at least it felt like it

I guess you can call me a liar. Last week I mentioned that I was going to run one of my banked articles that I wrote in 2011. This was going to be Against the Crowd: Murrain. What happens is that even though I may not write about the stuff I watch, it doesn’t mean I am not still keeping a schedule of programs that I randomly pick and then actually watch them. Programs that I watch but not had written about for the blog lately includes The Hound of the Baskervilles and 2 episodes of the ATV series The End of Part One. I figured I would not worry about writing until early May until I watched the final episode of series 2 of Sherlock. That was until I watched the first two episodes of Till Death…..
What is Till Death… ? It is the 1981 follow up series to Till Death Us Do Part. Of course, Till Death Us Do Part was the ground breaking series started in 1966 about a bigot that no one really paid any attention to, Alf Garnett. Till Death Us Do Part was a series that showed how generations living in one house could grow apart and be so different. On one side is Alf Garnett who has strong views on everything from people who have different colour of skin than him to the Monarchy. On the other side of the spectrum was Alf’s daughter Rita and her husband Mike basically living off Alf but were the mouthpiece of the younger generation. In the middle was Alf’s wife Else who would dip onto either side of the argument depending on what suited her. Till Death Us Do Part lasted for seven series and ended in 1975. Although I didn’t write about it at the time, the final two episodes were among some of the stuff I watched last May. Back in June of 2010, I wrote an article about some of the early episodes of the series. When I got around to watching the last episodes, the series ran out of steam, the focus was no longer on the Garnett’s and by that time Else was gone. She had moved to Australia to take care of her sister. In fact, the final moment of the last episode had Else sending a telegram on Alf’s birthday to inform him that she wanted a divorce! With that, one of the greatest comedy series came to an end. Five years later, series creator Johnny Speight had other plans.

I don’t know if the BBC were no longer interested or if Speight wanted to move it from the BBC, Till Death Us Do Part becomes resurrected in 1981 as Till Death…. and big changes were ahead for Alf Garnett. Thinking about it, they could have called it Till Death Us Do Part1980, other series were doing it at the time!  But, and not for the first time, certain aspects of the Garnett’s life would be “forgotten”. First of all, the series takes place after Alf retires. Alf and Else move out to Eastbourne. No mention is made about Else’s move back from Australia or their non-divorce. Maybe because it’s not important to the overall story line and I can appreciate that. Though, maybe Else knows that as much as it sucks, she would be better off with Alf. One thing that is different now is that their neighbor Min is with them. Min makes an appearance very early on in Till Death Us Do Part and has been on and off with the series for years. She is a big part of the final years of the series and in many ways becomes the female lead of the series. Min is played very well by Patricia Hayes. I really enjoy her work and if you get a chance, check her out in Hancock’s Half Hour where she plays Tony Hancock’s housekeeper, Mrs. Cravatte. What? You don’t own the boxset for Hancock’s Half Hour? You need to order it right now! You will not be disappointed! Min moved down to Eastbourne with Alf and Else and they all share a house together. The question is, is this new series any good?
Sharing With Min 17/05/81

Have you ever watched Last of the Summer Wine? It is the longest comedy series of all time and lasted for 3 million years. Anyway, it is about 3 old people who don’t have anything going on with their lives and simply roam from one place to another. Usually its different parts of the town, comment on stuff and generally get in people’s way. The first episode of Till Death…. is exactly like this. The episode starts with Alf, Else and Min wandering on a pier in Eastbourne while Alf goes on endlessly about all sorts of topics. From there they go onto a game arcade then finally to the Queen’s hotel. The whole time Alf is complaining and pontificating on all manner of topics. The difference between this episode and an episode of Last of the Summer Wine is that the latter actually has a plot. I don’t know where the plot was on this episode. For an opening episode to re-introduce these characters, it was horrible. I lost interest and couldn’t wait for the episode to be over.

A real annoying thing about this series is that there is no laugh track to the episodes of any kind. Till Death Us Do Part always had a laugh track. The laugh track was helpful because it helped us (the audience) to understand when we needed to laugh at some of the outrageous and stupid things Alf had to say. It helped me laugh at Alf Garnett regardless how bigoted he was. In Till Death…. , no laugh track almost nullified that it was a comedy. The stuff Alf was saying was not funny. He makes a mention how he thought more atomic bombs should have been dropped on the Japanese (he didn’t say Japanese either). That’s not funny and with no laugh track or someone to oppose him on his silly views, it actually becomes more disturbing. In Till Death Us Do Part, Alf sparred with Rita’s husband Mike. Mike didn’t always make sense but he was the opposite side to what Alf believed in. To make Alf funny, we needed someone like Mike to put Alf in his place. In this episode of Till Death…. , Alf had no one like that. We end up with Alf going off on a tirade and very few people would disagree or tell him to shut up! It made the whole outing unpleasant. Also, the way the episode was shot (all on location) made the comedy very forced. If you have ever seen the film to Are You Being Served?, there are a lot of shots in the beginning at Grace Brothers as the department prepares for their trip to Spain. There are a lot of shots of comedy happening and then we cut to a strange reaction shot from Mrs. Slocombe or someone who would give a real odd expression. The comedy would sometimes fall a little flat. There was a lot of that type of thing in Till Death…. It didn’t heighten the comedy, just made it unfunny.
Punks 24/05/81

The second episode of Till Death…. is definitely better. For one thing, most of it takes place at the Garnett’s flat which is shot in the studio and it actually has a plot! Like I mentioned, the first episode has Alf, Else, and Min just meandering around different locations with very little going on. In this episode there is some structure.
It starts with Min and Else trying to do a Snow White puzzle and Alf complaining that there is no sugar in his tea and generally acting like a baby. After talking about money and how Thatcher is running the country, Min goes out and brings in the mail. The letter that arrived is for Alf and Else but Min opens it up. The letter is from Rita and she says that she will be coming down to Eastbourne with her son Mike at the weekend. Min mentions that Rita is coming to see “us”. Alf stops, and looks at her. He is confused. How is Rita coming to see “us”? Rita is coming to see Alf and Else. Min responds, “That’s right, they are coming to see us.” It’s kind of cute. At the point Alf goes out of his way to explain why Alf and Else is not “us” including Min but it is “us” only referring to Alf and Else. This is fine but it gets out of hand. The one thing I have always found annoying about Alf is how often Warren Mitchell really goes over the top with some of his performances. Now, I understand the character of Alf Garnett and I know that he has an explosive, hair triggered temper. Yet when Mitchell ad-libs in this role, it gets to be too much for me. This is one of those cases. He gets loud and abusive to the point, at least to me, it is no longer funny. This scene really exemplifies why there was a need for studio laughter. There is no energy but loudness. It really is bullying Min especially as she is this cute little old lady in glasses with her big eyes. It seems almost cruel.

The good news is, as always, for every action Alf does of being a bully, bad things tend to happen to him. At the beginning of the episode, Alf, Else and Min were talking about how there have been some beatings and rapes in the area. Alf was pretty tough thinking that no one needs to worry about such things. Later, after he is done yelling at every one, Alf goes for a walk. A group of kids come up to him to try and help him across the street and Alf freaks. He starts pleading for his life then on his knees he offers them money in a form of writing them a check. The kids are freaked out by him and run off. Alf even gets the police involved. Alf probably didn’t know what to think because they were a little punk. He wouldn’t know anyone like that.

Mike is Alf’s grandson who is 15 and punk. You may remember the Till Death Us Do Part episode from 1972 titled To Garnett A Grandson. It was the first episode of series 4. In that episode Alf’s grandson Mike was born. The episode I am writing about now is from 1981. Mike should be 9. He is 15 and very punk. All he does is listen to music on his head set. He really doesn’t talk with anyone. Of course, this drives Alf crazy. Mike’s hair is dyed red, white, and blue which also makes Alf crazy. Anyway, while eating dinner, the Vicar shows up. With Alf’s back to the dining room door leading to the entry way, Min brings the vicar in. Unbeknownst to Alf, the vicar is standing behind him. Knowing it was the Vicar at the door and thought he was told to push off so Alf goes into a tirade about the Vicar until he turns around to see the Vicar had been there all along and heard every word he said. The Vicar stopped by because he wanted to set the record straight about the boys who “attacked him”. The boys were just out doing a good deed as part of a church choir program, yet when they tried to help Alf across the street, he freaked! The Vicar then goes on to say to everyone else in the room how Alf tried to buy the boys off with writing them a check for money rather than hurting him.

With Alf looking like an idiot, Rita and Else go out for a walk. Mike stays in and Alf goes to take a nap. While Alf takes a nap, Mike takes some make-up and writes all over Alf’s face and bald head including on his forehead, “I Love Johnny Rotten”! When everyone gets back together again, they see what Mike did to his Granddad but before they can tell Alf, he decides he wants to walk Rita and Mike back to the train station. On the walk back everyone sees how funny Alf looks. Finally, Alf runs into the Vicar again where he apologizes and takes off his hat in respect. The Vicar sees the “I Love Johnny Rotten” written on him and exclaims, “So you have been converted!”
If you ever have a chance, please take a look at the article I wrote for some of the early episodes of Till Death Us Do Part here. In it I try to explain why those 1960s episodes of the series were so ground breaking. To me, the message we get in Till Death…. is muted. Where Till Death Us Do Part is about a generation gap and how the differences between those generations are defined, Till Death… is much more a sitcom about old people who retired. By this stage, it has become nothing more than Alf lecturing on about everything. Don’t get me wrong, I know he was always like that but not quite as much. Nobody seems to like Alf anymore. In the 1960s, he was tolerated and he was a hard worker. Now, Else not only seems to not like him but would prefer it something happened to him. There is something a little unpleasant about this series. It is nice to see Una Stubbs reprise her role as Rita. I have always enjoyed her in this series.  Speight has moved with the times though. Mary Whitehouse had been mentioned quite often in the original series but only gets one mention in the first episode. The new target from Speight in this series is Margaret Thatcher. Even ideas from Till Death Us Do Part get regurgitated into this series. In Alf’s Broken Leg from Till Death Us Do Part, Alf gets his face painted by kids while he is a sleep in his wheel chair. Strangely the theme music changes between Sharing with Min and Punks. The music from episode two onwards is in the same vein as the theme from Till Death Us Do Part, just not as good.

There is only one series ever made of Till Death…. I think the lack of audience laughter of any kind robbed this series of much needed energy.  In 1985 the Garnett’s would return again in the BBC series In Sickness and in Health. I have yet to see it despite the entire series being available on DVD. Clearly it had a more successful formula than Till Death….. as it last for 6 series. Almost as long as the original series plus if I am not mistaken, In Sickness and In Health implies it takes place after Till Death Us Do Part and makes no mention of any of the events in Till Death….just like it never happened. Perhaps it can be looked like as what happened with Mama’s Family. Just stay with me on this one for a second. Mama’s Family was based off the skit of The Family on the Carol Burnett Show. Mama’s Family, which is a traditional sitcom, started on NBC in 1983. Most people remember the characters from the skits or Mama’s Family but does anyone remember the teleplay Eunice that aired on CBS in 1982. In fact, it was more of a dramatic play than a comedy which ended with the funeral of Mama. No one remembers that and it is not part of canon which is what appeared to be the same fate for Till Death….
I watched these episodes from the original off air recordings done at the time of broadcast. You can imagine they are not immaculate but it gives a nice insight into what these series looked like. Sometimes I can be a quality snob but not for this. It does have ad caps in place. If it is something I have never seen before and I really want to see it, I will take it any way I can get it. I was reading on the Wikipedia entry for this series that Network had been looking into releasing this on DVD. Who knows when that was written. Of course if it is released, it would be great as this series, even with its faults should be seen. The greater crime of course is that still very few episodes of Till Death Us Do Part have been released especially from the informative black and white years. I was banging on about it in 2010 when I wrote that original article and I am banging on about it in 2012. I guess like Alf Garnett, some things never change.

Next week: As I mentioned before, I reserve all my viewing in May to revolve around episodes that end a series or a season. Next week I look at the ultra-cool Sherlock and take a look at the conclusion to series two, The Reichenbach Fall.

Have a great week!
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