Series Created by Colin Bostock-Smith
Starring Judi Dench, Geoffrey Palmer, Moira Brooker, Philip Bretherton, and Jenny Funnell
- Interviews with actors Palmer, Brooker and Bretherton
- Cast Biographies
- You Must Remember This Retrospective
Released by: BBC Video
Rating: NR (suitable for all audiences)
My Advice: Own it…and the others…
[ad#longpost]Since we last left the Hardcastles a lot has happened. When Judith (Brooker) turned down Alistair’s (Bretherton) proposal of marriage, their entire world fell apart. Lionel (Palmer) and Jean (Dench) continue to deal with a nest that should have been emptied long ago. They go through everything from trying to sell the country home to adding a second bathroom, this latter after Lionel accidentally walks in on Sandy (Funnell) in the bathtub. Not only that, but Sandy’s boyfriend, Harry (David Michaels), decides to take a job in Canada and can’t bring himself to ask Sandy to go with him. Alistair and Judith have patched things up and have finally agreed (with each other) to get married and the rest of the household begins the whirlwind preparation for The Big Day.
If you haven’t guessed by reading my other reviews of this series, I love this show and these final two seasons were no different. After all, when actors of this caliber have had over ten years to perfect their characters, it’s bound to get better with age. Dench and Palmer’s on screen relationship is the stuff of legend and it’s the bedrock foundation which made this show the huge hit it was on the BBC. A smattering of American audiences have gotten a chance to enjoy this show on broadcast television thanks to PBS and BBC America replaying some of the episodes, but for the most part it’s still an unknown series to the majority of us on this side of the pond.
This DVD release is one of the best for the series. For starters there are three amazing interviews with the members of the cast; Palmer, Brooker, and Bretherton talk about their experiences working on the show. These interviews are as in-depth as you could hope for and it’s nice to hear intelligent, thoughtful actors talk intelligently and thoughtfully about their characters and how they maintained them over the years. It’s also really cool to hear them talk about working with Dame Judi. There is also a fantastic retrospective episode where Lionel and Jean sit in their living room now that the girls have moved out. The premise is that “Li” is contemplating writing the follow up to his memoirs about his life in Kenya detailing the discovery of his long, lost love, Jean. This gets the two of them to thinking about their life together, which in turn leads to several flashbacks of scenes from throughout the series.
If you have never seen this show, start from episode one and work your way through the entire season. You won’t regret it.