Terry And June: Series 8 (Volume 1) Review
Having already written a good deal about Terry And June while reviewing the DVD release of its first series, there isn't a great deal more to say about it. Except that it's still awfully nice, sometimes painfully so, that Terry is still a bumbling fool whose good intentions go terribly wrong and that the title sequence that we all remember - juices in the garden and the collapse of a patio chair - has been reinstated. After the surprise of hearing that familiar theme tune accompany the sight of Terry and June Medford wandering around the grim concrete buildings of a New Town, it feels like a homecoming to have a parasol fall on to Terry's head. The sun is shining, the drinks are cold and as Terry grimaces behind the bright yellow and orange of his parasol, all seems right once again.
Mind you, it is worth saying that this series, if anything, offers situations (and comedy) even more improbable than those of the first series. Granted, that series did feature Terry feigning amnesia in the hope of avoiding a night of playing bridge with Sir Dennis but this is entirely more full-strength Terry And June than any before. Cricket, marital infidelity and a visiting Saudi prince all come and go with Terry, once again, spinning all manner of chaos out of the most straightforward of situations. This reaches a crescendo with New Doors For Old, in which the simple matter of buying a new door comes complete with Terry insulting an old dear in a shop, a bout of Mastermind with a specialist subject of front doors, a new front door 2" too short (and another 2" too long!), hitting a boy with a frozen Brussels sprout and chasing two kids making off with their old front door not once but twice. Oh, and there's a fire alarm, a bit of fisticuffs and Terry running into a milkman then carrying several boxes of eggs. Had Christ descended from Heaven onto the Medford's front lawn as Terry found himself nailed to a cross, somewhat related to a mishap in his workshop with two planks of wood and a nail gun, while hosting a "Romans And Hebrews" fancy dress party, it would have been only slightly less believable.
Series eight begins with Many A Slip in which Terry, fated never to get on the company cricket team, quickly agrees to June providing the tea and sandwiches for the match that Sunday. Unfortunately, neither Malcolm nor Sir Dennis see this good turn as needing to be rewarded and despite his coming dressed in cricketing whites, Terry is pointed towards the roller and told to set about preparing the pitch. However, luck may finally be on Medford's side. Next up is Unfaithfully Yours with Malcolm depending on Terry to keep his infidelities a secret from Beattie. However, on hearing that Sir Dennis' mind is turning to thoughts of marriage, the young lady in question turns her back on Malcolm in favour of someone a good deal more wealthy. But there is something very peculiar about this love affair, not least that June remembers seeing this young woman in a romantic clinch with someone who wasn't Sir Dennis mere moments earlier.
One Arabian Night follows, with Derek Griffiths as a Saudi Prince who comes to stay with the Medfords in Purley. Refreshed by the alcoholic sparkle of some homemade wine, the prince leads Terry and June out on the town for food, love and the buying of June for 75 camels. New Doors For Old, which sows a pig's ear of a story out of buying a new door, has been more than adequately described above, while Death Of A Salesman sees Terry receiving some terrible news following a company medical. Having believed that his jogging and healthy eating would prolong his life, he's surprised to learn that he only has 24 hours to live. With a smile on his face and forgiveness in his heart, Terry sets out to make peace with the world.
A Question Of Property ends this run of six episodes with Terry and June inviting Malcolm and Beattie around for a dinner party, only for Terry to find that he has an unwanted guest living in his shed. And this man appears to have mislaid his trousers! Dressed for church, June reminds Terry that they are good Christians and ought to welcome this man. Terry's more concerned with the chainsaw and axe that are hanging on the wall of his shed, somewhat worried that his guest may find a use for them during the night. And perhaps he did. Not with a mind to murder - this being Terry And June, after all - more that errant use of a chainsaw may have been what finally did for Terry and June's patio set.
It shouldn't have been too difficult to get Terry And June right by now. Whip the entire series into and through a computer, make a little adjustment here and there (or not at all) and send the results off to be pressed onto thousands, perhaps even millions, of little silver discs. Eight series in, not to mention all of the other series that 2 Entertain have released on DVD, and still there are problems. For a start, and this may clinch the lack of a sale for many, only half of the eighth series has been included here. Online and in stores, this has been billed as Volume 1 of a two-part set, with the second half due to follow this in August 2008. Rather than pay full-price for both, now and in August, it might be better waiting six months or so and buying Volumes 1 and 2 when discounted together.
It's also worth saying that there are problems with the video presentation. While the picture is generally fairly reasonable, perhaps showing less colour than it should do and looking a bit bland throughout, there is one point when the encoding almost staggers to a halt in One Arabian Night with the picture falling apart into a blizzard of artefacts. This lasts for a second or so and while it's not repeated elsewhere on the disc, it's still the sort of thing that should have been picked up in a simple check of the contents of the series. Otherwise, the colours are a little brighter than the first series but that may be more to do with the eighties being that bit more colourful than the browns, beiges and greys of the late-seventies. The picture is, however, sharper than I thought it would be although there is an obvious drop in quality when the series heads out for external shots on location. The audio track appears to be in 2.0 Mono and is perfectly acceptable, with very little noise and a fairly unobtrusive laughter track. Each episode comes with English subtitles.
There are no extras on this DVD release.