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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > British TV > At Home With The Braithwaites - Season One

At Home With The Braithwaites – Complete First Season


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C-     Episodes: B



If commercial American broadcast TV had not become so infantilized in the 1980s, it might have produced a series as terrific as At Home With The Braithwaites, a British TV comedy/drama that debuted in 2000.  Sadly, even the freer cable, pay and satellite channels have not, but the series is being issued by Acorn Media and it just gets better and better the more you watch.


Amanda Redman, so good in Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast with Ben Kingsley) is Alison Braithwaite, a mother of three girls and a hard-working husband, David (one-time Doctor Who lead Peter Davidson).  Her birthday is coming up, but so is the news that her husband is having an affair.  Before she learns about this however, a nice twist of fate.  For fun and only having so much money, her youngest daughter Charlotte manages to get a local clerk illegally sell her a lottery ticket for the current equivalent of over $50 Million.  She wins!


However, not wanting to spoil her family and keep things “normal” for all, she collects the money in secret and does not tell her family.  She also intends to set up a trust fund to do something good with the cash.  This is done in part with the help of a circle of best friends, including one played by the great character actress Sylvia Syms, who has surfaced on great British TV going back to Roger Moore’s The Saint.  Of course, other big secrets are in the balance for family, friends and neighbors, and some desperate reporters start poking into the trust fund to find out the identity behind the pseudonym Alison has set up.


As each of the six hour-long shows never have a moment wasted and even the start up is interesting, where most shows that get even watchable take forever to “warm up” as it were.  Sally Wainwright’s teleplays are masterful and kept ever so slightly twisting the formula of past family shows from both coasts.  Director Robin Sheppard has a great cast and seems to know it, coming up with the right shots and approach to the material.  The timing, comic and otherwise, is just great.  Still, like Resurrection Blvd. and Brooklyn South, it is yet another great show that has far from found the huge audience it deserves.  Here’s hoping At Home With The Braithwaites makes it into as many homes as possible.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is good, but has some lack of detail, however limited.  The copies used for this DVD are clean and clear, the editing exceptional for any TV series today.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has healthy Pro Logic stereo surrounds and good fidelity.  Those who have seen it on TV should know that some music has been replaced or edited due to DVD music rights not being secured, but that does not hurt the presentation here.  There are no technical flaws or imperfections that tell where tampering has occurred.  Extras include a stills gallery and filmographies of the cast.  If you have not seen a good TV series in a long time that you could take seriously, was smart, and was also capable of being authentically hilarious, you have got to catch At Home With The Braithwaites.  I can’t wait to sit through the next set!



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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