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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > British TV > My Uncle Silas - Series Two (British TV)

My Uncle Silas – Series Two (British TV)


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



Outside his great final theatrical feature film works, Albert Finney fit in a British TV series into his resume with My Uncle Silas, in which he played the title character.  In its second season, known in British terms and on the DVD case as Series Two, the show was a success enough to continue into 2002 and Finney rarely did TV.  This is a comedy series without laughtrack that does not try hard.  Think something akin to an “uncivilized Waltons” almost gone wild.  Based on H.E. Bates’ stories, the following half-hour slotted shows are:


Shandy Lil

The Race

A Funny Thing

Finger Wet, Finger Dry

A Happy Man

The Christening



Naturally, Silas is the center of the comedy and it gets physical, something amazing for a man of his age who it turns out was having some health problems.  Finney did not like much of the limelight and avoided it, even turning down future Hercule Poirot films after Murder On The Orient Express (see reviews of the DVD film and CD soundtrack elsewhere on this site) that would have put him on a new commercial map.


Sue Johnston plays the housekeeping lady in his life and Joe Prospero as the ten-0year-old Edward of which the show’s title quotes him.  Silas he has a whole community of good-willed people around, more of them misfits than expected.  Remarkably, this never becomes a live-action cartoon thanks to the teleplays by Alick Rowe, Robert Banks Stewart and Peter Tinniswood.  They did such a good job; this landed up on Masterpiece Theater and is not as stuffy as you would think.   My Uncle Silas has genuine laughs.


The full frame 1.66 X 1 image looks good, as shot by cinematographer Kevin Rowley.  It looks like it was shot on recent digital High Definition technology, and is not bad.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has Pro Logic surrounds and that decodes nicely enough.  Debbie Wiseman did the amusing score, which enhances the narrative, while upping the humor.  Extras are text-only and include cast filmographies and more about author Bates.  That rounds out a good single comedy DVD you might enjoy more than you expect.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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