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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > British TV > Bounder (TV Set)

The Bounder (TV series)


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



British TV Comedy is often considered either lightweight or innovative, with not much in between, including many American classics that are remakes of British series.  The Bounder began in 1982 and is in a sort of zone in between the two.  It is doing light situation comedy, but has an exceptional intelligence most virtually all U.S. sitcoms are currently void of.


The great British character actor Peter Bowles is Howard Booth, a conman just getting out of prison for a financial scandal.  He will be staying “temporarily” with his sister Mary (Rosalind Ayres), but her husband Trevor (George Cole) rightly thinks he is a crackpot.  Add a neighbor (Isla Blair) Howard tries to seduce, despite her not knowing the truth about him, made worse by her losing a fortune in that scandal, and you can see where the madness is “bound” to come from in this two DVD set, featuring seven half-hour shows.


Eric Chappell wrote these shows, while Vernon Lawrence produced and directed.  They should be given credit for knowing what to do with an exceptional cast and especially exceptional talent like lead Bowles.  Though not outrageously funny, I really enjoyed the subtle level the show worked on and stayed with throughout.  It is a mature sitcom, even if it is not politically savvy (All In The Family, The Jeffersons), or trying to go for explicit laughs every minute.


The full screen image comes from the PAL tapings of the show, which show there are for 1982, not unlike the many music videos to come out of Britain at the time form the likes of Adam Ant and Duran Duran.  They are just fine for their age, with few flaws outside of the limits of the analog technology of the format at the time.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono sound is the original sound from the show and is not bad either.  Only Disc One has extras, very limited to just brief biography/filmography text.


I first saw Bowles in the full color Diana Rigg/Emma Peel episode of The Avengers entitled “Escape In Time” form 1967, and his timing and panache have not only stayed in tact, they have grown.  He alone is reason enough to catch The Bounder.  If you like British TV comedy, this is a must-see show.  I wonder if there are more episodes?



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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