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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > British > Only Fools & Horses – The Complete Collection (aka Readies/BBC DVD)

Only Fools & Horses – The Complete Collection (aka Readies/BBC DVD)


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



Running for an amazing nine seasons from 1981 – 2003, the main reason for the success of Only Fools & Horses besides the chemistry of its leads is that it combines British sitcom humor with a twist on the old comedy of manners situation as two brothers (then animated cartoon voice David Jason and the especially hilarious Nicholas Lyndhurst) who try all kinds of small and medium con artist ideas to survive and get by.  The shows actually vary in length (half hour, just over, full hour, telefilms, etc.) that its production is as quirky as the show can get.


The show remains surprisingly consistent over all those years and that includes in energy, which is usually the first thing to go in the weekly grind of TV.  However, the situation is just too interesting and the leads are just too talented.  There is Derek (Jason) who is the instigator of all the capers and then his brother Rodney (Lyndhurst) is always being dragged in, though he does not have the heart to do these things, tripping up his older brother often.


We get to meet other family members, the duo’s friends, acquaintances, their hangouts, world and if there is any chance whatsoever for a future.  The unique language is also a plus, weaving a dense world that only the best sitcoms are capable of.  Though I never laughed hard or very out loud, I was pleasantly amused by the show overall, especially Lyndhurst, who was even funnier in his later spy spoof series The Piglet Files (reviewed elsewhere on this site) made during the run of this show.


If you like the show, you’ll want this entire box.  There is no in between, either you’ll love it all or want to skip it.  If you are a Britcom fan, this set is a must, grouping all 18 DVDs (four in three sets, three in the other two) for endless hours of rewatchable entertainment. 


The series was a 1.33 X 1 analog PAL production all the way, with decent color throughout its run, even when definition (note the early seasons) was an issue.  This applies to some of the specials, though the last ones were shot in HD, here in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 presentations color is muted as definition improves somewhat.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 on the early shows are monophonic, stereophonic on the later shows and just fine for TV audio.   Extras across the sets include text bios of the cast, stills, previews, a dictionary of especially applicable language (Peckham Concise Trotter Dictionary) and behind the scenes “Story Of” featurette.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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