Recommendations for a good series?

What's not currently on the box
rachel leah
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Recommendations for a good series?

Post by rachel leah »

Ever since I watched I Claudius last year, nothing else seems good on TV.

I have seen Poldark, When the Boat Comes in and Upstair Downstairs and I am looking for another nice quality old TV series to watch, but suspect that I have seen then best and there is no more.

Could someone please tell me which of the following is the most likely to be a good to watch:

Lady Killers
Clayhanger
Duchess of Duke Street
The Fall of Eagles
Will Shakespear (70's)
Onedin Line
Lillie
Disraeli

I thought of looking at youtube but I think sometimes youtube makes archive series look more dull than when you see them on DVD. I first hated I Claudius on youtube because it looked slow, and then enjoyed it when it appeared on TV as a series.

Plus I like watching long series properly on a TV, like they should be watched.

If anyone has seen any of the above, let me know what you thought of them and if they are worth the cash and time investment to watch.

stanbutler
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by stanbutler »

Can't say about any of the above but if you enjoy the subject matter of I Claudius then you may also like The Caesars (1968) which I found better myself.

mikew
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by mikew »

Will Shakespeare is worth watching but somehow it's not something I can see myself revisiting. Disraeli, on the other hand, I found stunningly good - particularly for Ian McShane's performance. I've not seen any of the others on your list but I'd strongly recommend Secret Army and Tenko. Oh I wish I could watch them for the first time again. Like I Claudius you need to be patient with the first episode but after that....

Also agree with the comment above about The Caesars (though I don't think it's quite as good as I Claudius. Almost but not quite.)

stanbutler
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by stanbutler »

I love I, Claudius but it can be a bit panto with it's larger than life performances and over-sensationalist whereas I thought The Caesars had a more natural tone and an equally interesting cast. I tend to go more for 60s b/w too. But both very fine series and there's not much in it either way, they compliment each other. If you like one, should enjoy the other.

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DavidAbsalom
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by DavidAbsalom »

Of those on the list, I'd go for The Onedin Line and I'd second the recommendation for Tenko.

Mike S
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by Mike S »

The House That Jack Built?

brigham
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by brigham »

'Disraeli' is good, as is 'Lillie'. In the same strain, 'Edward and Mrs. Simpson' is worth a look. Keep an eye out for a bald-wigged Patrick Troughton, and a non-singing, non-dancing Jessie Matthews.

rachel leah
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by rachel leah »

I have seen Tenko, Secret Army and Colditz. I forgot to mention them. They were wonderful.
I also saw Enemy at the Door and Kessler after Secret Army. I thought they were less good, Kessler was quite poor in some places but still it was O.K.

That is why I thought that there was nothing left good to see.

I have tried searching for "The House that Jack Built" but an internet search only has it turns up as a 70's comedy or as an episode of "The Avengers". It can't be them surely.
There is a DVD of "The House that Jack Built" on amazon uk that is not released yet, with Adam Faith. Is that what you mean?

I never heard of Edward and Simpson before. Just looked it up on youtube. Looks O.K- ish but hard to tell from a few minutes look. Was it really good?

rachel leah
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by rachel leah »

Maybe it is worth trying Disraeli. I have always been curious about him and that period in history.

I'm surprised nobody said anything about Ladykillers. It sounds like a good premise, a theatre bound 70's style dramatization of Amerlia Dyler and other real historical female killers with actors like Robert Morley. On the other hand it could be really dull. There is no youtube preview.
Has anyone seen it?

If anyone has anymore recommendations of something let me know.

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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by ian b »

LADYKILLERS is good enough: the plays don't outstay their welcome. The first series are pretty straight highlights of the trial, but there's more if an attempt in the second series to make them plays in their own right while sticking with the facts if the case. Morley only tops and tails the episodes though, sitting in a chair and reading off the autocue.

I'd avoid CLAYHANGER - an overlong, dreadfully dull adaptation with a miscast lead giving a shrill, cold performance. A crashing disappointment.

EDWARD & MRS SIMPSON is good, lovingly scripted and fully populated with fine performances.

I'd go for THE ONEDIN LINE though. A TV original, so don't don't go looking for spoilers, the first series in particular is a run of plays that feature recurring characters, before it settles down with the second series into a more "soapy" format.

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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by Mark »

I'd go along with Ian's view, there, and "Edward And Mrs Simpson" has a belting theme tune as well.

I would add "The Duchess Of Duke Street", which brings back happy memories of Sat nights in the 70's, and the best TV schedule ever, it's another of those compelling series, when you start watching it.....

There's "Thomas And Sarah", whilst not up to the dizzy heights of "UpDown", it's still very good, and two great leads, of course.

Also, there's "The Pallisers", at 26 episodes, and a stellar cast, (as they say), and don't forget, "The House Of Elliot", also excellent.
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Bodie
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by Bodie »

Definitely ONEDIN LINE.

Bodie
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by Bodie »

Having a further think, I also highly recommend BY THE SWORD DIVIDED (two series).

Although not historical dramas, I'd also recommend Hadleigh and The Main Chance as enjoyable series to watch. Wilde Alliance is also enjoyable in a cosy way, as is Lovejoy (though I'm sure you've probably seen that). I also liked revisiting Tom Brown's Schooldays (the 70s version with Richard Ellis as an excellent (hateful) Flashman) though my wife didn't enjoy it because of the bullying that runs through the story.

I also enjoyed Hannay and Funny Man though they are perhaps more workmanlike than spectacular and I know others in these haunts weren't taken by Funny Man.

mikew
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by mikew »

I'd second "The Pallisers" and, staying with Trollope, "The Barchester Chronicles".

Finally watched "The Forsyte Saga" last year and loved it. Gets a bit patchy towards the end but it keeps you interested.

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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by fatcat »

My 2 pence worth of what I thought might appeal to you?

Flambards

Mrs Thursday

The Intruder (new release)

The Cedar Tree (ATV's Downton Abbey)

The Aphrodite Inheritance (new release)

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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by Mike S »

rachel leah wrote: I have tried searching for "The House that Jack Built" but an internet search only has it turns up as a 70's comedy or as an episode of "The Avengers". It can't be them surely.
There is a DVD of "The House that Jack Built" on amazon uk that is not released yet, with Adam Faith. Is that what you mean?
Don't worry, I was only joking. I assumed you'd seen this thread.

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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by ctraynor »

rachel leah wrote:Ever since I watched I Claudius last year, nothing else seems good on TV.

I have seen Poldark, When the Boat Comes in and Upstair Downstairs and I am looking for another nice quality old TV series to watch, but suspect that I have seen then best and there is no more.

Could someone please tell me which of the following is the most likely to be a good to watch:

Lady Killers
Clayhanger
Duchess of Duke Street
The Fall of Eagles
Will Shakespear (70's)
Onedin Line
Lillie
Disraeli

I thought of looking at youtube but I think sometimes youtube makes archive series look more dull than when you see them on DVD. I first hated I Claudius on youtube because it looked slow, and then enjoyed it when it appeared on TV as a series.

Plus I like watching long series properly on a TV, like they should be watched.

If anyone has seen any of the above, let me know what you thought of them and if they are worth the cash and time investment to watch.

Fall of Eagles, a highbrow series of interlinked plays with recurring real-life characters about the decline and end of the central and eastern European empires from the mid-19th century to the end of the First World War. Lots of good performances - Patrick Stewart as Lenin, Charles Kay and Gayle Hunnicutt as the last Tsar and Tsarina, Barry Foster giving a career-best as Kaiser Wilhelm II (the first world war kaiser). My favourite instalment is the penultimate one, The Secret War. Each episode ends on a (sometimes subtly) ominous note as if the characters in power or striving for it don't appreciate the forces they're helping to unleash in history. The start and end music reinforces this.

Secret Army (I know you didn't list it). Made by pretty much the same production team who did Colditz a few years earlier. That was good too but Secret Army has the edge for me. It starts good and keeps getting better. Stupendous last episode in the third and final season. As you've seen it, watch it again!

Brideshead Revisited (or this), a hypnotic masterpiece.

Edward the Seventh.

From what I've seen of The Onedin Line, I thought it was fairly crummy.

marsey
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by marsey »

Yes, The Caesars is a very good watch. Much more modern , but Rome is a very good attempt at a Roman drama (with plenty of sex and violence).

Other great historical series include The Six Wives of Henry VIII and the (kind of) sequel Elizabeth R.

rachel leah
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by rachel leah »

I appreciate all the suggestions. Have looked up a lot of them.


I actually like the over dramatized silliness in I Claudius. That is what kept me watching, along with Derek Jacobi playing a handicapped weak character while all the Caesars are having sex and murdering one another till he's the only one left. So I won't buy The Caesars.

Yes and the Onedin Line always looks dull and borring on youtube. I thought it was just me.

Thanks for pointing out Edward the Seventh. I have looked it up on youtube and it looks surprisingly good with Annette Crosby from One Foot in the Grave.
I had no idea it existed.

Fall of Eagles is an interesting one.
Do you have to have some historical knowledge before you can enjoy it?
I was able to watch I Claudius while knowing nothing about the Romans.

drmih
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by drmih »

I think that 'To Serve Them All Our Days' takes some beating. Much more recent but in keeping with theme and very good is 'Rome'.

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Richard A
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by Richard A »

rachel leah wrote:...

Yes and the Onedin Line always looks dull and borring on youtube. I thought it was just me.

...
I have a soft spot for the series because I enjoyed it in my youth. I have been slowly working my way through the series over the last couple of years (just getting to the end of S3) and I still enjoy it but I am much more aware of its shortcomings.

Plus points are definitely Peter Gilmore's personification of James Onedin and there are some other good performances too. The scripts can be very good, but there are some really dire ones too. A fair few scripts really founder under all manner of nautical unfeasibilities, though in fairness some of these are due to the logistical difficulties associated with working with full sized vessels on a tight production budget. In a similar vein, whereas there were always a number of sail training vessels and such available, it was much harder to portray early steam vessels as there just aren't any such things around in working order (not from the early days of steam navigation anyway), so false smoking funnels have to suffice. It's also noticeable that all rivers and estuaries, from the Mersey to the Amazon look remarkably like the River Dart!

Although The Onedin Line could never quite match its ambitions I still consider it to be a worthy bit of early evening telly when I'm in the right mood.

Alice80
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by Alice80 »

I agree about The Onedin Line...I watched it as a kid and am getting back into it again after getting it on DVD - but I would be the first to admit it's a nostalgia kick for me, as well as loving the costumes...

I fully sympathise with the OP about nothing seeming very good once you've been bitten by the old telly bug...I've been quite enjoying things like Last Tango in Halifax or Broadchurch, but it's not really the same...

Suggestions? Well, we enjoyed The Gold Robbers (or I did - my husband admitted that I'd gone beyond what he could manage to sit through archive telly wise), The Strange Report, Gideon's Way, The Man in Room 17, Tinker Tailor and Smiley's People...I just bought another copy of the Barchester Chronicles as I seem to have mislaid mine, and then I'm planning a Trollope marathon with The Pallisers...

tiswas2
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by tiswas2 »

One that can only be ordered from the US is The 70s series Country Matters feat Ian McKellan, Peter Firth, Joss Ackland, Pauline Collins, Trevor Bannister and Prunella Scales.

The Sergeant Cork series is good on most episodes.

I would add The Stars look down and Victorian Scandals but they haven't had a release yet.

Bodie
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by Bodie »

drmih wrote:I think that 'To Serve Them All Our Days' takes some beating.
I'd second this. I can remember enjoying this one, particularly Frank Middlemass as the Headmaster and Alan MacNaughton as a fellow master.

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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by billo »

Depending on what you are looking for of course

If you liked Colditz & Secret Army, then ITV's 'Manhunt' is worth a look too - starring Alfred Lynch, Peter Barkworth, Cyd Hayman, Maggie Fitzgibbon Philip Madoc & Robert Hardy it was pretty good (it's a bit 'seventies' looking production wise, but the stories & acting make up for that, good guest stars too & a notable episode without any dialogue !)
- good guest casts including George Sewell & Ian McCullough

Sci Fi series; BBC's 'Survivors' (the original with Lucy Fleming, Ian McCullough, Dennis Lill etc) &
'The Day of The Triffids' (John Duttine, Maurice Colbourne & Emma Relph - a slightly updated version that nevertheless sticks to John Wyndham's book more)

'The Guardians' - a futuristic '1984' inspired ITV series set in a Police state future Britian ; with David Burke, John Collin, Edward Petherbridge & Cyril Luckham (- a bit 'surreal' and deemed unlikely at the time - like 'The Prisoner' - it's a bit more 'too real' now !)

Comedy/drama with 'Budgie' (Adam Faith, Iain Cutherbertson & Lynn Dalby) a bit like the later 'Minder' but in a way more realistic & harder hitting tho' amusing too (another Verity Lambert show)

'Raffles' starring Anthony Valentine - period piece mischief !

if you like board room power plays there is; 'The Plane Makers' & 'The Power Game' - b/w sixties dramas with Patrick Wymark

the seventies; 'Hadleigh' (Gerald Harper) - and the forerunner series 'Gazette' & 'Hine' (Barrie Ingram) these were business dramas with strong guest casts

The late (& lamented) Brian Clemens 'Thriller' was pretty good with crime & super natural thriller tales (guest casts included; Jeremy Brett, Ian Hendry, etc)

UK ITV spy series 'Callan' (Edward Woodward, Anthony Valentine, Patrick Mower, etc)
& 'The Sandbaggers' (Roy Marsden, Ray Lonnen, Richard Vernon etc)

crime shows -
'Van Der Valk' with Barry Foster and Nigel Stock - the Dutch detective, the show had strong guest casts too.

'Special Branch' - series one and two with Derren Nesbitt and Fulton Mackay, the more 'proceedural' version
series three and four are more 'Sweeney' action style made by Euston films with George Sewell and Patrick Mower

all these are out on DVD
hope this helps !

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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by ctraynor »

rachel leah wrote:
Thanks for pointing out Edward the Seventh. I have looked it up on youtube and it looks surprisingly good with Annette Crosby from One Foot in the Grave.
I had no idea it existed.

Fall of Eagles is an interesting one.
Do you have to have some historical knowledge before you can enjoy it?
I was able to watch I Claudius while knowing nothing about the Romans.
Me too. I've got most of my current knowledge about those days from I Claudius (the order of the emperors' reigns and things like that).

Yes, it's a plus (perhaps a big one) knowing your modern (ish) history for Fall of Eagles. I coincidentally was able to buy the book tie-in at my local charity shop at almost the same time I got the series as a Christmas present. The book is very well written and is actually more cohesive than the series (both came out in early 1974). Having said that, the series' last few episodes concern World War One (which has been prominent in the media, with last year's anniversary of the war starting) so you're likely to recognise events and characters in it.

Edward the Seventh is also well done, Timothy West's and, probably Annette Crosbie's, breakthrough career moment. It's a very good supplement to Fall of Eagles. One difference is that the Kaiser here is Christopher Neame.
rachel leah wrote:
I never heard of Edward and Simpson before. Just looked it up on youtube. Looks O.K- ish but hard to tell from a few minutes look. Was it really good?
It was very well done. But I watched it back a year or so ago and thought the same as I did in 1978, that the story wasn't worth an entire series. Normally I think the opposite when it comes to historical dramas but in this case I thought it was a good candidate for a one-off 90-minute drama. I'm biased as I don't attach the massive importance to Edward VIII abdicating the way others do. But yes, the acting, writing and production values were good.

Also, if we're talking about historical dramas (?), the BBC's 1972-73 20-part War and Peace. Still just about Anthony Hopkins' finest moment imo. He really caught the character in the book, Pierre Bezuhov. Alan Dobie was also spot on as Prince Andrei Bolkonsky and their angst-ridden philosophical setting-the-world-to-rights conversations were done justice by the series. Morag Hood got a lot of stick at the time for overacting as the young Natasha but she grew into the part as Natasha got older. So that's another one I recommend.

marsey
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by marsey »

I had a soft spot for Claudiuss the Emperor having watched the tv series (the books are excellent too). Came as a bit of a shock when I found out that he was just as bad as his relations in real life!

marsey
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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by marsey »

As for other series (as well as the Elizabeth R and Henry VIII series I mentioned) other great older series include The Survivors , Danger UXB). And although they were broadcast as children's tv, The Clifton House Mystery and Into The Labyrinth are both excellent watches.

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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by brigham »

It's difficult to grasp how important the abdication crisis was to the Establishment at the time, especially as ordinary folk were perfectly happy with the situation, with or without Mrs. Simpson.
You just have to accept it, and enjoy the unfolding drama.

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Re: Recommendations for a good series?

Post by Mark »

rachel leah wrote: I actually like the over dramatized silliness in I Claudius.
In that case, it's probably worth mentioning "The Cleopatras" from 1983, although sadly, it has yet to be released.

Also still in limboland, is "The Borgias" from 1981, and an excellent 1978 series called "The Devil's Crown" ( if you don't mind some fairly mild language), why these three are not on the shelves, I don't know.
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