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To the Manor Born - The Complete Series (2004)

Penelope Keith , Peter Bowles , Gareth Gwenlan  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)

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To the Manor Born - The Complete Series + Good Neighbors: The Complete Series 1-3 + Good Neighbors - The Complete Series 4
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Product Details

  • Actors: Penelope Keith, Peter Bowles
  • Directors: Gareth Gwenlan
  • Format: Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2005
  • Run Time: 600 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001JXP8Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #229,762 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "To the Manor Born - The Complete Series" on IMDb

Special Features

  • All 20 episodes plus the 1979 Christmas special
  • Funny Turns: Penelope Keith - actress profile
  • Turning Points - Peter Bowles interview
  • 4 never filmed radio episodes

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Follow the hilarious misadventures of the uppercrust but impoverished Audrey Forbes-Hamilton (Penelope Keith), once Lady of Grantley Manor, and Richard Devere, the mysterious "common" millionaire who buys her ancestral Estate.

To the Manor Born is another BBC sitcom from the genre's golden age, one that came to dominate the ratings during its initial three-season run from 1979-80. Providing Penelope Keith with her first major role after The Good Life, the show focuses on a way of life that now appears hard to comprehend, with storylines concerning hunt balls, village committees, and eccentric brigadiers only adding to the dated feel. What provided the program's key interest, however, was not the terribly quaint Little England setting but the burgeoning relationship between Keith's Audrey fforbes-Hamilton and Richard De Vere (Peter Bowles), the new owner of Audrey's old home, Grantleigh Manor. It's all very, very English (the show is set in a village called Cricket St. Thomas) and the continuing use of farce almost creates a sense of parody. But look beyond the infuriating stereotypes and there is some sharp writing going on, predating the city vs countryside debate by nearly two decades. Penelope Keith is, as ever, fantastic value and while new viewers may simply not get the joke, those looking for a spot of nostalgia could do far worse. --Phil Udell

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
159 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some are born great, some achieve greatness... August 3, 2004
'To the Manor Born' is one of the better Brit-coms, witty and intelligent without being over-the-top or inaccessible. It has an oh-so-British tone to it, deliberately so, as it looks with grace and humour at the clash of cultures in modern Britain, the clash between tradition and modernity (finding out that neither is always what it seems), as well as the clash between social classes. All of this is done in such a light-hearted manor, er, manner, that one scarcely realises the biting and insightful satire that runs alongside the comedic situations.

The series begins as Audrey fforbes-Hamilton, a straight-backed, upper-crust woman of breeding who revels in her situation, is celebrating the funeral of her husband (yes, celebrating). Meanwhile, Richard Devere, wealthy (read, nouveau riche) financial officer heading a multinational conglomerate of food stores, arrives in the village in search of a classic gentleman's period home in the English countryside. As Audrey's husband was not one to keep up with the bills, she discovers that she is in fact bankrupt, and is forced to sell the manor. Richard Devere buys it at auction; Audrey is a surprising twist retains the estate's hunting lodge down the road, and the stage is set for the tensions between new homeowner and historical lady of the manor.

Supplementing the main characters are Audrey's best friend Marjorie, who variously has designs on Richard Devere, but these are almost always thwarted; Richard's mother, Mrs.
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130 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Re-release of great series July 2, 2008
This very witty BBC series of the 70s stars Penelope Keith (formerly of The Good Life aka Good Neighbors) and Peter Bowles (many many supporting dramatic roles). When rich from birth Audrey Fforbes-Hamilton (Keith) loses her husband, she learns that he left her completely penniless and is forced to auction off the family manor. The estate gets bought Richard Devere (Bowles) an eccentric millionaire in the food business. Moving into a small cottage on the estate, Audrey with help from her friend Marjorie and her butler spends the next few years doing everything her power to get her ancestral home and place in society back including falling in love with the new "Lord of the Manor". This newly released set includes a newly released "silver anniversary" reunion disc which is also available separately for those of you who (like me) own the earlier released set. Chances are the earlier (blue) set will eventually get discontinued, so like series (plural) like Vicar of Dibley and others that have released revised box sets (years after previous releases of the "complete series"), the deal is this: if you have the old set like me, order the separate copy of the silver anniversary disc, if you don't, then order this set (currently a better price than the older set alone) and you'll get all the discs together.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
To the Manor Born is the second best Britcom behind Butterflies. Twenty five years has passed since Audrey and Richard finally tied the knot. This rerelease is the fantastic orignal series plus the new 25th Anniversary Christmas special (which has not been shown in the US!!)

This dvd set contains all 21 episodes from the original 3 series plus the 25th Anniversary hourlong special.

Audrey fforbes-Hamilton's (Penolope Keith) husband has passed away (but she is really not mourning it). He has left her virtually penniless and she must save her family home (which she is mourning). The manor is sold to a self made foreign millionaire, Richard DeVere (Peter Bowles). While Audrey despises everything Richard stands for but there is definite sexual tension between them. With help of best friend Marjorie (Angela Thorne) and Richard's mother, Mrs. Poo (Daphhe Heard), Richard and Audrey will find happiness. The series finale ends with two happy endings (I won't spoil it but it will not surprise you.)

Jump 25 years later, it's the Dever's 25th Wedding Anniversary and Audrey is going to celebrate it in style but it is going to take everyone's effort to save the day and the town.

This is one of the best comedy series ever (British or American). It has witty writing, razor sharp direction and a perfect cast. Penelope Keith has proven to be one of Britan's great comic geniouses (she has had over half a dozen hit comedies.)

Just buy this set and just plan and laugh alot.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Set September 30, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of the show then you must have this dvd set. The transfer quality is excellent. I have one suggestion though...for some reason they put the Christmas special at the end of the dvd set and it really should be watched after the first dvd so it is in sequence with the series.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It doen't get much better..... September 4, 2004
Many years ago, I caught the tail-end of one of the latter episodes of TO THE MANOR BORN on PBS and liked what I saw, which was enough to spur me to buy this series on DVD when it became available. I'm happy I did, it is more than worth the price. The two lead actors, Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles have appeared in many other BBC productions (Rumpole, Good Neighbors). I believe they are married in "real" life, and thus a commedic team ala Lucy and Desi or George and Gracie, though not as zany. Audrey Forbes-Hamilton (Keith) is a sophisticated snob and Richard Devere (Bowles) a self made immigrant whom Audrey deems not in her league, let alone worthy of Grantleigh Estate, her old ancestral home.

In the opening episode, the newly widowed Audrey is relishing the thought of being on her own without the husband she did not particularly care for. We learn in a later episode that the Forbes-Hamilton family has intermarried for generations and this might explain some of the peculiar behavior of Audrey and her Uncle who plays an important role in the last few episodes. Audrey soon discovers her now deceased husband kept a few secrets from her, such as the debt the estate had incurred using the "old" methods of managing an estate (keeping hedgerows for example). Devere buys Grantleigh at an auction, outbidding Audrey, who had secured a goodly amount from her relatives for the purpose of keeeping the estate "in the family".

After losing her home, we soon discover Audrey has taken up residence along with the ancient family butler Brabinger in the "lodge", a building on the estate just up the road from the manor house, where the hired help once lived.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bristish sit-com
Everything we expected and more! Very entertaining!
Published 24 days ago by sandie
5.0 out of 5 stars There's nothing like British comedy!!!
I'm simply a FAN!!! Another absolutely delightful score for British television!!! I'm so glad I can watch and rewatch these
hilarious sketches!!! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Karen Milk
4.0 out of 5 stars The 3rd DVD did not play like new but it did play with several skips
The 3rd DVD did not play like new but it did play with several skips. Got here in great time!
Published 1 month ago by Karen Hanschke
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My mother-in-law loves this series!
Published 1 month ago by D. Longo
5.0 out of 5 stars A very English romance in a very English country-manor setting that...
Without a doubt the most English sitcom you will ever find! "To the Manor Born" is a rare breed: a romantic-sitcom set in the heart of an extremely traditional English... Read more
Published 1 month ago by PGM
5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Memories
I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this series.
Published 1 month ago by C. M. Guzowsky
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality of a culture long gone, savor it if only on DVD
I enjoyed this series when it first came out on PBS and when they presented it again; I decided to get the DVD for continued enjoyment. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Rudi Franke
5.0 out of 5 stars Penelope Keith is great.
We rewatch these from time to time. Penelope Keith is great.
Published 2 months ago by V Kocian
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
If you like a more traditional British comedy, this is British comedy at it's best.
Published 3 months ago by marmactin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the finest production the BBC have made
Published 3 months ago by Tollafield
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