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Showing 1-10 of 191 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 220 reviews
on March 4, 2016
I'm an anglophile so I like almost all British shows and actors. Maybe because they have such a long dramatic history and so many brilliant poets and writers, the actors are as talented. It's almost an innate quality that actors of different cultures have to study hard to achieve.
It all comes so naturally to English actors, I'm always amazed. As I love mostly comedy, I can say that this show portrays extremely well the acute struggle to maintain one's heritage and traditions, almost at any cost. Never submitting to the reality of being a mere mortal, but someone always important even when unfortunately becoming destitute. And while climbing back with determination each rang of the wealthy social ladder, the main character finds herself in many hilarious situations that are of course, most of the time beneath her. Worth watching, more than once.
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VINE VOICEon October 20, 2015
What a wonderful series! I loved it when it was new, but I hadn't seen it in years, and it was better than I remembered. I love the characters and the humor. I binge-watched it one weekend, and I only wish there were more episodes.
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'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. Pu (Poluviska, actually, but the name is reduced for ease by Audrey); Ned, the traditional groundskeeper who helps keep the traditions alive with Audrey; and finally, Brabinger, the quintessential English butler, who relocates to the old lodge with his mistress Audrey, and always has a few suprises up his sleeve.

There are twenty-one episodes in all, filmed and broadcast over a two-year period in 1979-1981. These run from the start of Audrey's losing the manor through to her regaining the manor, along with the hand of Richard in marriage, but not by the means often expected throughout the series. Throughout the episodes, Audrey is constantly introduced to 'ordinary life', from having to rely on the National Health for her doctor rather than private-pay, personal service, to having difficulties in shopping in supermarkets (Devere's, as it turns out) and not being able to entertain as she once did, or go on holiday (this makes for perhaps the best episode of the lot, save for the first and final episodes). Meanwhile, Devere gets lessons in being lord of the manor by the ever-present Audrey, who counsels him on everything from horse-purchasing to community responsbilities. Despite his wealth, Audrey says, 'he is still at the bottom of it all a grocer.' This is a biting commentary -- the upper-class disdain for the working class is an undercurrent here, and the entitled/en-nobled folk in Parliament used to insult both Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher, who were both children of shopkeepers, by using the term 'grocer' to describe them.

From the threadbare carpets to the when-we-were-in-India knick-knacks to the church clock that never worked properly, this is a wonderfully crafted comedy trip through a slice of British culture that is both past and future. These are not 'issues' episodes -- 'To the Manor Born' educates by stealth. One might be completely unaware of having been taught ways of acting and being. Grantley Manor is a perfect backdrop (shot in a town with the very English-sounding name of Cricket St. Thomas), and the actors are perfectly selected. Penelope Keith as Audrey fforbes-Hamilton has the kind of mannerisms and deadpan delivery befitting a displaced socialite; Peter Bowles has the blustering presence as a self-assured businessman flustered in his new environment. Old Ned (played by MIchael Bilton) and Brabinger (John Rudling) are perfected cast in both physical type and acting ability. Angela Thorne as Marjorie Frobisher, the life-long friend of Audrey, always in her shadow, is great as the 'straight man' against whom Audrey's humour unfolds.

The DVD release contains special features including bits about Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles, as well as excerpts from the late-90s radio broadcasts on BBC2.

This is a perfect show, certain to win the heart of any Anglophile.
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on March 13, 2017
Just got this. It replaces a set from 2005 which isn't reliable anymore. One disk doesn't even play so I bought a new set. If you like British comedies, you will like To the Manor Born. I am a big fan of Penelope Keith. Great set and the 25th anniversary episode is just as good as when the series was filmed 25 years previously. Nice thing, the same characters and actors are in it!!! That is really great!
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on March 11, 2017
Excellent value. Some have found fault with the image quality of these episodes, but we have found that, as a rule, the British do not re-issue higher resolution versions of their older programs. What you get is pretty much how it would have looked in 1979 on television. Frankly, an older series like this converted to HD would be similar to watching a classic black-and-white film corrupted by the abomination of "colorization." No thanks.
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on September 30, 2008
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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on July 19, 2014
Originally viewed this series ages and ages ago, and enjoyed it immensely.When I learned the entire collection was available on dvd it was a must have for my dvd library.Must admit that having lived in the UK was a bonus to understanding some of the situations and comments.This should not deter anyone on this side of the Pond purchasing To The Manor Born. I must admit that I was a bit disappointed in the silver anniversary episode, as the writing just did not seem up to the quality of the original series.If you want enjoyable, funny entertainment-you can't beat Audrey, played by Penelope Keith.A worthwhile purchase that is truly great fun for all.
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on February 24, 2017
I loved this comedy for the high brow characters and often frivolous character portrayals
To the Manor Born entails the snooty conversations of the Lady of the Manor and her sometimes over the top expectations.
The husband plays the calm cool collected foil for his oftentimes egregious spouse.
Nonetheless, this is one comedy I would miss if it were not in my esteemed collection.
This will give others an inside look as to how certain members of British High Society endure.
It lends to ridicule of the High Class but in a cherished way.
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on January 9, 2015
Sometimes I will watch something and feel it was great and years later watch it again and wonder why I thought it was great.

I was frightened that this would happen. It did NOT. I enjoyed it as much as the first time.

And, this DVD set, one each DVD allows you to manually select which show to watch OR you can click the choice to have them play one right after the other without having to anything, which I LOVE. I have purchased Sex in the City DVD set and after each show, I have to manually select the next and the next....Maybe it is the year I purchased each set?
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on April 3, 2017
This is a very good complete collection with lots of good interviews with the main actors. Definitively worth the price for fans of the show and/or the actors.
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