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The Great British Sitcom: "Brass"

Discussion in 'Notable TV' started by Mel O'Drama, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    It's taken the best part of three years, but it's finally happening. As of last night I'm two episodes in.

    I have a feeling this is going to be a grower for me. I haven't yet warmed to the characters. Though that's possibly because I'm still trying work out who is who, as is often the way with ensembles. Particularly an all male one.

    The sweaty men and Ranji's hacking and spitting are taking a little adjustment also and risk making my evening snack a bit of a challenge. Last night I struggled with my muesli.

    But with only two episodes down and fifty four still to watch, I'm feeling confident it will click with me soon. Episode Two's bad ventriloquism gave me a few little titters, so that's a good sign.



    Affectionate is a good word, I think. It comes across that Bates is playing what he knows, drawing from his own experiences. It's homage rather than ridicule.



    That aspect of the series, and the hint of pathos that it brings, feels like a Croft/Perry trademark.
     
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  2. Swami

    Swami Soap Chat Supreme

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    Another one of the sitcoms I need to add to my collection, somehow it seems to fall under the radar a bit, it is highly unlikely it would be made nowadays for fear of causing offence.

    Swami
     
  3. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    As hoped, my evening fix of IAHHM has indeed become a most enjoyable part of my day.

    I felt the tone changed noticeably between Series One and Two. Some of the performances were amped up and characterisations seemed broader, which is how they've stayed. All the same, I was finding the series highly enjoyable by the latter part of Series One. I imagine it was just a case of getting into the rhythms.

    I do miss Solly. It's nice that the lower profile members of the ensemble are being given the opportunity to do more, and it does kind of work. But Nosher spraying food when he speaks is already feeling old. And Don Estelle will keep corpsing.

    Incidentally, I had convinced myself that Kenneth MacDonald, who plays Nobby, went on to play Kenny Beale in EastEnders. Even though I now know he didn't (I suspect I was getting confused with his Only Fools And Horses character) I can't shake it.
     
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  4. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    From what I've read, it seems it hasn't even aired for many years.
     
  5. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    Series Six of It Ain't Half Hot Mum has commenced. It's odd that such an important part of the series as Michael Bates has just disappeared without reference when Solly's absence was acknowledged in the script.

    My expectations for the series post-Ranji were very low. He's greatly missed. But the series seems to be just about working still.
     
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  6. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    Midway through Series Eight (four sevenths of the way through to be exact) and it's now been announced that the war is over, so it's evident that this was known - or even planned - to be the final series. I like that things will have a few episodes to wind down and I'm looking forward to seeing how it wraps.
     
  7. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    Tonight I rounded off the series with the final two episodes of It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

    I love how the last few episodes had a sense of journey, following them from the camp back to England. The penultimate episode - with Lofty trying to reach the ship accompanied by the Char Wallah - had me invested. There was a sense of urgency and of jeopardy that really worked to keep the energy up. I unexpectedly got stinging behind the eyes when Muhammed the Char Wallah was standing at the dock calling to them, too late to give the presents he'd bought for the lads.

    As they prepared for demob, I thought how it cried out for a reunion special some years later to catch up with them in civvy street, but by the time Parky was inviting Shut Up to stay with him and his Mum, I felt satisfied and ready to leave them.

    Seeing the main characters away from the institution in which we've come to know them, and suddenly in street clothes put me in mind of the end of Only When I Laugh, when the patients met up for a drink at the pub and everything felt slightly off-kilter. It was almost like meeting them for the first time all over again. These last scenes made me reflect that despite spending all this time with them, I didn't really know them that well at all. Or at least there are sides to them which I never got to see. And I suppose that's how it is for people in those kinds of conditions.

    I wonder if there was any thought given to any kind of follow up. Like Sgt Major Williams hoping to become a prison warder. That idea had potential. But I suppose Porridge had already done that definitively.

    There was a scene in the penultimate episode where Lofty and the Char Wallah arrived at a garage to find a man with a handkerchief over his face. For a few seconds I couldn't shake the idea that Rangi was going to be under it, despite all better judgement reminding me that Michael Bates died some time before this series ended. He was missed the last couple of series, but I was pleasantly surprised that the expected huge drop in quality didn't come. Not to any degree that affected my enjoyment, anyway.

    I'm really glad to have dived into this one beginning to end.
     
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  8. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    It's taken two and a half years, but I've finally started watching Brass this week.

    [​IMG]

    Seven episodes in, I'm loving it. I'm not 100% familiar with the genre the series lampoons (the Northern period drama), but even so I can really appreciate how accurate it is. Love that everything is played completely straight. It's enjoyably over the top, but manages not to feel ridiculous - - even when it's being ridiculous.

    There are brilliantly wry lines and scripts are wonderfully verbose. I'm in awe of the actors delivering what sometimes seems like pages and pages of dialogue while still keeping up such great energy and maintaining the very specific tone of the series.

    So much has happened already. The last episode alone had someone back from being believed dead; two attempted murders; someone about to marry his own sister until the twist that she, too, is illegitimate and therefore not his sister (except she then walked in on her lover in bed with her mother); a catfight in a hospital over an amnesiac patient; a woman revealing she was only pretending to be paralysed. Oh and the cliffhanger that half the cast is possibly about to die in an explosion.

    It's our answer to Soap, I suppose. And also a kind of forerunner to Acorn Antiques.

    However I must confess to feeling slightly perturbed by Barbara Ewing's cleavage.
     
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  9. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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  10. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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  11. Daniel Avery

    Daniel Avery Super Moderator EXP: 19 Years Staff Member

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    Similar to how ABC initially marketed Soap as a comedic soap opera, but then realized that it had to be classified a comedy if they were going to submit it for Emmy awards. And of course Soap cleaned up at the Emmys, pun intended. Brass sounds like a fun show, actually.
     
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  12. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I never watched it,

    One holiday, a man stayed in same hotel - he was someone who was high up in the days of old at BBC - and said Tim West was one of the rudest and most unlikeable people he had ever met which disappointed me as i quite liked him sailing on canals with Pru!
     
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  13. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    It really is. If you like Soap (and I know you do), then it's probably got something you'll enjoy. Though I'd be interested to know if you could make out the Lancashire dialect in Brass.


    The article above compares it with Dallas, which may interest you:



    Oh, that's interesting. It's always interesting to get a perspective kind of from the horse's mouth. Though you never know if someone (either Timothy or the person who worked at the Beeb) was having a bad day or wires got crossed or something.
     
  14. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Winner EXP: 18 Years

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    I met Timothy West once and thought he was very nice. And he was ace as Danny Dyer's dad on Enders!



    I remember Brass as being a right laugh. It was on at something like 7pm on ITV, which you can't imagine now.
     
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  15. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    Series One of Brass has come to an exciting conclusion. With multiple cliffhangers. Currently, the two Fairchild brothers are atop a huge chimney stack which is toppling towards the hospital where the King - visiting along with Bradley and Lady Patience - has just been shocked by the Hardacre daughters arriving naked on horseback in protest. Oh, and the SBD explosive, which becomes unstable when it comes into contact with gold, is just about to meet a gold trowel.

    Despite it being blooming hilarious, I'm far more invested in the storylines than I ought to be.

    I'm shocked how little information about the series seems to be on the internet. Each scene has line after line of quotable dialogue, most of which I struggle to remember afterwards owing to the sheer volume of wit. It's the kind of series that would need multiple watches for someone with my inability to retain dialogue. One line that stuck from last night was Bradley warning Dr McDuff about women in general and his wife in particular: "There's many an old cow has a fine pair o' calves."

    The way the comic scenes move the story forwards is wonderful. One great example was Dr McDuff hypnotising Lady Patience but ending up hypnotised himself. She used this as an opportunity to discard the wheelchair she pretends to need (despite chasing round and deflowering her daughters boyfriend) by convincing the doctor he's worked a miracle cure on her. And into the bargain persuading him to drop his trews at her command.



    There's certainly an edge to it. And an intelligence.

    Even the occasional bit of casual mild profanity - there's been an "arse" or two, a few "bastard"s and at least one "pissed" - feels a little more risque thinking of that time.



    That looks like quite a juicy role.

    Annette Badland is one of those familiar faces that I don't associate with any one role but who seems to have been all over the shop (perhaps for that reason I used to get her mixed up with Miriam Margolyes, even though they look nothing alike). I'm sure I remember her from a kids comedy series in the early Eighties in which she didn't really speak but did some kind of mime while being generally silly. Perhaps in a nurses uniform. But I can't find anything on IMDb that fits, so perhaps I'm thinking of yet another actress who was all over the place.
     
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  16. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    oh I do, she will always be the secretary to Jim Bergerac and Barney Crozier (RIP Sean Arnold) in Bergerac
     
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  17. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    Ah yes. It's that many years since I've watched Bergerac I'd forgotten all about her role in that. I do always think of Terence Alexander as "him from Bergerac" when he shows up in my latest sitcom. And similarly Louise Jameson always makes me think of the series. But I'd forgotten about Annette.

    I seem to remember from watching in the Eighties that her character had some kind of unspoken crush on Jim. But maybe that was a little sub-plot I invented with my overactive schoolboy imagination.
     
  18. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 13 Years

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    Timothy West has dual roles in some episodes of Brass. In one, where he plays Winston Churchill onscreen with Bradley Hardacre, the credits inform us that Churchill is played by anagram Wyotte Smith.

    She is rather versatile. She was in the Doctors 20th anniversary special that screened recently. I used to see her on CBBC shows. And there was a time when she would appear in the early evenings as good, absent-minded and kind-hearted witch, Ursula Crowe, in the BBC’s Wizards Vs Aliens. And two hours later she would be naughty scheming, vengeful Aunt Babe on EastEnders. Come to think, Michael Higgs and Don Gilet got up to naughty deeds on EastEnders but were the good-natured fathers of the two main leads on Wizards Vs Aliens.
     
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  19. J. R.'s Piece

    J. R.'s Piece Soap Chat Dream Maker EXP: 13 Years

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    Glad you’re loving it. In fact your love caused me to start watching it again this week. Thanks!

    Barbara Ewing reused a cleavage prominence trick that she had been taught for the Hammer movie, Dracula Has Risen From The Grave.

    After watching Morris, I can never really think of Anthony Andrews in Brideshead Revisited in the same way again. Writer John Stevenson also wrote for Coronation Street, A Family at War (currently being repeated on Talking Pictures again), Crown Court and Nearest and Dearest.

    I like all those little things too. Like Bradley occasionally mentioning his past with Shicklgruber (Adolf Hitler). At one point, Bradley refers to Margaret Thatcher being one of his illegitimate children. All Bradley’s sons with Lady Patience being named after cars...Bentley, Austin, Morris. And the visual stuff, like when you can see Bradley being served his lobster and chips and the way that several of his female household staff happen to be pregnant. And Maurice’s friends... Guy, Kim and Donald. Of course, Guy gets credited as Guy Baggers, a play on Burgess. And the hilarious plot info dumps. Plus I just like Bradley wanting to dispose of his illegitimate son’s half-brother, while still sleeping with the man’s mother.

    They have mentions of soap operas in one scene with Isobel and Jack, including Brookside. Of course, Brass would have a third series but on Channel 4, seven years after series two. The third series is set around the outbreak of World War Two and the format is different. Austin Hardacre and George Fairchild have new faces in that. They did announce that they would do a fourth series but never did. James Saxon, who played Morris, has now passed away. Caroline Blakiston told me that she would still love to do another series of it because they all loved doing it. Timothy West told me the same a few years back. I didn’t ask them that. They brought it up to me.
     
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  20. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator EXP: 11 Years Staff Member

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    Oh great!


    Ah. That goes some way to explaining it.


    I saw that the night before last, but didn't twig he was speaking about The Milk Snatcher until I read your post. I'm sure there must be lots of subtle stuff that's gone over my head.



    Yes - and British cars at that. It makes me smile that they're at different ends of the market.



    Another one I saw the night before last. Emmerdale got a mention as well, and the Brookside reference had a distinctly disparaging tone.



    I finished Series Two last night, so I'll be entering the Channel Four series this weekend. When deciding whether or not to buy the series I looked up some reviews and the consensus seemed to be that Series Three isn't as funny nor as clever, so I'm going in with lowered expectations.


    So far, the series seems to have become better and better. Series Two was a cracker. Very funny and with some genuinely exciting cliffhangers. The shooting/trial/reveal was great, as were the multiple cliffhangers in the penultimate episode. And the finale was the perfect end to the series. I'm half tempted to just leave it there, but Series Three is part of the package, and so in I go.
     
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