GEORGE AND THE DRAGON
Region 2 Edition
Sid James, Peggy Mount, John Le Mesurier, Keith Marsh
George and the Dragon is a sitcom that was made by ATV and originally
broadcast between 19th November 1966 and 31st
October 1968. It ran for four series in total, and was made
(unsurprisingly for the time) in black & white.
There are only four main characters: George Russell (Sid James), Gabrielle
Dragon (Peggy Mount), Colonel Maynard (John Le Mesurier) and Ralph the
gardener (Keith Marsh).
show is set in Southern England, at the house of an eccentric retired
Colonel (John Le Mesurier), with Ralph (Keith Marsh) as the scatty-brained
gardener and George (Sid James) as the Colonelís chauffeur / general
first episode sets up the characters and situation, and implies the
household has difficulty in keeping the employ of a housekeeper due to the
lecherous advances of George (a typical Sid James casting). A chance
encounter with Gabrielle Dragon (Peggy Mount) introduces her to the
vacancy, and there you have the four core characters.
premise of the show from that point onwards is the conflict between the
two major players (Sid and Peggy).
writing talents of Vince Powell and Harry Driver (who subsequently went on
to pen Two in Clover also staring Sid James) is sharp and doesnít
lose focus on the direction on where the show is heading, which leads to a
uniform quality of episodes throughout the four series produced.
strength of this delightful comedy undoubtedly draws greatly from the
relationship between George and Gabrielle. Both characters are strong, and
are played very much as you would expect them to be. Sid for example could
very much have just stepped from the set of Hancockís Half Hour. You feel
comfortable with the two characters in the situations the writers create
around them, the mark of a good sitcom.
John Le Mesurier has more to do in the second half of the series than the
first, but is beautifully cast, again very much playing himself as do Sid
and Peggy, and many of his mannerisms are instantly recognisable in the
role he went on to play in Dadís Army.
Keith Marsh in the part of dippy Ralph is more of a support for the main
two characters, but works well within the storylines provided for him.
Brian Wilde, Yootha Joyce, John Junkin and Geoffrey Palmer are among those
welcome well-known faces that pop up in small incidental roles throughout
the series. Thereís also a brief appearance by Tom Baker, in whatís
believed to be his earliest surviving TV role.
There are four DVD-9 discs in the set, each containing one series a piece.
The picture is presented in the original 4:3 ratio and the sound is mono.
There are no subtitles for the hard of hearing, and the entire set is
Region 0 PAL.
bit-rate varies between 4.7 and 6.5Mbps.
an un-restored recording nearly forty years old, the quality of the
picture is surprisingly good, albeit slightly rough around the edges
during the first series.
There are no extras, other than a group of photographs presented as a
slideshow on Disc Four.
the ATV London start / end caps are present, along with the ad caps.
James was known to have suffered a heart attack midway through the making
of this series, but looks well throughout, and his performance will not
disappoint fans watching this little gem for the first time.
casting of Peggy Mount alongside Sid was an inspired move, and turns what
could have been an amusing little sit-com into a genuinely funny one.
had only ever seen one episode some years ago before getting my hands on
this boxset, so I had no preconceptions as to how good or bad the series
was until I actually watched it. And my conclusion? Absolutely superb!
Network should be roundly applauded for releasing this wonderful little
comedy. I believe it will appeal to both fans of Sid James / Peggy Mount /
John Le Mesurier and those who are attracted to quality older television
was left at the end with the regret that ATV didnít make more than just
four series. I enjoyed it that much (more than I genuinely expected to).
can heartily recommend this excellent release to everyone. Itís currently
available (at the time of writing Ė December 2004) through Choices Direct
as an exclusive, but will be sold by all the usual retailers in early
2005. Beg, borrow or steal a copy if you can. You wonít be disappointed!