GOODNIGHT SWEETHEART - THE COMPLETE SERIES TWO

Region 2 Edition   Updated January 2006

Director:  Robin Nash

Featuring:  Nicholas Lyndhurst, Dervla Kerwin, Michelle Holmes

Nicholas Lyndhurst as Gary Sparrow

Dervla Kerwin as Phoebe Bamford

Michelle Holmes as Yvonne

THE SERIES

Goodnight Sweetheart is an amiable fantasy sitcom about a TV repair man, Gary Sparrow (Only Fools and Horses' Nicholas Lyndhurst) who discovers he's able to travel back in time to London during the World War II, where he engages in an flirtatious relationship with a barmaid (Ballykissangel's Dervla Kerwin). Gary confides to his best friend, printer Ron Wheatcroft (Bread's Victor McGuire), and they conspire to keep the secret from Gary's wife, Yvonne (Michelle Holmes).

For more details about the series, read our review of series one.

The DVD features the complete second series, comprising of ten half-hour episodes split evenly between two dual-layer discs: Don't Get Around Much Anymore, I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good, Just One More Chance, Who's Taking You Home Tonight?, Wish Me Luck... As You Wave Me Goodbye, Would You Like To Swing On A Star?, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Let Yourself Go and Don't Fence Me In.

The series has several running stories and developments: Gary loses his job as a TV repair man because of his regular trips to see Phoebe, and finds new ways of raising money. Ron gives Gary a fake job as a salesman for his printing company, and Gary's dual life becomes increasingly stressful, leading him to make a drastic decision. One of the key characters from the last series has been dropped, without significantly changing the show: it was clear that his character would have restricted the development of Gary's relationship with Phoebe.

Ronnie Stevens as Sydney Wix

Nicholas Lyndhurst as Gary, and Victor McGuire as Ron Wheatcroft

Christopher Ettridge as Reginald Horatio Deadman

THE DVD

The discs in this set are of similar quality to the first season disc. As a relatively recent PAL-sourced videotaped BBC series, the source materials are in good shape. There are some patches where underlying video noise is evident, and there's a touch of ringing here and there, (both probably embedded into the source, and not the result of any recent tweaking), but generally the picture quality is very satisfactory. Dropouts and other source glitches are practically non-existent.

There are few signs that the bitrate is struggling, although some i-frame pulsing can be seen occasionally. Nothing that should cause offence, though, and certainly better than some similar discs. With five episodes on each disc, there's a bit more room to play with than there was on the Series One disc: the episodes on disc one have an average bitrate of 5.45Mb/s; those on disc two have an average bitrate of 4.76Mb/s (because they have, somewhat inexplicably, only used 5.2Gb of the capacity - a black mark there).

The audio is in 2.0 Dolby Digital format, at a constant 192kbps. It's a robust, no-frills mix, with the typical limitations of a modern TV production. Dialogue is invariably clear, and music well-integrated.

The back of the sleeve states that the "DVD features Original Music From The TV Broadcast". This is less definitive than Series One's "DVD features all the original music from the TV series", and with good reason. Although it features songs written by The Beatles (I Am The Walrus) and The Rolling Stones ((I Can't Get No) Satisfaction), there are cuts to two episodes.

I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good has been edited to remove Gary singing part of You've Lost That Loving Feeling. In the original version Gary is playing the song on the piano, and Phoebe tells Gary to "Will you pack it in with that miserable wailing", and he replies "Y'see, Reg, she has started to criticise the little things I do", which is also a lyric from the song. The edited version clips off the beginning of the scene, making Gary's comment rather less witty.

A song by Cliff Richard (the aptly-titled We Don't Talk Anymore) has been replaced by nondescript stock music in Who's Taking You Home Tonight?, and the dialogue has been edited to disguise the change. The song featured in the scene where Gary returns to the restaurant, where he has left a tape playing a recording of Gary being sick. In the original version Ron's says "Can you hear something? Sounds like Cliff Richard!", and Gary replies, "Shut up, Cliff". Both of Ron's lines and Gary's reply have been removed.

The discs have clear, simple animated menus, offering a choice of episodes, and, in the case of disc one, the bonus features menu. The episodes themselves have been coded as one title, and sub-divided into eleven chapters. There are chapter marks at the beginnings of each episode, and one at the end of each episode's credit sequence (making it easy for people watching more than one episode to skip the end credits and opening title sequences - something we requested in our review of the Series One disc, so perhaps someone is listening!)

There are no subtitles.

Nicholas Lyndhurst as Gary Sparrow

On stage: Michelle Holmes as Yvonne Sparrow, and Nicholas Lyndhurst as her husband, Gary

Dream sequence: Nicholas Lyndhurst as Gary Sparrow

THE BONUS MATERIAL

We remarked in our review of the Series One set that having commentary tracks on all the episodes was laudable, but in practice the participants (Marks and Gran) frequently ran out of steam. This time, Revelation have only supplied two episodes with commentary (the opening episode, Don't Get Around Much Anymore and episode four, Who's Taking You Home Tonight?). This time Marks and Gran are joined by fellow writers Gary Lawson and John Phelps (it was during this season that Marks and Gran decided that they couldn't handle the extended number of episodes themselves, and brought in writers they'd worked with before to help out).

This time the tracks are as informative as the last batch, but the energy is sustained throughout. Obviously, it would have been nice to have a couple more, perhaps with Paul Makin (the other writer working on this season) contributing to his episodes? It's a shame that there wasn't at least one more commentary for an episode toward the end of the season. There are some significant developments in the second half of the series, including the introduction of a number of recurring characters.

The other bonus feature is a half-hour videotaped interview with Christopher Ettridge, who comes across as an amiable fellow. The interview is, naturally, focussed on Goodnight Sweetheart, but also takes in other aspects of his life and career. There's no interviewer: questions appear on-screen as captions. The mood is cosy. Ettridge seems to have enjoyed his time on the show, and, as a jobbing actor, seems, naturally, to be most grateful for the work and exposure.

The much-increased number of episodes (ten this time, as opposed to six last time) has resulted in a rise in the RRP, from 15.99 to 19.99. That's still very reasonable compared to similar releases, from other companies, especially considering the bonus material.

Michael Troughton as the seedy brewery rep, George

Nicholas Lyndhurst as Gary Sparrow

Gary (Nicholas Lyndhurst) and Ron (Victor McGuire) are interviewed by a TV reporter (Suzy Aitchison)

SUMMARY

Ten episodes, two commentary tracks, and a half-hour interview make this a very solid release from Revelation Films. Again, there are a few quibbles (the wasted space on the second disc, the music edits, and the reduced number of commentary tracks), but it's unlikely that anyone will feel short-changed.

 

With thanks to Brad Jones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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