DVD: The Brothers (1972)
I love old TV series, I own nearly every single thing Oliver Tobias was in during the 1970s. I have the box sets of all kinds of crap you’ve probably never heard of. The good (I, Claudius, Luke’s Kingdom), the bad (By the Sword Divided) and the absolutely ESSENTIAL (original Poldark, original Dallas, original Dynasty…none of those crappy remakes.). So being offered the chance to review a programme I was banned from seeing as a kid – The Brothers (I was also banned from seeing The Forsyte Saga) was a real treat.
With 27 discs and totalling a whopping 4567 minutes this review, as you can imagine, will NOT be a review of the whole thing. Though the rate that I’m watching this great series, you wouldn’t have to wait long for me to get to the final episode.
The Brothers was one of the BBC’s most popular drama series of the 1970s, and followed the lives of the Hammond family. When their father and patriarch dies, his eldest son Edward (Glyn Owen) expects to inherit the family’s road haulage company but the he divides it between the three brothers, and his secretary who they find out at the reading of the will is really their sister (Da da DAAAAAAA).
Led by their flinty, domineering mother, Mary Hammond (Jean Anderson), the Hammond brothers Edward, Brian (Richard Easton) and David (Robin Chadwick) are surprised and start bickering immediately. Edward expects to inherit the family business because he has helped run it, and after all his brothers Brian, married to the scheming Anne (Hilary Tindall), is a well-paid accountant and David a pathetic spoilt disinterested playboy with a glamorous girlfriend, Jill (Gabrielle Drake) couldn’t care less about the business.
And that is just the first episode.
Created by Gerard Glaister and N. J. Crisp (Glaister was also the producer of Colditz and Secret Army for the BBC.), it was a forerunner to another huge BBC 1970s hit Howard’s Way, both having been created and produced by Glaister.
Interestingly, when I started to watch it on my massive 4K TV I did think ‘I’m not going to be able to watch this 4:3, grainy, 1970s grey looking thing’. The first scene is outside in a graveyard and the picture was…. quite frankly, terrible. The next scene was indoors which greatly improved the quality , and within 5 minutes I honestly didn’t care that the picture wasn’t perfect, I was far too engrossed in the story! And what a story it is…relationship problems, sexy bitchy ladies, men being…well…men, backstabbing and lying aplenty. Who needs the glamorous American world of the oil business when there is THIS much going on in 1970’s Britain in the truck haulage business!?
I’m currently nearing the end of season 2 and wanted to get this review online as near to the release of the box set as possible, and I can assure you all that my love of this series gets more with each passing episode, as does my appreciation of the picture quality…being too used to pristine 4k movies and TV shows lately initially threw me when first watching The Brothers, but now it is like a visual comfort blanket, taking me back in time to the 1970’s and watching programmes on an old CRT set where you had to get up to change the channel…usually by pressing big buttons very hard, and THEN having to twist them to fine tune the picture a bit as well. Thankfully this series is still here to watch too, as a lot of BBC television shows from the time have been lost forever.
I can say with absolute certainty that The Brothers box set will be firmly placed next to Dallas and Dynasty on my DVD shelves. You can’t get a higher honour than THAT.
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