Bedtime: The Complete Series (TV)
R2 - United Kingdom - Acorn Media
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (29th April 2013).
The Show

Known for his stature as well as his talent, 5ft3 Andy Hamilton is one of the best comedy writers to come from the United Kingdom in recent years. He originally joined the BBC in 1976 after being spotted performing with his University comedy troupe at the Edinburgh Film Festival and started writing for several BBC Radio 4 shows including, "Week Ending" and "The News Huddlines". He first made the move to television writing in 1979 with the famed political satire sketch show, "Not the Nine O'Clock News" and went on to write for shows such as "Scotch and Wry", "Who Dares Wins" and "The Kit Curran Show" before coming into his own with "Drop the Dead Donkey" in 1990 for Channel 4. "Bedtime" was the first television show he wrote and directed for the Beeb, lasting for fifteen episodes over three series, all of which are included in this DVD set from Acorn Media.

The synopsis from Acorn Media reads:
Bedtime from writer Andy Hamilton (Outnumbered/Trevor’s World of Sport) is a unique and hugely rewarding comedy series set in the bedrooms of various adjoining houses during the last half-hour of the day.
Andrew and Alice Oldfield (Timothy West and Sheila Hancock) are the couple to whom – and around whom - so much is happening; a small suburban world of car alarms, noisy lovemaking, broken windows, newborn babies and revenge as a dish served fiery hot.
From the couple whose marriage is tested in unexpected ways, to the young model who falls into the clutches of tabloid journalism; from the grieving son and his empathetic father to the lover with a demanding deadline; from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day – over three series you are invited through open doors and closed windows into the hilarious, surprising and completely engaging world of other people just before Bedtime.


Bedtime has a great idea behind it. The last half hour of your day can sometimes be the only time you get to speak to your loved one if you've both had extremely busy days, and this show recognises that fact. The comedy is typically British, finding dry wit in the most unlikely of circumstances and often at times where you aren't sure if you were right to laugh. Not to worry though for those who don't understand this type of humour, you can probably still enjoy the show because of its non-comedy elements. The storylines intertwine well between all the neighbours and are well written to give each character the same amount of air time and comic moments.

The cast are also a great aspect of "Bedtime". You get a couple of Andy Hamilton's regulars including the vastly underrated Claire Skinner who also had/has roles in "Trevor's World of Sport" and "Outnumbered", and other established British talent like Stephen Tompkinson, Meera Syal, Alun Armstrong and Faye Ripley. At the time, the show was also Sienna Miller's career highlight and she has obviously now managed to park herself in Hollywood after Matthew Vaughan had his eye caught and cast her in Layer Cake.

It's not all gravy though. The biggest downside in this set is series 3. Although it has a very good idea of being spread across the three days of Christmas, it lacks a little in the wit that had previously worked so well. I found the storyline of the three episodes to ocassionally feel a little bit of a slog to work through also. Still, the first two series make this an obvious purchase for fans of British comedy/dramady.

Video

Presented anamorphically at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, "Bedtime" looks like it did during its original broadcast. It isn't reference quality material, but it certainly does the job. Colours are sometimes a little on the dark side, contrast maybe a little high - but overall, there is no aliasing, no damage to the print and very little edge enhancement.

Audio

A single audio option has been included on this set, English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Seperation is minimal, but there is no damage on the track - no hiss, dropouts or scratches. Dialogue is clear and concise at all times and volume levels are consistent. Optional English subtitles have been included for the hard of hearing. White in colour, they are well paced and easy to read.

Extras

All extras can be found on disc one.

Interview with Andy Hamilton (14:33) - This interview was filmed in July 2012 and is a general interview rather than one specific to this show. Hamilton tells us about how he started in comedy through being spotted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He also tells us about his transition from radio to television, the differences between radio and television work, and what shows he admired when he was growing up.

"Andy Hamilton on Bedtime" interview (13:30) has "Bedtime"'s creator, writer and director talking about this show. He talks about the general idea behind the enclosed settings, his thoughts on what people are perhaps doing during their bedtime, and the usual aspects of tv shows such as casting.

The rest of the extras are self explanatory:
Filmographies:
- Alun Armstrong
- Fay Ripley
- Vincent Ebrahim
- Claire Skinner
- Sheila Hancock
- Meera Syal
- Doon Mackichan
- Neil Stuke
- Kevin McNally
- Stephen Tompkinson
- Sienna Miller
- Timothy West
Picture Gallery (1:18)

Overall

The Show: B Video: B- Audio: B Extras: D+ Overall: B-

 


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