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    The Vicar of Dibley - The Complete Second Series

    BBC/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 210 mins . PG . NTSC


    What a good show this is. And what a shite treatment in the transfer.

    The Vicar of Dibley – Season Two continues the simple story of Geraldine Granger (Dawn French), a hip young thing fresh from Priest School who has arrived in a small country town the equal of anything in Deliverance. Strange characters abound and Gerry constantly butts heads with local councillor David Horton. Her verger, Alice Tinker, is a brain-dead girl of limitless emptiness while Horton’s son Hugo is the male equivalent. And they’re in love but too shy to do anything about it. Then there’s a dorkish gay trainspotter, a crazy old backwards talker and cow farmer with more bodily ailments and disgusting cattle stories than you can ring a little stick with a bell on the end at.

    "Sizzle my sausage!"

    Here in the bizarre order in which this show was originally created, we receive the entire four episodes of Season Two with two TV specials that ran during Easter and Christmas. The first disc promised The Christmas Lunch Incident which was not forthcoming on that disc, but here it is included, leaving but four episodes remaining to go to DVD. It seems the Beeb aren’t funding any more experiments into Dibley and these last four (whenever we see them, if ever) are all we will get, sadly.

    The show blends humour, religion and modern times perfectly in coming up against the slower Dark Ages of the countryfolk without being derogatory toward the rural region. Instead, it’s the characters who are the butt of the jokes and this works incredibly well. While the formula of stringing together an eclectic collection of folks is by no means a new one (in fact I think it’s among the very first of all formulas) it is utilised well here to great a warm series with the prefect blend of everything.

    Collected here are:

      The Specials:
    • The Easter Bunny - in which the rumours of the Dibley Bunny threaten to overshadow Gerry’s Easter message. The members of the Parish Council all decide to give up something for Lent and Gerry’s love of chocolate is among the first to go.
    • The Christmas Lunch Incident sees Gerry promising herself to go to three separate Christmas Lunches with hilarious and catastrophic consequences.

      Season Two:

    • Engagement finally sees Hugo and Alice forced together by Gerry, tired of witnessing their awkwardness. However, she seems to have created a monster.
    • Dibley Live details Gerry’s effort to get a radio license for a week and the strange and heady heights of being a DJ is almost too much for some on the Parish Council. The programs include Hugo’s two-song-only show and some major announcements, which seem to have gone unheard.
    • Celebrity Vicar. With the success of Radio Dibley, Geraldine finds herself offered all manner of interviews, radio and TV appearances. She loses herself among the fame however, which doesn’t bode well for the villagers.
    • Love and Marriage sees us witnessing the most bizarre wedding in TV history as Hugo and Alice finally tie the knot. This also sees an announcement from Gerry that she will be leaving Dibley.

    For anyone who loved Season One this is much more of the same thing here, treated in as appalling a manner as the first series' transfer…


    Depending on your system’s abilities, the picture here may be different than mine. I reviewed this disc on a different television and DVD player than the first season and it was in a different state of repair than the first season had been. I went and tried it on the old player and system and it worked better there. For some unholy reason this has been presented in an NTSC transfer, which strikes me as particularly odd for a British show. I can only imagine they’re producing this for America, where this show enjoys a certain popularity. However, it’s a smack in the face to the people who made this show truly popular – the British and the Australians.

    The picture quality is not great, unfortunately. The opening titles on each episode are truly appalling in their taped-from-a-tape look and the show’s transferral from PAL to NTSC makes the show appear grainy and softy-edged. There is even a faint ghosting on some characters at times and the shadow detail is fairly crap. All that being said though, the quality of the show and writing is much better than average and the show does manage to stand even with this poor treatment.


    Dolby Digital stereo delivers every line just fine. There’s really no problem with the sound package. Dialogue is clear and audible, the sound effects are all the natural deal without any post production additions… actually, maybe once or twice there are some post additions, but these are comical and added for a laugh. The music of the show is also fine, with choral singing opening and closing the episodes singing a musical version of The Lord is My Shepherd. This is actually a nice touch and surprisingly still works to create the mood for the show. Not overly religious, not underly so either.


    As with Season One, we only get the six episodes here but the humour and appeal of them is more than enough.


    Again, having not learned anything from the previous release, the fools have sold this in NTSC. This is an appalling disgrace and has ruined a great show visually. Granted, the visuals aren’t as important here as the dialogue, but there are moments where visuals are the entire gag. It’s a disappointing transfer that ruins what could have otherwise been a brilliant transfer of a brilliant show.

    (For parts of this review I’ve borrowed expressions I used in the last review when I found them particularly fitting).

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3923
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      And I quote...
    "Another brilliant show hijacked by a treacherous transfer into NTSC. What were they thinking? "
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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