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MI9to5

MI9to5
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Member since: 08.02.2008

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      20.11.2010 23:19
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      A brilliant insurance company

      Buying insurance of any sort is always a daunting experience but buying car insurance for the first time is probably about as daunting as it gets. There are so many companies to choose from that it is so easy to become baffled by the whole thing and then end up choosing the wrong company for all the wrong reasons.

      After beginning my driving lessons in late January this year, by the end of February I was doing quite well and my dad had enough confidence in me to even consider letting me drive his car. It was then that we began the long and gruelling task of finding a suitable insurance company. Now my dad was already insured with Churchill but they weren't exactly giving him the best deal in the world considering he has 28 years no claims. Plus we had already decided that we both wanted to be with the same insurance company once I got my own vehicle and Churchill were definitely not the company for going down that route with.

      Searches on numerous comparison sites highlighted Admiral as one of the best companies price wise but would they be the best company for insurance. Well after looking into it we decided that yes they probably were and so went ahead with purchasing the insurance.

      It was about 11pm when we finally decided to take the plunge and make the phone call. Now my dad has a strange dislike to telephones so the whole conversation was left up to me. Phoning this late at night we got through to someone straight away and I'm pleased to say that the someone was a real person, not an automated machine but a real person. The man I spoke to was absolutely brilliant and couldn't have been more helpful. He went through everything efficiently but at a fast enough pace that I wasn't just hanging around waiting for him to shut up. He took all the car details, driver details, excess information and all the other stuff that goes with purchasing insurance. Within 15 minutes he'd finalised the price, I'd paid and the insurance documents were in the post.

      The car we insured was a Mitsubishi Spacestar with a 51 registration plate. For both me (a 20 year old female) and my dad (a 47 year old male) on the same insurance, both as equal drivers, both earning our own no-claims and both fully comprehensive, the insurance cost us £819. Personally I don't think that this is too bad considering that my dad was paying nearly £340 on his own and I was a learner driver.

      The insurance documents arrived two days later, all was correct on them and we were happy bunny's.

      My next dealing with the company was in July when we were considering purchasing a new car. Once again it was my turn to phone Admiral and request a quote. This time it was around 1pm when I phoned them and so I expected to be kept on hold for quite a while considering it was a Saturday. This, however, wasn't the case and the phone was again answered very quickly. The girl on the other end of the phone quickly dealt with my request and gave me a price. We hadn't yet bought the car, though, so didn't continue with the purchase.

      Two days later and we'd paid for the car. We were due to pick it up the next day and so once again I phoned admiral. The phone was again answered very quickly and my request to process the insurance alterations stored a few days early was efficiently seen to. Within 5 minutes I had made all the necessary arrangements and from midnight that night until midnight the following night both me and my dad would be insured on our current vehicle plus our newly purchased one.

      The cost to change the insurance over was a mere £47 not bad considering the new car was a diesel Kia C'eed with a way bigger engine and a 58 plate. Our insurance for the year was therefore £866 for us both.

      In August I made my final call (so far) to Admiral. On August 24th of this year I passed my driving test and so had to inform the insurance company. After running in the house waving the piece of paper at my mum I calmed down and picked up the phone. It was a weekday and 3pm but I got through almost immediately again. The young man I spoke to on the end of the phone was lovely. He congratulated me on my test, asked me what I thought about it and generally made good conversation whilst all the time processing my insurance upgrade. Once again I had to pay a little extra (I no longer needed another driver in the car) but the amount wasn't as much as I'd expected. It was £18. Insurance cost was now only £884.

      I can honestly say that I cannot find a single fault with Admiral. Obviously I have not had to make a claim with them, and hopefully never will have to, but from every dealing with them I have had I have found their staff to be marvellously helpful, extremely polite and superbly efficient. Personally I think the insurance deal both me and my dad have got is very good. £884 for two drivers, both fully comprehensive as equal drivers, both with own no claims and in a relatively new car is pretty decent. Plus our excess payment if we were to claim is only £170, we have windscreen cover, legal cover and roadside assistance all thrown in too.

      Admiral are right at the top of the fleet in the navy of insurance companies.

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        24.09.2010 11:10
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        A lovely read just unfortunately not as good as the first

        In the summer of 2008, whilst travelling on a coach to Lake Garda in Italy, I read the wonderful J. L. Carrell novel 'The Shakespeare Secret' and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. I was so enthralled by it in fact that by the time I reached my hotel in Italy I had read the entire book. Funny then that it should be this summer (2010), whilst once again travelling on a coach to Italy - Tuscany this time, however, that I should read the second instalment by Carrell 'The Shakespeare Curse'.

        In comparison to the first novel I have to admit that I didn't enjoy this one as much and that I didn't devour it during the travel alone but took another four days to complete it. This is not because the book was uninteresting or that it was badly written but just that it didn't hook me as much as the first one had. The style of writing is still brilliant and the novel orchestrated painstakingly well with clever intricacies and academic jibes. The problem for me possibly came from the less frequent use of the character Ben, whom I had come to love in the first novel. Ben still plays a key part in this novel but his character has less of a spark than he previously had and does not appear often enough for my liking. The Kate, Ben pairing in the first novel was what gave it that added dimension the lack of it in this one did leave me feeling a little disappointed.

        The general thread of this novel is, however, just as good as the previous one and sees Kate, ex-professor now Shakespearian play director, do her level best to sort through the myth, the mystery and the chaos to reveal the truth. When a brutally murdered body of a stunning young woman is found on a Scottish hillside beside an intriguingly mysterious knife, everything about it suggests ancient pagan sacrifice. Things get worse when on the same hill a trench is found filled with blood. As the shocking discoveries mount so do the links with the curse of the play never named - Macbeth.

        As the title of the book suggests and the general novel theme also attests, this novel has strong connections with Shakespeare's plays. It is therefore at times a little confusing if the reader does not have a basic Shakespeare knowledge, especially surrounding Macbeth. I personally loved all the references to and quotes from Shakespeare's texts but I can easily see how others would find this irritating. Ultimately, however, all these references form a major part of the plot and without them the novels imply could not exist. I would therefore suggest that those who have little interest in Shakespeare or become annoyed by novels quoting other works, do not attempt to read this work of fiction.

        The work is as I have just mentioned a piece of fiction and has been orchestrated and created within the author's mind. It can though be very difficult to separate what is true Shakespeare and Shakespeare myth from what has simply been fabricated by Carrell herself. This in my opinion is true genius as it really makes the reader think about everything they are being told. The Author's Notes at the end do, however, rectify this by directing the reader to notice, which parts of the novel are fiction, which are based loosely on fact and which are fact themselves.

        All in all I must say that 'The Shakespeare Curse' is a novel I enjoyed and that although it was not as good as Carrell's first instalment in this series, I will be eagerly awaiting the third part. Let's just hope that if a third novel is on the card that it arrives quicker than this one did.

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        • The Red Baron (DVD) / DVD / 65 Readings / 61 Ratings
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          01.07.2010 19:23
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          An interesting and enjoyable production

          Not being one of the biggest cinema goers in the world I tend to miss quite a lot of films when the first come out and to be perfectly honest often end up watching them months and sometimes even years after they were first released. That is why my family and I have a lovefilm.com subscription and why the list of films we want to see is growing by the week. The Red Baron is one of those films that we just missed when it was first released but was one that when we heard about it we, well me and my dad really, just had to see.

          The Red Baron, known is Germany as Der Rote Baron, is a German production film that was filmed in the English language. It premiered in Berlin late in the March of 2008 but received a lot of criticism due to a high level of historical inaccuracy. The film also caused controversy in Germany, where patriotism is generally deliberately avoided, due to its emphasis on the German war hero and films central character Manfred von Richthofen.

          The film tells the story of Manfred von Richthofen, a fighter pilot in the Imperial German Air Service in WWI. After successfully killing Captain Hawker, a notorious enemy pilot, Richthofen is promoted and given command of his own private aerial squadron. Despite his want to succeed Richthofen specifically orders his men to avoid killing enemy pilots unless absolutely necessary and this is a principal that stays with him throughout his life. It is also this that causes him to forge an unlikely alliance or at the very least acquaintance with British pilot Captain Brown, which also stays with him for the duration of his life.

          Shortly after meeting with Brown, Richthofen is wounded in the skull and is sent to be nursed by kate, with whom an unlikely love affair begins. Despite his wound however Richthofen is determined to fly with his men and continues to do so. It isn't long however before he realises that the fame his squadron but especially himself is receiving is also part of propaganda manipulation. Richthofen doesn't fly for the fame but for the thrill and the enjoyment. But his perspective on flying is not the one that those in the command would wish him to have and combined with his disgust for the war he finds the strains and responsibility of his fighter wing even harder. But no matter what anyone else has to say about it, flying alongside his men is what he will continue to do until the day he dies.

          RICHTHOFEN: I can, perhaps, lead them, help them, die with them, but I will not betray them or keep the truth from them by remaining the immortal god that Berlin wants me to be.

          The plot above doesn't exactly make the film sound like the most thrilling production in the world and to be perfectly honest that is true. What the film is, however, is a wonderful glimpse into the world of German heroes that we are frequently disallowed from seeing. The production isn't the most factual one in the world but it does allow us to see the other side and for this the production company must wholeheartedly be congratulated. Furthermore the technical choreography of the dogfight sequences within the film are some of the best in film and both these and the period equipment used in the film did receive high critical praise.

          The acting in the film is relatively good throughout and the use of German actors makes the film more realistic. Now I know that the language of the film is English so therefore it isn't realistic in that perspective but the accent on the English language is and that does make a difference in my opinion. Matthias Schweighofer is in my opinion brilliant as the lead character, as he really emanates the arrogance and confidence of the man his is trying to portray, whilst still keeping the air of values and principles that made him a hero.

          Lena Headey is also brilliantly cast as Kate and provides a contrast to Richthofen, without seeming weak or being sidelined by his personality. The rest of the aerial squadron have also been cleverly cast and each bring something to the production as a whole. Each character has their own unique personality that may not be seen often but when it is really brings the whole film to life and makes everything you see seem so much more real.

          I wouldn't say that watching the film is the most pleasurable experience in the world unless like me you have a real fondness of aviation, WWI or German history. If you fall into any of these categories you will probably find yourself like me being drawn into the story the film is telling. Yes you have to be aware that not all is factually correct but if you bear this is mind what you will end up watching is a wonderfully scripted, choreographed and filmed production that is a real pleasure to watch.

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          30.06.2010 14:45
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          A lovely collection of tracks

          === Ronan Keating ===

          Ronan Keating is an Irish singer songwriter who made his debut in 1994 as the lead singer of the boy band Boyzone. Keating's solo career began in 1999, with Boyzone disbanding only a year later. During his solo career Keating has collaborated with many big names including Elton John, Lulu and the BeeGees. He became a big household name when his song 'When You Say Nothing At All' was featured in the film Notting Hill. In 2007 he was listed in the Guinness book of Records for being the only artist to have 30 consecutive top 10 UK singles.

          === His Albums ===

          Up to date Ronan Keating, as a solo artist, has released seven studio albums, one of which is a compilation album entitled 'Ten Years of Hits'. The earliest of these albums was 'Ronan' in 2000 and was followed by 'Destination' in 2002. His latest album release is 'Winter Songs' which was released in November 2009 closely after the release of the album 'Songs For My Mother', his sixth studio album, which was released earlier the same year and shall be reviewed today.

          == Songs For My Mother ==

          Songs For My Mother was Ronan Keating's comeback album after the Boyzone reunion and was released in the March of 2009. The album features Keating's usual backing band and live orchestra and was completely recorded over the space of two days just before Christmas 2008. The album was recorded in memory of his later mother and was released to celebrate Mother's day. The album peaked at number 1 in the UK, staying there for two weeks. It also reached number 1 status in Australia, Ireland and New Zealand.


          === The Album in Short ===

          If you're one of those people that aren't particularly looking for a track-by-track breakdown of the album in question then this section is for you and you can simply gloss over the track analysis if you wish. Songs For My Mother is a truly beautiful album in my opinion and completely relaxes the listener. All of the tracks on the album, barring one, are covers of songs Keating remembers his mother listening to throughout his childhood and have been handpicked by him. The only original track is 'This is Your Song', which was written for both his parents and appeared as a b-side to 'When you Say Nothing At All'. The track on this album is however a new version. Some may find the album samey because of its somewhat melancholy feel at times but I personally find it very pleasant and soothing to listen to. 'Vincent' is one of the highlights for me as is the emotional 'Carrickfergus'. The opening track, however, could have been better picked as although it isn't weak by any means there are better songs on the album.

          === Track Breakdown ===

          ONE - Time After Time
          Time after Time is a track originally sung by Cyndi Lauper and is one that I liked well before I heard Keating's version and I must admit that he does a really good job with it. His slightly gravelly voice suits the lyrics and mood of the track wonderfully and the slightly unusual more upbeat chorus backing music make the whole track a pleasure to listen to. Despite all of this I would not have personally picked this track to open the album.
          'Secrets, stolen,
          from deep inside
          The drum beats out of time'
          *******8/10*******

          TWO - Make You Feel My Love
          This track was originally written and recorded by Bob Dylan and is a track that I can't say I really knew before listening to on this album. I must now say, however, that it is one that I enjoy listening to somewhat. Compared to the previous track it is much slower and solemn. Keating's voice though beautifully carries off the lyrics and the soulful piano backing is beautiful to listen to.
          'I'd go crawling down the avenue
          There is nothing that I wouldn't do
          To make you feel my love'
          ********8/10********

          THREE - Both Sides Now
          I absolutely adore this track from start to finish and wish that this had been the opening track to the album. Something about this song just endears me towards it and no matter how many different versions of it I listen to I cannot put my finger on it. The lyrics are interesting and they're always sung so beautifully. In this respect Keating does not fail one little bit and portrays the story of the lyrics perfectly from the opening bar to the closely melody.
          ''I've looked at love from both sides now
          From give and take and still somehow
          It's loves illusions I recall
          I really don't know love - at all'
          ***********10/10**********

          FOUR - Vincent
          Vincent is a song that for some reason is very popular in my house. When I found out it was on this album I was therefore very pleased, as was my dad who plays the track an awful lot. I was, however, a little concerned that it wouldn't live up to my expectations but my concerns were unfounded as this version is fantastic. Ronan proves that he doesn't need loud backing tracks or fancy melodies and that he can in short sing in a way that captures and holds the listener.
          'Now I understand
          What you tried to say to me
          How you suffered for your sanity
          How you tried to set them free'
          **********10/10***********

          FIVE - Carrickfergus
          Like the previous track this one highlights perfectly how well Keating can actually sing. With a limited backing track he performs this song beautifully and considering it was one I had never heard before it has now become a firm favourite. It tells a heartfelt story from start to finish and is sung with emotion and passion that just cannot be overlooked.
          'for I'm drunk today
          And I'm rarely sober
          A handsome rover
          From town to town
          **********10/10**********

          SIX - I Believe I Can Fly
          This song somewhat bleeds into the end of the track before and its beginning is therefore quite refreshing and seemingly more upbeat than the previous track. This song is one that everyone knows, or at least think they do, and therefore it's always going to be a hard one to do justice. I do believe though that Keating does just that and considering that this was his mothers favourite song, doing so must have been incredibly difficult. He doesn't do anything fancy with the song and simply sings it as it should be sung with passion, emotion and conviction.
          'If I can see it
          Then I can be it
          If I just believe it
          There's nothing to it'
          *********9/10*********

          SEVEN - Mama's Arms
          This is another track packed full with emotion and to be honest I have listened to it a few times with a tear in my eye. The fact that the album was for his late mother also makes this song sound much more emotional than it may otherwise be. The story of the lyrics is powerful and leaves a lasting impression when you listen closely. Keating does a wonderful job with this track and I can only commend him on it.
          'Going back to a tender age
          So full of confusion and rage
          Daddy says boys your mamas gone
          There's a hand on your shoulder as you're throwing dirt
          Someone says time heals the hurt'
          *********9/10*********

          EIGHT - The Wild Mountain Thyme
          The track is another that I had never heard before but one that I now really like. There is again just something about it that endears me towards it. The backing track is near enough none existent with just an opening melody and then a steady beat throughout the track, with a few occasions of a string melody. Personally I don't think the lyrics are anything special nor are they sung in a wonderfully clever way. What they are however is sung competently and with a conviction and passion that tells you they mean something to the singer. For me this is far more important than anything else. 'if 'If my true love won't have me
          I would surely find another
          To put wild mountain thyme
          All around the purple heather'
          ********8/10********

          NINE - Suspicious Minds
          Now I am by no means an Elvis Presley fan, in fact to be honest I really can't stand a lot of his music. There are of course the odd track that I like but Suspicious Minds is not really one of them. I must say though that Keating's version is a good one and my dad, who is a Presley fan, also likes it, which must mean something. The track for me is, however, my least favourite on the album but this has more to do with the Elvis connection than anything else, as the track is sung well and most importantly Keating doesn't try and be Elvis in the way he sings it.
          'We can't go on together
          With suspicious minds
          We can't our dream
          On suspicious minds'
          *******7/10*******

          TEN - This is Your Song
          This track is the only Keating original on the album and to be honest it really shows. Everything about the track suits him and his singing style. Furthermore the lyrics are emotive and you can tell they mean something to him from the opening bar. The backing track is sensitive but plays an integral part in pulling on the listeners heart-strings. In my opinion this is a fantastic closing track to the album and tells everyone why this album is so special to him.
          'You made us stand us tall
          When all around us would fall
          Even when you were low
          You believed you could fly'
          **********10/10**********

          == CLOSING COMMENT ==

          This album is one that I loved from the very first play through and one that I continue to play and love. All of the tracks are filled with an emotion and passion that just makes them special. The opening track isn't necessarily the best but that doesn't really matter because any listener of the album will find themselves being pulled along by the real meaning of the album, which is summed up in the final track. Keating may not be to everyone's taste but he's always been an artist that I have liked and this album is definitely one of my favourites. It may not be original but it's definitely good.

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            25.06.2010 15:56
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            A wonderful book for children of all ages

            Little Miss Trouble and the Mermaid is one of 20 stories in the Mr Men and Little Miss books with added Sparkle collection. The reason these books are called with added sparkle is the fact that all of the front covers have something glittery or sparkly or shimmery about them. I must add at this point however that despite being a huge Mr Men and Little Miss fan I wasn't immediately aware of the existence of these books and to be truly honest only started purchasing them after I spotted them really cheap in my local supermarket last Christmas.

            I purchased this book for £1.25 off Waterstones' website a while back now but they normally retail at £2.99. I would suggest however that you keep your eye out for them because they do sometimes feature in supermarkets and discount bookstores at a much lower price.

            The front of this book is aqua blue in colour and has a picture of Little Miss Trouble seemingly floating in the see. She is surrounded by fish and disappearing off the right of the cover is a mermaid's tale. The fish and mermaids tale are all covered in glitter, which adds a girly shimmer. Above Little Miss Trouble's head is written his name in block, black capitals and then 'and the Mermaid' written in a cursive font and printed in blue.

            If you turn the book over you will find smaller pictures of all the twenty books within this collection. This is a feature that is taken from the original Mr Men. Series and is one I am fond of because it makes it easy to find out which books you have left to purchase.

            Opening the book you will immediately notice the common format of writing on the left hand side, bright and beautifully coloured pictures on the right hand side. This ensures that young children can always follow the story through the pictures. The pictures in question are in fact much brighter and sharper and ultimately more colourful than they ever were in the original stories and this really adds another dimension of life to the story being told.

            The story begins by telling us that the trouble with Little Miss Trouble is that she is always causing trouble. It then goes on to tell us that the trouble with making trouble is that sometimes it can catch you up and that is exactly what happened to Little Miss Trouble when she went to Seatown last week.

            Her first couple of days in Seatown were great and she caused lots and lots of trouble but on the third day when she went fishing with Mr Muddle and Little Miss Bossy something went wrong. Someone was getting pay back. Whilst fishing Little Miss Trouble was pulled from her boat and it was only when she reached the bottom of the sea that she realised a mermaid had caught her and that this mermaid was on a mission - a mission to show Little Miss trouble the error of her ways.

            This story is a fantastic one for children and just as engaging if not more than the original Little Miss Trouble story. I loved the book because it was so bright and colourful and the pictures really brought the story, which was in a few places quite humorous, to life. I'm sure every young girl will love this book and any true Mr Men and Little Miss fan will cherish it forever.

            All in all I would highly recommend this book but would strongly suggest that you try and shop around and purchase the book at the best value you possibly can.

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              11.06.2010 19:01
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              A lovely book in a lovely series

              Mr. Nosy and the Beanstalk is one of 20 stories in the Mr Men and Little Miss books with added Sparkle collection. The reason these books are called with added sparkle is the fact that all of the front covers have something glittery or sparkly or shimmery about them. I must add at this point however that despite being a huge Mr Men and Little Miss fan I wasn't immediately aware of the existence of these books.

              I purchased this book for £2.50 from Waterstones.com but the books normally have a retail price of £2.99.

              The front of this book is bright yellow and has a really intriguing picture of Mr Nosy staring up at a beanstalk. Behind him is a small brown bag from which is spilling some brightly coloured beans. The beanstalk and the beans are all covered in glitter, hence the name with added sparkle. Above Mr Nosy's head is written his name in block, black capitals and then 'and the Beanstalk' written in a medieval type font and printed in bright green.

              If you turn the book over you will find smaller pictures of all the eighteen books within this collection. This is a feature that is taken from the original Mr Men. Series and is one I am fond of because it makes it easy to find out which books you have left to purchase. Over the barcode and price tab is also printed the Mr Men website address, which is www.mrmen.com if you were wondering and great for all fans young and old alike.

              Opening the book you will immediately notice the common format of writing on the left hand side, bright and beautifully coloured pictures on the right hand side. This ensures that young children can always follow the story through the pictures. The pictures in question however are in fact much brighter and sharper and ultimately more colourful than they ever were in the original stories. As well as this light and dark are well depicted in the pictures and this really adds another dimension of life to the story being told.

              Mr Nosy and the Beanstalk somewhat retells the popular fairy story Jack and the Beanstalk with it's own little twist and off course the addition of the fantastically created Mr Men characters. The story itself begins by telling us that Mr Nosy is simply one of those people that cannot help being curious about everything. It then progresses to tell us that one-day whilst out walking he met a wizard holding a small bag. Being nosy Mr Nosy wanted to know what was inside but when the wizard told him that inside was magic beans, Mr Nosy didn't believe him. To prove it to him the wizard gives Mr Nosy one bean and tells him to plant it in his garden.

              Mr Nosy rushed home with the bean and planted it and the next morning he couldn't believe his eyes because there in his garden was a beanstalk stretching up and up. Being nosy Mr Nosy just had to find out where it went and so he climbed and he climbed and he.... Well just have to read and find out.

              This story really is a brilliant one and one that I think has been very well written. The fact that Mr Nosy is a very popular and well-loved character makes the retelling of this classic tale so much better and being one of the original Mr Men, Mr Nosy is also one that a lot of the older fans will remember fondly. There's something naughty about Mr Nosy but at the same time we love him and that is really draws the reader into the book. For these reasons this superb little book is one that I would not hesitate to recommend to all those that love the Mr. Men characters.

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                04.06.2010 13:23
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                A superb comedy series that tugs at the heart strings too

                M*A*S*H (Mobile Army Surgical hospital) was a television series that ran for eleven seasons between 1973 and 1983. The series was set in the Korean War and based around the oddball characters that served in the 4077th MASH.

                The series itself fits into the category of black comedy set in the Korean War. It is probably the best place here to mention that this series does not insinuate ever that war or the situations is causes is a funny thing or that it is comedic in any way shape or form. It simply highlights how in the toughest of situations it is often the humour of those that remain that prevails the longest. Sort of along the 'they can crush us but they'll never crush our spirit' lines. Therefore the series does not shy from making some statements about war even if they are made in a comedic way but is careful to place just the right amount of emphasis on sensitive issues without becoming bogged down with them.

                None of the episodes in this or other series' focus on the actual fighting of the war as the focus is clearly on the MASH unit. For this reason every episode shows a least one scene with the doctors performing surgery, highlighting how the staff at the 4077th MASH unit frequently find themselves knee deep in wounded and running out of both beds and medical supplies. This combined with the endless need for the doctors to spend their days and nights performing what is coined 'meatball surgery' leaves them sleep deprived and frustrated by a lack of military competence.

                ***Father Mulcahy: Well then why did the army forbid its use?
                Hawkeye: They decided that too many people were dying because curare wasn't being used properly. By that same logic they should outlaw cars.***

                == Characters ==
                I Know full well that not everyone likes to read about the characters of a series in a review but for me I think that this is an integral part as it gives you a real insight into the programme itself. If you however personally feel that this is not what you want then simply skip to the next section which is titled 'Episode Overview'.

                MASH 4077th is commanded by Colonel Sherman Potter. Potter is regular army and used to be a member of the cavalry. He is devoted to his wife Mildred and talks about her frequently with other members of the camp. On the camp he has a horse called Sophie that he tends to and goes out riding on. On the whole Potter runs a very relaxed camp but ultimately this is very successful. Although the others very rarely show it they do respect him and in turn he them.

                ***Colonel Potter: Notice how much nicer lunch is when they serve real food.***

                Chief Surgeon is Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce who is otherwise known as Hawkeye and played by Alan Alda. Hawkeye is an astoundingly gifted surgeon but detests anything remotely army like. He refuses to carry a weapon and is not awfully fond of the early mornings the army seem to revel on. Despite this he is a dedicated worker and will do anything to save the life of the men on the tables in front of him. Hawkeye lives in the SWAMP, the more than suitable name for their tent, with fellow draftee and con-conspirator Captain B.J. Hunnicutt. Hunnicutt is a true family man who is dedicated to his wife and kids. He immediately gelled with Hawkeye the second the pair met and since then they have been near inseparable, glued together by their quick wit and fondness of practical jokes.

                ''Margaret: [To Hawkeye] You are a little boy with the mind of a dirty old man.''

                Next in line is Major Charles Emerson Winchester who is in his fourth series as a member of MASH 4077th. Winchester is rather pompous and loves to spout about his somewhat aristocratic background as well as the fact that he hates the army. He is however a superb surgeon and has gained respect because of this. This series sees Winchester develop his relationship with the boys of the SWAMP even further and it is nice to see him participating in most of their ludicrous antics, although he still does bear the brunt of quite a few of them.
                ***BJ: You know Charles, this floor is a lot like you - filled with culture and breeding that no-one can stand.***

                Head of the nursing staff is Major Margaret Houlihan who is now well and truly single after divorcing husband Donald a couple of series previously. Since the first series Margaret's entire personality has softened somewhat and although she is still sometimes rather brash and at times relatively harsh she is ultimately proving that she's a great person to have on your side. Not only that but Margaret is simply the best at her job and her growing friendship with both Hawkeye and B.J is only letting this shine so much more.

                ***Margaret: [both Hawkeye and Margaret are in the Swamp, drunk] This place stinks.
                Hawkeye: Right.***

                Klinger is the 4077th company clerk and operating room orderly. The previous series saw Klinger stop bucking for a section 8, madness, discharge and therefore stop frequenting camp in women's clothing This allowed us to see a different side to Klinger and this continues in this series. Ultimately he has always been a superb orderly and a worthwhile hand in the operating theatre and this has always shone through whether he wore women's clothing or not but this series lets us see a more army dedicated Klinger that no one would ever have figured would appear.

                ***Klinger: [Klinger has taken apart the PA system] Do you know anything about PA systems?
                Charles: Only that they convey sound at a greatly increased volume, if they have not been dismantled by a "cretin" who doesn't know how to put them back together again. ***

                The final consistent member of the camp is Father Mulcahy. Somehow Father Mulcahy manages to keep sane in the chaos that surrounds him and is always available to offer comforting words. He is however also always ready to jump in and lend a hand wherever and whenever he is needed and proves on more than one occasion to be a real asset to the unit. He also has a quick wit and is a highly respected member of the team.

                ***His Eminence: You're a hard act to follow Father.***

                It must be said that the MASH 4077th unit has an amazingly unmilitary demeanour but despite this they have the best result of any MASH hospital in Korea. Their lack of military discipline, mischievous jokes and quite often constant drinking however does not get in the way of the fact that the entire team pulls together when they are needed the most and dedicates every effort to assisting the surgeons, save lives.

                ***Margaret: It never fails to astonish me. You're alive. You're dead. No drums. No flashing lights. No fanfare. You're just dead.***

                == Episode Overview ==
                Series 9 of M*A*S*H is made up of 20 fantastic episodes, which in my opinion are some of the best although the quality of M*A*S*H as a whole make this a tough contest to win.

                The twenty episodes each last roughly 30 minutes and tell a different story about life in the 4077th. There are however long running themes and ideas that cross all the episodes, which helps to add a sense of continuity and reality to the series in general. It is my opinion that it is this sense of continuity that make M*A*S*H as good as it is because everything that happens seems to have a knock on effect somewhere else and therefore make everything that occurs on screen seem much more real and the characters as large as life.

                The episodes in this series see the 4077th deal with visits from Margaret's father, an alcoholic head nurse, a pushy retention officer and Cardinal Reardon. A heat wave is also taking its toll, an extensive delivery of tongue depressors has unexpectedly arrived and Klinger is trading in vintage wine. On top of this Winchester is given temporary command and Hawkeye posted as Officer in charge of food as well as bring taken at gunpoint by a North Korean soldier and tasked to go a day without cracking a joke. Furthermore Colonel Potter's blood pressure is rising rapidly, Hawkeye is suffering from a sneezing fit and B.J is seriously injured in the O.R. On the bright side however Christmas arrives at least, as does B.J's anniversary and letters from a school in Hawkeye's hometown as well as Radar.

                The humour in all the episodes is as strong as ever. The witty one-liners are back with a vengeance but the more subtle and sophisticated drip-fed jokes are equally here to stay and this mix makes the series a real gem to watch.

                ***Hawkeye: I don't want to say it's wet out but on the way over I saw a duck carrying an umbrella.***

                == Favourites ==
                My favourite episode of the series is Episode 6 'A War For All Seasons' simply because it was a completely different episode in so many respects. Due to how the episodes time period was a complete year this gave the writers the opportunity to highlight how plans change as time progresses and some of the depictions were extremely humorous. The constantly changing design of Margaret's knitting for example and Klinger and Colonel Potter's baseball bets are all fantastic to watch progress. At the same time however the episode had many really poignant moments destined to make you think.

                '''Col. Potter: Here's to the New Year. May she be a damn sight better than the old one and may we all be home before she's over.'''

                My next favourite episode is Episode 3 'Cementing Relationships'. This episode sees the team search for the source of infection and the jokes come thick and fast. The witty one liners in this episode are some of the best written in the series and the use of all the characters near enough equally makes for fantastic viewing.

                ***Colonel Potter: I know M is or mobile but we haven't moved in five months...because we like it here. It's near shopping and transport and wounded.***

                == Acting ==
                As I have come to expect from MASH as a series, all the actors involved in this one put in tremendous performances from the outset. The connections between all members of the cast are plain to see and make the viewing process so much more enjoyable. Together all involved generate an immense amount of humour, which is predominantly driven by the superb script but also by the mere stances, postures and small characteristics of the characters, which are delivered perfectly. Each cast member brings their own little something to the show and it is these sparks that bring the on-screen characters to life and allow them to live in the memories of those that watch the programme.

                Alan Alda's performance as surgeon Hawkeye Pierce is once again one that really stands out for the crowd as the charisma he has as an actor transpires straight into the character and makes everything he does seem ever so natural. This combined with the shining talent of Jamie Farr, as Klinger, who continues to build his performances as the series' progress and the wonderful naturalness of Mike Farrell, as B.J Hunnicutt makes this series a real gem.

                All the cast also do a spectacular job of the medical side to the show and all of their medical actions seem to flow with a great ease that makes you believe that they do the jobs they are portraying every single day. I think it is this professionalism that makes the show so successful as if the medical side didn't look accurate then the overall feel and tone of the show would be destroyed.

                == Disc Facts ==
                Apart from the twenty episodes the three discs that the episodes are spread across contain no special features. Ok the menus are interactive but is that anything special really. All of the episodes however can be watched with subtitles in a variety as well as with French audio if you should so wish.

                It is also probably a good place here to mention that this series like all of the others has a certificate rating of 15, which is well deserved due to the sexual references, gaudy humour and general behaviour at times.

                == Closing Comment ==
                Series 9 of M*A*S*H is an absolutely outstanding series with a plethora of fantastic episodes, memorable moments and quintessential quotes. The focus is like it has been for the last couple of series more focused on the episodes but this is simply because the characters are so well-developed that they need little assistance to flourish further. The balance between seriousness and comedy is as always perfectly balanced and episodes such as A War For All Seasons and Bless You Hawkeye help to develop character backgrounds and long running ideas without going over the top.

                What I love more than anything about this series and the entire show is that the insight it gives into a military outfit is portrayed in a very real way. Situations do different things to different people but more often than not they draw people closer to one another and prompt them to do things they would otherwise never be caught doing and this series portrays this wonderfully.

                ***B.J: Charles don't be hasty show a little compassion. Hawk you coming down with something? A cold? The Flu?
                Hawkeye: I don't have a cold it's just a little sneezing.
                B.J: Oh, well in that case Shut Up!***

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                  24.05.2010 20:35
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                  A wonderful story to be enjoyed over and over

                  Little Miss Shy and the Fairy Godmother is one of 20 stories in the Mr Men and Little Miss books with added Sparkle collection. The reason these books are called with added sparkle is the fact that all of the front covers have something glittery or sparkly or shimmery about them. I must add at this point however that despite being a huge Mr Men and Little Miss fan I wasn't immediately aware of the existence of these books.

                  I purchased this book for £2.50 from Waterstones.com but the books normally have a retail price of £2.99.

                  The front of this book is a lovely lilac in colour, which will really grab the attention of young girls. It then has a picture of Little Miss Shy wearing some rainbow coloured shoes with a very cheerful looking Fairy Godmother hovering next to her. A couple of stars also adorn the front cover and these like the rainbow coloured shoes and the fairy wings are covered in glitter. Above Little Miss Shy's head is written her name in block, black capitals and then 'and the Fairy Godmother' in a mystical type font and printed in a soft yellow.

                  If you turn the book over you will find smaller pictures of all the twenty books within this collection. This is a feature that is taken from the original Mr Men. Series and is one I am fond of because it makes it easy to find out which books you have left to purchase. Over the barcode and price tab is also printed the Mr Men website address, which is www.mrmen.com if you were wondering and great for all fans young and old alike.

                  Opening the book you will immediately notice the common format of writing on the left hand side, bright and beautifully coloured pictures on the right hand side. This ensures that young children can always follow the story through the pictures. The pictures in question however are in fact much brighter and sharper and ultimately more colourful than they ever were in the original stories. As well as this light and dark are well depicted in the pictures and this really adds another dimension of life to the story being told.

                  Little Miss Shy and the Fairy Godmother is basically the retelling of a very popular fairytale, Cinderella, and this in itself makes the book a brilliant one to read, as it is a story that children soon become to know and therefore can identify with to some extent. The story itself begins by telling us that Little Miss Shy is probably the shyest person that we'll ever meet but that we probably won't meet her because she's too shy to go out. It then goes on to explain that she was most surprised when she received an invitation to go to Little Miss Splendid's Grand Ball but then worried and flustered about it. She wanted to go but she was worried about all the people.

                  Eventually Little Miss Shy the story tells us plucked up the courage to call Little Miss Sunshine who suggested that she go out and buy a new pair of shoes to give herself a confidence boost. Little Miss Shy took the advice but when she was faced with little Miss Bossy in the shoe shop she simply turned a bright pink and ran out. That is when, the book tells us, that whilst crying in front o the fire at home an ball of light entered the room and Little Miss Shy's fairy Godmother spoke to her.... "You shall go to the ball!"


                  In my opinion this book is one of the best in the ...with added sparkle collection' because the way it retells a classic story with the fantastic addition of the loveable Mr Men and Little Miss characters makes it extremely memorable. On top of this the character, Little Miss Shy, chosen to take the lead in the story really fits children's perceptions of the original Cinderella. Little Miss Shy is herself also a character that a lot of children may be able to identify with and therefore a lovely one to read about. Combining all this with the fantastic drawings that bring the book to life the story is bound to be one that all children, especially girls will love to read and therefore cherish for a long time.

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                    12.05.2010 15:07
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                    A wonderful children's story

                    Mr. Bump and the Knight is one of 18 stories in the Mr Men and Little Miss books with added Sparkle collection. The reason these books are called with added sparkle is the fact that all of the front covers have something glittery or sparkly or shimmery about them. I must add at this point however that despite being a huge Mr Men and Little Miss fan I wasn't immediately aware of the existence of these books.

                    I purchased this book just after Christmas, as I had received another three from this collection in my stocking. I paid a mere 99p for this book but they normally retail for £2.99 unless you shop around like I did.

                    The front of this book has a lovely picture of Mr Bump dressed in a suit of armour and carrying a very glittery gold shield and gold lance. Above his head is written his name in block, black capitals and then 'and the Knight' written in an old style font and printed in yellow.

                    If you turn the book over you will find smaller pictures of all the eighteen books within this collection. This is a feature that is taken from the original Mr Men. Series and is one I am fond of because it makes it easy to find out which books you have left to purchase.

                    Opening the book you will immediately notice the common format of writing on the left hand side, bright and beautifully coloured pictures on the right hand side. This ensures that young children can always follow the story through the pictures. The pictures in question are in fact much brighter and sharper and ultimately more colourful than they ever were in the original stories and this really adds another dimension of life to the story being told.

                    The story itself begins by telling us that Mr Bump is extremely fed up because not matter what he does he always manages to bump himself or scratch himself or scrape himself. Getting a job therefore is very difficult as after every day at a job he found himself having to bandage this and that up.

                    One day however whilst out walking Mr Bump came across a Knight in shining armour sitting on a horse and got a wonderful idea for a new job. The next morning Mr Bump ran out and bought himself a suit of armour as well as a book called 'Knights, All You Need To Know'. But would Mr. Bump make a good knight and would the suit of armour stop him hurting himself?

                    This story really is a lovely one. The pictures are so vibrant and bright that you find yourself drawn into the book, even as an twenty year-old I found this happening. Furthermore the very loveable nature of the Mr. Bump character and the comicalness of his situation makes the book one that I will definitely cherish along with the rest and one that I would not hesitate to recommend to all those that love the Mr. Men characters.

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                      09.05.2010 20:05
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                      A wonderfully written, acted and filmed British comedy

                      As Time Goes By is a British comedy series that was broadcast between 1992 and 2005. In a BBC poll in 2004 to find Britain's best sitcom the show was voted number 29 - just ahead of Hancock's Half Hour and The Young Ones but below Dinnerladies and Rising Damp.

                      == What is As Time Goes By? ==

                      The premise for As Time Goes By is very easy to understand as quite simply the programme follows the relationship between two former lovers who unexpectedly meet again after not being in contact for 38 years. In the early 1950's Jean, a student nurse, and Lionel, a young army officer met and fell in love but the non-receipt of a letter posted in Korea leaves the pair torn apart. 38 years later their paths cross once again. The pair are now older and wiser but the course of true love never did run smooth and they soon discover that although love has a different pace and priorities it is still possible to rekindle the old flames.

                      == The Characters ==

                      A popular, long-running TV series, usually has spectacular characters that are often somewhat far fetched and clichéd but in my opinion As Times Goes By doesn't have this. Maybe this is why I like the show so much because the characters it presents to the audience seem natural, authentic and above all normal. The integral members of the As Time Goes By screen cast quite simply act like normal people; they do normal things, say normal things and behave in normal ways. Yes I will admit that they all have their own quirks but then again doesn't everybody you know. In every sense the characters in this show are human in ever sense of the word, there is seemingly nothing fake nor constructed about them and that it what, for me, makes them so effective within the programme.

                      Jean Pargetter is a widow of mature years with one daughter. She is the owner of a secretarial firm called Type For You and works alongside her daughter Judith and good friend Sandy. She is an exceptionally head strong woman but she has a warm and caring personality that endears her to everyone. Jean does however have a down side to her nature, as she is very persistent and exceptionally nosy but all of this simply makes her who she is.

                      Lionel Hardcastle is an ex army Lieutenant who served in Korea. After leaving the army he spent some time planting coffee in Kenya, where he married his wife. He is now however divorced and has no children. He is eternally pessimistic and can be somewhat difficult but Jean has a way with him and always brings out his better nature. Lionel is also getting on increasingly well with both Judy and Sandy and is learning to live with Alistair's exuberant personality too.

                      Judith Hanson is Jean's daughter. She has been married and divorced twice and is currently single but frequently on the lookout for a new man - Alistair is tipping the Radar, on and off that is. Judith works alongside her mother at the Type For You office and is a good businesswoman herself but not necessarily the best person to care for the firm once Jean leaves.

                      Sandy is Type For You's top secretary and therefore belongs to Jean. Sandy has a strong friendship with Judith and Jean and in that way seems more there equal than their subordinate in the business than anything else. Sandy is frequently to be found gossiping with Judith, helping Jean avoid people or simply fielding questions from Alistair and Lionel. This series also sees her move into the family home and therefore become an increasingly important part in the family relationships.

                      Alistair Deacon is the boy-wonder publisher who Lionel believes to be about twelve. He is exuberant in every sense of the world and frequently glorifies things beyond belief, using words that seem to come from another language and yuppie slang that make it very difficult for Lionel to understand him. He is however exceptionally bubbly as well as generous and his relationship with the other characters continues to grow.

                      == Series Four DVD ==

                      The full 10 episodes from series four are contained across two DVD's this series set and all of the episodes can be watched with subtitles, which I can honestly say are rather accurate. Being a relatively recent TV series it is also worth noting that the picture and sound quality is excellent throughout. There are however so special features to speak of, which is abnit of the shame meaning that the feature length of the DVD is 300 minutes.

                      This fourth series sees the script for Lionel's mini-series 'Just Two People' reach completion but it doesn't come naturally and many complications lay ahead as well as in the past. Sandy also moves into the house, which makes Lionel on edge for a whiel - living with three women isn't exactly his cup of tea. Judith also gets herself a new 'boyfriend', which causes Jean and subsequently Lionel a great deal of worry and confusion. On top of this Penny and Stephen (Jean's brother and sister in law) are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary and Lionel has finally decided to pop the question.

                      == Episode Opinion ==

                      This series sees Jean and Lionel make the biggest step of their relationship and this is truly wonderful to see. Everything about the way he proposes to Jean, to the confused wedding arrangements, the wedding itself and the after-party are all superb to watch and seem really natural throughout. A lot of the credit for this must go to the script, which is fantastic throughout but the acting of all the cast involved is tremendous in every aspect and really brings the whole thing to life.

                      My favourite episode in this series has to be the one including Jean and Lionel's wedding. I love this episode because it brings some many things together and also allows lost of different characters to come into their own. What I love most about this episode is the very end, which really does highlight how mcuh Jean and Lionel mean to each other as well as to those around them.

                      The other nine episodes in this series are fantastic though in their own right but ultimately it is the wedding episode that really steals the show and probbaly the series as a whole.

                      Other notable things about this series are that the natural quips and quirks of characters are more noticeable than ever before and the more minor characters such as Rocky, Madge and Mrs Bale, really come into their own. Their reactions to situations are beautifully contrived yet seem so natural and the way they reuse certain phrases and patterns of behaviour makes them more and more authentic as time goes by.

                      Like in the previous series each episode does have a somewhat self contained story but unlike programmes like 'Dad's Army' or 'Only Fools and Horses' it is the long running storyline that is ultimately more prominent in the series as a whole. In this respect 'As Time Goes By' probably has more in common with programmes like 'Goodnight Sweetheart'. This format however is something I definitely enjoy but it does mean that chronological viewing is near enough necessary in order to see the story unfold. Watching the series as a whole in a mish-mash sort of way just won't work as the relationship progressions and the character complexities will just not filter through the dialogue if you watch them like this.

                      == Humour ==

                      The humour in this series as a whole is very simple and subtle and is generally generated through the day to day activities of the characters. It is the way they simply interact with one another and go about the things they have to do in life that makes them so watchable. The humour isn't bold or brash but simply oozes out of the programme because of the natural way that everything on the screen unfolds. Many people therefore will be able to see themselves, their relatives and their friends within the characters and in this way the humour builds. I can frequently see my grandfather in Lionel and quite often the way Lionel and Jean interact reminds me of my parents. For me this is what effective humour is all about - making people relate with what they say and laugh at themselves.

                      == General Opinion ==

                      As Time Goes By is just one of those programmes that always makes me smile. It is exceptionally relaxed and therefore something that is very easy to watch. The character relationships are truly a pleasure to watch and the fact that the cast doesn't decrease or increase much throughout the series as a whole definitely makes it more of a joy to watch unfold. This series is probably my favourite from the shows run simply because it pulls so many things together and allows some many ideas, changes and opinions to be seen without the shows dynamic been upset.

                      This series is certainly one that I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone to watch. The PG rating makes it suitable for all and the flow of the programme should suit most too. Despite this being my favourite series of the show though I wouldn't in any way want to suggest that you watch this one first or that you begin with this one. Yes this is probably the peak of the series but without watching the previous ones or bot watching the following ones you are taking a small view of the whole programme and will be unable to appreciate the storylines that thread through the series in an entirety.

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                      06.05.2010 16:02
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                      A superb forensic detective series

                      CSI hit our TV screens in 2000 and became a massive hit from the very first show. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and is now into well into its tenth series. CSI has also spawned two similar crime investigative series: CSI New York and CSI Miami and the merchandise market for the series' together include video games, board games, clothing and figurines. The original and therefore longest running series, the original CSI, sometimes referred to as CSI: Las Vegas is however mine, and I think it's safe to say most peoples, favourite.

                      Each CSI series can be purchased in one complete box-set but it is more common to find them sold in the split two DVD box-sets. This review is for the box-set series 6.2 and therefore contains, over three discs the final twelve episodes of the 24 episode long sixth series.

                      == What is CSI all about? ==

                      Beaneath the neon lights and the money of Las Vegas lies the chaos of crime and the night shift team team of crime scene investigators that must clear up the mess that others leave behind. Their job is one of the toughest in the county as they attempt to locate those illusive missing pieces that will enable them to piece together the truth amd vindicate the victims that cannot speak for themselves. The trail of the truth however is a complex one as buried clues must be unearthed and hidden motives discovered. The truth itself is that people lie. The evidence however never does.

                      Most of the episodes therefore are jam-packed full of investigative techniques that range from fingerprinting and large evidence collection, to analysing blood spatter and small items of trace material. The episodes document the entire process from the crimes committal to the CSI's arriving on the scene, their first impressions and ultimately how they deal with trying to unpick what they find in front of them and separate what is probative from what is not.

                      The very nature of the programme and the crimes that are depicted within it does mean that there are a lot of dark themes running through it. In turn this definitely means that the series warrants its 15 certificate as the bloody violence and gory forensic images aren't for the young or the faint hearted.

                      '''Greg Sanders: This neighbourhood rains lead.'''
                      '''Gil Grissom: Yeah, and we have to process every last drop of it.'''
                      '''Greg Sanders: We're going to make Bobby Dawson's boat payment this month.'''

                      == The Characters and Actors who play them ==

                      It is my considered opinion that no matter how good the premise for a television series is, it will not work unless the devised characters are ones that resonate with the audience and the only way that this can happen is if they are all allowed to develop like people in reality and if the actors that portray them do so with and sense of conviction yet a presence of ease. Personally I think that CSI as a show works so well and is so popular because of its characters and of course the actors who play them.

                      All of the characters within the show grow as the episodes and series' progress and all of them have a history before even the first episode aired and this means that we are able to learn new information about them just a little bit at a time without it seeming like the character focus is simply a way for the writers to create a new episode. Because of the way that the characters have been written they interactive with each other in an extremely believable way in I feel that they are possibly the most rounded television characters and therefore cast that I have seen.

                      On top of the regular CSI's this half of Series 7 also saw the introduction and subsequent departure of CSI Michael Keppler who really adds something to the series in terms of a more serious notion of mysterious and an air of danger that the others just don't possess. In terms of characters this made the box set much more enjoyable. The revelations of other characters also makes everything much more interesting.

                      Below I have written small character brief for each of the characters and tried to explain how the episodes in this box-set effect them, cause them change etc. I have done so because of the fact that I think by understanding the characters within the show you understand the show so much better. I know that not everyone wants to read this in a review and if you are one of these people then simple skip ahead to the next section, which is titled 'This Box-Set'.

                      Gil Grissom
                      Gil Grissom (William Peterson) is the graveyard shift supervisor. He is a quirky forensic entomologist and probably the best in his field. He is well respected by all that know him and his team would go to the ends of the earth for him if he asked them to. Grissom's weakness however is his closed minded attitude to work that means he pushes social situations to a side and sometimes struggles to communicate emotionally. Peterson plays the academic and reserved Grissom exceptionally well and brings a lot of credibility and well-placed humour to the role.

                      Catherine Willows
                      Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) is the graveyard shift Assistant Supervisor and an excellent blood spatter analyst. Catherine is probably the most rounded member of the team as she is not only an exceptional CSI but she has also proven her ability to complete all the bureaucratic aspects of her job role. She does however have her downfalls and these are all based around her fiery character, which sometimes wins her more enemies than friends. Helgenberger plays the strong willed Catherine superbly and her natural relationships with the rest of the cast resonate.

                      '''Nick Stokes: You know what Grissom would say about this?'''
                      '''David Phillips: Something ironic, no doubt.'''

                      Nick Stokes
                      Nick (George Eads) is a hair and fibre analyst and probably the most laid back and empathetic CSI in the team. The traumas he has suffered in previous series are beginning to heal and his image as the team's tower of strength is returning steadily. Although he has become less confident in himself because of trauma he is still one of the most confident characters and remains a clean-cut, honest and loyal guy. Eads in my opinion really needs commending for his portrayal of Stokes because he does so with a unique natural ease that sets him apart from the rest.

                      Warrick Brown
                      Warrick (Gary Dourdan) is an audio-visual analyst who has just recently (in the break between series') married his girlfriend. Warrick is one of the teams most confident CSI's and his previous gambling problem means that he is well aware of the truth of the city - the only one who wins is the house. His confidence used to does come across as cockiness but this has changed recently and for the most part he appears to the audience as a very genuine guy. His screen presence though is always imposing and therefore Dourdan needs to be congratulated, as he makes certain that you're always aware of Warrick when he's on the screen without taking screen control.

                      Sara Sidle
                      Sara (Jorja Fox) is the team's materials and elements analyst. She was once a student of Grissom's and the pair have a strong personal relationship, which is becoming more and more apparent. Sara excels at processing vehicles and mechanical items and is a superb investigator who seems to be growing all the time. Her need to be constantly patted on the back has dwindled and she seems more in control of her temper and emotions. Fox puts in some wonderful screen time in this series and continues to build her profile from the powerful performances of the previous series.

                      Greg Sanders
                      Greg (Eric Szmanda) was once the teams DNA Technician but made the transfer to full-blown CSI in series five. Greg continues to put in the effort in his investigator position and is well liked and respected by the rest of the team. He is definitely the joker of the pack but events within this series see him grow up very quickly and become much more serious. Szmanda is fantastic as the boyish Greg and his ability to play both the light-hearted and the serious side of this character show his flexibility as an actor.

                      '''Nick Stokes: [holding a pair of excised butt implants] Y'know, I spent twelve hours on a court bench last week - I coulda used a pair of these bad boys.'''

                      Al Robbins & David Phillips
                      Al (Robert David Hall) is the Chief Medical Examiner for the CSI unit and works closely with them. Alongside his assistant David (David Berman) he handles all of the autopsy and medical examinations that the team can throw at him. He is generally however not seen outside of the mortuary as a accident as a young man has left him with limited mobility. This is were David comes in as he provides the team with their first impressions of a body at the scene. Both Al and David have fantastic senses of humour and this makes them a pleasure to watch. Hall and Berman certainly need congratulating for their performances because it must be difficult to make coroners seem as personable as these two manage to do.

                      David Hodges and Archie Johnson
                      Both Hodges (Wallace Langham) and Archie (Archie Kao) have seen their positions in relation to the main CSI's grow as the series' have continued and now they both feature highly in episodes. Hodges is the team trace technician and Archie the team video and audio expert. The characters of the pair are however extremely different to one another, as Archie is loveable and endears himself towards the other characters whereas Hodges is rather cocky and likes to think that he is a lot more important than he is. Both actors do though give tremendous performance and forge something more out of the characters they have been given, turning them into memorable parts of this epic programme.

                      Jim Brass & Sofia Curtis
                      Captain Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) is a homicide detective who used to run the CSI lab and is well aware of what their job entails. Combined with Sofia (Louise Lombard), CSI turned detective, he is an integral part of the team and can always be counted on to do the best he can and to assist the CSI whenever possible. He has an exceptionally dry sense of humour and is frequently seen having a laugh and a joke with the CSI and although he can sometimes come across as relatively hard nosed there is an element of warmth about him that the others lack. Sofia on the other hand is softening as the series' progress and becoming more and more personable and likeable as she continues to assist the CSI's. Guilfoyle in my opinion plays a superb part as Jim Brass and really adds depth and dimension to the show. Lombard similarly brings something to the cast that none of the others do and plays her role with conviction and dedication.

                      '''Jim Brass: [after suspect sings to him] Do I look like Paula Abdul to you?'''

                      == This Box Set ==

                      This box set contains the first twelve episodes from CSI's seventh season. Each of these twelve episodes contains within it at least one case, and usually two or more, that the CSI team must investigate. Although it isn't imperative that you watch CSI series' in order or even episodes within a series in the broadcast order I do think that for this series in particular you would be best to do that. I say this because although each episode does have its own case to be solves within it a lot of the episodes also make references to cases in previous series'. I personally really like this because I think it gives long time fans the chance to get something else out of the episodes that they are watching. On top of this the references to previous events also in my opinion give the whole series a greater sense of continuity and make the team work and appear much more realistic.

                      I loved every one of the cases within this box-set and really enjoyed trying to guess how each one would pan out and how each one would effect the CSI's working it. I must admit thought that like with all the other series of CSI I did find myself feeling a little uncomfortable on a couple of occasions yet this ease of discomfort is actually something that I think is good for the show because it highlights how it is grounded in reality and therefore plays upon the ideas and fears of those that are watching. The notion of being uncomfortable with what we see also helps the audience to greater empathise with the characters and their situations.

                      The cases that come under the jurisdiction of the Las Vegas CSI team this time round include illegal tissue harvesting, phoney crime scenes, the disappearance of a high school basket ball player and cheerleader, a washed-up boxer with numerous injuries and the horrific murder of six show girls living in one house. The most long-running CSI serial killer; 'The Miniature Killer' also lengthens his killing spree and continues to produce and send his perfect half inch scale small models of the crime scenes to Grissom.

                      The episode involving the miniature killer are once again some of my favourite episodes in this series and it is one of the episodes featuring said serial killer that is my favourite in this box set. I say that this episode contains the serial killer but in reality it doesn't because the episode 'Lab Rats' is actually solely based in the lab and sees all of the lab technicians take on the task of hunting through the small crime scenes models in an attempt to come up with anything new. This was a brilliant episode because it allowed us to get closer to some of the secondary characters in the show and therefore get their perspectives of the day-to-day running of the lab.

                      '''Dr. Al Robbins: [sarcastically] Nice work.'''
                      '''Gil Grissom: At least I tried to get him... Where were you?'''
                      '''Dr. Al Robbins: I *hate* rats.'''

                      == Dark Vs Light ==

                      Although I have mentioned that the tremendous computer graphics make the cases so engrossing they also make them exceptionally visual and therefore we as an audience get to see a lot of the gruesome points of the crime in great detail. This coupled with the crime flashbacks as the CSI's piece ideas together can provide some rather horrendous and slightly uncomfortable scenes and for this the programme has been criticised. Personally though, although I will admit that the programme can be quite dark at times, I think that this merely adds to its appeal. The inclusion of these images and scenes makes us feel closer to the CSI team as well as the victims and suspects. In this way we feel like a greater part of the programme rather than simply a spectator of the unfolding events.

                      Furthermore I have to say that I think all of the issues tackled within the programme are dealt with in a way that shows delicacy yet doesn't shy away from the truth. On top of this the programme's darker moments are interspersed and sometime coincide with some much lighter ones that lift the mood. These lighter moments are often found in the comments, facial expressions and sometimes actions of the CSI team and those around them. These humorous snippets lift the dark mood that can sometimes set in and bring us closer to the team and the case. Some however will find this humour rather crude whereas others like myself realise that the jokes cracked by the team are simply there way of coping with what they see and providing a suitable working environment.

                      '''Hodges: I was right. This is a lot like garbage collecting.'''
                      '''Greg Sanders: You're not helping Hodges.'''
                      '''Hodges: I have no intention to. Field rotation for the lab techs was Ecklie's idea. He was very explicit that I was only allowed to observe.'''

                      == Music ==

                      Personally I think that music is an integral part to any series and that in this series it is probably one of the most important factors. A lot of times throughout the episodes there is no or very little dialogue due to the screen being filled with evidence collection or processing. At these points the music that is utilised is the quite possibly the only thing that tells us exactly how we should be feeling about what is on the screen and how we should react.

                      The most iconic piece of music from the series however is the programmes title track; 'Who Are You?' by The Who. This truly is a memorable theme tune and one that I think fits the programme perfectly. The tempo and general pace is quick and quirky rather like the cases and character and the lyrics in many ways sum up some of the things the CSI's must think on a day-to-day basis.

                      == DVD Extras ==

                      As well as the twelve episodes, the box set also contains some special features. To be brutally honest though I don't personally buy a box set for the special features they contain but for the actual programme and could therefore never mark a box-set down for the features it does or doesn't provide.

                      However after the complete lack of special features in the 7.1 box set, these ones pleasantly surprised me. The set includes three episode commentaries, and three short documentaries. The three documentaries are entitled 'the Evolution of CSI Season 7', 'The real Crime Solvers' and 'Miniature Murders'. All three of these were very interesting to watch and gave real insight into both the programme and those that do the job for real life. I personally found the documentary regarding the miniature murders to be the best but this is probably just because the miniature killer is one of my favourite, bad choice of word I know, CSI criminals. I'm afraid however that I cannot comment on the episode commentaries because I personally can't stand commentaries at all and therefore haven't watched even one of these.

                      All in all the features on this DVD impressed me. They are far better than those on the 6.2 DVD and beat series 7.1 hands down and probably of a similar standard to those found on the Series 1, 2, 3 and 4 DVD's.

                      == Overall Opinion ==

                      Since the first time I watched CSI I absolutely loved it and collecting the box sets has been a real pleasure. This addition to my collection has simply reaffirmed why I love the series so much. The constant character development gives the show a real sense of presence as well as one of continuity and naturalness. All of the cases are riveting to watch and the introduction of a long running, gripping and harrowing serial killer makes the show all the better in my opinion. The realism that this show generates is in my mind next to none and although I can't quite believe it myself the quality of the series as a whole just keeps on improving. Series 7.1 is a definite treat for all CSI fans and a true gem to watch unfold.

                      '''Nick Stokes: It was good that you were there for her Sara. She didn't have to die alone.'''
                      '''Sara Sidle: [sadly] We usually show up too late to meet the victim.'''

                      == Facts ==

                      The complete run time for the episodes is 499 minutes.

                      The box set has a 18 rating, which I think it honestly deserves due to the nature of the case content.

                      The DVD box-set can be purchased from most good DVD stores as well as online but ranges greatly in price. I bought my copy for around £7 but it can cost anywhere up to £40, so keep an eye out.

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                        26.04.2010 23:14
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                        A wonderful story for children

                        Mr. Happy and the wizard is one of 18 stories in the Mr Men and Little Miss books with added Sparkle collection. The reason these books are called with added sparkle is the fact that all of the front covers have something glittery or sparkly or shimmery about them. I must add at this point however that despite being a huge Mr Men and Little Miss fan I wasn't immediately aware of the existence of these books.

                        I purchased this book for £2.20 from Waterstones.com but the books normally have a retail price of £2.99.

                        The front of this book has a really bright and warm picture of Mr Happy wearing a wizard's hat and reading a red magical book. This book has magical swirls coming out of it, which are gold and glittery. Above Mr Happy's head is written his name in block, black capitals and then 'and the Wizard' written in a medieval type font and printed in bright red.

                        If you turn the book over you will find smaller pictures of all the eighteen books within this collection. This is a feature that is taken from the original Mr Men. Series and is one I am fond of because it makes it easy to find out which books you have left to purchase. Over the barcode and price tab is also printed the Mr Men website address, which is www.mrmen.com if you were wondering and great for all fans young and old alike.

                        Opening the book you will immediately notice the common format of writing on the left hand side, bright and beautifully coloured pictures on the right hand side. This ensures that young children can always follow the story through the pictures. The pictures in question however are in fact much brighter and sharper and ultimately more colourful than they ever were in the original stories. As well as this light and dark are well depicted in the pictures and this really adds another dimension of life to the story being told.

                        The story itself begins with Mr Happy visiting the library. Here a large battered red volume catches his eye and as he pulls it out he reads the spine, which says 'SPELL BOOK'. Not particularly looking for a spell book he goes to put it back and it is then that the book speaks to him. Being surprised by a talking book Mr Happy drops but an 'OUCH!' from the book makes him pick it back up again and after the book explains that he has been left there by a forgetful wizard Mr Happy agrees to give the book a lift home.

                        On the way to the wizard's house however Mr Happy comes across a large number of his friends who he overhears complaining about one thing or another. Having a magic book in his hands he decides to try and help them but often ends up muttering a spell to reverse what he has just done. For example making Mr Forgetful remember only makes him panic about the quantity of things he has forgotten and so Mr Happy must mutter a spell to make him forget again. Will Mr Happy ever reach the wizards house and what will happen when he gets there?

                        This story really is a brilliant one and well-loved due to the fact that Mr Happy is one of the most popular Mr Men characters ever created. The loveable nature of his character combined with the superb pictures really draws the reader into the book and at eighteen this is not the effect children's books normally have on me. For these reasons this superb little book is one that I would not hesitate to recommend to all those that love the Mr. Men characters.

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                          21.04.2010 21:35
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                          A wonderful comedy series

                          As Time Goes By is a British comedy series that was broadcast between 1992 and 2005. In a BBC poll in 2004 to find Britain's best sitcom the show was voted number 29 - just ahead of Hancock's Half Hour and The Young Ones but below Dinnerladies and Rising Damp.

                          == What is As Time Goes By? ==

                          The premise for As Time Goes By is very easy to understand as quite simply the programme follows the relationship between two former lovers who unexpectedly meet again after not being in contact for 38 years. In the early 1950's Jean, a student nurse, and Lionel, a young army officer met and fell in love but the non-receipt of a letter posted in Korea leaves the pair torn apart. 38 years later their paths cross once again. The pair are now older and wiser but the course of true love never did run smooth and they soon discover that although love has a different pace and priorities it is still possible to rekindle the old flames.

                          == The Characters ==

                          The characters in As Time Goes By aren't anything spectacular in many ways but have been superbly created in many others. What makes them so good is the fact that they are normal people and therefore pull the audience in, in a way that fantastically choreographed and usually slightly obscure characters cannot. They are human in every sense of the word and therefore have their own quirks, phrases and most importantly personalities and this is what, for me, makes them so effective within the programme.

                          Jean Pargetter is a widow with one daughter. She is the owner of a secretarial firm called Type For You and works alongside her daughter Judith ad good friend Sandy. She is a very warm and caring character as well as a strong and independent woman but at times she can be exceptionally nosy. This however makes her human and it is this that makes us warm to Jean from the very beginning.

                          Lionel Hardcastle has been out of the army for quite some time now and is currently divorced from his wife. He has no children or none are mentioned at least and has just written his book entitled 'My Life in Korea', which is being published by the boy wonder Alistair. Lionel is often somewhat pessimistic and can come across as difficult but he definitely has a soft spot for the three girls and is somewhat getting used to Alistair's exuberant personality too.

                          Judith Hanson is Jean's daughter. She has been married and divorced twice and is currently single but frequently on the lookout for a new man - Alistair is tipping the Radar, on and off that is. Judith works alongside her mother at the Type For You office and is a good businesswoman herself but her timekeeping often lets her down. It is Judith in many respects who continues to push Jean and Lionel's relationship forward.

                          Sandy is Type For You's top secretary and therefore belongs to Jean. Sandy has a strong friendship with Judith and Jean and in that way seems more there equal than their subordinate in the business than anything else. Sandy is frequently to be found gossiping with Judith, helping Jean avoid people or simply fielding questions from Alistair and Lionel.

                          Alistair Deacon is the boy-wonder publisher who Lionel believes to be about twelve. He is exuberant in every sense of the world and frequently glorifies things beyond belief, using words that seem to come from another language and yuppie slang that make it very difficult for Lionel to understand him. He is however exceptionally bubbly as well as generous and his relationship with the other characters continues to grow.

                          == Series Three DVD ==

                          The full 10 episodes from series two are contained across two DVD's this series set and all of the episodes can be watched with subtitles, which I can honestly say are rather accurate. Being a relatively recent TV series it is also worth noting that the picture and sound quality is excellent throughout. There are however so special features to speak of, which is a nit of the shame meaning that the feature length of the DVD is 300 minutes.

                          This third series sees Jean and Lionel take the next big step in their relationship and decide to move in with each other. This as with everything else in their lives is wrought with confusion and mayhem but eventually pans out for the best. Moving in with one another isn't the only hurdle however, as Jean must try and find someone to run her new branch of the firm 'Type For You 2' and Lionel must contend with his father and Madge getting married. To top everything off Alistair is working on furthering Lionel's career by introducing the idea of writing a mini-series, which despite Jean's enthusiasm Lionel is a little reserved about.

                          == Episode Opinion ==

                          This series sees the couple and their relationship as well as the relationships of those around them progress in a really natural and seemingly authentic way. Nothing about the progressions that take place seem rushed, manipulated or altogether false and this is something that I think the series as a whoel should be proud of. Something else I admire about this series is how it manages to work in far more storylines than the previous ones, whilst keeping some of the old favourites still in there.

                          Characther quips and quirks are also becomign more noticeable as are their expected reactions to situations. All of this in no way makes the series seem contrived but gives it an authenticity of real life, as people do tend to have a set of reactions to events that they reuse and the way people behave doesn't change on a whim and this is something that As Time Goes By highlights very well in my opinion.

                          Of all the episodes in this series though I think that my favoruite just has to be Episode 8 where Lionel and Jean are in Los Angeles to meet the people potentially interested in producing Lionel's mino-series. I liked this episode because it placesd the two leads outside of tehir comfort zone but alos because it didn't compeltely forget about Judith, Sandy or Alistair. Lionel's pessimistic attitude and humorous quips are also fantastic in this episode and really bring his character and his outlook to life.

                          Like in the previous series each episode does have a somewhat self contained story but unlike programmes like 'Dad's Army' or 'Only Fools and Horses' it is the long running storyline that is ultimately more prominent in the series as a whole. In this respect 'As Time Goes By' probably has more in common with programmes like 'Goodnight Sweetheart'. This format however is something I definitely enjoy but it does mean that chronological viewing is near enough necessary in order to see the story unfold. Watching the series as a whole in a mish-mash sort of way just won't work as the relationship progressions and the character complexities will just not filter through the dialogue if you watch them like this.

                          == Humour ==

                          The humour in this series as a whole is very simple and subtle and is generally generated through the day to day activities of the characters. It is the way they simply interact with one another and go about the things they have to do in life that makes them so watchable. The humour isn't bold or brash but simply oozes out of the programme because of the natural way that everything on the screen unfolds. Many people therefore will be able to see themselves, their relatves and their friends within the characters and in this way the humour builds. I can frequently see my grandfather in Lionel and quite often the way Lionel and Jean interact reminds me of my parents. For me this is what effective humour is all about - making people relate with what they say and laugh at themselves.

                          == General Opinion ==

                          As Time Goes By is in many respects an extremely relaxed programme that simply lets the relatinships between the characters pan out without interfeering to much. For some this may make boring viewing but this is something that I particualrly like as it makes the programme and therefore the characters within seem all the more authentic and therefore the programme much closer to reality. The storyline isn't complex but is brightened up by curious events as well as the usual and the everyday, which quite often than not are hilarious int hemselves.

                          I would whole-heartedly recommend this series, which has a PG rating, as I think that it builds perfectly on the previous series and leaves you with a lovely warm feeling everytime you watch it.

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                            19.04.2010 20:48
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                            A wonderfully bright, cheerful and colourful children's story

                            Little Miss Lucky and the Naughty Pixies is one of 18 stories in the Mr Men and Little Miss books with added Sparkle collection. The reason these books are called with added sparkle is the fact that all of the front covers have something glittery or sparkly or shimmery about them. I must add at this point however that despite being a huge Mr Men and Little Miss fan I wasn't immediately aware of the existence of these books and to be truly honest have only recently begun to purchase them.

                            I purchased this book just after Christmas, as I had received another three from this collection in my stocking. I paid a mere 99p for this book but they normally retail for £2.99 unless you shop around like I did.

                            The front of this book is pale green in colour and has a picture of Little Miss Lucky stood in the middle of a toadstool patch. Hiding behind a couple of these toadstools are three mischievous looking pixies. The toadstools and the bow on Little Miss Lucky's hat are covered in glitter, which adds an extra shimmer. Above her head is written his name in block, black capitals and then 'and the Naughty Pixies' written in a cursive font and printed in blue.

                            If you turn the book over you will find smaller pictures of all the eighteen books within this collection. This is a feature that is taken from the original Mr Men. Series and is one I am fond of because it makes it easy to find out which books you have left to purchase.

                            Opening the book you will immediately notice the common format of writing on the left hand side, bright and beautifully coloured pictures on the right hand side. This ensures that young children can always follow the story through the pictures. The pictures in question are in fact much brighter and sharper and ultimately more colourful than they ever were in the original stories and this really adds another dimension of life to the story being told.

                            The story begins by telling us that Little Miss Lucky is the luckiest person in the world but that last week strange things started to happen to her. Unlucky things! She walked under a ladder and a pot of paint fell on her head. She walked down the street and fell into an open manhole.

                            If you've been paying attention however whilst reading the story you will notice that at the site of each of these 'unlucky' incidents there is a common troublemaker - mischievous pixies. Little Miss Lucky though simply thinks that her luck has run out. Will she ever learn the truth and catch those little rascals?

                            This story is a lovely one for children and is probably better in my opinion than the original Little Miss Lucky, which was itself a good read. The story is quite humorous in places and slightly interactive because of the appearance of the pixies, which young children can have fun trying to spot in the pictures.

                            All in all I would highly recommend this book but would strongly suggest that you try and shop around and purchase the book at the best value you possibly can.

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                            17.04.2010 20:12
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                            A simple yet wonderful comedy

                            As Time Goes By is a British comedy series that was broadcast between 1992 and 2005. In a BBC poll in 2004 to find Britain's best sitcom the show was voted number 29 - just ahead of Hancock's Half Hour and The Young Ones but below Dinnerladies and Rising Damp.

                            == What is As Time Goes By? ==

                            The premise for As Time Goes By is very easy to understand as quite simply the programme follows the relationship between two former lovers who unexpectedly meet again after not being in contact for 38 years. In the early 1950's Jean, a student nurse, and Lionel, a young army officer met and fell in love but the non-receipt of a letter posted in Korea leaves the pair torn apart. 38 years later their paths cross once again. The pair are now older and wiser but the course of true love never did run smooth and they soon discover that although love has a different pace and priorities it is still possible to rekindle the old flames.

                            == The Characters ==

                            The characters in As Time Goes By aren't anything spectacular in many ways but have been superbly created in many others. What makes them so good is the fact that they are normal people and therefore pull the audience in, in a way that fantastically choreographed and usually slightly obscure characters cannot. They are human in every sense of the word and therefore have their own quirks, phrases and most importantly personalities and this is what, for me, makes them so effective within the programme.

                            Jean Pargetter is a widow with one daughter. She is the owner of a secretarial firm called Type For You and works alongside her daughter Judith ad good friend Sandy. She is a very warm and caring character as well as a strong and independent woman but at times she can be exceptionally nosy. This however makes her human and it is this that makes us warm to Jean from the very beginning.

                            Lionel Hardcastle has been out of the army for quite some time now and is currently divorced from his wife. He has no children or none are mentioned at least and he is currently finishing and promoting his book entitled 'My Life in Korea', which is being published by the boy-wonder Alistair. Lionel is often somewhat pessimistic and can come across as difficult but he is warming to Alistair and has a soft spot for all three girls.

                            Judith Hanson is Jean's daughter. She has been married and divorced twice and is currently single but frequently on the lookout for a new man - Alistair is tipping the Radar. Judith works alongside her mother at the Type For You office and is a good businesswoman herself but her timekeeping often lets her down. It is Judith in many respects that continues to push Jean and Lionel's relationship forward.

                            Sandy is Type For You's top secretary and therefore belongs to Jean. Sandy has a strong friendship with Judith and Jean and in that way seems more there equal than their subordinate in the business than anything else. Sandy is frequently to be found gossiping with Judith, helping Jean avoid people or simply fielding questions from Alistair and Lionel.

                            Alistair Deacon is the boy-wonder publisher who Lionel believes to be about twelve. He is exuberant in every sense of the world and frequently glorifies things beyond belief, using words that seem to come from another language and yuppie slang that make it very difficult for Lionel to understand him. He is however exceptionally bubbly as well as generous and his relationship with the other characters continues to grow.

                            == Series Two DVD ==

                            The full 7 episodes from series two are contained on one DVD in this series set and all of the episodes can be watched with subtitles, which I can honestly say are rather accurate. Being a arelatively recent TV series it is also worth noting that the picture and sound quality is excellent throughout.

                            This second series sees Jean and Lionel begin to progress in their relationship. They relaise that all they both really want is each other and that in order for this to happen they must both start accepting that they are not the same as the were when they first met. There is however only so much that a feldging relationship can take, even one that began 38 years ago, and ridiculous photo shoots, sniggering colleagues and strange relationship do little to help but ultimately everything that happens can only make them stronger, as they're both old enough and wise enough for small things like that not to bother them - aren't they?

                            == Episode Opinion ==

                            This series is different to the first one in so many aspects because whereas the previous one set the scene for what was to come this series allowed the 'what was to come' to actually begin appearing.This series for me feels like the real beginning of the story although the first series was definitely needed or this one just wouldn't have worked. What I'm trying to say therefore is tht this series really sees As Time Goes By take off on the road that it will follow in continuing series' and that thankfully this road is the right one.

                            Like in the previous series each episode does have a somewhat self contained story but unlike programmes like 'Dad's Army' or 'Only Fools and Horses' it is the long running storyline that is ultimately more prominent in the series as a whole. In this respect 'As Time Goes By' probably has more in common with programmes like 'Goodnight Sweetheart'. This format however is something I definitely enjoy but it does mean that chronological viewing is near enough necessary in order to see the story unfold. Watching the series as a whole in a mish-mash sort of way just won't work as the relationship progressions and the character complexities will just not filter through the dialogue if you watch them like this.

                            == Humour ==

                            The humour in this series as a whole is very simple and subtle and is generally generated through the day to day activities of the characters. It is the way they simply interact with one another and go about the things they have to do in life that makes them so watchable. The humour isn't bold or brash but simply oozes out of the programme because of the natural way that everything on the screen unfolds. Many people therefore will be able to see themselves, their relatves and their friends within the characters and in this way the humour builds. I can frequently see my grandfather in Lionel and quite often the way Lionel and Jean interact reminds me of my parents. For me this is what effective humour is all about - making people relate with what they say and laugh at themselves.

                            == General Opinion ==

                            As Time Goes By is in many respects an extremely relaxed programme that simply lets the relatinships between the characters pan out without interfeering to much. For some this may make boring viewing but this is something that I particualrly like as it makes the programme and therefore the characters within seem all the more authentic and therefore the programme much closer to reality. The storyline isn't complex but is brightened up by curious events as well as the usual and the everyday, which quite often than not are hilarious int hemselves.

                            I would whole-heartedly recommend this series, which has a PG rating, as I think that it builds perfectly on the previous series and leaves you with a lovely warm feeling everytime you watch it.

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