“ Genre: Television - Robin's Nest / Parental Guidance / Actors: Tessa Wyatt, Richard O'Sullivan, David Kelly ... / DVD released 2008-05-26 at Network / Features of the DVD: PAL „
Robin Tripp part owns a restaurant in London with his father-in-law, James Nicholls. Their relationship is far from good though - Robin is a chef and has his own ideas about how to run the business, whereas James is ex armed forces and likes to keep a tight handle on the finances. Victoria, now married to Robin, is frequently called upon to keep the peace, not always an easy task with one-armed dishwasher, Albert Riddle, in tow. Will they manage to keep the restaurant afloat? Or will Robin and James decide to call it a day and start up separate businesses?
The four main characters remain exactly as they were in series 1 and 2, with Robin played by Richard O'Sullivan, James by Tony Britton, Victoria by Tessa Wyatt and Albert by David Kelly. To my mind, it is only Richard O'Sullivan's performance that manages to keep the series from going under. However, even he is beginning to look a bit jaded - whereas in Man About the House, he had a sparkle in his eye that made me laugh before he even said anything, in this series of Robin's Nest, he just appears to be going through the motions. He still has the best lines though, and although he often goes over the top in annoying his on-screen father-in-law, he is the character that most made me laugh.
Tessa Wyatt is probably the weakest link of all the main characters. Unlike Sally Thomsett and Paula Wilcox, who starred with Richard O'Sullivan in Man About the House, Wyatt isn't really a comedy actress. In fact, she isn't really any kind of actress. Her main role seems to be to look good - and that she certainly does - but apart from that, she is really quite annoying. Perhaps if her character had been given a chance to develop, she could have given a better performance - as it is, she just seems to say and do the same things time after time.
Tony Britton is a great actor, but again, isn't given much chance to develop as a character in this series, so his role is hardly discernible from that in series 1 and 2 before Robin and Victoria were married. Basically, he is a tightwad who doesn't really approve of Robin, which is fine for before the marriage, but just seems a little old and boring now. Then there is David Kelly, who plays the one-armed dishwasher - again, the jokes have already been done before, so they fell a bit flat here.
Brian Cooke and Johnnie Mortimer, who are responsible for the script (although I think other writers did the leg-work) really could have done a bit more work to make this series stand out from the others. It isn't just the jokes that feel done to death, it is also the storylines. Whereas Man About the House was perhaps successful because they involved so many different characters, Robin's Nest really revolves around the odd relationship between Robin and James, and nothing else. As such, each episode seems to start with James wanting to get the better of Robin, but Robin finding out in time, even though he ought to have found out much sooner. Three episodes into the thirteen that exist in this series, and I was bored. There are another three series after this one, but to be honest, I'm not sure I will be bothering.
On the plus side, there are some funny moments, and Richard O'Sullivan manages to maintain enough of a sparkle to keep me going. It can't be called gripping entertainment, by any stretch of the imagination, but it is harmless enough - the sort of thing I might have on in the background while doing something else. As can be expected from a series made in the seventies, there are some sexist/homophobic/racist comments made during the course of the series, but they are hardly noticeable - although, of course, if you think you may be offended, don't watch.
Series 3 comes as a two-disc set: there are seven episodes on the first and six on the other. I would much rather they all came on one disc, but I guess they couldn't fit them all on. The quality of the episodes is excellent - I never once felt that I was watching something that was made in the seventies. There are absolutely no special features, which is a bit of a shame - I would have thought that the producers could have cobbled together something of interest for viewers, but it seems not.
I think that this series is definitely one for serious fans of seventies sitcoms only. I have the first two series, so this one was the next on my list - but I'm not sure I will bother with any of the other series now, because I think they will just annoy me. If you are tempted to watch Robin's Nest, maybe for old time's sake, or simply because you like British sitcoms, I would recommend starting with the first series, which I think is the best I've seen so far - some of the sparkle has been lost in this third series.
The two disc DVD is available from play.com for £9.99.
Running time: 325 minutes