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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Fresh Fields: Set One'
(Julia McKenzie, Anton Rodgers, Ann Beach, Fanny Rowe, Ballard Berkeley, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2011 / Acorn Media)

Overview: 'Fresh Fields' is an endearing Britcom about Hester and William Fields (Julia McKenzie and Anton Rodgers), whose quiet middle-aged lives get sent gently awry by Hester's dotty schemes to bring something new and exciting into their live. Which generally means a new hobby, like painting or fencing, or helping her husband around the office, leading to exasperated sighs from William!

DVD Verdict: 'Fresh Fields,' a show that I grew up watcing season after season in the UK during the mid-80s was produced by Thames Television for ITV between 1984 and 1986. Basically, the sitcome revolves around a mid-life couple who love each other dearly, and put up with each others quirks endearingly. They go about their day - he, William an accountant, she, Hester a housewife on the constant search of new creative outlets - in perfect harmony, with their neighbor Sonja (Ann Beach) and Hester's mom, Nancy (Fanny Rowe - who lives in the granny house out back) both crashing the kitchen every episode!

The show begins with opening credits that featuring a silhouette of a person in a rocking chair, his female partner flipping pancakes in front of him! BUT, what I liked was the two trailers for other upcoming Acorn Media titles: Hope Springs and Two Fat Ladies!

In DISH OF THE DAY, the couples funny chit-chat across the kitchen table begins where it never ceased to stop (save for cancelation!) with Hester trying out for the job of a one day a week part-time chef at local eatery, Lucy's Kitchen. But, on her debut night nobody shows - so, what is missing from her recipes? In MIDDLE-AGE DREAD, Hester tries to get a job at a fancy boutique - but finds herself too old! In HOOK, LINE AND SINK HER, Hester takes an interest in William's hobby of fishing. Soon, Hester, Nancy and her ex-husband are along for the trip also!

In THE NAKED TRUTH, William asks for Hester's help to impress a visiting Bagdad client and at the same time Hester takes up painting nudes! In DES DET RES, William, due to bills and taxes, decides they need to move into a smaller house. Hester doesn't like the idea, and with her mother, devises a plan of her own to fudge with his plans! In SOMETHING IN THE OVEN, Hester's one-night a week chef job is going to be reviewed by a top food critic. Her daughter Emma reveals some big news too, which calls for this end-of-episode statement: "I know what's wrong, you can't face being a Grandfather ... No, what worries me is going to bed with a Grandmother!"

In A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, William plans a surprise 24th wedding anniversary at the place where they first met, but BOTH get surprised when their neighbors husband is there with another woman! Noticeably more though, is the fact that as this is Disc 2, Hester (Julia) has shorter, more styled hair - which means this was Season 2 in the UK! In BRIEF ENCOUNTER, Hester's fencing teacher has more on his mind than simply teaching her the art of the sport! But William foils the Casanova's moves PDQ!

In ALRIGHT ON THE NIGHT, Hester's church bazaar wants her and her friends to put on a little song and dance. But, when one of her ladies pulls out of the Mikado number, William finds himself centerstage! In IN THE SPRING, a little neighborhood scandal seems to pep up the creative diary writing juices of Hester. But, in truth this episode is bookended by a petrol (gas) joke, more than anything!

In BUSINESS CONTACTS, when William gets sick, Hester fills in as office secretary, but inbetween being both that and a taxi driver to the client, he seems to quickly get the wrong idea - and tries to lead William astray. Oh, and for a hot second William wears contact lenses! In the very last episode, GET ME TO THE CHURCH, Emma's wedding to Peter is all set, but the mother and father, neighbor and granny are late leaving the house - with the baby's birth gift strapped (unwisely, as you can guess) to the roof of their car! [RT] This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

Julia McKenzie and Anton Rodgers Filmographies