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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 2004'
(Peter Sallis, Frank Thornton, Tom Owen, et al / 2-DVD / NR / 2015 / BBC America)

Overview: Britain's oldest delinquents are back to wreak havoc in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales in the world's longest running sitcom. Never distracted by sanity or logic, senior delinquents Truly, Clegg and Billy rise to higher than ever heights of hilarity in the 26th season of the world's longest running sitcom.

DVD Verdict: I, as have my family, have been devoted fans of three old men from Yorkshire who have never grown up and who continually face the trials of their fellow town citizens and everyday life as they try to stay young by reminiscing about the days of their youth - let alone continually attempting feats not common to the elderly!

The world's longest running sitcom, 'Last of the Summer Wine' is a British sitcom created and written by Roy Clarke that was originally broadcast on the BBC. Indeed, 'Last of the Summer Wine' premiered as an episode of Comedy Playhouse on 4 January 1973 and the first series of episodes followed on 12 November 1973.

With only Peter Sallis (as Clegg) the only original left of the three old guys out for fun (at an impressive 295 episodes, 1973-2010), the quality of 'Summer Wine' is reflected in its longevity and ongoing popularity. Admittedly, I was afraid (and deeply saddened) when Compo (Bill Owen, with 186 episodes under his belt, 1973-2008) died it would go down in laugh quality, but it just keeps getting better. Wesley (Gordon Wharmby) is gone in this year and it suffers without him and his Land Rover, but Barry (Mike Grady) and Glenda (Sarah Thomas) step up to fill the void; somewhat.

Anyway, with Compo and Wesley gone the addition of Tom Owen (as, well, Tom!) was pure genius. His craziness takes over for Compo perfectly. Sure he'll never be Compo, for nobody ever could, but man, he sure gives it a new lease of life for trying. Here in Vintage 2004, the question is how will the octogenarian trio dispose of an unwanted dinosaur, a gold-digger and Truly's ex-wife?!

What to do when a parade-bound effigy loses its head, and Robin Hood reappears in the Yorkshire Dales? Will Alvin ever convince Nora Batty to take a romantic ride in his bicycle and sidecar? In truth, and as much as the three main characters always run wild and crazy, the show's secondary characters were always believable. And the humor was, by and large, unsophisticated and free from innuendo, reasons, perhaps, for its acceptance in the context it was presented.

It may be that the reason for the success of the program is that it presents a world that no longer exists, a set of endearing characters,lost in their own little world, steeped in a kind of rural simplicity from which the harsh values and events of the real world are permanently excluded,playing the sort of schoolboy adventures in which we may, at one time, have all shared. Their hopes and doubts, dreams and uncertainties running through the tapestry of their lives, played out for us with a skill which belies the simplicity of the message that the program conveys.

So come on down to the Dales of Yorkshire, England and laugh yourself silly with comedy kings Peter Sallis, Frank Thornton and Tom Owen, and a golden-oldie cast of British sitcom stars. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.