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Roger and Val Have Just Got In (DVD)

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Genre: Television / Theatrical Release: 2010 / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Jamie Rafn / DVD released 2010-09-13 at Lions Gate Home Ent. UK Ltd / Features of the DVD: Colour, PAL

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      09.01.2011 18:44
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      Perhaps overlooked but brilliant series

      Roger and Val Have Just Got In was shown on BBC 2 earlier this year. The concept is simple, it just portrays the half hour when Roger, an uptight socially awkward botanist (Alfred Molina) and Val, a gregarious but slightly insular home economics teacher (Dawn French) return home from work.

      Essentially we observe them as they describe their minor trials and tribulations within their home setting, it is no more complicated than that. However, as the series progresses it becomes apparent that there is something akin to the proverbial 'elephant in the room.'from earlier on in their lives and which comes to a head by the series end. To say any more than that would ruin it.

      This is such an impressive series. The performances themselves are pitch-perfect and Molina and French should be commended if not rewarded for these. The relationship between the two is brilliantly portrayed as they take an interest in the mundanities and scrapings of each others' working days, in particular Roger's ongoing gripes with his colleagues. They also find themselves in a number of recognisable situations - having to locate a much needed appliance guarantee from the 'big drawer' , the responsibility of having an elderly dying parent and then, most brilliantly, the trauma that can unfold by replying Forward All to a work email.

      By all accounts, the physical constraints of a premise such as this should limit the series somewhat. After all, you do not see anyone else but the two protagonists, and you never leave more than a few rooms in their house. However, this does not ever seem to provide a problem, in fact it gives it an increased air of believability to it. Also, given that the concept would lend itself quite nicely to theatre, it still never feels stagey.

      Towards the end, it became incredibly moving actually and there is really a sense with the way that it is performed that often there is more not being said than actually being said even though they appear to fill much of their time with idle chatter. It is also funny in places, as the two of them appear to get themselves in all kinds of frenzies over silly things - to the point that when something important arises there is a palpable sense of uncertainty about their relationship.

      In conclusion, I would recommend this series as an almost pitch-perfect comedy drama which really does show that sometimes less is more , with some stunning performances and put together in a package which is both understated but also really does stay with you.

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