'Chance in a Million Complete Collection'
(Simon Callow, Brenda Blethyn, Deddie Davies, Bill Pertwee, Hugh Walters, et al / 3-DVD / Not Rated / (1984) 2013 / Acorn Media)
Overview: When Tom meets Alison Little (Oscar® nominee Brenda Blethyn, 'Vera'), a sheltered, earnest librarian, the two embark on an unconventional courtship. Tom’s peculiar speech patterns and bumbling comportment sweetly complement Alison’s cheery aloofness. Despite the cosmic forces seeking to drive them apart they nobly weather ludicrous circumstances as one!
DVD Verdict: I have to fully admit that growing up in the UK I loved watching this quaint TV show. An oddball comedy, for sure, but even its mismatched couple scenario couldn't sawy me from finding the jokes still to this day as funny, and not al as predicatble as I'd once feared.
Written by Andrew Norriss and Richard Fegen, 'Chance In A Million's unaired pilot is rather lovely in its own right. It first brings up the LWT logo (London Weekened Television) but quickly adds the freshly-minted (at the time) Cooper Weekend Televison words underneath before heading into the theme tune. Recovered from the archives and included in the set without any digital enhancement, the shaky cam takes us through the next TV logo before finally opening up at the Riverside Hotel.
Entitled 'Plumstones,' just the first appearance of a sexy young Brenda Blethyn is enough to make you stop to pause - literally! As for the major the differences between this and the original pilot, well, let's just say it all takes place in the latter half of the episode.
Nowadays it's funny listening to how Tom Chance (Simon Callow) speaks. Posh, uppercrust, bow tie flair, he tells the porter at the desk upon his arrival, "When girl arrives," and the points, "in bar. OK." Indeed, all his sentences are stop start, which might actually begin to annoy anyone new to the sitcom. He does smooth out his speech patterns over the series though, but it's a bit raw at the start, for sure. ("Don't want a drink in the bar. If did would obviously go there. Order too difficult or something?"
And so we begin a journey into the three seasons that were 'Chance In A Million,' where despite the cosmic forces seeking to drive them apart —such as law enforcement, rude waiters, unrequited loves, petty criminals, and Alison’s overbearing parents — Tom and Alison nobly weather ludicrous circumstances as they blunder around life together.
I mean, there are quite a lot episodes here, but the one that sticks out is entitled 'Naming The Day,' for as the episode opens Tom reads in the just-delivered newspaper that not only is he dead, but his engagement notice to Liz (Brenda Blethyn) is actually now her marrying three labrador puppies! And in another entitled 'Man Of Iron' Tom throws a stick in a park for a big dog to chase, but the dog brings back a terrified man clutching his briefcase instead!
So yes, I know none of our days start off like this in reality, but surely you need slapstick, yet smart sitcom humor to remind you that joy can be had viewing such stuff come the end of a hard day?
And so this Complete Collection includes all three seasons of this award-winning comedy seen on public television. And I beg you to go out and buy it for it is the perfect way to sip your hot chocolate of a night and go to bed smiling! These are all Full Screen Presentations (1:66.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Alternate Pilot Episode (28 min.)
Four Episode Commentaries with Simon Callow and writers Andrew Norriss and Richard Fegan
Note from Simon Callow