(Martin Clunes, Amanda Redman, Griff Rhys Jones, Samantha Janus, et al / 2-Disc DVD / NR / 2011 / Acorn Media)
Overview: As World War II ends, thousands of British soldiers get “demobbed” (demobilized) and sent back into civilian life. Among them are Captain Ian Deasey (Griff Rhys Jones, 'Alas Smith & Jones') and Lance Corporal Dick Dobson (Martin Clunes, 'Doc Martin'). Deasey and Dobson spent much of the war entertaining the troops with their bawdy stage routines and so it's not long before they long for the stage lights on civvy street once more.
DVD Verdict: 'Demob' is just, simply put, a wonderful trip back in time to an era that, personally, I knew nothing about and discovered I was enthralled by it all nonetheless.
A dramatic comedy (persay) with lots of Vaudeville moments, inclusive of fruity song and dance / comedy routines, it tells the tale of a period series of post-war England..The costumes and sceneries are wonderful, the actors (being British) all spot on, but it's the moments of pure tenderness, the hard struggles, and personal difficulties that have been written into the script that make this as good as it is.
As we open the first episode, our two war chums part to go their separate ways after WWI: Deasey (Jones) goes back to his wife and son, whilst Dobson (Clunes) decides to stay a little longer up in London - making dodgy deals and hanging with bad 'uns! But, in the four years Deasey has been away, his wife Janet (Amanda Redman, 'New Tricks') has found that Ian has changed. At one of the clubs Dobson attends, he spots lovely dancer Hedda (Samantha Janus, 'Pie In The Sky') and soon they are hanging out together. The episode ends with Dobson getting Deasley up on stage at his newly-invested in club, The Blue Parrot as part of the old routine, once again.
As we progress, Deasey tries to balance his nightclub job with his government day job - until he gets the sack! And just when the nightclub act is booming, in the blink of an eye the club is closed down and now Deasley, Dobson and Hedda are on the road looking for work! At the same time, Hedda is always looking for more information on a MIA spouse.
In the third episode, the boys get a three week gig opening for Liverpool comedian Morton Stanley (the late, great British comedian, Les Dawson). But their first fews shows go badly, until they bring in Hedda (due to Dobson's chicken pox) and the crowd begins to warm to her charms! At home, Janet begins an affair.
In the fourth episode, when Hedda refuses Stanley's sexual advances he fires them both and so Deasey, Hedda and Dobson are all unemployed once again! Indeed, Deasley has had enough of Dobson's ways and dumps him to create a new stage act: Deasley and Hedda. But soon enough Dobson has roped Deasley into one of his schemes and he is helping create a fun entertainment camp for all named 'Happylands'!
In the fifth episode, out of the blue the boys get an audition with the BBC for radio - which they blow, they get back, they nearly blow again, and then become firm favs on! In one scene early on, when Deasley opens the letter from the BBC, he exclaims, "Well, bugger me!" To which his room mate and best friend Dobson quickly responds, "I'll have a cup of tea first, if it's all the same with you!" Little did we know that such a funny comeback would have such relevance to the SHOCKING last 30 seconds of this episode!
In the final episode, Dobson's secret out, Deasley still amazed, the acting jobs dried up, the press hounding them both, new changes are enforced on the pair. But not just for the boys, for Janet realizes she has made a mistake and Hedda wants more from life re: Rudy Lorimer (James Faulkner, 'I, Claudius'), the older, shady business partner of Dobson. Come the end and it is wrapped up very neatly, very tidy and just the way you would have expected and hoped. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.66:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.