19 December 2010 | jeffsultanof
One of the high water marks of British Comedy
Until I saw a documentary on Leonard Rossiter as a bonus on the video of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (one of my favorite British series), I knew nothing about Rising Damp. Based on the clips, I knew I had to see this series if it was available. Thankfully, all four series and the motion picture are on DVD. The writing is sensational and the cast is wonderful; the chemistry between them is as good as can be imagined. But as good as they all are (and it is particularly good to see some of the work of Richard Beckinsale), Rossiter is the star without question. He is brilliant; one cannot imagine anyone else playing this part. He took me totally by surprise. As good as he was in Perrin, his timing and delivery here are just amazing; he is clearly one of the great actors of his generation. These words are not written lightly.
While it is possible that this series is not seen on U.S. television because of Rigsby's racist statements, one has to look at this in the context of the seventies, when television was exposing many different realities to audiences, and they were loving it (remember the Jeffersons and Good Times?). If Archie Bunker is still to be found on television, there is no reason why Rigsby shouldn't be seen either. Another possible reason is that this is not a BBC or Granada series. At least it lives on DVD in the U.S., and if you are a British comedy fan, this is way up there.