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  • Robert-722 December 1998
    You Rang M'Lord must be one of the funniest TV Series ever. It's all about a private family that employs several household staff who look after them. There is a butler, an underbutler, a footman, a cook, several housekeepers etc. Although the series is very funny and certain situations are overdrawn, it nevertheless comes very close to "the real thing". As professional butler and chairman of the International Guild of Professional Butlers I know a little bit about the subject. Do check out the series because you will fall in love with it.
  • My early memories of You Rang M'Lord are pretty hazy (I was only small when it was first shown) but I have very fond memories of it. I managed to catch it again when I was fifteen and I still remembered some scenes (the way Madge Cartwright's maid Rose squeaks "Oh, Mr. Teddy!", Mrs. Lipton throwing everything in sight at Alf Stokes and the bit where Lady Lavender throws six tapioca puddings at Ivy are three that really stuck in my mind). I really wish it was repeated more often, as - for instance - Dad's Army is in the UK. As I think an earlier reviewer said, it paints a fantastic picture of society in the twenties and the way in which it was changing at the time. The characterisation is great - Stokes as the scheming butler, Henry who always seems to get hit round the head with something or by someone, Lord Meldrum as the adulterous (presumably widowed) head of the house. A great series that should be seen by anyone who gets the chance.
  • ivanan_tg19 September 2008
    I grew up watching this series. It has a cult status in my family. Without a shadow of doubt, this is the best comic series ever. The casting is perfect and the acting superb. The story and its layers are simply amazing; I could watch each episode hundred times over and I would still enjoy it as much as I did the first time and notice something new, something I hadn't noticed before. I wish the series lasted 30 years instead of just 3. I have bought the DVD of the first season and plan to buy the rest of the series too.

    The thing that puzzles me most is the fact that this series is not as well know as Dad's Army, Only fools and horses or Blackadder. The BBC conducted a poll back in 2004 to find out what is considered to be the best Britain's sitcom and You rang m'lord is not even in the first 100 series. One can't help but wondering how this could be. I am simply astonished.
  • Without doubt this show is the magnum opus of Perry and Croft, it's 26 episodes enchant and beguile like no other show. Set between the wars in one of London's great houses, it follows the life of Lord Meldrum, his family and their servants. Every facet of this show extols the virtues of the cast, set designers, and writers to perfection. Few shows have ever captured the feel of an era better, capturing as it does the styles, social issues and morals of the transitional era that followed the reign of Victoria. The extraordinary attention to detail at all levels involves one entirely, this mated with a superb script which supports all the visual magic, leaves only the actors to make the best of it all. This they do with extraordinary finesse and believability, one can completely empathize with each character and have sympathy with each role. The show is actually a serial, but with each episode featuring a vignette, it is episodic as well. It is impossible to define any one actor as being a lead as each role attaches itself seamlessly to the story, to create a gorgeous sense of flow and continuity, it is involving, poignant and immensely funny. The troupe consists of many regular players from David Croft's "stable", but in no other show are they better used. The cast and crew are detailed in the body of the IMDb page, but a must mention are the almost background parts played by Perry Benson, Barbara New and Mavis Pugh, as Henry, Mabel and Lady Lavender respectively. Between them, they inject a positively brilliant series of almost surreal comedic asides all through the series, and they add to its charm and depth immeasurably. One could go on and on about all the virtues of this show, but in conclusion, I honestly think that this wonderful story is the absolute epitome of British TV comedy, the like of which, is unlikely to be seen again, it is a work of quality, passion and genius at every level. If you get a chance to see it, you must.
  • While it's not news that British comedies are far better than their American counterparts, You Rang M'Lord tops the list of excellent British comedy. The post-Victorian aristocratic setting is perfect for class distinction humor, its underlying political themes subtle enough to serve the humor only. This series reveals that all "classes" of people are driven by basic human nature, the same foibles, desires, hopes, and dreams. The situations are hilarious and tied to an overall theme in each episode, the characters as good as any ever conceived, the acting of each one superb, the costumes and sets flawless. I just wish the series had run for 10 years, as each episode is so much fun.
  • This is one of my all time favourite TV shows and has been forever. I loved it when it first aired when I was a little girl and at 25 I am thrilled that (a) it is now being repeated on UKTV Drama, and thanks (b) to that the show is being released on DVD in January 2006. While the triple treat of Paul Shane, Jeffry Holland and Su Pollard are value for money as always, the beauty of this series is that everyone is so well cast and that even the smaller more minor roles were still a dream for any Actor to play. Michael Knowles is fabulous as Uncle Teddy and Lady Lavender steals every scene she is in. However, even though she was a little Cat (to use a favourite phase of the series) my favourite character was always Miss. Poppy, fantastically played by Susie Brann, because it was nice to see an Actress play a character who wasn't always sweetness and light. Granted, Ivy is sweet and gentle, but Miss Poppy seems a lot more fun. Am I the only person who was disappointed that she didn't end up with her beloved James Twelvetrees??? (I know - I need to get a life. Ha Ha!!!) A jewel in the British comedy crown. Two thumbs up.
  • karhukissa28 January 2007
    I first saw You Rang, M'lord over 15 years ago. My motivation was in fact Miss Cissy's picture in the TV program - of course I wanted to see anything with a lesbian character! But while I wasn't disappointed in Cissy, I grew fond of the whole household, masters and servants alike. I have since seen it dozens of times on TV, video and DVD.

    I truly think You Rang, M'lord is a masterpiece of English sitcom. Firstly, it's a nice parody of the rigid social boundaries in British society ("No, Henry, you don't open the door. Mr. Twelvetrees opens the door. If he is not here, Ivy opens the door. If Ivy is not here, I open the door", lectures Mrs. Lipton.) However, the characters are more than just representatives of their respective social classes. They all have a full-fledged personality, a whole life outside the confines of the series (think of reports about Mabel's husband or visits to the Kitkat Club). Even relatively minor characters, like Lady Agatha, are three-dimensional. Every character is extremely funny and yet likable. The moment one would start to hate Alf or Miss Poppy, they immediately do something (and it might just be a glance or a smile) to win our sympathy back. Psychologically the whole series is perfectly realistic and logical. No wonder there're no 'goofs' listed about this series on IMDb. There aren't any.

    I have seen other sitcoms by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, but this one exceeds all of them. The excellent acting contributes to this, too. I couldn't point out one actor over the others; they all do a brilliant job.
  • I possess about 96% of this series, or should I say these series on VHS and am awaiting the day they will be available on DVD. This was an excellent comedy series which seems to have fallen into oblivion. Some of the actors starred in "It Ain't Half Hot Mum ", another excellent series set in British India ! This series examines the relationships between the servant staff and the occupying family of an upper class British Household during the 1920's. What is good about it is that each character is extremely well analyzed and developed and when you follow the series from one episode to the next, their is a rigid consistency in the way each of the characters behaves. What is good is that the satire concerns everyone, it is not an anti-upper-class satire, the humbler characters are portrayed to be just as scheming and below-the-belt as the aristocratic ones. Of course I sympathize with poor old Mabel who is treated like dirt by the other servants who for some reason consider her below their level to partake of the same food as themselves ! Also I found extremely annoying the policeman who turns up every time in the kitchen to scrounge tea and cake - in fact the servants probably come out of this with a worse image than the aristocrats - sure Poppy is a spoiled brat and is always leading James on, but he himself has a kind of inverted snobbery or obsequiousness. Paul Shane's character (head butler) is also extremely dislike-able ( for me ) as he represents typical working-class-with-a-chip-on-their-shoulder but I found the character of his daughter Ivy absolutely adorable and found Henry incredibly funny with his off the cuff remarks as I did Teddy with his cravings for servant girls. Sir Ralph's character can also get annoying at times and it's a bit of a shame that Lord Meldrum has a soft spot for his wife as she seems to be more of a slut than anything else; Each episode is very well crafted and provides many moments of laughter, quiproquo, an insight into relations between "upstairs and downstairs" plus the inclusion of a number of external influences ( Barbara Windsor, for example, as Shane's false wife ). I am very fond of Donald Hewlett as an actor and his character is that I prefer in this series.

    The series is typically English humour, I am not sure whether it could be appreciated by foreign audiences as some prior knowledge of the English class system is necessary - but once you get into it and become familiar with each of the characters - you cannot do without it ! I am hopeful that one day this will get round to being issued on DVD, such is the scarcity of good comedy in the UK nowadays, we need to re-edit these oldies on DVD to provide ourselves with some hours of pleasure.
  • This was one of the funniest sitcoms to come out of the BBC, sweet, funny and innocent. It showed the class divide in the country during the 1920's. The Meldrum's, a wealthy family living in a large house, below stairs live the servants. A charismatic bunch lead by butler Alf Stokes. Most of the humour comes from downstairs, and lots of the serious bits come from the mix of the two.

    On many occasions social and political arguments were raised, there were often touches of realism.

    It went out on a Sunday evening, and it was the last good bit of the weekend, before School on a Monday morning.

    Great performances from all the cast. Su Pollard was visually very funny, so often she's the one that steals the laughs. The craziest laughs came from Lady Lavender, her and that parrot.

    It was a brilliant series, one I couldn't recommend highly enough, 10/10
  • I cannot count how many times I have seen the episodes since I bought the DVD's. Without reservation, it is the best sitcom ever. In terms of the quality of humor it is of the similar caliber as Blackadder and Monty Python. It is thoroughly engaging and entertaining. The layers of humor, the subtlety of the humor, the characterization, the historical value, the witty dialogues, the various clever interplays between the characters are superior to anything else that has been produced. It is excellent on so many different levels.

    It portrays a tug-of-war between the different desires and needs of various characters, and the different classes; how the class system reflects itself in the building of the characters and relationships, their faults and how these character shortcoming develop into various events and how these result in complex social webs. It portrays a very real struggle for survival in a jungle of desires, shortcomings, boredom, propriety, poverty, wealth......all weaved together in very funny episodes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This certainly was one of the best sitcoms but somehow remains underrated and largely forgotten.

    Unlike some of the more outrageous characters in other sitcoms written by the same hands (most of the characters in the wonderful Are You Being Served? for example) this had more realism going for it.

    Based on such shows as Upstairs Downstairs this series deals with 'them upstairs' and 'those down below'. With a cast of actors culled mainly from previous sitcom hits (notably Hi De Hi and You Ain't Half Hot Mum) laughs were assured.

    After all, in which other sitcom do you get:

    Lord Meldrum (having an affair with Lady Agatha) Teddy Meldrum (having many affairs with housemaids - and getting 5 of them pregnant) Poppy Meldrum (wanting to have an affair with James, the footman) and Cissy Meldrum (having a lesbian affair with Penelope)

    While Poppy's character gets less and less likable as the series goes on, the other three family members become more endearing, and the distress of Lord Meldrum when Lady Agatha dumps him in the last episode is quite upsetting. Comedy is woven round it of course.

    And downstairs there are gentle touches amongst the comedy too - such as when Alf invites the charlady, Mabel, to the staff ball.

    And much of the comedy is held together by the innocence of the maid, Ivy (played superbly by Su Pollard) and her attempts to stop the butler Alf Stokes (her father, played by Paul Shane) getting his hands on money, and trying to get some attention from James, the footman, who she has fallen in love with.

    I loved all the characters and there are some treasurable comedic moments, played out as period drama.

    If you missed it then look it out, now that it is on DVD.

    Any chance of a cup of your most excellent tea, Mrs Lipton?
  • I have been trying to buy YOU RANG, M'LORD? for years. This is the funniest comedy show I have ever seen. The actress who plays Ivy actually has a website on which one may express their interest in the show, but for some reason it does not get transferred to DVD. I spent over three years in England in the first half of the decade of the 1950s and made many English friends, so I developed an appreciation of English humor. This show is one of the best representations of the genre that I have ever seen, putting most of the Britcoms we see on American television to shame. I would encourage anyone who has seen the show and would buy it on DVD to agitate for it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A welcome break from the ubiquitous Oxbridge Mafia production line,"You rang,m'Lord?" was a return to the Whitehall Farce era of English comedy. Set in a London "Townhouse" in 1927,it depicts two families,the one who own the house aristocratic,hedonistic,rich,the other - who run the house - poor working - class,but comfortably ensconced in the tradition of "Service" that was coming to the end of its time,perhaps hurried on a little by the recent "General Strike".("I drove a bus!" exclaims the Hon.Teddy proudly.)Although the strike collapsed,the events in Russia had not gone unnoticed upstairs or downstairs. The servants are headed by Stokes the butler - a brilliant Paul Shane - not a likable man,and one whose first encounter with his employers led to him stealing a wounded Hon.Teddy's wristwatch on the battlefield. Just about restrained from hacking off Teddy's finger in order to steal his ring by his colleague James Twelvetrees(Jeffery Holland - magnificently snobbish)they carry Teddy back to the British lines to escape from the shellfire and are hailed as heroes.Nine years later,Stokes quits an ill - fated stage act with his daughter (Divine Su Pollard)and applies for a job as butler to the Hon.Teddy's brother unaware that Twelvetrees is already employed as a manservant at the big house. Once safely in the post he sends for his daughter and she is employed as a maid,but he insists no one should know their true relationship. In every one of the 26 episodes the above and below stairs arrangements are perfectly realised with performances of a depth rarely encountered in a TV comedy series. Miss K.Rabbett - touted at the time as a possible wife for Prince Edward but who fortunately escaped that fate - is splendid as Lord Meldrum's spiffing lesbian daughter,Cissy,a daring departure for a mainstream comedy in the 1980s. Donald Hewlett is extraordinarily good as the paterfamilias,bluff,funny,a loving but puzzled father,a tolerant brother to the rather odd Hon.Teddy whose war wounds have left him with an uncontrollable urge for servant girls (...."the smell of carbolic soap,their rough nightgowns"...).He is in love with Lady Agatha,wife of a fellow aristo and the source of much of his troubles. With such wonderful characters and so many splendid actors at the top of their game it is a rank injustice that "You rang m'Lord?" should be so poorly regarded.It is a rare example of writers and cast coming together perfectly and producing a show without apparent effort that is fresh and funny now as it was twenty years ago. The scenes in the kitchen where all the staff sit down with the local Bobby and eat as well as their counterparts upstairs,gossipping happily, warm and secure,are ones that will stay with me for a long time as a portrait of England,clinging defiantly to a not entirely ignoble tradition while bad times are just around the corner .
  • I first saw You Rang M'Lord? As a child aged around 10. Back then I didn't get some of the jokes, especially around Cissy's lesbianism, and back then Miss Poppy seemed a lot nicer than I realised re-watching it recently as a 40 year old.

    The period setting means this show hasn't aged badly at all. The acting, setting, and overall comedy still holds up.

    What I also hadn't noticed as a child, but did as an adult, is just how layered and complex the plots are for a sitcom. At any time there are at least 4 or 5 plots playing out, with the Meldrum men carrying out affairs, Alf Stokes the butler constantly on the make, and Ivy being in love with James Twelvetrees the footman. Alongside these you have Mrs Lipton and the police officer forming a relationship, as well as earlier on, Mrs Lipton and Alf Stokes. Henry's unrequited love for Ivy is often touched upon too, as well as the politics of that period around workers and their 'betters'. It's incredibly well delivered and doesn't feel contrived most of the time.

    Darker than other Croft and Perry sitcoms, You Rang M'Lord often tackles some quite serious subjects, and doesn't have the laugh out loud silliness of Hi Dr Hi for instance.

    The show ran for 4 series and came to a worthwhile ending which I won't spoil here.

    A very good show, with the production and values of a period drama. You can see the influence dramas like Upstairs Downstairs had on it, and it's all the better for it. Funny, occasionally dark, and quite endearing.
  • mgrhead3 January 2007
    you rang my lord is perfect in all ways.excellent acting by all perfectly cast,and above all excellent writing.its a pity we don't get more comedies like this.i was never a fan of hi Di hi but loved oh doctor beaching another gem.i would love to see the same cast in another comedy.they are far superior to anything on TV at seems comedies today are rude and offensive and offer very little writing,acting,and rang my lord would be good as a film with same cast,perhaps updating the story.the likes of Paul Shane,and sue Pollard are not seen enough these days.true masters of there craft.i always like it when responding to Mr twelve trees about keeping ones place,Alf stokes always replies the toffs upstairs are no different to us they've just got more money.enough said soon as mended.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    With 'Hi-De-Hi' coming to an end in 1988, Jimmy Perry and David Croft searched for another hit, and found one that same year with 'You Rang, M'Lord' which starred three of the cast members from 'Hi-De-Hi' - Su Pollard, Jeffrey Holland and the late Paul Shane - swapping their Maplins Yellowcoat costumes for that of servant ones.

    Set in the 1920's, two British soldiers Alf Stokes ( Shane ) and James Twelvetrees ( Holland ) end up securing themselves jobs as servants to Lord Meldrum ( Donald Hewlitt ) after they saved the life of his younger brother Teddy ( Michael Knowles ) during the first world war, where Alf serves as butler whilst James serves as a footman.

    Rather like George Russell from Vince Powell and Harry Driver's 'George & The Dragon', Teddy Meldrum is an incorrigible lech whose advances against the parlour maids has resulted in their subsequent resignations. Lord Meldrum in desperation then entrusts Alf to find a new maid, one that is plain and ordinary looking rather than the attractive young ladies that are normally employed for the job. Alf then sends for his daughter Ivy ( Pollard ), who gets the job right away ( as Alf supplied Meldrum with forged references ) though her relationship with Alf is never revealed to Meldrum or the others.

    Other characters include Meldrum's daughters, the snooty Poppy ( Susie Brann ) and tomboy Cissy ( the gorgeous Catherine Rabett ), kindly cook Mrs. Lipton ( Brenda Cowling ), dopey boot-boy Henry ( Perry Benson ) who is often seen getting clipped round the ear, common as muck charlady Mabel ( the late Barbara New ) and Meldrum's dotty mother-in-law Lady Lavender Southwick ( Mavis Pugh ). One of the many recurring gags in the show is Meldrum's affair with Lady Agatha ( Angela Scoular ), the wife of Sir Ralph Shawcross ( John Horsley ). Bill Pertwee appeared occasionally as Constable Wilson.

    'You Rang, M'Lord' is not as fondly remembered as 'Hi-De-Hi', possibly because it did not last as long but in my opinion it was far superior and while it may not have been one of the best sitcoms of all time, gave the viewer at least one good laugh a week. Unusually for a Lloyd and Croft creation, each episode was fifty minutes in length as opposed to thirty, possibly to allow more time for character development. Su Pollard is far more appealing here than in 'Hi-De'Hi' in which she came over as annoying and infantile, and the rest of the cast, particularly Paul Shane and Jeffrey Holland, all turn in wonderful performances.

    Shortly after 'You Rang, M'Lord' finished, Pollard, Shane and Holland were reunited yet again for two series of the railway based sitcom 'Oh, Dr. Beeching', which I rather liked too. As is typical of a Perry & Croft creation, 'You Rang, M'Lord' is nothing particularly original or insightful but it is entertaining and worthwhile, and that's all that matters.
  • I'm not a fan of Perry and Croft, but this series is very dear to me. I used to watch it as a kid and recently I re-watched all episodes once again. When I was younger I didn't quite "get" all the jokes (especially the ones about Cissy) so the show seemed fresh on second viewing. Although it gets formulaic and repetitive very often, it still has it's charms. The Meldrums are snobbish, spoiled and cheap; with the exception of Cissy who supports the workers movement and sympathizes with servants. Every character has a unique personality. The sneaky butler Stokes, his goodhearted and simpleminded daughter Ivy and poor Mabel are my favorites. Actually, all characters grew on me. Although this is a comedy, the relations between aristocracy and their servants are represented accurately. Majority of aristocrats are selfish and insensitive to "lower classes", some of the servants have what Marx would call a class consciousness and some completely accept their lower position in society. The ending is satisfying and it came in the right time, one more season would've been too much. Some characters (Mr. Teddy, Lady Lavender) are a bit over-the-top for my taste and they didn't do too much for the advancement of plot, but at times they were excellent. This show brings out sweet childhood memories and because of that, it holds a place on my list of favorite shows.
  • Have watched this during lockdown for the first time. It took me some time to get used to the 50 minute format and running storylines. However by the end I found it very entertaing. My favourite character being Cissy and my least favourite Lady Lavender.

    I thought that some of the acting was a bit over the top. Gopd to see actors from their previous series featured.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Problem that I found it hard to like some characters - especially James Twelve trees, a pompous prat , bully and creep. I'd have thought that Alf would have been nicer to Mabel.
  • This is a comedic look at a bygone age as reflected by David Croft and Jimmy Perry. The cast is well made up with some of the regular acting companions, Su polard , Paul Shane, to mention two.this follows on from Hi De Hi in that it was produced after but is set in 1927 as opposed to 1959 in Malins. I have watched so much of David and Jimmy joint works . Sadly with the passage of time a lot of the actors are no more and we have lost some great comedy writers. And sadly with a world gone mad for pc programmes and comedy I feel we shall all miss out .
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Perhaps the reason this series is so well received by other reviewers is that they grew up with it and nostalgia earns their praise more than the quality of the series.

    Pros: The series is certainly quaint. A pleasant group of characters interacting in what appears an accurate setting.

    Cons: Released in 1988, the show exudes all the negative influence of U.S. TV sitcoms since the 70s. The laugh tracks are far more frequent than appropriate & some of the characters are what I believe is termed 'over the top'. Ivy's intellectual capacity equals a tree stump. Granted, her capacity to think develops slightly over time but she reflects the depth of the characters generally. Teddy's repeated "bally" lines and Sissy's male costumes, complete with monocle, detract considerably from a potentially more enjoyable show. Like the laugh tracks, the characters are excessive in manner and style. Although the use of vernacular is amusing, the absence of wit leaves the viewer frequently aware of what is to come in the way of any punch lines.

    Granted, excess is one of the themes but in the context of these scripts, the characters suffer immensely with the result that so do we. Too bad, really.

    Having read the praise of previous reviews, I purchased the show & was disappointed enough that I felt a warning should be submitted. If you enjoy U.S. sitcoms like Three's Company, this series is probably ideal. Otherwise, renting it is recommended over purchase.
  • it is very funny and I found the brother called Teddy to be very amusing and colourful, it was quite something when he had to go to work to the factory.Only that the butler is a little too much crook, and liar and drunk and that sort of things, somewhat overextended. It was funny sometimes, but other times could sound a little bit on the annoying side