Class Act (1994)
Review by HTQ4

Written by Michael Aitkens
Directed by Jane Howell
Starring Joanna Lumley, Nadine Garner, John Bowe, Richard Vernon, Neil McCaul


Released by: BFS Video
Rating: NR (some violence and sexual content)
Region: 1
Anamorphic: N/A; appears in its original 1.33:1 format

My Advice: Skip it

Kate Swift's (Lumley) husband has disappeared and he's left her with nothing but trouble. It turns out that just before he vanished, he left her in a lot of debt. She is framed for his crimes and is sent to prison. While she is there, she crosses paths with and befriends an Australian burglar named Gloria O'Grady (Garner). After Swift and O'Grady get out of prison, Swift brings her new friend along to find out exactly what happened to her husband and why she went to prison in the first place. The two also cross paths with the very journalist (Bowe) that helped put her behind bars in the first place who vows to help her out of her situation.

I get the feeling that this show could have been much better than it turned out. The question that I kept asking myself was, "How could a show be mediocre that allows Joanna Lumley to run around London either kicking ass and taking names or seducing any man that got in her way or could give her information?" I think I've come up with the answer: though they tried, O'Grady and Bowe simply could not keep up with Lumley under the confines of the script that they had been given. Their characters are not well rounded and their dialogue is horrendous. Lumley's character is the exact opposite. It is well defined and she is provided with some very witty dialogue, but it is completely out of place with the rest of the script and the other characters in it. Also, this is a mini-series that should have been more mini, if you get my drift. The plot line just gets really old and the reasons for keeping it going became more and more contrived. And, in the end, the payoff just wasn't worth the wait.

So, it's not really all that surprising that the DVD is no better than it is. There is always the possibility of recording a commentary track of some kind, but there's nothing here. At the very least, it would have been nice to have some interviews with Lumley, but the only bits of bonus material are the trivial little cast profiles and text-on-screen production notes. You'd think some kind of behind-the-scenes featurette could have been cobbled together, since even ten years ago there were promotional interviews and such regarding television miniseries.

It's not very often that I'll say this, but this BBC series is definitely not worth the time that was spent on it. My advice is to skip it.

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