Rosemary & Thyme
The Complete Second Series

Starring: Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris
Acorn Video
RRP: 39.99
Certificate: PG
Available 18 December 2004

Felicity Kendall and Pam Ferris return for a second series as the two gardening sleuths Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme, who put their green fingers to good use solving crimes...

The Complete Second Series of Rosemary & Thyme opens with the The Memory of Water - a two hour long episode, instead of the usual hour length stories. This tale sees Rosemary and Laura's gardening expertise being called upon to replant and restore a walled garden. They get some help with their task from some local convicts, who Rosemary is very sceptical of working with at first. Although this episode is twice the length of normal episodes, it doesn't feel stretched. It has a very clever plot with a twist at the end and is a great start to the second series.

The second episode, Orpheus in the Undergrowth, is not a particularly good story. This is partly due to the small location in which it is set - making it feel a little too claustrophobic at times. It also didn't seem to flow as smoothly as other episodes, which was probably due to the fact that we never really get to know the characters before they are bumped off. This sees the return of Laura's son Matthew (played by Ryan Phillpot) and is the first story since since Series One's Language of Flowers that delves into Laura's personal life. It was also good to see Laura heal the rift between her and her daughter.

They Understand Me in Paris is set in over 100 acres of beautiful gardens in the French Riviera and was the first Rosemary & Thyme episode to be shot outside the UK. This episode has plenty of comedy moments, but I particularly liked seeing Rosemary and Laura jammed into a tiny French car. Laura spends most of this episode trying to locate her favourite French Cakes - that she remembers from her childhood. There was is a very funny scene were Rosemary and Laura have trouble explaining a death to the French maid. This episode also has a pretty obvious continuity error in the first scene. Laura is wearing a spotted top, two minutes later she's wearing a cream top, and then she's back to wearing a spotted top again.

Disc two in this collection opens with The Invisible Worm, a bizarre but very interesting episode set in a prep school and involving some strange rituals. Whilst filming, the design team were not allowed to dig the lawns, so the rose garden had to be created from scratch. This is a good episode, which is is made more dramatic by the inclusion of the bizarre school ritual of dressing as a stag in order to play a joke on the school masters.

The Gongoozlers is a very clever episode with a slightly different theme. This sees Rosemary and Laura enter the world of TV garden makeovers. Rosemary spends much of her time in hospital so is absent from many scenes, leaving Laura to take centre stage for a change.

Swords in the Ploughshares is another episode that features Laura's son Matthew. I liked the fact that we got to see some of Laura's past, as it helps to understand her character better. This is not one of my favourite episodes - although it is a well produced episode.

Rosemary and Laura investigate the mysterious blight affecting locals entering a local gardening competition in Up the Garden Path. The previous year's winner is then found dead and Rosemary and Laura set about working out why. This is a good episode, set in a beautiful village location.

This DVD collection includes some pretty run-of-the-mill extras including production notes, cast filmographies, a picture gallery and quiz.

Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable box set that Includes over nine hours worth of episodes of what is, in my opinion, one of the best dramas being produced at the moment.

Heather Simpson

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