BFS Video // 1998 // 510 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 11th, 2011
The loves, happiness and secrets of three Edwardian nannies.
It's turn-of-the-century Britain, and for three young women the possibilities of a lucrative career in the nursemaid industry are limitless. Enter Matty, Hannah and Lydia; set to take London by storm with their severe, pulled-back hairstyles and awesome hats.
Matty, essentially the primary character, is ambitious and street smart, and has scored a plum job in the house of a prime London mover and shaker. Lydia is a plain, naïve farm girl, who inevitably gets a massive dose of culture shock when she transfers to the big city. And Hannah is sort of a fugitive when she arrives in London, hoping to get away from some sticky romantic shenanigans with a man far above her social status; a baby is the fruit of her scandal.
The three rendezvous for new lives that are riddled with all manner of romantic ups-and-downs, political trifling with the upper class, baby swaddling and even a touch of...murder?
For your dime, you get about eight and half hours worth of Edwardian melodrama and while I can certainly say I'm not the target audience for these girls' adventures, I can still recognize the value of the 1998 miniseries Berkeley Square. It's a nicely done period series, something that would absolutely appeal to my grandmother. My wife watched these episodes with me and, at first blush, I would have said this was right up her alley. Though she liked it enough, she too landed on the assumption that Berkeley Square is ideal for the stay-at-home matriarch. You know, the PBS Masterpiece Theater crowd.
Again, not a slight. The show is solid, well acted and packed with enough character development and story twists to keep the runtime motoring along swimmingly. And though there might be a touch of darker storytelling, Berkeley Square won't depress you; it's not a cynical drama, focusing instead on placing a series of obstacles in front of our protagonists for them to overcome using their wiles and friendship. One note: the series ends on a downer, so unless there's a vibrant community of Berkeley Square fan fiction out there somewhere, you might be a tad forlorn with how the story wraps.
Bare-bones release from BFS: a mediocre full-frame transfer, 2.0 stereo, no extras.
Not Guilty mum.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 510 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Not Rated