Rising Damp was a hugely successful britcom that ran from 1974 through 1978. The action being centered around a seedy boarding house run by an even seedier landlord, Mr. Rigsby (Leonard Rossiter). The other ‘stars’ include Miss Jones (Frances de la Tour), spinster extraordinaire, and university student Phillip (Don Warrington), both of who produce spectacularly funny performances.I have always considered the 70’s and 80’s britcoms to be the apex of high comedy. Alas this dry and somewhat acerbic British style of humor is often missed by American audiences. This is slapstick for the thinking man!

Rising Damp is from the classic stable of comedy plots, humor in failure. Regardless of how large or small the goal is, you can guarantee that it will not be achieved. Rigsby has the hots for Miss Jones, who turn has the hots for every man on the planet, except for Rigsby.  Phillip the intellectual student of African descent plays the straight man in this three ring circus. In today’s ‘politically correct’ world it seems strange to listen to what are blatantly racist comments. The North American censors would have a field day bleeping out parts of the dialog if Rising Damp was to be shown on network TV.   

This DVD contains all 6 episodes from the fourth and final series. Among them are Great Expectations, which of the total of 28 produced is the only one where we learn Rigsby’s first name (Rupert), and we get to meet the estranged Mrs. Rigsby, who in her own way is even seedier than her husband.

Rising Damp is being marketed by Acorn Media, who are rapidly becoming the preeminent distribution company for not just britcoms, but also drama’s from British TV of the 70’s and 80’s. You can get your own copy of Rising Damp from their web site.

Simon Barrett


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