Not funny. But it's not meant to be - Chessman and his pawns play the Ministry for fools until the final denouément.
- two-tone pink herringbone wool jacket with white scalloping on the unconnected front panels and neckline, hems, cuffs, a frog at the waist holding the jacket closed. Worn with a silk scarf and long-sleeved blouse, and a skirt to match the jacket (the hem scalloped, but not in white)
- high-collared fur lined dark vinyl coat with leather gloves over a grey marle collarless woolen dress, the hair in a bun
- boatneck blouse with long full sleeves pleated into long narrow cuffs with three cloth covered buttons, the blouse buttoned down the back with five or six matching buttons, tucked into dark pleated trousers, black shoes
- pale woolen tailored jacket with fake fur neckline of two interlocking arcs, matching skirt, black gloves and stiletto shoes, chinese parasol
- taupe overcoat, double-breasted with dark brown collar, dark brown bowler, three-piece brown suit with felt collar, single cloth-covered button closing the 2-vent jacket, matching buttons on waistcoat, white shirt dark tie with flower motif
- (1) without the overcoat
- (2) with a solid dark tie and diamond tiepin
- Pale grey single breasted three-piece suit, two vents, felted collar, tie with a dark occasional pattern, later with black bowler and umbrella, then without again
- chalk-stripe navy three-piece suit with white shirt (city collar, double cuff), solid dark silk tie with diamond pin, black bowler,
- dark single breasted three-piece suit, only two buttons on the torso, high waistcoat with six buttons, no visible pockets; with a dark tie, light shirt and black bowler
- tuxedo with shawl collar, silver button on black silk waistcoat, black silk piping down trouser seam, white pin-striped town shirt (white collar and single cuff, with square links) and black bow tie
- (2) with silk tie, no pattern, carnation in buttonhole, the buttons are hard and shiny
- waiter's uniform
A note on the timecodes
Where I have listed two sets of timecodes, the first is from the 2009-11 Optimum Releasing/Studio Canal DVD sets, any other timecodes are from the A&E and Contender DVD sets from a decade beforehand.
The new releases have been remastered and their frame rate has been changed, resulting in a shorter running time. However, the picture quality has increased markedly. I assume this is because they used a simple 2:2 pulldown (24 @ 25)
when converting from the original film masters (film runs at 24 frames per second, while PAL runs at 25fps, the new DVDs are in PAL format).
This pulldown was also the cause of audio errors on many episodes, especially for Series 5, as the audio sped up to match the new rate (4% faster), rather than being properly pitch-shifted. Checking the dialogue sheets, which list the feet and frames of the reels, it looks like the speed change is around 5.04%, so there may be some cuts as well - probably from around the commercial breaks and ends of reels, as they amount to about 25 seconds. All my assumptions are based on the episodes having been filmed on standard 35mm film, which has 16 frames per foot and runs at 24 frames per second, so a minute of footage uses 90 feet of film (1,440 frames).
These audio errors have been corrected in the currently available DVDs, but the 2:2 pulldown remains. There is also the addition of a Studio Canal lead-in, converted to black and white to match the episode for Series Four, but colour for Series Five, adding an extra 18 or 19 seconds to the runnning time and making it harder to match timecodes with previous releases. It's annoying that it has been slapped on every single episode, Series 1-3 didn't suffer this indignity.
The previous Contender and A&E DVD releases didn't seem to suffer from these problems, so I assume they either used soft telecine and preserved the original 24fps rate of the film (my preferred option in DVDs) or they used 24 @ 25 pulldown (2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:2:3 Euro pull-down)
Thankfully, the new blu ray releases for series 4-6 appear to use native 24fps with soft telecine so the running times and pitch all seem to be correct again along with a much grreatly improved picture quality, most notably in the Tara King episodes which are finally back to their original glory.