09/19/2014  
Love Finds You in Sugarcreek on DVD Oct 7Frontline: Losing Iraq on DVD Oct 7The Calling on DVD Sep 232 Broke Girls: The Complete Third Season on DVD Sep 30Found on DVD Sep 23Beyond Borders & Faces of Israel on DVD in SeptemberAfter on DVD Sep 23

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Love Finds You in Sugarcreek on DVD Oct 7...
Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton get epic in 'Tonight Show' ...
Frontline: Losing Iraq on DVD Oct 7...
The Calling on DVD Sep 23...
Julianna Margulies and Jimmy Fallon Perform Musical Mor...

JB Joseph Burke

The Answer to American Idol's Problems Is......
CONCRETE BLONDES...
CREAM FAREWELL CONCERT...
JACK REACHER...
MANBORG...

CA Chuck Aliaga

CORRUPTION (BLU-RAY)...
THE ATTACK (BLU-RAY)...
TANK GIRL (BLU-RAY)...
HORROR STORIES...
THE UNINVITED (BLU-RAY)...

RR Rich Rosell

THE GIRL...
THE HORDE...
LIFE IS SWEET (BLU-RAY)...
SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (BLU-RAY/DVD COMBO)...
THE BLUE ANGEL (BLU-RAY)...

MZ Mark Zimmer

BABY PEGGY: THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM...
STORAGE WARS: VOLUME THREE...
Take Part in a Film Restoration...
THE 39 STEPS (BLU-RAY)...
DARK SHADOWS: THE BEST OF BARNABAS...

JS Jesse Shanks

2 BROKE GIRLS...
DOWNTON ABBEY SEASONS ONE & TWO LIMITED EDITION...
FLORENCE AND THE SPIRIT OF THE RENAISSANCE...
NAZI COLLABORATORS...
KATT WILLIAMS: KATTPACALYPSE...

RJ Ross Johnson

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP (BLU-RAY)...
PURPLE NOON (BLU-RAY)...
WEEKEND (BLU-RAY)...
JUAN OF THE DEAD...
THE DEVIL'S NEEDLE AND OTHER TALES OF VICE AND REDEMPTI...

JD Jon Danziger

SUNSET BOULEVARD...
SALO, OR THE 120 DAYS OF SODOM...
TABLOID...
CUL-DE-SAC...
3 WOMEN...

JC Joel Cunningham

YOJIMBO/SANJURO...
SUMMER HOURS (L'heure d'ÈtÈ)...
WIZARD OF OZ...
WINGS OF DESIRE...
HORTON HEARS A WHO!...

DH Dan Heaton

REVANCHE...
LAST DAYS OF DISCO...
NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS...
STARGATE SG-1: CHILDREN OF THE GODS...
STARGATE ATLANTIS: THE COMPLETE FIFTH SEASON...

MS Matt Serafini

THE STEPFATHER...
THE HILLS RUN RED...
MANAGEMENT...
NIGHT OF DEATH...
GNAW...

KC Kevin Clemons

Freddy Got Fingered...

JU Jeff Ulmer

Secure The Second Season of The Border on DVD August 25...
THE WALTONS: THE COMPLETE 9TH SEASON...
Dance Me Outside kicks onto DVD May 6, 2008...

DD Dale Dobson

Film-Fest 4: Sundance 2000 & Hawaii...

RM Robert Mandel

Saving Private Ryan...

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

BBC Video presents
Little Britain: The Complete First Series (2003)

"It is the law in Britain that on Sundays everybody must eat a roast. The most popular meats are beef, lamb, pork and bat."
- Narrator (Tom Baker)

Review By: Mark Zimmer  
Published: August 18, 2005

Stars: Matt Lucas, David Walliams
Other Stars: Anthony Stewart Head, Tom Baker, Steve Furst, Paul Putner, Stephen Aintree, David Soul, Les McKeown, Mollie Sugden
Director: Steve Bendelack

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, thematic material, sexual and racial humor, brief male nudity)
Run Time: 03h:46m:56s
Release Date: August 16, 2005
UPC: 794051227522
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A A-B-B A+

DVD Review

Although sketch comedy is for the most part stone dead in American television, it's quite alive and well in Britain. Or more specifically, in Little Britain, an alternate-universe United Kingdom that is even more thoroughly populated with eccentrics (not to mention cross-dressers) than the real thing. This two-disc set collects the first series, eight shows, of the program, which is a hit on BBC America as well as in its native country.

The focus is on a population of some 60 oddball characters, nearly all of whom are portrayed by the writer/creators, portly Matt Lucas and Harold Lloyd-like David Walliams. Aided by some superb makeup and costume work, Lucas and Walliams bring to vivid life scores of well-realized creations who mock the everyday hypocrisies, deceptions and lusts of the British people. Having worked together for many years, Walliams and Lucas had honed these madcap characters in a radio version, allowing them to absolutely hit the ground running with proven material and fully realized personages.

The memorable impersonations are legion: Daffyd (Lucas), the self-professed "only gay in the village" who is unable to cope with the posssibility he might not be as unique as he desires; utterly unconvincing transvestite Emily Howard (Walliams), who compulsively insists on her ladyhood; motormouthed juvenile delinquent Vicky Pollard (Lucas), pathetic ex-kiddie star Des Hayes (Walliams); unscrupulous theatrical legend Bernard Chumley (Lucas); teen Jason (Walliams), who is sexually obsessed with his friend's elderly grandmother; romantic novelist Dame Sally Markham (Lucas, in a devastating satire of Barbara Cartland complete with lewd topiaries); and Sebastian (Walliams), the aide hopelessly and jealously in love with the Prime Minister (Anthony Stewart Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The characters have an amazing variety, thanks to the chameleon-like stars, and they're quite convincing in their madness.

The characters are at their best when they demonstrate an oblivious cluelessness or an outright deceitfulness. The most outstanding set of characterizations are the pairing of Andy (Lucas), who shams at being handicapped, with his long-suffering friend Lou (Walliams), who must put up with his abusive and increasingly absurd demands. It's a one-gag setup, but it's a good setup that can stand many different permutations. Bizarreness is also a vital component of the show, such as flute-tootling Scottish hotelier Ray MacCooney (Walliams), who looms goggle-eyed over his guests, an exceedingly disturbing character that doesn't know the meaning of boundaries. There are quite a few references to British television and popular culture that will likely be lost on most American viewers, but there's enough that's broadly accessible to be enjoyable by nearly anyone other than the easily offended. Coherence is supplied not only by recurring characters but also by a series of running gags, such as the concluding sketch of the two stars in one ill-fated attempt to set a world record after another.

Little Britain is a microcosm of society, seemingly recognizable, but it's also full of unusual details such as the hours of the day being given people's names. Tying the whole together is the stentorian narration of Tom Baker (Doctor Who), a rigid reading of a warped and increasingly absurdist text, with tongue firmly planted in cheek. It may take a while to get used to the world of Little Britain, but it's fascinating in its detail and hilarious in its broad strokes.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen picture is acceptable; while color and black levels are quite good, there is some pixelation and blocking on close inspection. The PAL to NTSC conversion is pretty well done, although there is some visible ghosting during rapid movement.

Image Transfer Grade: B-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 track is quite serviceable, without significant noise or distortion. David Arnold's lovely score for the series comes across nicely, with good presence. The laugh track is mixed a bit loud for my tastes. The dialects are often thick enough that I found myself leaving the subtitles on at all times to be able to follow the humor.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 162 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
2 TV Spots/Teasers
27 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
2 Featurette(s)
8 Feature/Episode commentaries by Matt Lucas, David Walliams, producer Myfanwy Moore and director Steve Bendelack
Packaging: Gladiator style 2-pack
Picture Disc
2 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Pilot Episode
  2. Best of Rock Profile
  3. Live performance
  4. Radio interview with still gallery
Extras Review: This set is packed with extras, nearly all of which are distinctive and add something to the complete package. Foremost is a commentary on each and every episode with both stars as well as the producer (on episodes 1-4) and director (5-8). I would have expected these to be skippable but they have plenty of comments that are interesting in their own right, and the participants are willing to admit things that don't quite work. The original pilot episode is also included, which has some sketches that are borrowed for the series either as they are or reshot. That's accompanied by 27 deleted scenes (some of which, again, show up in the pilot) that are pre-laugh track and mostly without voiceovers, totaling over 45 minutes in length. There are two interviews with the creators, one from a television show with Dennis Ross and a 35-minute radio interview. The principal characters each respond in their own distinctive idioms to the question "What does Britain mean to you?" in a 4m:51s featurette. The second disc includes a selection (28m:27s) of the best items from Lucas and Walliams' earlier series, Rock Profile, in which they masqueraded as various rock stars such as Elton John, the Bee Gees, ABBA, Bono and The Edge. A video diary of the shooting of Series One is provided in How to Make a Little Britain, running 36m:17s. Finally, there are nearly 15 minutes of live performances of Little Britain characters for the Teenage Cancer Trust benefit. The menus are well designed, allowing access to the episodes one by one or as a "Play All," and another feature allows you to select bits from particular characters that appear on the disc regardless of the episode. I'm at a loss to think of anything else that could possibly be included, which means there's only one possible grade.

Extras Grade: A+

 

Final Comments

A modern gem of British comedy finds a home on DVD, supplied with an enormous array of bonus features.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

drama, television, reality, tonight show, late night talk, nbc, gwen stefani, blake shelton, jimmy fallon, spike jones and his city slickers, documentary, julianna margulies, the tonight show, saugarties high school, taylor swift, shake it off, abc, daytime talk, the view, rosie o'donnell, charles krauthammer, whoopi goldberg, nicolle wallace, music, rihanna, thursday night football, run this town, jay z, kanye west, canceled, cbs, don cheadle, sean mcmanus, comedy, rosie perez, kristen chenoweth, robin thick, vicodin, alcohol, blurred lines, paula patton, paula, horror, movies, box office, foreign, movie, dolphin tale 2, harry connick jr., winter, nathan gamble, cozi zuehlsdorff, kris kristofferson, ashley judd, morgan freeman, saturday night live, weekend update, michael che, cecily strong, colin jost, sasheer zamata, action, u2, songs of innocence, worldwide giveaway, itunes store, bono, joey ramone, raised by wolves, series, sons of anarchy, charlie hunnam, danny trejo, theo rossi, katey sagal, nicki minaj, new york fashion, alexander wang, anaconda, i saw the light, hank williams, tom hiddleston, shelton hank williams iii, move it on over, wheatland music festival, adventure, marvel, guardians of the galaxy, sci-fi, fantasy, superheros, celebrity, joan rivers, johnny carson, atlantic city, edgar rosenberg, 2010 documentary, joan rivers: piece of work

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

earth mosaics

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

DVD Marketplace

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact