This is real value for money at over double the length of the version broadcast on UK TV in 2006, plus it comes with extras (selected promo videos from the 'Fundamental' album together with vintage TV appearances). It's very well put together, with snatches of PSB tracks used to illustrate Neil and Chris's reminiscing. Especially well captured are the childhood backgrounds of both Neil in Newcastle and Chris in Blackpool, with the influence of both places on the duo's music clear to see. The numerous clips of arty videos, collaborations with artists of all descriptions, film performances, soundtracks and excursions into musical theatre all remind us of how adventurous this band have been compared to your average rock and pop combo.
Often talking heads drafted into these kind of retrospectives don't add much but Jake Spears from the Scissor Sisters and The Killers' Brandon Flowers (who gave a genuinely enthusiastic ovation for the Boys at the 2009 Brits) are interesting, acting as a link between 80s British synth pop and contemporary American music. However, the guy from Keane should consider himself lucky to be invited on, as he's hardly a household name like the others interviewed (Robbie Williams, Bruce Webber, etc).
The closing comment by Matt Lucas and David Walliams about the Pet Shop Boys being 'almost as good as Erasure' is a fittingly tongue in cheek ending to this typically self-effacing tribute. After watching 'A Life in Pop' you're reminded of just why in the fickle world of pop the Boys have been held in such affection and critical esteem for a quarter of a century. 'Depth through surface' indeed.