Brass Eye Series and Special [DVD] 
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All six episodes from Chris Morris's controversial spoof on current affairs television. 'Animals' includes Paul Daniels' impassioned appeal on behalf of a distressed elephant. 'Drugs' features a host of celebrities condemning the made-up drug Cake. 'Science' has Steven Berkoff warn the nation about the dangers of heavy electricity. 'Sex' explores the difference between Good and Bad AIDS. 'Crime' features more on-the-spot, up-to-the-minute reporting from newshounds Libby Shuss, Ted Maul and Alabaster Codefy. And 'Decline' examines a Britain in which pop groups record love songs to Myra Hindley and large companies encourage their employees to experiment with drugs. Also included is the notorious 'Paedophilia' special, which features Phil Collins speaking 'Nonce Sense'.
Chris Morris' Brass Eye is a brilliantly funny spoof on current affairs media that carries on where his previous The Day Today left off. The show ran for one single, contentious series in 1997, to be followed by an even more controversial one-off in 2001. While these episodes might cause offence to those not versed in Morris' satirical methods, and while one occasionally suspects his work is informed by a dark seam of malice and loathing rather than a desire to educate, Brass Eye remains vital satire, magnificently hilarious and, in its own way, fiercely moral viewing.
Brass Eye satirises a media far too interested in generating dramatic heat and urgency for its own sake than in shedding light on serious issues. Morris mimics perfectly the house style of programmes such as Newsnight and Crimewatch, with their spurious props and love of gimmickry. Meanwhile his presenter--an uncanny composite of Jeremy Paxman, Michael Buerk and Richard Madeley among others--delivers absurd items about man-fighting weasels in the East End and Lear-esque lines such as "the twisted brain wrong of a one-off man mental" with preposterously solemn authority. Much as the media itself is wont to do, each programme works itself up into a ridiculous fever of moral panic. Most telling is the "drugs" episode, in which, as ever, real-life celebrities, including Jimmy Greaves and Sir Bernard Ingham, are persuaded to lend their name to a campaign against a new drug from Eastern Europe entitled Cake. The satirist's aim here isn't to trivialise concern about drugs but to point up the media's lack of attention to content.
A response to the ill-conceived News of the World witch-hunt, in the wake of the Sarah Payne affair, the 2001 "paedophilia" special was the most supremely controversial of the series. It followed the usual formula--duping celebs such as Phil Collins into endorsing a campaign entitled "Nonce Sense", urging parents to send their children to football stadiums for the night for their own safety and mooting the possibility of "roboplegic" paedophiles--and prompted the sort of hysterical and predictable Pavlovian response from the media that Brass Eye lampoons so tellingly.
On the DVD: Brass Eye on DVD includes brief outtakes, such as "David Jatt" interviewing celebrities about breeding hippos for domestic purposes, an hilarious exchange with Jeffrey Archer's PA ("He's a very wicked little man") as well as trailers for the paedophilia special.--David Stubbs
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Top Customer Reviews
This is definitely not for the faint-hearted or especially the easily offended.. but that said, alot of the most 'offensive' stuff is deliberately so, and way over the top... the best example of this is the hugely controversial (but also Bafta award winning) Paedophilia episode. Outrageous from start to finish, the 'shock value' throughout is purely intentional, and is part of the satire. Some people argue that this sort of thing is 'off-limits' for comedy, because it is somehow making a mockery of what is in reality a terribly serious issue. But I beg to differ. The take-home message from this particular show is as stark and terrifying as your typical Daily Mail rant on the same subject...the message being "Be afraid and be irrational". But by lampooning this sort of sensationalist reporting that would have you believing that the world is awash with paedophiles, Brass Eye actually makes a genuinely useful and good point... don't believe all the rubbish you read or see on TV, and don't let your sense of good judgement be fooled... as Morris' Paxman-like presenter says during one episode, "Keep watching to find out what to think!".. I think this, above all else, summarises nicely what Brass Eye is all about.
The other episodes deal with such controversial subjects as Animal Rights, Drugs, Sex, Crime, (Urban) Decline and Science.Read more ›
It is shocking in places, aiming to prick the humbug Morris sees in modern broadcast journalism. He was a practitioner himself once, and would have made a very good journo in another universe, but you get the feeling that he hates most of them now, or certainly the ones who resort to the same tired techniques and lazy cliches.
Nonetheless, this series is very funny. Unlike many other reviewers, I'd cite the programme "Animals" as my favourite - the debunking of Carla Lane's socialist credentials was quite a sight, and the report captioned "Ted Maul - In the Country" about a man who wages a psychological war against a cow is a masterpice.
The character of Ted Maul is as memorable as Alan Patridge, if not as famous, and he causes that same I-can't-watch-but-I-can't-stop feeling which was later to result from watching Ricky Gervais play David Brent.
But, as usual, it's the sheer ludicrousness of some of the things that Morris gets celebrities to say that makes this compelling viewing. He said once "In another life I could have been a conman", and watching the slebs fall victim, reading his daft scripts one after another, you can believe it. How did he get Tommy Vance to do an induction video for young offenders? How did he get Bernard Manning to rail against the new Czech drug Cake?
And just how did he manage to get "Mad" Frankie Fraser to willingly indicate on a pointer system that he would be 'Mad as a lorry' ??? Buy this now, before They change their mind and take it off the shelves, lest TV news collapse inwards on itself...
Hilarious, over the top stuff, with mad graphics and convoluted word play, feature heavily in this parody of consumer affairs programming. This satire mocks the kind of programme that pretends to care about the general public by championing 'issues' but, in reality, all they care about are sensationalist, headline grabbing stunts designed to maximise their audience.
This dvd also features all the episodes uncensored, including the notorious 'special' - "They don't deserve punishment, they deserve GUNISHMENT!"
If you enjoy sly, subversive humour, this one's for you. Not recommended if you prefer safe, conservative comedies that will not challenge or stimulate.
Brass Eye is beyond critique. Those who question its morality do not understand it. It is the most honest, moral, brave, and yes - funny - series ever to be aired.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
He's a true original, Morris. No doubt about it. This contains the six episodes (animals, drugs(!), science, sex, crime and decline, along with the special from 2001. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Chunky Monkey
Ultimate in satire and a shame this show isn't running anymore , a laugh a minute !!!!! 5*Published 10 months ago by Sid Russell
This series is not 'nice', it is not respectful and it is a landmark; it leaves previous news 'satires' such as The News Quiz - smug, tame where this is sometimes vicious - and... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Mr. G. Morgan
After 'The Day Today', this remarkably dark example of British humour is sometimes hard to watch, but full of original material brought to life by Chris Morris.Published 11 months ago by G. J. Ripley