The standard of the impressions in Dead Ringers
is never less than superb, even when some of the more obvious characters (Rolf Harris, Nigella Lawson and Parkinson, for example) seem over-familiar thanks to the BBC's other similar series, Alistair McGowan's Big Impression
. Others, such as Thora Hird or Tom Baker as Doctor Who
, simply lack the contemporary edge present throughout the rest of the show. But for the most part the large and talented cast provide enough variety to ensure that the sketches are a pleasure to watch: be it George W Bush's "shockerating" and "erogenous" use of the English language, interviews with the aggressive Lothario Russell Crowe, the reinvention of Michael Buerk as a threatening celebrity kingpin, or the appropriately pretentious Newsnight Review
One of the most unique and rewarding segments of the show captures the cast on hidden cameras interacting with members of the public while in disguise. Thus we are treated to the unusual sight of Tony Blair addressing a confused bus queue, Jimmy Hill attempting stand-up at a hostile open-mike night, and Gladiator's Maximus Decimus Meridias getting quotes from real-life builders for the reconstruction of his ransacked Roman estate. "I'm not sure I like the sound of decking, how about some Saxon paving?"
On the DVD: Dead Ringers DVD features all six episodes from the first series, including the Christmas special plus the original Pilot. The only features are episode and scene selection. --Paul Philpott
Ransacking the worlds of politics and broadcasting in the name of comedy. No public figure is safe from this exceptionally talented team of impersonators and their satirical digs at subjects that range from the newsworthy to the naughty. Celebrities and politicians are mercilessly lampooned - Russell Crowe, Judi Dench, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robbie Williams, Nigella Lawson, George Bush, Tony Blair and Iain Duncan Smith crop up in strange places, doing the oddest things. Movies and television also get a new twist, as 'The Elephant Man' appears on the grooming-for-a-date show Would Like To Meet, and 'Tom Baker aka Dr Who' befriends the Daleks. Sharp, clever and exceptionally funny, this is satire at its finest.