Picking up where the first series left off, with the Phoenix Club lying in ashes after being burned to the ground by Potters nemesis Den Perry, the second season wastes little time getting things back up and running. And with the Phoenix soon back in business, the series then follows the likes of a semi-successful booze cruise, the legendary Phoenix fun day, the return of Talent Trek and bumbling doormen Max and Paddy taking on a hitman contract.
And yet all these plot points are incidental to the constant bombardment of acutely observed humour, and the consistently entertaining performances of a simply superb ensemble cast. Peter Kay may get the headline attention, unsurprising as Phoenix Nights arguably marks his career high to date, yet Dave Spikey, Daniel Kitson and Ted Robbins are also sublime.
The end result is just brilliant, with umpteen standout and quotable moments. At its peak, incredibly funny, and at its worst still very worthy of your time, the second series of Phoenix Nights eclipses the first, easily overshines the spin-off series Max & Paddys Road To Nowhere, and rightly takes it place as a modern day television classic.--Simon Brew
The story starts with the Phoenix Club in ashes, courtesy of arch-villain Den Perry, and Peter Kay's wheelchair-bound impresario Brian Potter vainly trying to reassemble the Phoenix Club crew to rebuild his dream. By way of a family fun day, a guest appearance on "Crimewatch", and conning the hapless Gerry St. Clair into being the new licensee, the Phoenix rises from the ashes once more, and the villainous Den Perry gets his come-uppance thanks to one of the oldest tricks in the book. Meanwhile bouncers Max and Paddy breathe new life into the theme from "Minder" and have an abortive shot at a career change into contract killing; the ubiquitous Bernard Wrigley offloads his most dodgy merchandise yet; and a host of jokes about elderly Asians, malfunctioning stairlifts, illegal immigrants, vibrators and the inevitable Chorley FM ("where the listener always comes first") continue the Phoenix Nights tradition of pulling off bad-taste humour without, miraculously, offending anybody.
There are so many highlights that it's hard to pick out the best moments.Read more ›
Based in a fictional working mens club in bolton, the pheonix club is run by Brian Potter (Peter Kay), a man wheel chair bound by a falling fruit machine, ably supported by his 'manuel' jerry st. clair (the compare) and hindered by the compulsive liar kenny snr, the man with a face painted like a tiger - kenny jnr, the aptly named mulleted DJ Ray Von, Ant and Dec the chinese illegal immigrants, Holy Mary the sweet jesus loving barmaid, and finished off with max (also played by Peter Kay) and paddy the bouncers. You cannot also forget the guest appearance of Jim Bowen as the Blackpool Hotelier.
Starting the series with his beloved club burn't down by the evil den perry, and his license revoked, Brian Potter has to rebuild the pheonix into 'sunshine indoors', the team some how over the series manage to get through a family fun day with a 20 foot penis shaped bouncy castle, a crimewatch reconstruction, a booze cruise, a ladies night, one failed assassination, and a stars in their eyes event where the stars didn't turn up. Yet they manage to regain the support of the brewery and convict the evil den perry for arson.
There are episodes where you laugh so much it hurts.
I cannot recommend this title more.
Picking out favourite scenes is difficult because there are so many. As has become a kind of style with Phoenix Nights, the opening lines to some scenes are just plain hysterical - listen out for the receptionist on the 'phone at The Ponderosa: "Anyway mum, I'll have to call you back!" - nobody does stuff like this as well as Peter Kay. As per series one, there's some great cameos - Jim Bowen as "big time" Ponderosa owner Frank "Hoss" Cartwright for example: "I've got all rooms on suit (sic), lift to all floors, a soralium (sic) and if Carole's leg pays out, we're gonna get a jacuzzi!".
Like series one, there's no slack in the whole series, with each episode hitting the mark spot-on. The Ladies Night is pure gold - Paddy as stripper Lord Love Rocket ("They'd 'ave ripped me to bits if I hadn't farted!), and Brian getting trapped in his stairlift by a power cut ("Now, what would Thora Hird do?").
The final episode, with the Stars in Their Eyes night is a classic too - watch for Kenny Senior as Britney Spears ("That costume wasn't in the hamper!") - priceless!
And listen out for song lyrics patched into the dialogue: "You're twistin' me melon man!" and "Come on Jerry - ridicule's nothing to be scared of" - to list but two.
Also, don't miss Max & Paddy driving the minibus whilst singing "Is this the way to Amorillo?" - Tony Christie, eat your heart out!
Superb stuff, as usual from Mr Kay, and if the special features on the DVD are as good as series 1, this is money well spent!