This DVD is for nostalgia lovers. For me, Arthur Haynes was one of Britain's greatest comics. I saw all of his shows the first time round and as far as I was concerned there was no one funnier.
However, digging up one's past is not always a good thing. What was side-splittingly hilarious fifty years ago is not necessarily so today. The Haynes shows are a prime example. There are 13 shows on this double DVD and much of it - and it hurts me to say so - is not particularly funny. It probably was, in the 1960s, but anyone coming to Arthur Haynes for the first time via this DVD will probably be wondering what all the excitement was about. I hasten to add, however, that there is also a lot here that definitely is funny, such as his tramp-in-the-restaurant sketch in episode 2 and his clock-on-the-bus sketch in episode 6. The DVD is worth buying for these occasional gems alone.
What I found particularly irritating was the resident too-nice-to-be-true, syrupy, sentimental, female singer. She's given a disproportionate amount of time in each 23 minute show (two long spots) and her style of singing is about as dated as some of Arthur's sketches. After the second show I found myself fast-fowarding the disc every time she came on. And that amounted to a lot of fast-forwarding.
The DVD is billed as volume 1, implying that there will be more. Will I be buying further volumes? Possibly. I happen to know that some of Haynes's later shows were far better (although doubtlessly just as dated). There was Arthur's companion tramp, Irish, played by the wonderful Dermot Kelly (he's not on any of this current batch) with occasional appearances by Rita Webb, Wendy Richard and Patricia Hayes. The resident vocalist was dropped and replaced by well known guest singers such as The Springfields and Alma Cogan. Even The Rolling Stones, when they were just a boy band, appeared in one of the shows. Pure nostalgic bliss. I only hope they've dropped that wretched singer in volume two.