There are probably more Tommy Cooper video recordings available than there were Tommy Cooper performances. This one is as good as any, but then they're pretty much all as good as each other. Tommy Cooper, once we figured out what it was about him that made people laugh, rarely deviated from his formula. There are a few examples of him doing that here, venturing into set-piece sketches these mostly have the effect of making the viewer wish he'd just put the funny hat back on and carry on doing tricks that didn't work. This was always where Cooper was at his best: making a triumphant virtue of his ineptitude. That he was a supremely hopeless magician is well established, but what is often forgotten is that by the conventional standards of stand-up comedy, he wasn't much good at that either. His punchlines were agonising and, once you became attuned to the dynamics of his set-ups and pay-offs, breathtakingly predictable ("I stopped a man and said 'Can you give me a lift?' He said 'Yes, you're young, the world's your oyster, go for it'," and so on and so on and so on). For all that, indeed because of that, Cooper was one of the funniest men ever caught on camera: he invited audiences to laugh at him, and he laughed with them while they did so.
On the DVD: The sketch selection option is neatly laid out, with a still frame from each one to act as a visual cue. There is also a biography of Cooper, which won't tell many fans much they didn't already know, and a "Gag Book" (a selection of his jokes as scripts), which is a nice touch. --Andrew Muller
A comic compilation of the best-loved moments from the classic TV shows by the great comedian, Tommy Cooper.