After the two rather unsatisfying `best of' DVD's, it was with some satisfaction that I heard this entire series one was being released.
This is where it started, way back in 1971. And although the duo are definitely not firing on all 4 cylinders yet, this is still fine entertainment.
Each episode contains some mixture of the following ingredients:
1) The opening prologue, in which the duo deliver `some news items just in'. Hit and miss, but classic humour - you'll be sure to find something to make you laugh.
2) The state of the party - almost every episode had a party sketch - including `bald man at a party' and the man at a party who can't stop hitting people.
3) New World - - the guest musical trio.. and you'll be shocked / amazed just how dated and 70's they are!
4) Hampton Wick - the faux drama serial in which the unbelievably naïve buxom heroine gets into all sorts of situations, most of the displaying her impressive attributes in a Benny Hill sort of way.
5) Tina Charles - please, please, do yourself a favour and skip past this musical guest -a young lady who wears the most hideous outfits known to man woman or beast and belts out come completely forgettable tunes with no grace whatsoever.
6) Ronnie Corbett's monologue - in this series it has to be said few of the monologues have any decent punchlines, and are still stilted and unsatisfying, but they have their moments and introduce the format for what was to come.
7) Various sketches - most of them playing to Ronnie Barker's incredible gift for word plays - the highlight of this entire series is probably his speech to the groom and bride.
8) The occasional cabaret act - not one of them worth watching, I am afraid.
9) The Musical number - actually still witty for the most part, and because they are parodies have not dated badly.
10) And the final epilogue - in which we hear a few jokes on supposed items due on next week, and a few items of late breaking news.
It's not 100% Gold, so treat the 5 star reviews with some trepidation. That's the nostalgia talking. But classic, it is, and worth adding to the collection to get those gems of sketches that cannot be found anywhere else. If only they made the menus easier to find the ones you like! Also - no extras or interviews which would cast an interesting light on the origins of the series. Writers included Eric Idle every week, and some of the other Python members occasionally - it would have been nice to hear something from them now, looking back.
Overall, it is patchy enough to make you wish that you could choose your own `best of' DVD - but that's the beauty of The Two Ronnies.. everyone has their own favourite parts of their repertoire, and while season one is not their high point, it's a great introduction and appetiser for what is to come.
It's an average series then, but raised to 4 stars by the incomparable Ronnie Barker.