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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Harry's Game, the 2010 Christmas Specials - As funny as Hell...
If you're reading this you probably don't need any introduction to Old Harry's Game. You know all about Andy Hamilton's excellent portrayal of the Devil, cynical and twisted with a voice like Anthony Newly. You know about Scumspawn, his most revolting and fawning demon, played by Robert Duncan. By now you probably know about Edith, the dead historian Satan has hired to...
Published on 13 Oct 2011 by Victor

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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Hell Of A Show
Judging by the other releases on Amazon, it seems that Old Harry's Game has run to (at least) seven series, but these Christmas specials were my first taste of the Radio 4 comedy. This disc features two 30-minute episodes, the first of which sees Satan attempting to abolish Christmas and the second taking a short break in the Lake District.

Even without prior...
Published on 5 Nov 2011 by Ben Saunders


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old Harry's Game, the 2010 Christmas Specials - As funny as Hell..., 13 Oct 2011
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
If you're reading this you probably don't need any introduction to Old Harry's Game. You know all about Andy Hamilton's excellent portrayal of the Devil, cynical and twisted with a voice like Anthony Newly. You know about Scumspawn, his most revolting and fawning demon, played by Robert Duncan. By now you probably know about Edith, the dead historian Satan has hired to write his biography. You know this is a wickedly funny comedy.

These two episodes are the 2010 Christmas specials, broadcast to coincide with Christmas and New Year. In the first episode Satan gets tired of dealing with the seasonal intake of drunks and idiots, and sets about abolishing Christmas. In the second episode he decides to get away from it all with a short holiday in the Lake District, leaving Scumspawn to run Hell with predictable results.

The tone is cynical and sarcastic, with an undercurrent of silliness, and is a perfect comedy blend. Those familiar with the show will recognise some recurring themes and retrodden paths, but it is delivered so expertly that we just don't care, it's still hilariously funny. Satan and his merry gang of fiends are one of the funniest things around at the moment, and I defy anyone with a sense of humour not to laugh at this!

Two half hour episodes are contained on one disc. There are some brief liner notes, including a new introduction from Any Hamilton, a welcome change to the same note included over and over again on the previous 8 releases.

Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Radio Four Comedy, 29 Nov 2011
By 
the lambanana "the lambanana" (liverpool) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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PLOT
====
The series is mainly set in Hell and has the occasional appearance by God(first name Nigel.

The premise is the ongoing relationships with Satan and his underlings and often has historical characters (A sweary Jane Austen, A predatory Florence Nightingale etc.)

THE CD
======
This is a two part Christmas special from Christmas 2010. There is also a Christmas special from 2002 Old Harry's Game Christmas Special (Radio Collection) and a bumper box set Old Harry's Game: The Complete Series 1-7 Box-set (BBC Audio) which has the Christmas 2002 set included. So this is an excellent taster.

In CD one entitled Christmas Spirit Satan decides to ban Christmas. Satan disguises himself as various religious figures, including the Pope, in denouncing Christmas;
In Cd two entitled Ring in the New Satan decides takes a holiday in the Lake District leaving Scumspawn in charge of Hell. Takes a management seminar with Genghis Khan, Winston Churchill, Gandhi, Queen Elizabeth I and Brian Clough.

FUNNY
=====
It's superbly written and often captures current events (banking crisis) and takes digs at Historical figures. It's classic Radio Four and is wholeheartedly recommended. I like this type of comedy as it is intelligent, funny exceptionally well written and works because it is on radio. I don't think it would on TV.

RECOMMENDED
===========
Yes
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amusing and entertaining - whiled away the journey!, 19 Dec 2011
By 
E. Heckingbottom "elaineheck143" (U.K.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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Satan is hard at work during the busiest time of the year in Hell. First of all, he tries to ban Christmas (whilst, in the meantime, his cohorts are 'making merry'), then he decides that he needs to take a holiday ... in the Lake District!

It's amusing; the jokes are relatively up to date (including mention of Kindles!); it's certainly irreverent in many places - and yet it's reminiscent of the Screwtape Leters by CS Lewis. There is a great cast, which includes
Jimmy Mulville playing the mendaciously evil Thomas and the incomparable Annette Crosbie as his wearily resigned mother-in-law, the retired Historian, Edith.

Enjoyable entertainment with laugh out loud moments; although some of the jokes are rather predictable in places.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun!, 25 Jan 2012
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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Andy Hamilton has been responsible for a range of comic writing and performing - from the brilliant Outnumbered to his appearances on The News Quiz. I didn't listen to Old Harry's Game on Radio 4 but did catch up with some of the episodes on Radio 7 (now Radio 4 Extra) and always enjoyed them. So I was delighted to get this CD of the two Christmas programmes from 2010.

In Christmas Spirit Andy Hamilton plays the devil as he copes with the Christmas rush of new inmates to torment and in Ring in the New he decides to venture out of Hell in order to have a minibreak away from the chaos of New Year festivities. The second programme is funnier than the first. He introduces a disparate group of quarrelling souls - among them are Attila the Hun, Elizabeth I, Churchill, Brian Clough and Gandhi. Lots of vicious comments pass between them. Quote from Clough to Gandhi: "I didn't get where I am today by nancying around in bedlinen".

An excellent supporting cast - and all in all great fun.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get it!, 23 Nov 2011
By 
P. T. Harries (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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If you are fond of the anarchic humour of the Goons, Monty Python and Andy Hamilton, this is a great Xmas present for you. The idea of Satan doing 'Thought for the Day', disguised as a high-ranking churchman is elegant in the extreme; and as for the holiday in the wilds ....

Suffice to say that I own all the 'Old Harry's Game' series and listen to episodes at random every few weeks as a great pick-me-up (even though I don't need one)!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Occasionally hilarious, 12 Nov 2011
By 
Grev (Brighton) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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Much as I like Old Harry's Game, it's hardly the work of comedic genius a lot of other reviewers seem to think. It's more mildly amusing than hilarious, though both of these episodes contain at least one or two killer lines that did make me laugh out loud.

Mind you, that's a hell of lot more than most sitcoms can boast.*

*See what I did there? This reviewing lark is easy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, real belly laughs, 31 Oct 2011
By 
Lark (North Coast of Ireland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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Andy Hamilton's radio shows are absolutely hilarious, alongside Old Harry's Game, Revolting People: Series 1 (BBC Audio) stands on a par (easily) with other brilliant comic productions such as Bleak Expectations: Complete Series One (BBC Audio) or Hordes of the Things (BBC Audio).

The entire series of Old Harry's Game, which features the trials and tribulations of Devil as he manages Hell and sallys out into the world of men, surrounded by and complaining eternally about being surrounded by incompetents.

This production features the seasonal specials, Christmas and The New Year.

In one The Devil, incised by talk of Christmas Spirit, quests into the world of men to create doubt about the existence of Jesus with a talkshow appearence and seeking to despoil all things festive with newspaper scare stories.

While in the other The Devil has an onset of despondency, what is a new year in eternity and it makes him question the purpose of it all, which he rediscovers to complete comic effect during a mini-break holiday.

As with the entire series the plot writing is excellent, with belly laughs aplenty, and a perfect pace, all too soon the story is finished. Although, it is not simply the overall plot that makes for such enjoyment but the scattered hilarious observations and quips throughout, such as the Devil's view that men as "monkey's with agendas" or relaxing by a fire with some Jeffery Archer thrillers "to keep it going". Often with subtlety a gag is set up early and returned to for complete comic effect.

The speech is clear and understandable, there are sound effects (for instance punches) and a musical score which is used at the introduction, at interludes and following the sketches during the credits. These are not intrusive and do not interfer with the narrative. There is a studio audience mentioned in the blurb but this does not interfer with delivery either.

This is a single disc production, it came in a hard plastic cover with an inlay card with a message from Andy Hamilton, cast and credits list, track listing, information about AduioGo suppliers of BBC Audiobooks and ads and orderline. Very Highly Recommended. Superb indeed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Christmas Cracker, 30 Oct 2011
By 
Chinatown Blue "cthulhoid" (S-O-T, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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This disc features both of the 'festive' specials broadcast in 2010; despite the title one is more of a New Year theme, but both are as hilarious, jaundiced and outrageous as one would expect from the Old Harry stable. If you are new to the series I suggest you look for the complete series 1 and work your way to this, as you will miss out on several running gags. But for fans this is definitely no disappointment. Though each episode is only 30 minutes long neither of them flags, giving you 60 minutes of solid entertainment. In the first, Satan attempts to destroy Christmas. There are gags about politics, religion, celebrities and human behaviour in plenty, and as always Andy Hamilton manages to inspire some spectacularly weird mental images. The second has him go off on a New Year mini-break, having become too jaded to carry on. Again we have the sly, wickedly witty jokes and surreal images, and the end of Satan's holiday will have you in stitches. The cast are all superb as usual, and the music and effects top notch. As usual the one thing that lets it down is the BBC's parsimonious habits when it comes to cd releases; all we get is one thin insert. Admittedly, the brief intro on it by Andy Hamilton is funny, and there is a cast list and brief tracklist inside, but it would have been nice to get something a bit meatier for once, maybe with cast photos. Still, that's not a big issue, and the cd itself is well worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sitcom from Hell, 30 Oct 2011
By 
Diziet "I Like Toast" (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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I've only managed to catch a couple of episodes of Andy Hamilton's Hell-based sitcom on Radio 4 so I was happy to have the opportunity to get hold of a couple more episodes on CD. Overall, they're o.k. and fun. Perhaps not the greatest radio comedy show ever produced but good for a giggle.

The first episode sees our (anti)-hero trying quite hard to disrupt Christmas on this mortal plane. While having a good pop at Sky News and the Daily Mail on the way, appearing as the Pope on the Oprah Winfrey Show to deny that Jesus ever existed would, you'd think, seriously dent the celebrations. But it appears that, even in Hell, Christmas is just too good a time to miss.

In the second episode, Satan finds eternity hanging heavily on his hands and goes, at Annette Crosby's suggestion, for a mini-break in the Lake District, cleverly disguised as John McCririck. Leaving Scumspawn in charge back in The Pit with unfortunate results, he relaxes in the countryside. For about 30 seconds. Reflecting that 'nature is just one big outside toilet' he is soon up to various diabolical diversions. Meanwhile, back in Hell, Scumspawn recruits Genghis Khan, Gandhi, Winston Churchill, Queen Elizabeth 1st and Brian Clough to help develop his management skills.

Yes, the shows are fun, they're witty, they will survive repeated listenings - I've listened to both episodes three times and will no doubt listen to them again - but they're not the greatest comedy shows on Radio 4. I like Andy Hamilton and enjoy his appearances on 'The News Quiz', but this sitcom is not really up to the standards of, say, 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue', or 'Bleak Expectations' (with the wonderful Celia Imrie), or, going back in time, 'Round the Horne' with Kenneth Horne (and Kenneth Williams), none of which are sitcoms, I know, but I think they are better radio. Still, I enjoyed these two shows and will be listening out for more episodes on Radio 4. :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Yule be a fool to miss this one sunshine'.. Jane Austin, 24 Oct 2011
By 
Glenn Cook (South Cave, near Hull UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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Wow Christmas has come early with this fabulous CD.
SANTA not SATAN has come early!
If like me, you missed the radio broadcasts of 23rd and 30th December 2010 on Radio 4 here are the two shows in all their Satanly glory!!
Note although Amazon says 'a Christmas Episode' you actually get two!
The good news is that it's another Old Harry's Game but the fantastic news is that Andy Hamilton/Satan/Old Harry is right on form and that is saying something from a comedy writer at the top of his skills!
It's brilliant.

The Cd is divided into two shows recorded before a live audience (lucky beggars! with a different theme of Christmas and the New Year which is great because you get two for the price of one.
Each show lasts just half an hour and after each your left wanting more which is the finest compliment in comedy.
Rather than in some shows where you enjoy but are glad the ordeal has ended?
Hamilton is at the top of his form and is really ably supported by his cast of Annette Crosby as Edith, Jimmy Mulville as Thomas, (Possibly the most evil man in hell and as you can imagine that's up against some pretty stiff competition !
Robert Duncan makes the role of Scumspawn his own (Heck even I want to kick his backside for him! (The only demon to watch Glee in hell!)
A brilliant backing cast supply the grate(sic) historical figures population Hell. Felicity Montague as Charlotte Bronte shines
like a carbuncle on Satan's nose!
Hamilton has a great array of one liners and is one of that rare breed of comedic writers along with Victoria Wood in that he is not afraid of sharing his best one liners with the cast.
I won't quote any of them because dear reader I want you to discover them for yourself for example why Thomas reads A Christmas carol by Dickens backwards!!) on this fantastic CD.
100 per cent recommended!!
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Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio)
Old Harry's Game: A Christmas Episode (BBC Audio) by Andy Hamilton (Audio CD - 6 Oct 2011)
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