on 14 July 2006
Peter Kay, Dave Spikey and Neil Fitpatrick wrote one of the Series of the Noughties.
Brian Potter and his team are back, after disaster struck the club in the previous series when it was burnt down by the devious Den Perry. Dirty Den as I like to call him.
Brian has lost his club licence so Jerry takes over the reigns, and choas ensues. My personal favourite of both series is the Family Fun day, when the club needs to raise money to open again. Jerry the Berry, Brian Potters converter toilet as a play area for the kiddies, the inflateable "love length".... oh and animal face paint for Kenny, which is real paint and dosn't come off until nearly the last episode. "I've tried everything, soap and water, swarfega."... "Have you tried battery acid?"
Each episode is a joy.
How Peter Kay could ever follow up the brilliantly original, laugh-a-minute first series of Phoenix Nights is a bit of a mystery; but follow it up he has, and Series 2 is as sidesplittingly funny, as close to the edge of bad taste as you can possibly get, and as compulsive as its predecessor. There's a general feeling of a slightly bigger budget, and the shaky docu-soap-style camerawork of the original has given way to a more conventional style of cinematography and storytelling; but the jokes are as razor-sharp as ever, and in this series we begin to discover the depth of character in the wonderful supporting cast as well.
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. My personal favourites have to include Young Kenny's star turn as Meat Loaf (complete with motorbike) during "Stars in Their Eyes", Stuart Maconie's improbable cameo appearance presenting "Crimewatch", and the wonderful Max and Paddy rendition of "Is This the Way to Amarillo?" (trust me when I say that the moment they turn round to cue in the chorus will have you laughing for weeks...). The DVD out-takes show only too clearly how infectious the humour is; normally a sequence of corpsing actors doesn't make for my kind of television but Max and Paddy's attempts to describe the fate of the hapless Tommy Dick-Fingers are still hysterical on the thirtieth failed attempt.
We need more of this!
on 12 August 2003
Phoenix nights is a classic piece of work from the man from the top of the tower himself Peter Kay. Like in the first he plays Mr Brian Potter & Max the bouncer. This second series continues on from the first with Brian having to rebuild the club 'Phoenix Nights'. If this DVD is anything like the first with special features such as deleted clips, and episode commentary, then it will be a sure hit. However if you have yet to purchase series 1 and want series 2 I would recommend waiting for the box set, which includes both, this will be released later in the year around November. Overall I give phoenix nights series 2 5/5, definitely worth a purchase.
on 20 August 2003
Alright, so it's not a particularly original comment now, but I'll say it anyway - Phoenix Nights is the funniest, most original thing to hit the small screen since Fawlty Towers, but it has managed, unlike some other sit-coms which had a great first series, but then fell a bit flat on the second (The Office??), to come back just as good the second time around.
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!
on 24 August 2007
series two of phoenix nights is right on the money,glowing television of the highest order and even better than series one ,high praise indeed.I found this series more consistent and more fast paced and the laughs were just easier to find,as i said about season one i was always entertained but didnt always scream the house down,in season two i was more or less always at that.
Season two carries on from the carnage of season one as the phoenix club is burned down and brian along with his assortment of friends and employees decide to build it back but it isnt easy.
The six episodes once again end too soon and the quality doesnt drop,this series is more cult in its status than all round classic but make no mistake in its right to better things,great.
on 9 September 2003
Anyone who has seen the series must surely want to buy this so the purpose of this review is for the unknowing.
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.
on 30 August 2003
Series 2, funnier than ever. Peter Kay must be rated the as one of the funniest comics at present. The more times you watch these episodes the more you laugh.Favourite episode has to be the Ladies night featuring Mary having an orgasm behind the Bar, superb, and Paddy shooting Max's brother.
Superb cast, who deserve to be watched again and again.
on 10 November 2003
This second series, after a brief introduction picking up directly from where the last series left off, starts in classic "Dirty Dozen" style, re-acquainting us with the characters and how they have moved on in the months following Den Perry's arson attack on the club.
No "Second Series Syndrome" here then. As we catch up, we find Jerry as a greeter in Asda, promoting special-offer bin bags and corned beef via the gift of song with no sense of shame or irony whatsoever. This vies with Max and Paddy's minibus singalong for funniest introduction. The first episode concerns itself with Brian's efforts to reunite the team so that the Phoenix may rise again.
As before, there are one-liners and sight gags a-plenty. Many of them require the pause button, although the details in Brian's address book have been blurred out for the DVD release, presumably to prevent idiots from calling the numbers quoted.
Brian and Jerry's relationship comes under the spotlight here, as Jerry is appointed licensee and becomes frustrated with Brian's constant interfering. What was occasional slight irritation between the two in the first series becomes a proper falling-out in the second. Jerry is also clearly undergoing a mid-life crisis, evidenced by his health kick following his scare in the first series.
The overall tone of this series is more upbeat than the first, but no less funny for it. While the first series found Brian beset by one problem after another, with only the occasional small victory before the tragic final episode, this series finds Brian no less beleaguered but a bit more of a winner (apart from the episode in which his stairlift breaks down halfway down the stairs, leaving him trapped all night and soiling himself), and utterly triumphant in the spectacular (well, spectacular by Bolton working men's club standards) series finale.
Max and Paddy are given more coverage this time around, and their stint as hapless would-be assassins, and Max's getting carried away with the fantasy of it all ("This is like a film, what we're doing now... Put me tape on!"), is hilarious. It's a credit to Peter Kay's performance that it's very easy to forget that it is him playing Max as well as Brian. Their exit in the final episode strongly suggests an imminent spin-off show of their own.
There are enough laugh-out-loud moments throughout this series to demonstrate an abundance of fresh ideas, and as before the quality of the writing never wavers. Hopefully there is more to come before the Phoenix is laid to rest for good.
The DVD extras are well worth a look. The out-takes featuring Jim Bowen (so abundant he has his own section) are priceless. Whether he hadn't bothered learning his lines, was nervous or just plain useless, watching him mess up time after time is classic. There are also plenty of deleted scenes and hidden bonus items.
The commentary is a little less focussed than on the first DVD - there is a lot of banter between Kay and his colleagues, which is entertaining enough but not very informative. There are moments where Kay talks alone about various scenes, but it sounds as if his colleagues were removed from the studio so as not to provide any distraction, and these moments were spliced into the conversation. There are also a few comments about asylum seekers right at the beginning, which it would perhaps have been wise to edit out as some may construe them to be racist. A bit of a wrong move there I think.
Nonetheless, this is a top-quality programme complemented by a well above average DVD presentation. It towers above the dross foisted upon us in the name of comedy nowadays, and long may it do so. Peter Kay's star is still rising, so as a Bolton boy myself I sincerely hope he maintains the quality he has maintained so well so far. None of that buggering off to Hollywood and losing touch with your roots and talent for him I hope. Excellent.
*Edited a good couple of years or so after originally posting to correct a minor error. I can't let these things lie...
on 29 September 2003
A great follow-up to the hugely enjoyable first series with some literally side-splitting moments. The best bits? Possibly Jerry singing in Asda, the inflatable 'snake' at the Fun Day and 'Stars in Your Eyes' with Jerry as Eminem and Kenny Sr as Britney Spears.
They don't make comedy this good that often so treat yourself to a great DVD for when there's nothing but dodgy repeats on TV this coming winter.
on 15 August 2003
Much longed for, and... boy, it did not disappoint. A rare thing, a second series better than the first. Same loveable characters, but the gags keep coming. From Ray Von hosting the legendary quiz night through to Brian Potters relentless fight with Den Perry. The fun day at the Phoenix is something to watch time and again. More one liners then I could ever mention, buy it.. enjoy it.