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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesomely left field
If you're a fan of modern British comedy this show is a highlight of the last decade.
You have Simon Pegg and Hark Heap, just before they went off to make the incredible Spaced. Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews just after Father Ted and before Linehan made Black Books, Kevin Eldon fresh from Brass Eye, and Catherine Tate before her (imo) underwhelming solo...
Published on 9 Dec 2004 by Mr AI

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars strange but okay
repetitive clips, some of which are funny and some of which are quite random. i find about half of it very funn y and the other half not at all funny
Published 23 months ago by pylonics


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesomely left field, 9 Dec 2004
This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
If you're a fan of modern British comedy this show is a highlight of the last decade.
You have Simon Pegg and Hark Heap, just before they went off to make the incredible Spaced. Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews just after Father Ted and before Linehan made Black Books, Kevin Eldon fresh from Brass Eye, and Catherine Tate before her (imo) underwhelming solo series.
The sheer comedy talent is eye watering and the first series is absoltely hilarious (second series drops to merely mortal standard, it has to be said). Highlights like the Evil Hypnotist, the Artist formally knows as Prince, and the no masturbation in the office sketch are sheer genius. In my opinion this is Linehan and Matthews at their best, getting to show off a massive range of ideas.
I find it hard to sympathise with reviewers who loved Spaced but hated this: to me Big Train is so perfect because it is a concentrated and distilled mix of everything (and almost everyone) that has been wonderful in British comedy for the last decade.
It still stands up as containing the cleverest, most surreal sketches we've seen. Later series like Smack the Pony softened the format a lot, while Little Britain went for less intelligent (but more accessible) writing. Big Train is the best of the bunch as far as I'm concerned, and even if you aren't blown away by the humour, it stands as a great early ensemble piece from an inimitable bunch of comedians who can (and have) now commanded their own solo series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A game of two halves, 27 Dec 2010
By 
Crookedmouth ":-/" (As seen on iPlayer) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
Big Train represents an early Graham Linehan/Arthur Matthews (Father Ted) entry into TV comedy genre and it's certainly distinctive. The overall format - Fast Show-esque skit/sketch comedy - is benign enough, but the content takes a highly surreal slant. At the time it was, if not revolutionary, at least a step in a fairly new direction and probably did not get mainstream attention. Thus we have firefighting show jumpers, Jesus and Satan in an office-feud setting and Chairman Mao doing Roxy Music's Virginia Plain. Probably the best sketches are the recurring (and genuinely wonderful) "World Stare-out Championships" animation and the Gunfight at the OK Corral (played by the Bee Gees and Chaka Khan).

This package holds both of the two series and the first was by far the best. Even when it's not jaw achingly sidesplitting (jockeys and the Artis Known as Prince), it's odd enough to be engaging and Mark Heap (Green Wing), Amelia Bullimore, Simon Pegg (Spaced), Julia Davis (Nighty Night)and Kevin Eldon take the Linehan/Matthews material and make it their own. The second series was not as good, and in the five episodes there is probably enough material to make up one episode as good as the first series (having said that the birth mother reunion sketch in S2E1 nearly killed me). So...

Series 1 *****
Series 2 ***

Both discs come with a fair few deleted scenes - unused sketches that are actually nearly as good as the released stuff.

This is an important milestone in British TV comedy sketch shows and one that's surrealism has never been surpassed. It's an essential part of any collection
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At Last! One of the most sublime comedy series on DVD :-), 22 Mar 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
Okay Okay, so i am writing this before the DVD is released, but people, there is no need to wait for then, no need to delay clicking 'add to basket' for one moment longer....
Big Train is one of the best ever comedy series. The range of Characters are fantastic, and some scenes really are comedy gold - the jockeys being chased by the artist formally known as prince.. ..Ming the Merciless at home doing the hoovering.. the show jumpers who yearned to be firemen..and last but not least the supurb World Staring Championships, commentated on by Barry Davies. When you consider that it was written by the men behind 'Father Ted' and starred top comic actors such as Simon Pegg, Mark Heap and Kevin Eldon, the only question is why have we had to wait so long for the DVD??
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why you wait so long to come out on DVD?, 8 July 2004
This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
This is one of the best comedy series ever - a genuine hidden gem which may have passed many people by being on BBC2 on Monday's and never repeated. Series 1 is better than Series 2. Surreal comedy but with firm roots in situations you will have come across. Impossible to make the comedy sound good in writing - trust me, buy - watch it and you'll love it. If you like "Spaced" you will love this. If you love "Python" you will love this. I just have to say "Jockeys wanting to be firemen" to my wife and she is in tears remembering the series. The animated World Staring Championships with commentary by Barry Davies is so, so good.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best sketch show Britain has produced in years, 2 Aug 2006
By 
This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
With most modern day sketch shows making use of recurring characters with "hillarious" catchphrases that grow tired after seeing 1 episode, Big Train is a breath of fresh air. Firstly, it is extremely well written, with no sketch recurring in seperate episodes (the exception being the Stare Out Championships). This leads to the writers giving the viewer fresh sketch after fresh sketch, meaning the programme never gets tiresome. In addition, Big Train has an extremely talented cast of comic actors. Simon Pegg, Kevin Eldon and Mark Heap are all excellent - really bringing to life what the writers had on the page.

Big Train is one of those shows that when talking to people, I always find hard to believe they have not seen it. For anyone with any sort of sense of humour - this DVD is a must.

If you've stumbled across this page from viewing other sketch shows like Little Britain, do yourself a favour and buy this instead - this is what sketch comedy is all about - not the same joke repeated every week.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy it!!!!!!, 16 July 2004
This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
Big Train is one of the best sketch shows ive ever seen!
When Simon Pegg teaches his son to ride a bike had me in agony!
When Hall and Oates visit an estate to bring some of their "east coast life style" Pure Genius
I only saw a bit of the second series, but what I did see looked as good as the 1st!
I dont know why this hasnt been repeated on BBC 3 or 2!
If you like to laugh, buy this!!!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtle sketch comedy at its best for some time., 19 Mar 2006
By 
J. Hammond "Big John" (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
Big Train was a masterpiece in subtle sketch shows comedy, in my opinion some of the best humour to grace our screens since the days of Not the Nine O’clock news. The two share much in common, from the ability to push comedy boundaries further, to the writers and performers becoming future bastions of sitcom and comedy writing excellence.
And like all sketch based shows, even the classics like NTNOCN & The Fast show, the sketches can vary from hit the target to miss by a mile, particularly in series II but it still has me in fits of laughter and it was at least original in its obscure sense of humour.
The actual box set is well produced, the title sequences are amusing and the extra features particularly generous.
People who don’t rate this show probably enjoy Little Britain.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hit and Miss Cult Comedy - But the Hits are Hilarious!, 8 Jan 2007
This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
Remember when you were young and watched the original Monty Python's Flying Circus every week. Not every sketch hit its target (in fact in hindsight most didn't!), but when they did, they were sublime and next day at school you and your mates would recite them infinitum! I don't know of any comedy sketch show that ever came close to getting a 100% hit rate (some 'Fast Show' episodes came close, but even the tremendous 'League of Gentlemen' faltered at times - especially with the third series) and 'Big Train' is obviously no exception. However within these 2 DVDs are some sketches that are so side-splittingly funny that repeated viewing only seems to enhance them. It is these moments that make a purchase of this DVD set more than worthwhile for anyone who likes their surreal comedy in bursts and can spot the clever satirical film, TV and book references and cliches. Simon Pegg and the rest of the cast are very funny (even to look at!) and I think if you have only discovered them with their more recent work, you'll be pleasantly surprised.

I agree that the first series is stronger than the second one, but both have so many great sketches that only the most pedantic would quibble about the overall quality. Personal favourites include: "Hot Cakes/Too Many Cooks", "Showjumping Firefighters", "Evil Hypnotist", "...Very Tart", "Ming", "Tin Man", "Distracting Boss", several of the Office-based sketches, most of the "Staring Competition" sketches, "Spooked Jockeys", "Monks", "Cat & Mouse", "...I'm Not Married", and I'll stop there as too many are jumping into my memory as I write! In fact, for once there is no reliance on catch-phrases or re-worked sketches that you find in the likes of 'Little Britain' and 'Catherine Tate'.

I recommend you give it a go if you liked any of the recent sketch-based surreal comedy shows - I'm sure you'll find enough comedy gems to fill a quiet night in very successfully. They make such a refreshing change from those perfectly scripted but predictable US comedies - A true British classic that has already achieved cult status by those in the know and closer to the innovative and surreal spirit of Monty Python than anything I can recall in recent years.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surreal as surreal can be, 21 Dec 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
I missed Big Train when it first appeared on our tv screens in 1998 but as a fan of Matthews and Linehan as writers, and Simon Pegg, Mark Heap and Kevin Eldon as comedy actors I thought I should give this DVD a go. Both series' also feature one or two sketches written by Adam Buxton and Joe Cornish (The Adam & Joe Show) and Chris Morris (Brass Eye, The Day Today) to name a few, which added some excited expectation.
Series one blew me away, I actually watched all the episodes in 2 sittings. The animated Stare Out Competition had its moments but became slightly irritating at times. Series two, filmed a few years later throws up more strange circumstances but introduces parodies of well know films such as The Birds (The Working Class sketch), Rebecca and Gladiator.
The comedy is sharp and tends to twist everyday occurrances into strange grey areas that certainly never crossed my mind - the w**king sketch is an obvious twist on smoking in offices. The female cast are severely under-used but really do shine in certain sketches (Catherine Tate in the French Art-House type sketch is a favourite of mine).
All of the actors give brilliant performances but Kevin Eldon and Mark Heap are my favourites without a doubt. Eldon had me in fits as Mao, the Victorian scientist who's really a fireman and the freaky ventriloquist dummy, and Mark Heap as Emperor Ming was perfect. Simon Pegg is as brilliant as always - his Russel Crowe impression is VERY good and some how he makes a man unable to open doors very funny.
The DVD is packed with extras including running commentary on all the sketches and some remakes of sketches featured in the German version of the show, there is also a sketch selection menu (all of which are named) so you can watch your favourite parts without flicking through entire episodes. I believe there are some good easter eggs on both DVDs but am yet to find them so keep your eyes peeled.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the fast show, 30 May 2013
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This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2 [1998] [DVD] (DVD)
Bought this on a whim ! Very pleasantly surprised by how 'current' the humour is. Laugh out loud throughout each and every episode. Thoroughly recommend this!
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