Most helpful critical review
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2009
It's easy to see why television couldn't afford Baxter. His lavish sets and costumes were almost equal to those of Hollywood in its hey-day.
Having seen Baxter's shows when originally broadcast, time has not dulled appreciation of his considerable talent, nor unfortunately, has any greater engagement with his performance been experienced. Then and now, the viewer is left feeling that the shows were done so elaborately mainly for his own entertainment, rather than his audience's. This is a pity, because his hard work and inventiveness have rarely been equalled since and the man was a true genius of his art. He performs most, sometimes all, of the characters in his sketches and routines and wrote some of the material himself. Each show is packed tight and skilfully performed, but while there is some British-themed content, the American style of presentation and his obvious taste for the golden days of Hollywood are a bit too strong.
Baxter was a good mimic, though younger audiences will not know of the real-life characters he impersonates - Malcolm Muggeridge, Joan Bakewell, Fyfe Robertson and a variety of thirties Hollywood stars. He also portrays well-meaning vicars, pushy studio producers and parodies various advertising styles. His portrayal of different cultural and racial types is unlikely to receive much warmth from a modern audience, regardless of his original good intent. Hence this collection is likely to appeal only to those who enjoyed him the first time around.
This is a two disc set, with a show from each of the years '73, '74, '75, '76, '79 and 82. Picture and sound quality good, but no extras.