It's brilliant, this!
I'm a big fan of Peter Kay and already own the video of the stand-up concert he did at Blackpool Tower, so I was really looking forward to this. I wasn't disappointed.
I watched this on Channel 4 last year (twice, thanks to the marvel that is the modern video recorder!), and couldn't stop laughing. I've just watched it again the second time around and laughed just as much.
As well as being part of a continuing storyline, each episode stands alone as a comedic masterpiece. Great characters like Brian Potter, Max and Paddy the bouncers (what've you done to your 'air? Is it a wig?), Jerry St Clair and others, together with excellent scripts make this a series not to be missed.
If you've already seen the series on Channel 4, you've probably already got this video on your shopping list. If not, buy it anyway. You won't regret it.
on 21 September 2002
The fact that I've been motivated to contribute a review about the Phoenix Nights DVD says it all...Without a doubt, the funniest, most original comedy I've seen in years. Phoenix Nights turns over more material in the opening pre-titles sequence than most shows offer in 30 minutes. Each episode is a mini-classic: the opening show with TVs own Roy Walker having to pay 30p to get in ("And don't forget the raffle!"), Keith Lard's photo showing "a look of satisfaction rarely seen on an Airedale", Clinton Baptiste's psychic show ("Hands up, who can't have children?") and of course, Brian Potter's attempts at seduction ("You haven't seen me jukebox yet - have you got any change? It's 5 for £1"). Watch out for the (many) visual gags in the backgound - you'll spot a new one each time you watch it. I've watched the DVD end to end dozens of times, and it still make me laugh out loud. Excellent DVD special features include a great commentary by Peter Kay, Dave Spikey, Neil Fitzmaurice and Patrick "Paddy" McGuiness. If you haven't got a DVD player yet, here's your motivation!
on 25 August 2002
I watched the repeats of this First Series on C4 an loved every minute of it. Peter Kay is just wonderful as Brian the disabled owner of the club, as well as the rest of the cast. The accents are spot on, ill never think of a Bolton accent the same again, and the observations about a working mans club are so true it almost hurts. Each episode is a classic, and is the best comedy on TV At the moment by miles.
If you've only started watching it from the 2nd series this is even more a must, or if you loved Peter Kays stand up video, "On Top Of the Tower" this is right down your street.
All in all
on 22 October 2002
More blinding fun from comedy geniuses Peter Kay, Dave Spikey and Neil Fitzmaurice.
Episodes 1-6 feature on this DVD following the Club that'll never Die-The Phoenix Club. There are hilarious deleted scenes, out takes and a Peter Kay commentary.
Don't buy this DVD at your peril, you'll miss out on the best comedy to come out of the north of England in years, plus you'll miss out on the fabulous Phoenix employees with, of course, the king of clubland-Jerry 'the saint'Sinclair (played by Dave Spikey-comedy god!)
This is one of the funniest comedy series I have watched in years.BUY IT-SHABBA!!!
on 30 October 2002
This is compulsive viewing for anyone who likes a laugh. Enough catch phrases and subtle in-jokes for it to be a classic. I can still watch it all the way through without any fear of reaching for the skip button. Absolute genius and it's even funnier if you turn the commentary on to hear Peter's high pitched, girly laugh!!!
Peter Kay has certainly come a long way since his regular nostalgia spot on cult hangover-cure The Sunday Show. Phoenix Nights allows him a lead role in writing, casting and performing in a comedy so quirky and lo-fi that it's the nearest thing to US director Kevin Smith's "Jay and Silent Bob" quintet that Britain in general, and Bolton in particular, has ever produced. Like Smith, but presumably on a much smaller budget, Kay has assembled a wonderfully deadpan supporting cast; he has also found a perfect location (a genuine working-men's club in the heartland of the industrial north-west) around which to assemble a whole mythology of cultural reference and modern-day folklore. Whether it's the racist folk band, the musical re-enactment of "The Karate Kid", the embarrassing jingles of local radio station Chorley FM, or the alarming propensity of proprietor Brian Potter's clubs to burn down at the slightest provocation, the back stories of "Phoenix Nights" have an almost instant place in the memory.
The style is deadpan, a brilliant pastiche of the "docu-soaps" which have plagued TV schedules for the past decade, but the humour is intense, quick-fire and full of disturbingly memorable one-liners ("talk to the organ, not the monkey grinder" has become a catchphrase in my house!). Kay, as club owner Potter and bouncer Max, manages to wring every drop of tragedy and pathos from his characters. Dave Spikey, as Gerry St. Clair, would be unbearable as a real-life club compere, yet his every appearance wins a sympathetic tug at the heart. The humour runs so close to bad taste at times that it's incredible just what they get away with - yet somehow the team have managed to create a comedy which never offends, or which upends a sackful of sh-you-know-what on those who do. The DVD extras are well worth a look, particularly the inspired "Armchair Superstore" series of QVC-style ads for the kinds of gadget that no modern man should be without...
In short, this is the DVD to put Bolton well and truly on the cultural map. I haven't laughed so much in years.
on 25 March 2004
Where do you begin? This is, without doubt, one of the best DVD translations of a half-hour TV comedy ever. Okay, it helps that the first series of Phoenix Nights was side-splittingly funny, that the mismatched characters are each funny in their own rights, but the sum of their talents is absolutley hilarious. The commentary by Peter Kay (Brian and Max), Dave Spikey (Jerry St Clair), Neil Fitzmaurice (Ray Von) and Patrick McGuinness (Paddy) makes all six episodes seem like an extra six to when you watch them as they were shown on TV.
Right, first things first. Why first things first? Why not first things third (in joke).
Episode one - Brian Potter, wheelchair-bound Northern social club owner is preparing for the opening night of his latest goldmine, The Phoenix Club, in Bolton. And to celebrate the opening, he's got TV's own Roy Walker as special guest. We are quickly introduced to all the club regulars - Brian's compere Jerry The Saint St Clair, his house band Les Alanos, made up of Les on drums and Alan on Bontempi organ, his gophers Kenny Senior and Young Kenny, his two bouncers Max and Paddy, barmaids Holy Mary and Marion, and DJ Spencer. Spencer, however, doesn't hang around for long, once there is a power cut. Luckily, another DJ, Ray Von, is on hand to step into Spencer's shoes.
Episode two - country and western night. Jerry has found a cowboy, complete with horse, to appear at The Phoenix, and Brian has, against his better judgement, replaced his dodgy snooker table with a bucking bronco and a kiddies flying aeroplane ride.
Episode three - the psychic. Keith Lard, Bolton's health and safety fire regulations expert is trying to close Brian's club down, mainly because he has padlocked the fire doors. However, Jerry has found psychic Clinton Baptiste to appear on the stage that night. And he's getting the word NONCE.
Episode four - Brian falls in love. It's singles night at the club, and even Brian finds love in the arms of a short-sighted wallflower from Birmingham. Trouble is, she's not what she first seems to be.
Episode five - Robot wars. Jerry's irritable bowel is getting him down, but luckily Ray, Max and Paddy have got a competition to find the best robot in Bolton. In the Pennine suite, it's student night, with various alternative comedians trying to steal Jerry's crown.
Episode six - Talent Trek. To ensure that The Phoenix Club gets to host the prestigious final of the North West's search for a star, Brian has told the decision makers that Jerry is dying. Jerry, meanwhile, has been given the all-clear by the hospital. To add further problems, Brian's main rival Den Perry decides to burn the Phoenix Club down with a carefully discarded cigar butt.
This DVD contains out-takes, deleted scenes, a special feature on the drunken horse, all six episodes, and the aforementioned commentaries. A joy to behold...
on 7 April 2003
This DVD is a real gem. After missing all of the first series and many an episode of the second, i was fortunate enough to have this DVD given as a present. From the couple of episodes of the second series i had seen on tv, i had high expectations of this comedy. They were undoubtadely exceeded! The first time i watched this comedy it was extremely funny. But watching it again and again it just got funnier. There are so many jokes in there that are subtle and are easily missed the first time around. I'm sure there are still many i've not come across yet!!
In the first episode the scene is immediately set by a comical radio announcement from "Chorley FM" that the phoenix club is having a grand reopening. The accompnying music is absolutely spot on. You can tell from there that you are in for a treat and there is not a jot of dissappointment. Every single episode is totally superb, having it's own little storyline as well as the continuation of the series-long ones. I particularly like Brian Potter's date with his ladyfriend, the fire safety officer Keith Lard's talk, half a shillin' the folk band who give Brian Potter and unexpected and unwanted surprise, and the alternative comedy night - The Funny Farm!
Every character in this series is perfect. Peter Kay has two main roles - as club manager Brian Potter and Max the bouncer. One guy playing two main characters you would expect that they would be too similar, but it is so well acted and the appearances are so different that you forget all about it being the same guy. The rest of the characters are just as good. They are stereotypical of folk you come across in everyday life - someone who is a compulsive liar for example. There's bound to be one you associate with someone you know to some extent.
The extras on this DVD also deserve a large amount of praise. The outtakes are hilarious and some of the unused stuff is well funny. I particularly like the chip shop running gag that wasn't fully used in the series which is very simple but highly comical. Let's not forget the arm chair superstore. This is a shopping channel which is often being watched in the club and recieves some custom here and there from the bouncing duo Max and Paddy. This extra allows you to watch in full screen the channel's broadcasts from the series - all of course very funny.
Altogher this comedy is an absolute classic.
on 31 August 2002
Peter Kay's Pheonix Nights is fantastic! The series is cleverly written and full of subtle wit! The central character, wheelchair bound Brian Potter, owner and licencee of the pheonix club trundles around the place barking orders at his staff and punters. The regulars are - Compere Jerry "the Saint" StClair(who cant sing). Max and Paddy the club bouncers (Kay plays Max in the show as well as Potter). Ray Von "Dodgem Car" gypsy turned club DJ. Kenny Senior, a pathalogical liar (who in the event of a fire claimed that he had special asbestos skin that had doctors baffled!). Young Kenny, "Holy" Mary who works behind the bar, and the backing band "Les Alanos". As well as prising "Talent Trek" from rival Club Owner, Den Perry, there is plenty of fun. Opening night with Roy "say what you see" Walker, a Western Night with a REAL horse in the Pennine suite. A Singles Night with song lyric chat up lines and a brush with the DSS, and the Pheonix Club version of Robot Wars! A MUST SEE show with the potential of becoming a Classic!
on 26 September 2002
Peter Kay is a comedy genius. His beutifully observed take on the Northern Club scene is spot-on, with exactly the sort of charicatures of the sort of people you would expect to find in a club like "the phoenix". From the crusty old war-hero on the door, to the tone deaf M.C.(who murders every song), they're all there, with the icing on the cake being of course wheelchair-bound club owner Brian Potter. This dvd of the first series contains 6 episodes that to me are already classics. I defy anyone to watch 'Phoenix' and keep a straight face. Some of the comedy goes unsaid and can be very subtle so you can pick up on different things each time you watch it. Amongst the acts appearing at the Phoenix in this series, my favourites would be;
the 'safe' folk band who turn out to be completely racist, the pyschic medium who dishes out divorce papers and tells a woman she's dying and of course Trigger, the inebriated horse. The evening always ends in mayhem with Potter spitting venom. Hilarious, priceless humour in the Alan Bennett league, but funnier.