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4.5 out of 5 stars64
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on 20 December 2009
I have to confess that I bought this collection purely to get a good copy of Dancing Queen. I originally recorded it straight from TV but wore it out!
I honestly regard this as the best film HBC has ever made, but Rik Mayall is surprisingly good in a romantic leading role. The only flaw with this film is that it feels as if there are chunks missing - and it seems there are. I remember reading somewhere that there was sufficient footage shot to make a 90 minute film, but it had to be savagely cut to meet the demanded format. I also heard that it was planned to release a full-length version at some point, but it was then discovered that the excised footage had been accidentally losy or discarded.
This leaves us with an ending that looks hurried or careless, but it still doesn't spoil my overall enjoyment. What really makes it is the acting, with a bit of a tour-de-force from Bonham-Carter, which is almost the total opposite of the roles she is best known for. The soundtrack is well chosen too and both Nellie The Elephant and Come Up And See Me (Make Me Smile) will always bring a smile to my face every time I hear them from now on.
The ending is as corny as hell, but sometimes you simply need a film that simply leaves you with a warm glow. This is that film.

As for the others in the series. Micky Love is a barely disguised portrayal of Hughie Green - very good actually, but I don't feel the need to return to it. Brief Encounter was far more vicious than I remember it from the TV.
As for the rest, well I've had the DVD for about a year now and still haven't got round to watching them again.

I bought this DVD at full price and thought it well worth it for that one episode. It is now obviously a bargain.
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on 10 June 2014
The sad, unexpected death of Rik Mayall has prompted me to do a short review of this DVD which I bought nearly ten years ago when it first came out thanks to old-TV-everyone-else-seems-to-have-forgotten specialists Netwerk.

Although another reviewer has quite rightly made the connection that these films were almost like (and I'm paraphrasing here) a 'Comic Strip Lite made for an ITV audience' I'd personally give anything for ITV to return to the days when they felt brave enough to commission this kind of thing again. In fact, I seem to remember some mild fallout after the transmission of 'Mickey Love' with lots of Daily Mail letter (and it was letters then, possibly Basildon Bond) writing about the many sexual references and 'strong' language. I also think though, that these came as a shock / (unjustified) disappointment at the time to those brought up on the manic Rik of the Blackadder, Bottom, etc...

But in retrospect this might have been Riks finest hour; after all, when you discount the ensemble Comic Strips (for which there was no real solo 'Rik' outing), the Young Ones, Bottom, Filthy, Rich and Catflap, etc... all we are really left with is The New Statesman, some guest appearances, and later best forgotten vehicles such as 'Believe Nothing'.

So what are the plays actually like? Being set in a contemporary world, they have dated, but are definately worth at least a single viewing for any casual Rik Mayall or 'black comedy' fan.

'Micky Love' concerns a thinly disguised version of Hughie Green (since covered more openly by BBC4, although with even more arguments over how real it all was) who finds his downfall from the top of the TV light ent. roost. Dirty, Rich, and Catflap actually proves less of an influence than you might imagine for this one, principally as there is an air of menace and realism in this one missing from DRC. Trainspotters like me will love the fact it was filmed almost entirely on location at Granada Studios in Manchester, the only unpleasant thing about it is perhaps a record number of 'star cameos' by people who are either in prison, or would be had their crimes been proven before they died.

'Briefest Encounter' regards the slightly overlong details strangers meeting at a party then going back to one of their homes together. Not that great, although quietly competent.

'Dancing Queen' is the one people talk about the most I think. A bit like a mini Comic Strip episode (and I have to wonder how many of these were actually 'strip' rejects or Rik-led proposals that were not accepted) this concerns a man at a stag-do running away with the stripper, its a very Comic Strip style piece. I have my suspicions, in fact, the next 2 episodes fall into the same bracket...

'The Big One' regards a man who is a compulsive liar, and ends up in fear of this life after impersonating a wanted person. he goes on the run, etc...

'Dirty Old Town' features a tramp somehow mistaken for a writer just like 'that film'... But with Rik in the title role, it is very watchable and again a great example of something that might not even get commissioned these days.

'Claire De Lune' is about a runaway woman finds some unexpected help in a taxi driver, for the time being anyway. Its another one that gets talked about a fair bit outside of these reviews. Its also worth a watch.

And so it goes. Rik never did anything like that again, although a terrible quad bike accident just 3 years later could not have helped. Its just a shame not to be writing this review in nicer circumstances, as I've been meaning to do it since 2006.

Just one parting note though. Something that has pervaded Rik (and, to a larger degree, Adrian Edmonson's careers) is their lack of introspection; even now (especially now) you won't find commentaries or documentaries on the DVDs of anything they've ever been in other than the big Comic Strip box-set. This is a shame, but artistically of course their call. Just such a shame we'll now never have a chance for Rik to tell us just what was going through his mind over 20 years ago when he made these.

I wonder who will make the inevtitable documentary now about Rik's life? He wasn't particularly channel-loyal, so I wonder if there is a Kremlin style red telephone at ITV, C4 and the BBC so they can talk about such things and come to an agreement on all the clips? Probably not, as I imagine they talk all the time. "This house will become a shrine, and punks and skins and rastas will all gather round and hold their hands in sorrow for their fallen leader.".
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on 13 August 2010
I remember this series being fairly well hyped when it was originally broadcast, so I knew that the background to it was a series of standalone plays, of the darkly comic nature, featuring Rik Mayall and various established or up-and-coming actors.

However, the only episode I actually saw at the time of transmission was Clair de Lune and it was only because of a sudden and inexplicable itch to see it again 15 years later that I bought this collection.

And am I glad that I did! Although Clair de Lune still remains my favourite, I soon discovered there are some real gems in here and they really showcase Mayall's range. At the other end of the spectrum from Clair de Lune (both literally and figuratively) the first episode, Micky Love, is the least of my favourites; it was all a little too contrived for my liking, without being particularly bad as such. However, Briefest Encounter was superb and although you do have to be prepared to accept a bit of gratuitous violence, there are some deeply funny moments and I suspect it'll improve with time.

Series One ends with Dancing Queen - it was the most hyped of all the original broadcasts, and perhaps why I was expecting rather more out of it than I got - but it took a little longer for me to get involved with this one, although two-thirds of the way through I think I finally 'got' it and suspect it's one of those rarities that will improve enormously upon repeated viewings.

Series Two was pretty much faultless and there is not a bad episode; The Big One, Dirty Old Town and, my favourite of the lot of course, Clair de Lune, are all brilliant and left me wishing for more. Maybe it's just me, I also felt that both series captured the 1990s in a way I'm not sure I can explain - perhaps this was down to the direction and photography, but they all created a bit of an atmosphere that had me wanting to go back to my college days.
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on 4 March 2016
Often we don't realise what a comic treasure we have until they are no longer with us. From the early days of the Dangerous Brothers and Kevin Turvey (he put Redditch, UK, on the map!) to his later more serious work he seemed able to turn his hand from slapstick to serious acting, albeit very sarcastic work such as The New Statesman.

The beauty of current technology is we are able to enjoy him over and over again on DVD, so he is not really lost to us. The single, glaring omission, seems to be his Kevin Turvey, which I could only find on a an old VHS tape and not DVD. Still, better this than nothing. Just like his Kevin Turvey, Rik Mayall was a "one-off"; gone, but not forgotten.
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VINE VOICEon 9 March 2007
These 50-odd minute plays provide a wide range of material for Rik Mayall to get his teeth into, the the results are (perhaps predictably) rather mixed.

'Micky Love' is in a class of it's own here, and is easily the best of all six plays, matching an incredible script with the vivid title character, an over the hill northern light entertainer heading for a fall. Disaster piles on disaster as an overheard conversation leads ultimately to the downfall of a TV quiz show king - this is both by turns hilarious and gripping drama.

'Briefest Encounter' is tells the story of two strangers meeting at a party then going home together for a disasterous 'date'. The most blatantly comedic play in the series, this might have been excellent pared down to a 30 minute short, but this situation is so over-extended that the characters end up turning into complete insanity by the half-way point, and the piece drifts off into the realms of the ridiculous.

'Dancing Queen' is a slight romantic tale as a groom has his wedding day disrupted by his best man's over-enthusiastic celebrations and ends up becoming attached to the stripper hired for his batchelors night. A little obvious perhaps, but a nicely played and gorgeously shot piece.

'The Big One' tells the tale of an incorrigable liar who ends up in fear of his life after impersonating a dead man - a reasonably diverting twisty plot-line but the play seems to stumble a little between knowing whether it's a comedy film or a gangster thriller.

'Dirty Old Town' has a suicidal tramp mistaken for a movie scrpt-writer with fairly predictable results. Not bad, just a rather obvious 'trading places' scenario that sorely lacks a punchline.

Finally 'Claire De Lune' has a taxi driver getting involved with a woman on the run, a pleasant aimiable story.

All in all most of these plays lean towards drama over comedy, but the results lack the cutting bite of Rik's work with 'The Comic Strip Presents...', being more obviously aimed at early evening ITV mainstream audience. A mixed bunch but well worth a look for 'Micky Love' if nothing else...
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on 1 July 2014
Rik Mayall Presents: The Complete Series [DVD]
I missed this great Rik Mayall TV series when it was first shown! After the sad death of Rik, I saw an episode called Dancing Queen on ITV as a tribute to Rik & I thought it was very good &that I must try & get all six episodes! It was hard to find & then I found it on Network DVD'S & ordered it straight from Rarewaves UK as I have used them before & a great service & price! All the episodes a really good & a great star-studded cast including Amanda Donohoe, Helena Bonham Carter, Nick Hancock and Lee Evans just to name a few! The Episodes Comprise: 1. Micky Love (1993) 2. Briefest Encounter (1993) 3. Dancing (1993) 4. The Big One (1995) 5. Dirty Old Town (1995) 6. Clair De Lune (1995). The Complete Series on a 2-DVD Set! Great quality picture & sound on a six episodes! If you love Rik, then this is a must buy! :-)
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on 28 February 2015
I bought this as a gift for my husband who loved the late Rik Mayall and dark humour. He loves this DVD and watches it over and over. I saw the first one and while it was not my taste, I thought Rik Mayall was a great actor in the series. I was first introduced to him in 'The Young Ones' by my husband. Now I will look for more Rik Mayall DVD's.
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on 6 July 2014
I bought this DVD after seeing one episode - the hilarious "Dancing Queen" - on TV as a tribute to Rik Mayall following his untimely death. I was never a fan of Bottom or The Young Ones but I must admit that this DVD set is excellent. Each of the 6 stories are very different and Mayall and his supporting cast are excellent in each one.

I'm surprised that I've never seen any of these episodes repeated on SKY and I consider this set to be a bargain for £12. Dancing Queen is worth the price on its own, but 6 great stories make this a bargain. My only advice is buy it now and enjoy hours of great comedy
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on 2 May 2016
Love these short films from the late great rik mayall. I have always loved the dancing queen film with Helen bonham Carter filmed in Scarborough and finding a copy on dvd was great.
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on 8 February 2012
I loved this, excellent value all round! Mayall is just brilliant along with a host of other great actors! Brought back a lot of memories, especially Dancing queen, wonderful!
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