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on 12 December 2011
I am not obsessive about things "being like they were back when", but this box set is just not complete.
There are scenes missing all over the place.

Fistful of Travellers Cheques - watched it on 4-OD to check this, the boxset is missing a massive chunk out of the middle of this episode. Not just a shortened scene, but has at least 6 separate scenes totally cut.
One of the scenes introduces a new character - Trouble the Matador. In this version he just turns up in the last part of the episode along with some totally unexplainable dialogue from the other actors. WRONG.
They've tried to hide this with a very clumsy cut and shut edit that feels totally wrong.

I could go on about the others, I've chosen Fistful becasue it's a classic and one of my favourites.
This box set is way below standard - if you're buying this for someone who waxes lyrical about how good the series was, DO NOT BUY IT. They will be very disappointed.

I'm so pissed off that I'm getting in touch with Channel 4 to see what they're going to do about it.
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Difficult to imagine in these days when we get a new TV channel every couple of days that in 1982 we only had three and that the first night of Channel Four would be an important cultural event. The one programme that I had been looking forward to was `The Comic Strip presents...Five Go Mad in Dorset' a perfect parody of the Enid Blyton's `Famous Five' books. It was an absolute scream and has coloured my television viewing ever since, from `The Young Ones', `The New Statesman', `French and Saunders', `Happy Families' and `Bottom' on to this weeks `Teenage Kicks'.

The remainder of the first series carried on the success with the brilliant ensemble piece `War', the fantastically clever `The Beat Generation', the classic heavy metal parody `Bad News Tour' and the brilliantly observed `Summer School'. The first three films were written by the Peter Richardson and Pete Richens partner ship while `Bad News Tour' was the brain child of Adrian Edmondson and `Summer School' was written by Dawn French.

The second series raised the bar even further with it's precursor of a second `Famous Five' film, `Five Go Mad On Mescalin' which built on the first film. Second up `Dirty Movie' is a brilliant visual comedy from the pen of Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall which works well with Rod Melvin's organ accompaniment. `Susie' is a brilliant love story parody from the Richardson Richens axis with Dawn French brilliant in the lead. `A Fistful of Travellers' Cheques' has Rik Mayall collaboration with the core writing team to create a perfect pastiche of the Dollars trilogy. `Gino' is a brilliant film with Keith Allen in the lead and is without doubt my favourite of all the Comic Strip films.
Edmondson's `Eddie Monsoon' and Jennifer Saunders `Slags' close the series and show how all the writing had improved.

`The Bullsh*tters' is now considered a Comic Strip film although as a collaboration between Allen and Richardson it was originally released without the familiar title so as to give Allen equal status as the creator of this perfect parody of Seventies TV detectives `The Professionals'. Other stand alone episodes at this time where Edmondson's brilliant `Private Enterprise' and `Consuela' a perfect French and Saunders parody of Daphne Du Maurier's `Rebecca' which was the template for the shorter film parodies that would later be the centre pieces of their own TV show.

The next film was the cinema release of feature `The Sugergrass' which was Peter Richardson's directing debut and does perhaps drag in areas and would possibly have been better served to have been edited to a hour as part of the next series which kicked off with the brilliant `The Strike' which was the first of many films to parody Hollywood and it's most famous sons through films within films of very English political films, in this case a sexing up of the miners strike. The next film was `More Bad News' which continued in a similar vein to its predecessor. Edmondson's and Mayall then gave us `Mr Jolly Lives Next Door' which is a film prototype of the duo's later sit com `Bottom'. The Next film was Allen's `The Yob' which mocks Allen's own football yob persona and parodies `The Fly' in a brilliant film which was the first film not to use the bulk of the original ensemble. This is continued with Alexi Sayle's film `Didn't you Kill my Brother?' and Nigel Planer's `Funseekers'.

The fourth series of films saw a move to the BBC and a return to the half hour format but continuity was guaranteed with Trouble from `Traveller's Cheques' and Max from `Gino' as well as the full ensemble appearing in two parter `South Atlantic Raiders'. `GLC' was a sequel to `The Strike' with Robbie Coltrane playing Charles Bronson as Ken Livingstone in the story of the abolition of the Greater London Council. `Oxford' features special guests Lenny Henry and Leslie Philips while `Spaghetti Hoops' and `Les Dogs' featured less of the regulars, the latter been a particularly weird piece.

Three specials came from the Comic Strip staple the first of one being the brilliant `Red Nose of Courage' which parodied British politics with Adrian Edmondson being a worryingly good John Major. `The Crying Game' was another Allen Richardson collaboration twisting the Paul Gascoigne story with a politically correct twist. `Wild Turkey' was a Christmas special featuring a gun toting turkey questioning our Christmas traditions.

The fourth series started strongly with Allen and Richardson's `Detectives on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown' expanding the `Bullsh*tters' to parody all TV detectives with a few song and dance numbers. `Space Virgins from Planet Sex' was possibly the last great film with a B-movie pastiche blending with a wonderful James Bond parody in a way only the Comic Strip could pull off. `Queen of the Wild Frontier' saw Richens and Richardson move towards straight films but had none of the charm of the older films. `Gregory' was an accurate parody of `The Silence of the Lambs' whilst `Demonella' and `Jealousy' outlined that the Comic Strip had indeed had its course.

The original cast re-assembled on Channel Four five years later with the brilliant `Four Man in a Car' the success of which was almost repeated in 2000 with `Four Men in a Plane'. This DVD was released before the last Comic Strip film `Sex Actually' was produced but a further release will no doubt see this been added.

Although the bonus documentaries offer very little insight the original Julian Temple film of the initial stage revue at least fill in the gaps of a brilliant box set of a truly bench mark TV show.
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on 28 December 2011
"The Comic Strip Presents..." had an almost mythical status as I was growing up. Too young to see it when it was first on, the lack of a DVD release or repeats until this box set was released meant my only exposure to anything other than brief clips was a handful of episodes on well-worn VHS tapes.

Most of the episodes I had seen were classics - Bad News Tour, More Bad News, A Fistful of Travellers' Cheques, Gino, along with the slightly-less classic Supergrass, Didn't You Kill My Brother? and Funseekers. Therein is the problem of releasing everything in one box set - the true classics are mixed in amongst the downright rubbish episodes, and sadly there are some episodes that are not at all entertaining, indeed frankly a drag to watch.

But that doesn't mean you should be put off buying it, just don't expect all the material to be of the same outstanding quality that is reached in the best episodes (which amounts to some of the best comedy ever made). For instance, the Bad News episodes and a handful of the others released on a ten episode "highlight" DVD would represent good value for the £15 this box set is now sold for, so I like to look at is as paying for those episodes and having the others thrown in for free.

All in all, it is good that they've released a box set with all the episodes, because all the classics are there and we can all enjoy our own favourite episodes, but the quality control really slips at times. With 1500+ minutes of entertainment for your money, there is enough amusement to warrant purchase, and any true comedy fan needs to add this series to their collection.
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on 31 December 2008
This could be a great box set and appears to be exactly the same as the other one but there are edits which for me completely ruin it. The worst edits are those which are made to South Atlantic Raiders - my all time favourite episode.
Over 5 minutes have been removed including some great lines of dialogue which for me is totally unforgivable.

Apparently the cuts were made by Peter Richardson who really should have known better. There is no warning on the box either as if there was I simply would not have bought it. Also 'Eat the Rich' is missing which should be on here.

I got mine in a sale but alas it went back as I feel I was 'cheated' by this release. It the same with the Only Fools DVD's. I dont think all the episodes are edited but I bought this to replace my 'off air TV recording' of SAR so I guess I will have to keep the VHS tapes.
What a shame and a huge missed opportunity.
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on 20 September 2013
Bought this solely for the 2 Bad News documentary's and its worth the money for them alone.Extra bonus having Mr Jolly and Dirty Movie in full.Yes there are some bits missing,strange edits and it certainly isn't Blu Ray but who cares.I'm not going any further until Vim says were heavy metal.
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on 23 January 2013
I don't know about everyone else, but I found The Comic Strip early stuff most relevant to me as a young teenager, and, nostalgically viewing the whole lot over the last fortnight or so, it's remained the funniest.

So to see episodes such as War, A Fistful of Travelers' Cheques, The Beat Generation, Dirty Movie etc was a real treat.

I can't be sure about whether two seconds of this, that or the other has been slightly cut bothers me that much. I mean - I've still got the original VHS in the attic, but if I'm not inclined to get up a rickety ladder to watch them again and check (and btw I do still have a plugged in VHS, with special technology to upgrade the picture, which I turn off because it actually makes it worse).

As for the later stuff, I think they were out of their depth (with the exception of Mr Jolly LND) so I'm not going to be that bothered. The best thing about Supergrass is the scene with Alexi Sayle as a police motorcyclist (harking back to the original Comic Strip) and the worst is seeing how dreadful Peter Richardson is as an actor. His ego virtually explodes in a spectacular lack of talent.

(Thank God he wasn't in The Young Ones, as originally mooted - even though Chris Ryan would never have won an Oscar, Peter Richardson's interference would almost certainly have made sure it never made Series Two, IMHO)

But going back to the C4 early days - that should be worth £15 of anyone's money on its own. Plus the extras, which you might or might not like. But they are in no means a waste of time.

I'd recommend it thoroughly, simply as a bargain and an opportunity to see what "alternative comedy" was really about when it was allowed to rank up against the TV mainstream in the 80s.
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on 19 February 2009
I was a bit worried that this would all come across as really dated and show me up badly to my teenage kids. We only got it to see the two famous five stories, but the boys have laughed there way through nearly all of it. The stories haven't dated at all and it's great to see early performances from Keith Allen and Robbie Coltrane as well as French & Saunders. Wish they had made more of the F5 stories.
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on 3 November 2009
I grew up on the young ones and French and Saunders so when I discovered that this set was available, after reading a book by Dawn French, I rushed to buy it and what a super value deal it was. Good timing as I was sick in bed for a weekend and had time to watch the whole 26 plus hours of programming. Some really great acting and classi funny moments from the best of British comedy. If you are a fan then this set is worth it.
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on 9 February 2013
This is the humour that blossomed, nay, burst upon an unsuspecting world in the 80's. An outgrowth of the new wave comic clubs, it has given us a plethora of comedians who (mostly) are still with us today. It is lovely to see the series come back and I look forward to the purchase of the new series (which, again, starts with the famous Five)..

This is a HUGE box of goodies making it well worth the money. Buy it!
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on 22 April 2010
Absolutely fabulous. Buy this now. O.K. some of the instalments are better than others but none of them are less than good. The 'Five Go To' ones are cracking.
Fantastic value. Only danger is other people will want to borrow it and may be slow giving it back. Make them buy their own.
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