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4.8 out of 5 stars60
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 5 November 2008
As a child of the 1990s (four years older than Simon), I found this to be nostalgic yet also fresh. Consistently amusing, there are also some scenes of emotional depth, so that no particular aspect becomes irritating. This sitcom is different in that a) there is no canned laughter, and b) it is eternally upbeat and full of hope.

The casting is superb, and the commitment of the younger members of the cast is to be commended. The soundtrack (available separately) is equally superb. Please BBC - let there be more!
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on 14 November 2008
When I heard that Simon Doonan's book had been turned into a mini-series and set in the 90s instead of the 60s I was a little concerned. After watching it, all fears of it being misplaced were gone, and I was left wanting more. I won't bore you with the plot, as that has been covered more than adequately by the DVD description above, but the stamp of quality that the creators and writers of Gimme Gimme Gimme, Absolutely Fabulous and Beautiful Thing bring to this production are to be seen everywhere.

The casting could not have been improved upon, with an hysterical cameo by Brenda Fricker as Gran (or Narg - the backwards version awarded her). The two young leads (Luke Ward-Wilkinson & Layton Williams) are extraordinary in their complete command of their roles. Their comic timing and their singing, dancing and outrageous camping-up are truly amazing achievements. The rest of the ensemble will have you in stitches, however if you have seen the movie Beautiful Thing Beautiful Thing [DVD] [1996] you might be somewhat disappointed or bemused. Tameka Empson gives almost a mirror-image performance, with every mannerism making you think she walked straight from the set of Beautiful Thing onto the set of Beautiful People. She is obviously one of Jonathan Harvey's faves (writer of both films), as is Meera Syal, who thankfully throws her all into being a blind bean-eating hippie in this series, leaving no reference to Beautiful Thing. Olivia Coleman is touching as Debbie, the naive slapper mother ("Gin, Gin, where do I begin ? 'aving you inside me is like an old friend popping in"), and Aidan McArdle is the father everyone would like to have - amiable, if a little dim. Add Sarah Niles as Reba, Kylie's Mum, and you have the slap-fest of all times.

Messers Harvey and Plowman make full use of major events of the times, and the production values are extremely high. Add a fun soundtrack Beautiful People and you have the makings of an excellent series. Calls for another series may be a mistake - why mess with perfection.
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This is a series inspired by Reading boy turned New York window dresser Simon Doonan and his autobiography of the same name. His childhood in the sixties is used to create a modern interpretation and the TV series is set in the '90s - many will be able to identify with the more contemporary setting.

Each episode follows a similar format with us seeing the modern day twenty-something Simon reminiscing about an event from his past and then narrating as we cut to the 1990s. Although this same set-up continues throughout all six episodes, it doesn't seem formulaic and acts as a great way to give each episode a self-contained feel.

It's interesting to see the adult Simon as a proudly open gay man and then see him as a effeminate teen camping it up with his even camper best friend (and neighbour) Kyle - a.k.a; Kylie.

The two boys aren't entirely aware of their sexuality but they understand that they are somehow 'different' and suffer enough prejudice to stick together without making any other friends. This isn't just a wry look at two gay youths coming to terms with who they are, it's a great series about a family who are both eccentric and madcap - yet at the same time very close, warm, and strangely normal! It's not a strict home, they're a pretty liberal bunch and young Simon has a style icon in the form of his mother who happens to be 'the most stylish woman in Reading'. His dad might attempt to 'butch up' his son but he accepts him for who he is and probably finds him easier going than Simon's sister who has had every boy on the estate bar one!

In a nutshell: The Beautiful People brings together a mix of larger than life but entirely believable people in a family home. It's impossible to not find them endearing and instead of delivering gag after gag, this comedy drama relies more on good story telling and brilliantly crafted characters.
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on 23 June 2009
I just finished watching the dvd, and am so happy I got it. The series is showing just now over in the U.S. on Logo, but with commercials and edits, so we decided to get the dvd. There is nothing quite this delightful on American TV (we have some really good stuff, but this is lovely). I just saw a second series is being produced this year. I can't wait - the cast is perfect, the scripts are so intelligent and witty, and the production feels both fresh and nostalgic at the same time. It will be such a joy to spend more time with these characters. It just warms my heart how the sexuality of the characters is the least problematic issue dealt with. And now I can walk by Barney's here in NYC and feel a whole different connection.
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Inventive, hilarious, a joy all the way through. Meet Simon Doonan, windowdresser in New York, sundry prized possessions reminding him of his early teens in 1990's Reading. Then he had two ambitions - to be the next Bonnie Langford and to go with his mate Kyle to London where beautiful people abound.

His dysfunctional family is one of television's happiest recent creations - father with his homemade wine (ingredients anything from potato peelings to cucumbers and gherkins), mother (a sip and new hairdo amongst top priorities), sister (upset by a flasher, he having refused her phone number), gran (whose dentures come flying through the serving hatch), blind "Auntie" Hayley with her overweight flatulent guide dog. With such full blooded characters, each new day has its dramas, Simon able to cope with occasional diversions into fantasy. Highlights include the musical numbers, especially as the young audition hopefuls for "Joseph and the Amazing Techicolor Dreamcoat" sing and dance on their way to school (Simon destined for the role of a quivering palm tree).

A totally appealing cast; a witty script crammed with warmth and humanity; many, many laughs. Here is a series that casts a glow. What fine reasons to watch!
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on 16 February 2009
As a youngster growing up in the same era i could instantly relate to the programme.Its a comedy set in present day about Simon who is a window dresser in New York who has retrospective flashblacks to when he was young.These are triggered by objects he has kept in present day like a vase,his tooth necklace and posh spice doll .What ensues is a hilarious insight into his childhood via his family life,school and his best friend Kylie as to how these objects evolved in his life.
All the cast have terrific roles and act it superbly , quite simply its a sublime piece of comedy that will leave your funny bone crying for more.
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on 4 March 2010
I viewed a couple of episodes on tv and liked it from the instant. It's got very good characters and very funny turnes. My favorite character is aunty. I wasn't sure at first if it's all right laughing at someone who's blind, but it's just too funny. Hope blind people don't take any offence as none's intended.
Also I'm very glad to see a comedy with a gay theme that ends well.
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on 29 December 2010
I was almost tempted to make a video review of this DVD, inspired by the series, however I will settle for the restrictive use of text and hope that the delightful campness of this TV series shines through my review.

Now to know the kind of humour that goes into Beautiful People I instruct the person reading this review to go back to a turn-of-the-millenium comedy called Gimme Gimme Gimme, for this and Beautiful People are written by the same brilliant writer Jonathan Harvey. You can notice many of his hallmarks in the writing, but this is not a carbon copy.

In "Beautiful People" you have a clever mix of storytelling touching upon being a teenager, change, nostalgia, growing up gay, friendship, family and masterful use of 90s soundtracks and cultural references. The series rotates around Simon remembering back to his teenage years growing up in Reading. He uses various objects to tell a story each episode that gives the opportunity for sharp comedy, fantastic one-liners (seriously the dialogue is so sharp you could shave with it) and for those who either lived through or grew up (in my case survived) the 90s the references are marvelous - I had a chuckle as Simon watched Tony Blair enter Downing Street in 97 (it really did seem that Blair was going to change the world). Even the death of Diana get a mention - frightening that this stuff is now history!

The cast are trully stellar and I loathe to use the word supporting cast/character. Blind Aunt Haley, the hippy who lives with them and gets misty eyed thinking about her time in Woman's Liberation singing "only women bleed". Simons parent as a fun double act, particularly his mum who deliver her put downs like a smart missile. Kylie (his best friend camping up his name Kyle) is a star in the making, the kid can sing and dance and fire putdowns like a machine gun. The only character I ended up disliking was Ashlene (mostly because her nastiness reminded me of my sister while I was teenager).

There are some beautiful character moments in the series between Simon and his parents. His father accepts Simon for who he is and loves him no matter what. When Simon's mother suggests butching their son up, its the father who shoots down the idea and states that he loves his son no matter what. In the final episode we have a scene between mother and son and the fact that Simon is gay is touched upon but never overtly stated, the voice over (by the older Simon) stating that at that point both were in denial. Its a simple understated scene charged with emotion and only one example of the nice moments Harvey litters throughout the series. Over on the other side of the street poor Kylie has to put up with his mum calling him "Batty Boy" - charming!

The funniest episode being "How I Got my Globe", we get a wonderful scene where the older Simon comments at one point "Of course i know that look now, it means...."you don't know this yet but your both raging homosexuals" and delicious references to Dynasty and an reactment of the famous fountain fight scene. ALso look out for the teacher singing "I've Never Been to Me" such a fitting song (and poor Simon and Kylie discover she isn't half as glam as she claims).

The only low point (and I had to struggle to find this in the series) was having an older Kylie appear, it is only 30 seconds but I was left thinking it was pointless.

Beautiful People - shameless nostalgia, wonderfully written, right measure of camp, and topped off with warm family moments. Cracking stuff.
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on 16 April 2009
I wasn't sure about this mini series at first, but after watching the first episode I found it to be quite humorously entertaining. The lead character, Simon Doonan played by Luke Ward-Wilkinson (Evan in Wild at Heart), was an excellent choice. Each episode gets better as the series goes on and the narration comes across well and easy to follow.

This true and quite believable story focus's on the childhood of Simon Doonan growing up in suburban Reading but dreams of one day moving to London to live amongst 'the Beautiful People' with his best friend Kylie.
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on 19 March 2009
This has to be the best and funniest program that I have seen for the past year

this program has the ability to do to me what many comedy programs fail to do and that is laugh out loud

this series is colourful, full of fantastic characters, camp and hilarious. if you have never seen it then give beautiful people a go you will not be disapointed

my favoutite episode has to be how I got my nose i think i laughed most of the way through but that went off the scale when the singing started

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