Customer Review

4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings about this book. Somewhat disappointing, 21 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The Vicar of Dibley The Great Big Companion to Dibley (Hardcover)
I was eager to put my hands on this potentially 5-star scripts book, as it seemed very promising, judging from the product description and majority of 5-star reviews, especially after reading the excellent [Father Ted: The Complete Scripts].

At a first casual browsing this seemed to live up to my expectations, however, the further I read - the more I found myself disappointed.

I'll start with the good things before getting to the issues that made me reduce a star:

The program itself is great, and not surprisingly reached No. 3 on the 2004 BBC poll of Best British Sitcom so the scripts are bound to be funny as well, and they are, except they're not scripts but rather TV transcriptions. Since the current DVD set lacks subtitles, the main use I found to this book is as an alternative to subtitles, but that's not what I'm looking for when buying a scripts book.

The book's paper and binding quality are good and it even has a red ribbon bookmark, with dozens of color pictures all presented on glossy paper, along with some nice extra visual gags and funny bits.

Now to the downside:

First of all it's not complete, but rather a collection, as mentioned in tiny print between all the copyrights messages. Two episodes from series one are missing (Community Spirit - where the whole village expects Elton John , and Election). As this book was published in 2000, all the 2004/5 and 2006/7 specials available on discs 5 & 6 on the DVD set aren't to be found here.

As I mentioned before, it looks like exact transcriptions of the broadcasts rather than scripts, unless the actors were extremely accurate in bringing the scripts to life, which I doubt. This is also apparent in many poorly written expositions of scenes.

For example: (p.21 - Series 1, Arrival - the nun gag at the closing of the episode)

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Geraldine: So there's this nun, and she's having a bath - and a knock comes on the door.

Alice: Oh dear.

Geraldine: And she says, 'Who is it?' And the reply comes, 'It's the blind man - can I come in?' And she says, 'Yes, come on in.' And the chap comes in and says 'Nice tits - where do you want me to hang the blind?'
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
However, at that point on TV, the gag continues with Alice very slowly getting a grasp on the joke and gradually moving from muffled giggle to roaring uncontrolled laughter, with Geraldine accordingly going from slightly surprised and amused to repugnant, which is poorly described in the book: "There is a tiny pause. It sinks in and then suddenly Alice roars with shocked laughter. Everyone's happy".
Everyone's happy ??!! - I can't believe these were the words used by the writers in the scripts.

You can read my review of the above mentioned Father Ted: The Complete Scripts that contains an example of how IMHO a scene exposition can be done brilliantly.

On top of all that, there are no contributions from the writers or those involved in the making of the series, not in the form of forewords/footnotes or anything similar, except for some extra gags.

So, overall 5 stars series presented in a nice printed edition lacking the spark that should have earned it the 5th star.
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