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Flying high on cloud nine, above and beyond Little Britain!,
This review is from: Come Fly with Me - Series 1 [DVD] (DVD)
One of the funniest comedies to grace our screens in the last decade was undoubtedly Little Britain. It was truly a radical, inspired sketch-show, breaking new ground and all kinds of taboos, featuring absolute hilarities and an unforgettable cast of characters (i.e. Daffyd Thomas, Emily Howard & the irrepressible Lou & Andy). It truly put the names of Matt Lucas and David Walliams on the map, and achieved all kinds of success.
After three excellent series, various Christmas & Comic Relief specials and the utterly abysmal Little Britain USA, Matt and David (wisely) chose to call it a day on Little Britain and instead focused their efforts on something brand new. Come Fly With Me was the fruit of their newest labour which broadcast on Christmas Day 2010. The first episode was absolutely hilarious, one of the highlights of Christmas telly that year. The strength of the first episode carried on all throughout the entire series, making it truly the best sitcom in absolutely ages.
Come Fly With Me is a spoof-documentary, filming the activities of a fictional airport and the goings-on of three fictional airlines: FlyLo, Our Lady Air and Great British Air. In the six episodes that make up the series, you can expect all the mad antics that the Little Britain duo are famous for, and a brand new slate of colourful characters, the best being;
- Omar Baba, the notorious, money-pinching owner of Fly-Lo.
- Precious Little, the Christian owner of the airport's coffee kiosk.
- Moses Beacon, Great British Air's executive passenger liaison officer.
- Ian Foot, the airport's racist chief immigration officer.
- Melody Baines & Keeley St. Clair, the check-in girls.
- Fearghal O' Farrell, the air steward for Our Lady Air.
- Mickey Minchin & Buster Bell, the airport's own paparazzi.
- Simon & Jackie Trent, the husband-and-wife pilot team with marital problems.
- Peter and Judith Surname(!), holidaymakers who suffer the worst holidays with FlyLo.
- And finally Taaj Manzoor (my favourite character!), a member of the ground crew whose a raving enthusiast for films, cars and extreme sports.
In a lot of ways, Come Fly With Me surpasses Little Britain. Although a lot of the show's content was classic, too much of Little Britain was just shamelessly vulgar and gross. The humour in Come Fly With Me is a lot more focused, with Lucas and Walliams' writing having matured a great deal, relying less on obscenities and concentrating more on sharp wit. Because of the refreshing change of setting (using an airport instead of a whole country) and format (sitcom instead of sketch-show), Matt and David have disciplined themselves into producing something much more intelligent and funnier than even Little Britain.
Lucas and Walliams truly deserve props for this series. Not only for showing that there's life after Little Britain, but for coming up with a brand-new range of material. There's hardly a dull moment in the show and no dull characters whatsoever. You'll be in stitches from start-to-finish and you'll be absolutely amazed by the number of guest celebrities who appear! Featuring the great Lindsey Duncan as series narrator, you'll also see the likes of the Spice Girls' own Geri Halliwell, Jacqueline King (Doctor Who), David Schwimmer (Friends), Rupert Grint (Harry Potter), Ted Robbins (Phoenix Nights), Anna Friel (Brookside), Valentine Pelka (Highlander/Queen of Swords) and Dale Winton! And they're all part of some of the best moments the show has to offer!
Obviously, there have been (in my opinion, unfounded) complaints of racism made against Come Fly With Me, particularly over the racist-character Ian Foot and the portrayal of multi-cultural characters, but I argue that the show ISN'T racist towards others. Merely that it's taking the Mickey out of those who ARE actually racist. Instances of Ian Foot being made to look like an arrogant fool and getting his comeuppance are testament to that, and the portrayal of characters like Taaj, Omar and Precious is innocent, eccentric humour, really. It all reflects the multi-cultural society we live in today, so I don't see anything offensive, really. Just outstanding comedy with nowhere near the level of controversy that Little Britain had!
A good selection of Special Features rounds things up on the two-disc set. There's the "Come Fly on the Wall" documentary, featuring a sit-down interview with Matt Lucas and David Walliams, and hosted by Mark Lawson. There's a nice photo gallery, too. And a selection of BBC One idents from Christmas 2010 to promote Come Fly With Me, and featuring even more celebrities, such as Gary Lineker, Shane Richie, Tess Daly, Ronnie Corbett and (believe it or not!) one of the Daleks! These are all just as hilarious as the episodes themselves and are easily the best extras.
Anything else? Just beautiful, crisp picture-and-sound quality from 2entertain and the BBC, useful subtitles, audio navigation features, great menu designs and functions...it's a typical high-quality DVD that you can only expect from the BBC. And for a tenner, I'd label this a must-have. Come Fly With Me is not only a terrific series, but truly one of the best comedies in history! This not only surpasses Little Britain, it leaves it stranded on the ground! Matt and David are back and better than ever! Fingers crossed for a second series!