7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A game of two halves,
This review is from: Big Train : Complete BBC Series 1 & 2  [DVD] (DVD)
Big Train represents an early Graham Linehan/Arthur Matthews (Father Ted) entry into TV comedy genre and it's certainly distinctive. The overall format - Fast Show-esque skit/sketch comedy - is benign enough, but the content takes a highly surreal slant. At the time it was, if not revolutionary, at least a step in a fairly new direction and probably did not get mainstream attention. Thus we have firefighting show jumpers, Jesus and Satan in an office-feud setting and Chairman Mao doing Roxy Music's Virginia Plain. Probably the best sketches are the recurring (and genuinely wonderful) "World Stare-out Championships" animation and the Gunfight at the OK Corral (played by the Bee Gees and Chaka Khan).
This package holds both of the two series and the first was by far the best. Even when it's not jaw achingly sidesplitting (jockeys and the Artis Known as Prince), it's odd enough to be engaging and Mark Heap (Green Wing), Amelia Bullimore, Simon Pegg (Spaced), Julia Davis (Nighty Night)and Kevin Eldon take the Linehan/Matthews material and make it their own. The second series was not as good, and in the five episodes there is probably enough material to make up one episode as good as the first series (having said that the birth mother reunion sketch in S2E1 nearly killed me). So...
Series 1 *****
Series 2 ***
Both discs come with a fair few deleted scenes - unused sketches that are actually nearly as good as the released stuff.
This is an important milestone in British TV comedy sketch shows and one that's surrealism has never been surpassed. It's an essential part of any collection