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The Best of Not the 9 O'Clock News - Volume 1 [DVD] 
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The best bits from the influential BBC alternative comedy show that ran from 1979-1982. Always controversial, it made fun of the social ills and trends of the time and acted as a launchpad for the careers of Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones and Pamela Stephenson.
Volume One of Not the Nine O'Clock News comprises 98 minutes of early material from the sketch show that ran between 1979 and 1982. Starring Rowan Atkinson, Griff Rhys-Jones, Mel Smith and Pamela Stephenson and coscripted by Richard (Blackadder) Curtis among others, it wasn't especially ground-breaking by the standards of Monty Python or contemporary series such as The Young Ones, but it did provide some pretty blunt belly-laughs at the major social and political concerns of the era: Thatcher, Reagan, police brutality, the prospect of nuclear war. The latter makes for an excellent Question Time spoof, in which, with the four-minute warning having sounded, a panel of politicians continue bleating on their own agenda ("Three million people are going to die unemployed!").
Atkinson's stuff is among the best here, be it as a hideous young Tory, or as Gerald the Gorilla, now civilised to a fault by the captor who caught him in the wild. ("Wild? I was livid!") The much-repeated bit of him walking into a tree, however, doesn't work as he clearly anticipates the collision. While the musical elements look inevitably dated and a lengthy sketch on darts players boozing reaches the "Yeah, we get the point" mark long before it reaches its end, it's surprising how topical much of this material remains decades on--a sketch involving an agonising gay vicar springs to mind--while time hasn't eroded the quality of much of the writing.
On the DVD: Not the Nine O'Clock News on disc comes with no extra features. --David Stubbs
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Top Customer Reviews
I finally resolved that I must, at least for the present, purchase this DVD and its twin (Not The Nine O'Clock News - The Best of Not The Nine O'Clock News - Vol. 2 [DVD] ) instead. My first thought upon having completed both discs was that there were several sketchs I should very much have liked to see that were not to be found on either disc. I recall at this point, however, that once a very wise man said "Quality over Quantity," and certainly one is very aptly provided for in the former, if not the latter.
Some might say that the comedy has aged badly and is no longer what once it was. I would wholeheartedly dispute such sayings. I believe the comedy to be, with one or two exceptions, extremely funny and, in its own special way, relevant. Even the sketches and clips that are political, or otherwise directly linked to a period or event, stand up alone as amusing.Read more ›
A minus-point is that the only special features are chapter selection (although there are only 6 chapters, and at least twenty sketches) - especially given its £15 RRP.
However, classic sketches such as 'Super Duper', 'Are You A Gay Christian?', and that one at the dinner table where everyone starts plugging products to the wall, whilst Atkinson looks on aghast (I don't know its actual name) are still hilarious and anybody that hasn't seen them are missing out.
This is obviously from the Thatcher period of British politics, however the core satire and political values remain fresh, sharp and hysterically funny - although perhaps the figureheads that it mocks have changed.
Despite it being a vanilla release, this is one of the best British comedies ever, and its stars Rowan Atkinson, Griff Rhys-Jones, Mel Smith and Pamela Stephenson have, for the most part, gone on to international fame. Sublime.
It's a shame there are no extra features - I remember watching a very good documentary about the impact of the programme a few years back, and wonder why it isn't included. However, this is still well worth buying - and better than volume two.
But this DVD release is a pretty poor effort from the BBC.
This DVD is a DVD release of the 1995 NTNOCN video "The Gorilla Kinda Lingers" The only feature apart from the quality comedy from the NTNOCN team, is a "scene selection" which allows you to skip forward in chunks, however it only allows a certain selection of the material. Very disapointed to see no other footage available! It is well worth buying to replace VHS or if you dont have the video releases, but little to justify paying full price for it, apart from the main episodes themselves!
Not The Nine O Clock news deserves a better tribute than this!
This DVD does contain many of the fantastic sketches - I was disappointed by the absence of one or two things but I think there is a vol 2 so I'll have to wait and see if they are included on it. As for the sketches which are present, although the poor film quality and a lot of the references are dated, the comedy truly lives on, and anyone viewing even for the first time cannot fail to find humour in Gerald the Gorilla or Question Time, among many other gems.
There were a few sketches which did fail to amuse me for their entire duration - the very first sketch about darts players really does drag on too long. But the DVD is definitely worth getting for the rest of the comedy.
So why did I only give it three stars? Because such a fantastic show deserves a much better release than this. I could easily believe that the whole thing was produced in a rush. Despite the fact that many more sketches could have been included, and perhaps even outtakes or interviews, there are no special features or extra material whatsoever. I would have really enjoyed a few things that weren't included when the series was aired. Even the scene selection is appalling - it just skips through random sections of the DVD, so when settling down to watch it, it is sometimes necessary to just sit and watch the whole damn thing from start to finish to make sure you don't miss anything. Not a problem for me, because I enjoy it too much, but anyone suffering it without being a fan is not going to like the fact that they cannot select specific scenes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed watching it from the 70s and now. Very funny a good recommendationPublished 4 months ago by Laurence Braun
Very topical at the time, and still relevant satirical humour today.Published 6 months ago by Hilary Jane Best
Oh this is wonderful, best comedy ever? Brings back so many memories! Arrived in coup days so quick delivery too!Published 10 months ago by caro