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Black Books - The Complete Box Set [DVD]

4.7 out of 5 stars 272 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig, Rosie Day, Paul Beech
  • Writers: Dylan Moran
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Channel 4 DVD
  • DVD Release Date: 10 Aug. 2011
  • Run Time: 430 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (272 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005GNU5EW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,244 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

From Graham Linehan, co-writer of 'Father Ted', comes Black Books--a new cult comedy set in a second hand bookshop. Dylan Moran stars as the bohemian--and frequently drunk--owner who has one major problem with his line of work: he hates customers. Help is soon at hand, however, in the form of mild-mannered Manny (Bill Bailey), who proves to be something of a star at selling books, and Fran (Tamsin Greig), who owns the shop next door...

Series 1 episodes

Episode 1: Cooking The Books
When his dodgy accountant goes on the run, Bernard finds himself having to fill in his own tax return - not the easiest thing when you're mathematically illiterate. Perhaps some sort of crippling injury is the way out? Meanwhile, Fran discovers a Thing.

Episode 2: Manny First Day
Bernard, having offered him the job while drunk, does his best to get rid of his new charge by offering a one-day trial to see if the suspiciously modern-looking Manny is up to scratch. When the verdict goes against our goateed chum, Fran steps in and raises hell.

Episode 3: The Grapes Of Wrath
The discomforting presence in the bookshop of an oddly sensual cleaner forces Bernard and Manny to accept a house-sitting job. There, they immediately manage to drink an unbelievably expensive bottle of wine. Meanwhile, Fran's date with an available, attractive, charming man is exactly the sort of disaster you'd expect.

Episode 4: The Blackout 
Manny, hyper after a night of drinking too many espressos and watching an entire box-set of The Sweeney, is mistaken for a policeman after his high-speed pursuit of a bagsnatcher. And Bernard is snubbed by the same people who invited him to a dinner party the previous evening, and he begins to realise he must have behaved abominably...

Episode 5: The Big Lock-Out
The installation of a new security system for the shop that neither Bernard nor Manny can operate results in Bernard being locked out for the evening, while Manny is locked in. Meanwhile, Fran has a reunion with an old friend with an unbelievably sexy voice.

Episode 6: He's Leaving Home
Manny becomes a runaway when Bernard's relentless bossiness gets too much for him. But life is tough on the street, so when a photographer offers him a place to stay he's happy to take him up on the offer - even though the photographer has an unhealthy fascination for beards. Back home, Manny's absence is keenly felt, leading to tension between Bernard and Fran.

Series 2 Episodes

Episode 1: The Entertainer

Ever keen to distract herself, Fran takes up piano. Ever keen to delude himself, Bernard falls in love. All Manny wants is a break. But genius finds no rest as Fran lies to a sweet old blind man and Bernard deceives his adoring public. Episode 2: Fever
Fran can't sleep in the heat. Bernard needs a girlfriend to stop him staring. And Manny is worried about the reliability of his magic hot water bottle.

Episode 3: The Fixer
Manny uses his underworld connections to find Fran mysterious employment. In return all that Bernard and Manny have to do is educate a psychopath. But will they succeed in teaching dodgy Danny to read? And how does Bernard feel at the prospect of losing his thumbs?

Episode 4: Blood
Unemployed and restless, Fran takes comfort in the discovery of her exotic new-found cousins. And in a misguided pursuit of Michelin stars, Manny and Bernard transform the infested bookshop into a restaurant.

Episode 5: Hello Sun
Fran tries to discover her inner karma at the advice of her disapproving friend Eva. Meanwhile, Bernard finds positive proof that Manny is mad.

Episode 6: Nice Change
Bernard and Manny can't hear themselves argue because of the builders next door. Fran suggests a holiday. But how will the three of them fare when they attempt to venture abroad together?

Series 3 Episodes

Episode 1: Manny Come Home
Fran comes back from holiday to discover that Manny has resigned and is now working next door at Goliath Books. Left to his own devices, Bernard has let things slip a little. He is living amid a pile of rubbish, rotting food and dead badgers. Fran wants to get Manny back in Black Books so he can clear up and make her tea, but the manager of Goliath has plans for Manny and no intention of letting him go.

Episode 2. Elephants And Hens
It's International Children's Book week in Black Books. Bernard and Manny reckon they can do better than the trash that children are offered these days, so decide to write their own kids' classic and retire, Rowling-rich. Fran is off on a hen weekend with her best friends from school so there's no way she can fall out with them. Or is there?

Episode 3: Moo-ma And Moo-pa 
Manny's parents come to stay. They are a perfectly nice middle-aged couple with one or two slightly annoying habits. Bernard wants rid of them, preferably the day before yesterday. And Fran is rather grumpy about pretending to be Manny's girlfriend to corroborate Manny's letters home, in which his life's achievements have been somewhat exaggerated.

Episode 4: A Little Flutter
Manny puts a bet on the Grand National for Bernard, who claims not to be interested in gambling but immediately becomes completely addicted to it. Fran, looking for work, needs a short-term job to appear employable. Bernard hires her, putting her up against Manny in competition for sales person of the century to replenish his dwindling funds. All the while Bernard is losing more and more money and borrowing gambling funds from scarier and scarier people...

Episode 5: The Travel Writer 
Manny is extremely proud of the travel writing festival that he has organised. He has invited the famously charming explorer Jason Hamilton to give a talk. Fran soon falls for his twinkling eyes and lavish hair, leaving a jealous Manny raging. Meanwhile, Bernard is more concerned about the rent charges he has to pay to his new neighbour. Rather than face a lengthy court case, he hires a professional assassin...

Episode 6: Party
It's Friday night. Manny and Fran are determined to go out and do something for once. Bernard would rather stay at home, get drunk and ignore his friends. Manny insists they go to a party. But why? And anyway, who is the best dancer?

Special Features

Series 1:
• Cast Commentary
• Out-takes
• Photo Gallery
• Series 2 Teaser Trailer

Series 2:
• Out-takes
• Photo Gallery
• Black Dolls
• Audio Commentary
• Series 3 Teaser Trailer

Series 3:
• Out-takes
• Bernard's Letter
• Photo Gallery
• Deleted Series 1 scenes
• Trailers


One of the few genuinely outstanding British comedy shows of the past decade, Black Books unites excellent comedic performances, very funny scripts, and plenty of rewatch value. The concept is simple enough. Bernard (expertly played by Dylan Moran) runs a bookshop. The only problems are he can't stand people, hates customers, and would far prefer to be barking out cutting remarks and drinking wine. Still, it's after drinking much of the aforementioned wine that he offers Manny (Bill Bailey, again in terrific form) a job. Manny accepts, and finds his daily life involves taking abuse from Bernard, while remaining strangely and resolutely upbeat. Fran (Tamsin Greig) meanwhile also likes her wine, and finds herself stuck between the two of them, with a few odd encounters of her own thrown in too.

So far nothing particularly out of the ordinary, right? Well, mix in some of the creative force behind Father Ted, combine those aforementioned performances, and simmer to the point where episode after episode garners a cocktail of sniggers and belly laughs, and you have something really rather special. Like many of the best shows, the curtain has come down on Black Books after only three series. But the long-lasting legacy are episodes that are set to be enjoyed for a long, long time to come. --Simon Brew

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
As with the Spaced box set I bought this completely blindly. And as with the aforementioned box set I consider this 3 series box set of Black Books to be one of my most worthwhile video purchases.

Dylan Moran is exquisite as misanthropic bookshop owner Bernard Black, his sense of surrealism and wordplay used to maximum comic effect. The ever affable Bill Bailey is also on form as well meaning but put-upon stooge Manny Bianco as is Tamsin Greig as neurotic and ditzy neighbour Fran Katzenjammer.

The writing by Moran and the always popular Father Ted co-creator Graham Linehan never flags and the characters and situations are always kept on the right side of ludicrous while still retaining enough human drama and realism to resonate with the viewer.

The chemistry between the three leads is one of the biggest draws of the series, regularly oscillating between comedy gold and askewed human drama. But it's in Bernard's carefully constructed verbal assaults on his friends, customers and anyone else unfortunate to come across him on his turf that are loaded with comedy platinum. A particluar favourite of mine is this improvised chant sung to some passing Milwall fans;

"Milwall, Milwall
You're all completely dreadful
And all your girlfriends are unfulfilled
And alienated"

Across all three series we are also treated to a range of memorable cameos from such comedy stalwarts as Simon Pegg, David Walliams, Peter Serafinowicz, Jessica Hynes, Martin Freeman, Nick Frost, Olivia Colman, Rob Brydon and Lucy Davis (and that's just off the top of my head).

Special features are sparse but worthwhile.
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Format: DVD
My other half bought me the previous version of this box set as an anniversay present. She chose brilliantly. The writing here is incredible - I laughed so much that I literally ached for ages afterwards. Even now, we will quote to each other sections of this. The true testament to Black Books is to be found in the roll call of guest stars, many of whom have gone on to much greater things, including approximately half the stars of "Shaun Of The Dead"! Black Books humour works on so many levels that it can't fail to raise a laugh. Look out for Bernard, Manny and Fran dancing on disc three, and Manny's attempts to avoid the heat on disc one. And the attempt at producing Frankenstein's wine. And the results of Manny's coffee machine combined with The Sweeny. Hell, there are too many highlights. Just watch it and enjoy.
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I had never watched or really heard of Black Books when it was originally on as I was at university. But when Amazon sent this as a recommendation and looked at the cast who I knew and like from shows/films Dylan Moran (Shaun of the Dead), Tamsin Greig (Green Wing) and Bill Bailey (Nevermind the Buzzcocks & Hot Fuzz). I thought based on this it was worth a try and was extremely happy I did.

The first series was created by Father Ted and IT Crowd creator Graham Linehan and Dylan Moran. It all starts of in with a small book shop owner Bernard Black (Dylan Moran), the owner of a bits and bobs shop next door Fran (Tamsin Greig) and a stressed out accountant Manny (Bill Bailey). Manny ends up getting a job with Bernard in the shop and becomes his tortured and foolish assistant. In the first series there are lots of funny story lines involving priceless wine, impersonating a policeman and installing a new security system. In this series there are guest appearances from Martin Freeman (The Office) and Nick Frost (Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz).

In the second series the relationship between Bernard and Manny becomes even more like a married couple. The second series see Black books get even funnier with some hilarious episodes based around teaching a gangster to read, a sleazy landlord, the bookshop becoming like a mini starbucks and going on holiday. In this series there are again plenty of great guest stars in episodes with Johnny Vegas (Ideal), Rob Brydon (Marrion & Geoff) and Jessica Stevenson (Royle Family & Spaced).

The third and final series has some of the best episodes but the overall quality isn't quite as high. The series starts with Manny having left the book shop to work for an evil chain book shop as he cannot put up with the way Bernard treats him.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The next time you're having a bad day, sit down and watch Black Books. Within minutes you'll not only feel better from laughing, you will feel comforted by the fact that nobody you are ever going to meet is as cruelly sadistic and utterly bitter as Bernard Black, proprietor of the world's worst bookshop.
Of late, "quirky" has become a buzzword of comedy, almost a fashionable word to insert into a rave review, and one of which I am intensely wary, as it ordinarily implies it is of the same brand of "fun" as, for example, a businessman who thinks mouth-shaped cufflinks are "fun". However, there are few other words to adequately describe the occasional surrealness of these half-hour jaunts into the grime of Bernard, Manny and Fran's dusty world. Refreshingly avoiding the cheap laugh bought by so many comedies simply by adding in the occasional profanity, Bernard expresses his utter disdain for everyone and everything in ways which can only be described as pure creativity. If you haven't been introduced to actor and writer Dylan Moran's unique brand of anger, you're in for a treat. Meanwhile, Bill Bailey as Manny provides a delightfully childlike and endearingly terrified pincushion for Bernard's razor-sharp remarks and Tamsin Greig puts forth a superb performance as Fran, their oldest friend and faithful bringer of wine.
Full of conversations you'll be re-enacting with your friends and with a whole pile of extras such as the bizarre "Black Dolls" puppet show, this intelligent and yet simultaneously brainless comedy is exactly what you need to remind you that however bad life gets, at least you don't work at Black Books.
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