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The Brittas Empire: Series 1 [DVD] 
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In this classic TV sitcom, Gordon Brittas (Chris Barrie) is the manager of Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre. He means well, wants to do well, and wants to be a good manager. Unfortunately, his best talent is to continually create recipes for total disaster. Deep down Brittas cares for his staff, but all he ever seems to do is make their lives more difficult. Trying to rise above this, and to keep the Leisure centre running smoothly, is his assistant Laura (Julia St John). Behind every good man, so the saying goes, is a good woman, and behind any maniac, is a good woman losing her sanity! Helen Brittas (Philippa Haywood) is no different as she struggles to cope with the mania of her husband. DVD Extras Series One: Brittas Fitness Quiz, Web Links, Royal Variety Performance 1996, Star Profile, Stills gallery
Broadcast between 1991 and 1997, The Brittas Empire is a sitcom set in Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre. It stars Chris Barrie as Gordon Brittas, the prattish, blazered manager who remains loudly oblivious to the fact that his high-handed efforts at running the place result in utter calamity. As his gin-supping, nervous wreck of a wife observes, he thinks he's the oil that lubricates the machine but in reality he's "a bag of grit".
This first series introduces Brittas, whose arrival at the new Centre prompts a rash of resignations as his petty and pedantic managerial methods constantly rebound on him. Mishaps in these episodes include a malfunctioning set of automatic doors, a disastrous wedding in the pool and a lost baby. Somehow, however, Brittas' strange sense of idealism keeps him bobbing up as all others sink into despair.
The Brittas Empire could either be seen as a satire on the new tier of superfluous middle-management types who flourished in Tory Britain, or a 90s update of the old stereotype of the bureaucratic buffoon. Compared to, say, Alan Partridge, Brittas seems a bit broad and one-dimensional, a sketch-show character stretched beyond its limits. The rest of the cast don't offer much in the way of resistance or support and Brittas very swiftly becomes very annoying. Despite all problems, however, The Brittas Empire was an immense success, attracting over eight-million viewers at its peak.
On the DVD: The Brittas Empire include some perfunctory, text-only items, including a Chris Barrie biography and a Brittas Fitness Quiz, as well as a sketch performed at the Royal Variety Performance of 1996, in which Brittas reveals himself as an enthusiast for conformity with EEC regulations. --David Stubbs --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Each 'sentimental' bit in this series is cut short but a classic comedy scene however, and it's this which makes it so unique. The entire series also focusses around a cliffhanger which begins in the first episode but isn't resolved to the final scene of the last episode. We know Carole is pregnant (again). She doesn't know who the father is. Through a series of bizarre occurrences we find out who the unlikely dad is. The dad knows nothing about it until the end of episode 7.
The acting is as we would expect from the brilliant Chris Barrie. He's top notch in every episode. His supporting cast also fulfill their duty and makes each charcater their own. Especially the hilarious Colin with his sceptic hand. And his boils. And his weak bladder. And his 'loose' muscles.....
This show is another classic British comedy and like Red Dwarf, it deserves far more attention on 'best sitcom/comedy' polls that it receives. It seems as though The Office's David Brent may have taken a few pointers from Gordon Brittas. Brent is funny, but makes us uncomfortable. Brittas is hilarious, and a charcter which I warmed towards.
If you like the Office, you'll love it's predecessor. The Brittas Empire is an exccceeeelleeennnnttt show made all the better by Barrie's comic genious. Buy it.
Gordon brittas is brillantly played by Chris Barrie, who is more well known for his role as Rimmer in the sitcom Red Dwarf. Barrie grew and developed the role of Brittas enormously and is beyond imagination making Gordon brittas, in my opinion, one of the most memorable characters in history.
Everyting about this show was always funny because it had a good script and had a good lead actor which made it a great sitcom to watch.
The Brittas Empire is a terrific show which I am glad to see that it has been released on DVD for its fans to enjoy again and again.
I would highly recommend this show to anyone who has not yet seen it.
This series contains such highlights as the fire / bomb / everything else feasibly possible drill, the Russian Recital, and the end of Brittas - at the beginning :oS
As well as the highlights, the constant laughs, and misunderstandings, make this one of the most amusing, light hearted, and wholly entertaining comedies.
The only minor downfall is a lack of special features but this is more than made up for in the entertainment of the series itself, bring on season 3, and enjoy seasons 1 & 2, a must for the collection :o)
The acting is high class and the story lines clever and interesting. Each story has so many strands that it seems impossible for them all to unravel - but they always do.
Please, please make more available.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great series, What more can you say. I bought the whole series from Amazon. And at a great price as well.Published 1 month ago by briansaxjones
well worth owning -- Barrie and the rest of the cast are spectacularly entertaining.Published 3 months ago by JME