The Brittas Empire - The Complete Series 1  [DVD]
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The first six episodes of the hit television comedy starring Chris Barrie as Gordon Brittas, the manager of the Whitbury Leisure Centre. Episodes comprise: 'Laying the Foundations', 'Opening Day', 'Bye Bye Baby', 'Underwater Wedding', 'Stop Thief' and 'Assassin'.
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
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.
The first series is interesting to watch, as it deals with the opening of the Fawlty Towers-esque Whitbury leisure centre and is more of a mini-series than what I remember of the other series. Like the first series of Red Dwarf, it is more concerned with character interaction and development than formulaic slapstick (if only Fawlty Towers itself could have been more like this!). Indeed the end of the series raises a question mark over its whole future - perhaps the writers weren't confident of a second series - and made it an excellent example of Britcom writing at its best, and a good programme for aspiring comedy writers to learn from.
One star off for the irritating theme music which pervades every inch of the DVD outside the episodes, though...not one of the Beeb's finest, unlike the AbFab "Wheels on Fire" or Red Dwarf's hymn to nonsense.
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.
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