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The New Incomplete Complete and Utter History of Britain [DVD + BD set] [Blu-ray]
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Written by and starring Michael Palin and Terry Jones, The Complete and Utter History of Britain was a formative influence on television comedy and Monty Python's Flying Circus in particular. Made in black and white in the same year that Python became part of the national consciousness, this rarely seen comedy takes a typically skewed look at British history and reports historical events as if television had been around to cover them at the time! And so we find Richard the Lionheart relating his Crusading exploits in the manner of a laddish holidaymaker, medieval adverts and film trailers, and William the Conquerer engaging in post-match analysis (following an unspectacular scuffle in which King Harold is finally felled by a rogue baguette...).
In 2013, Palin and Jones revisited their series for this release. Taking the roles of joint narrators they comically, and seamlessly, link back to the best of the existing material shot by their younger selves in 1969 to create a brand-new feature: The Incomplete and Utter History of Britain 2013!
THIS SET INCLUDES (on both Blu-Ray and DVD):
 50-minute feature containing new linking material by Palin and Jones
 Interview with producer Humphrey Barclay
 The first two episodes as transmitted (the only ones still to exist)
 The first two episodes as recorded (includes untransmitted sketches)
 All existing film insert material
 Brand-new booklet by archive television historian Andrew Pixley
 Extensive image gallery
 Script and production paperwork PDFs
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Top Customer Reviews
The idea, as usual, was brilliant, and some sketeches are genious, like the live from Historical events from the past, etc...
Even if the content is not so rich and maybe the price is a little too expensive, A must have to always keep in mind how clever british tv has always been
Seven episodes were actually recorded, but LWT were unconvinced of the quality of the material - so the recorded episodes one and two were condensed into a new episode one. This general lack of love from the bosses at LWT explains why so little of the programme remains in the archive - only the transmitted episodes one and two were retained by them, but fortunately co-writer Terry Jones and producer Humphrey Barclay both kept material which Network have been able to use when preparing this DVD/BD.
Jones retained an hour's worth of film inserts - some of which are the only material now existing from the later, wiped, episodes and Barclay had kept copies of the original, untransmitted, episodes one and two. Barclay's copies are pretty low quality - particularly episode two - but it's much better to have them included than not at all.
And it does allow us to see exactly what was cut out - and there's some nice stuff which didn't make the grade, such as the Stone Age Patent Office sketch in which Jones demonstrates a device that allows you to sit down ... but higher up.
The film sequences have been restored and have scrubbed up very nicely - and are the reason why a BD disc was included (all the content can either be viewed on the two DVDs or the one BD).Read more ›
Lots of funny Pythonesque scenes here, such as a scheming real estate agent (Palin) who tries to sell Stonehenge ("open floor plan") to a young couple (managing to knock down two pillars).
Another skit stars King Arthur rescuing a maiden... but showing that things never change, he makes the maiden sign a legal release form and detailed statement first.
This is clearly a predecessor to Monty Python, and you'd recognize it as such. Right down to lots of miserable peasants toiling away in fields while Royalty passes by (previewing that great scene in The Holy Grail where the king rides by a peasant shoveling s*** who then proceeds to lecture the King on social issues). And in a news show, the headline in 1066 is "Serf writing is to become illegal next week" - after all, you can't have the working classes rising up.
I have to wonder if Mel Brooks saw these, and if they influenced his own History of the World. I'd bet on it.
Forget about the poor black and white video or the sound track being slightly out of sync. You'll be laughing and rolling around on the floor.
I think that Michael Palin. Terry Jones. and the rest of the Pythons must be very hard up for cash. following a recent legal case.? in having to resort to release old 1969 Pre Monty Python material like this to cover their legal costs.?.,
This as the title suggests is an incomplete (Jokingly intended) Only 50 minutes version. missing 4 of the originaly intended 6 episodes. and was recorded between the "Do Not Adjust Your Set" a series also featuring some of the pre Pythons and David Jason. that would later go on to become the classic Monty Python line up.
To sum up: This would be quite acceptable as Bonus/Extras material Discs. But is poor value as standalone DVD/Blu-Ray?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love the Pythons as much as anybody, but this is simply awful. The set gets one star in recognition of its place in Python history and the relatively good video quality in... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Peter Sykes
Only 50 minutes spread over 2 discs/1 blu Ray.
Not sure it was worth the £15 I spent.
Complete fans only.
I bought this as a presentin September -I like to shop early for Christmas as on a fixed income. When the recipient went to play it today - 22 January - he found it wouldn't play... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Ann Abingdon
It used extracts of old Monty Python sketches and seemed to be a rehash instead of continuing the Python tradition of innovative humor.Published on 30 Jun. 2014 by Richard