The Likes of Sykes / Sykes - With the Lid Off / The Eric Sykes 1990 Show [DVD]
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By the early 1970s, Oldham-born Eric Sykes had become one of TV's best-loved comedy performers. Following the phenomenal success of the Sykes series he spread his wings in a number of one-off shows and films. This set comprises three shows made for Thames between 1971 and 1982. Filled with Eric's warm observational humour and exploiting his keen eye for the absurd, the shows reunite him with several comedy collaborators, including fellow Plank star Tommy Cooper and long-term working partner, friend and Sykes co-star Hattie Jacques; Diana Coupland (Bless This House), Glaswegian actor/comedian Chic Murray, and Dandy Nichols (Till Death Us Do Part) are among the other guest stars, with musical interludes from classical guitarist John Williams. SYKES WITH THE LID OFF: Eric dares to take the lid off the many and varied forms of theatrical entertainment, with the help of Hattie Jacques, Dilys Watling, Leslie Noyes, Philip Gilbert and dancers The Ladybirds. THE LIKES OF SYKES: Eric has a Walter Mitty-style dream that he will produce a star-studded spectacular on Broadway - but will his dreams die before his starry eyes? Diana Coupland and John Williams are Eric's special guests. THE ERIC SYKES 1990 SHOW: Eric makes a prediction: by 1990, celebrities will have to pay for their own TV shows. Starring in his vision of the future are Tommy Cooper, Chic Murray, Dandy Nichols, Leslie Mitchell and classical guitarist John Williams.
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Eric was a bit of a perfectionist who was never shy about reusing old material, and one gag does appear in two shows, but the material on offer is quite different to the sit-com show he is best known for (with Hattie Jacques who appears in one of these variety shows).
Confusingly the 1990 show is actually from April 1982 - in it Eric foresees a 1990 tv scene in which an actor has to negotiate for a short show on television, offering the tv company a sum of money to replace what they will lose by not showing an advert.
The earliest show is from July 1971 and includes Hattie Jacques who helps Eric demonstrate various forms of light entertainment, assisted by Dilys Watling, Leslie Noyes and Philip Gilbert. We see the warm up man (Eric) and the audience and then off we go on a live entertainment journey where quite often things don't always go right.
The middle show is from January 1980 and this time Eric intends to produce a Broadway extravaganza, but the intent is not enough and as previously things go wrong. Assisting in this show is Diana Coupland, Hugh Burden, and on guitar, John Williams.
Finally the 1982 show, Eric has help from Tommy Cooper to put on a sort of tv show of the future, assisted by Leslie Mitchell and Dandy Nicholls. John Williams plays guitar again.
These shows have their fair share of slapstick. There is an abundance of (deliberate) bloopers. But no extras on the DVD. Picture quality and sound are good for the time.
If you are of an age to remember light variety then this is for you. Or to see another side of Eric Sykes.