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Not the Nine O'Clock News: The Best of [DVD] [1979] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • ASIN: B000CRR37Y
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,723 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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This compilation from A&E is an exact copy of the following separate UK releases:

The Best of Not the 9 O'Clock News - Volume 1 [DVD] [1979]
The Best of Not the 9 O'Clock News - Volume 2 [DVD] [1979]

The only differences are
A. The design of the box, the DVD's and the interactive menu
B. No subtitles (unlike the UK release that DOES have subtitles)
C. Non-essential 33 seconds trailer for the Mr Bean movie on the second DVD.
D. NTSC R1 encoded

Otherwise the content is 1:1 identical to the UK release down to the scene selection options.

So, bottom line - I'd go with the UK separate boxes.

As for the show itself - many LOL moments.
The total running time of the set is 3h 17m (roughly 100 minutes for each DVD)

Too bad there's still no complete box set available.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9e629858) out of 5 stars 18 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d35069c) out of 5 stars Alternative Car Park 13 Nov. 2006
By Robert I. Hedges - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
"Not The 9 O'clock News" took the baton from "Monty Python's Flying Circus" in the world of British comedy in the early 1980s. Like "Python," the show features fast paced sketch comedy intermixed with real footage and musical numbers, and blends them into an amalgam that is sometimes very original, yet occasionally noticeably derivative of earlier work (notably of "Python" and Peter Cook.) Of the four principals involved here, Rowan Atkinson, of course, became the standout, and in fact already was even at this early stage. Atkinson excels at quirky roles, and is a wonderfully visual performer. His portrayal of the performance artist mime "Alternative Car Park" is the funniest single sketch of the series by far.

I find the quality of the segments to vary dramatically. I recall watching this many years ago and thinking it was hilarious: while I still think most of it is funny, it has not aged as well as "Python," largely because so much of the humor revolves around then-current governmental affairs in England. I generally found most of the musical numbers to be repetitive, with the only true standout being the song "Nice Video, Shame About The Song" by "Lufthansa Terminal," in a hilarious satire of early 1980s art-videos. The trucking sketch, while not especially creative musically, opened up Pandora's box of complaints with the squished hedgehog gag (giving rise to the hilarious "Hedgehogs: An Apology," and "We Want to Know Who Stuffs Hedgehogs.")

Students of Atkinson can find traces of the future Mr. Bean in some of the sketches, particularly where he orders a bathroom from an architect with a rather excessive number of toilets. Stock footage is liberally used (generally with added sound effects) in what is an equivalent linking device as Terry Gilliam's animation in "Python." I found some of it amusing, but not nearly as funny as it seemed twenty-five years ago. Once again, the reason seems to be watching multiple episodes in proximity to one another on the DVD set (versus weekly on television) where repetition becomes more obvious, and also because much of the humor was very specific to people and events that were topical twenty-five years ago. This time I found the show to be much more biased to the left, although one sketch did mock the Social Democratic Party (SDP.) I also found some of the religious pieces to be in poor taste.

Having detailed all the pros and cons, I still recommend this two DVD set to Anglophiles and lovers of anarchist humor. While I definitely think that "Python's" place at the head of the comedy table is assured, this is still a worthwhile venture, and while many of the gags will pass you by if you aren't familiar with the government and economy of Great Britain in the 1980s, the majority of this material is still funny after all these years.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9c849bdc) out of 5 stars What Python Hath Wraught? 4 April 2006
By epsteinsmutha - Published on Amazon.com
It's really thrilling to see this out on DVD stateside, even though if you don't recall much of the late 1970s/early 1980s and aren't up on government history in the UK during the time (and if not, a few hours with the Young Ones will help), you might be at a bit of a loss on certain parts. If you are still moping over Princess Di being in the past tense namewise, you might be squeamish over parts of this as she still had that new Windsor smell at the time these were made.

Okay, caveats aside, the rapid fire satire sketch comedy of the Pythons is prominent here, probably due in large part to Rowan Atkinson's work with the Pythons on the Amnesty International concerts during this time period (this is before Mr. Bean/Black Adder/Thin Blue Line), but Stephenson, Rhys-Jones and Smith (second only to John Tuturro on the humor scale in the blatant Marx Bros. ripoff (albeit still funny as H---) _Brain Donors_) are just as great in this double-disc set.

Highlights? Mel Smith and Rowan Atkinson's parody of the debates over the brouhaha surrounding Life of Brian at the time ("Jesus Christ is John Cleese right down to the same initials!"), the Oi! band parody song about Moseley with Mel Smith singing, Atkinson's ska parody "I Like Bouncing," the cast take on ABBA, footage of the Pope edited to where it looks like he's singing "Jungle Rock," the Royals entering a room to "In the Mood" as fanfare music, and the list goes on and on.

Best line: "Nurse, I can't feel my legs." "Yes, sorry we had to amputate your arms."

This DVD set also has cameo appearances by Amnesty alum Chris Langham of the "How to Speak Japanese in Three Steps" fame, so that's always nice to see.

Rik Mayall said in the Young Ones that he wanted to capture the spirit of the Pythons in that you didn't know what was coming next. Not the Nine O' Clock News did. Sorry Rik, but that's what you get for being a Cliff Richard fan, clever trousers!



13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d02c2f4) out of 5 stars Stephenson + Atkinson = Hilarity 8 Mar. 2006
By David Solomon - Published on Amazon.com
I watched "Not the 9 O'Clock News" on PBS about 25 years ago.

I remember it as being absolutely hilarious.

Rowan Atkinson's fans will not be disappointed with this DVD. His genius is as well displayed here as it is in "Mr. Bean" and "Black Adder."

Not many people will remember Pamela Stephenson from her one-season stint on "Saturday Night Live" in 1986 because she was practically ignored in favor of Billy Crystal, Martin Short, and Christopher Guest. Watching her on this disk will make you realize how funny she can be and wonder what she could've done on "Saturday Night Live" if she had been used more often.

One final note: There was an American version of this show called "Not Necessarily the News" that ran for several seasons on HBO.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ccce21c) out of 5 stars A Wonderful DVD! 3 Jun. 2009
By Legalsea - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I admit I am a little puzzled by the negative reviews. For one, like Monty Python (as others have noted) "Not the 9 o'Clock News" was originally a 30 minute broadcast featuring quick sketches. As I watched this DVD I enjoyed the vast majority of the offerings. Some skits last but a few seconds, others are longer. I did not detect any evidence of a sketch being edited of content.

Second, I agree that some of the references are dated, such as those referring to then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and US President Ronald Reagan.

I admit, I knew very little of Rowan Atkinson. I have never seen his "Mr. Bean" shows, although I did enjoy him in the Blackadder series. He is very funny in this 2-disc DVD, as are his co-stars. Indeed, these people appear in some many disguises that I have a hard time telling whom is whom.

Last note: I have a two-cassette version of The Best of Not the 9 O'Clock News. I have enjoyed listening to it for years, and I am delighted that I am now able to see the skits (indeed, some of the audio skits did not make sense since you could not see what the audience was viewing).

If you are a fan of British humor, you will enjoy this DVD.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cce3318) out of 5 stars Hey BBC, why'd you move the hedgehog-squashing? 26 Jun. 2006
By Brian T - Published on Amazon.com
My only beef with this set is the same beef I had with the import versions - THEY MOVED THE SQUASHED HEDGEHOG!!

One of my favourite bits from this show, ever since I watched it on PBS in the early 80's, is the "I Love Trucking" music video. This sketch originally began with a shot of a truck running over a little fake whitish colored Hedgehog on the road, spilling what appears to be several pieces of deli meat from within. Always loved the gross-out laugh it gave the audience, followed by a bigger laugh as Rowan Atkinson, as the truck driver, adds another hedgehog sticker to the outside of the door or the truck, much like a WW2 fighter pilot might cross off another Gerry on the side of his plane.

On this set however, which was simply ported over from the R2 U.K. edition, which I also own, the song OPENS with Atkinson placing the sticker on the door. Later, right near the end of the song, and as a SEGWAY to another bit, they show a military truck of some kind pulling into a compound, then cut to a close-up of a truck tire (from the truck Atkinson's driving during the song!) running over the hedgehog.

These DVDs bring back a lot of memories, though none as strongly as the re-editing of this sequence, which leads me to wonder what OTHER tampering may have been done on the sketches. I did notice the footage of Griff Rhys-Jones drying his hands in a men's room under a blow dryer that emits one of Margaret Thatcher's speeches also turns up later in another episode, only this time they've looped in the voice of a different politician. While I could see this being something they might have done on the original show to fill up space, it still smells fishy considering the blatant re-edit of the trucking song.

Loved the bit with Rhys-Jones helping Atkinson design a bathroom using scale models. You never see them, only their arms in front of the miniature bathroom. Atkinson is clearly doing an embryonic version of Mr. Bean in this bit, right down to the froggy voice, as he insists on adding toilet after toilet to the room, including one in the shower. The concept was honed to perfection in Merry Christmas Mr. Bean many years later, but one can easily see its origins in this sketch.

Overall, this collection is a good deal, though as others mentioned, it would be nice if the stingy BBC would give fans the entire series in season sets.
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