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People Like Us - Series 1 [DVD] [1999]

4.7 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

Price: £4.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Chris Langham
  • Directors: John Morton
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: 2 Entertain Video
  • DVD Release Date: 16 Sept. 2002
  • Run Time: 173 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006G9VJ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,768 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The complete first series of the spoof documentary series. Hapless investigative reporter Roy Mallard (Chris Langham) has an unfortunate knack of being a fly in the ointment rather than a fly on the wall. In 'The Managing Director' Roy looks at the work of a hi-tech business who are currently in the middle of negotiations with a Japanese company. 'The Estate Agent' finds Roy spending a day with a Sussex estate agency where relationships between the staff are more than a little strained. In 'The Police Officer' Roy ends up in hot water when a fairly routine day observing PC David Knight (Tom Goodman-Hill) results in a suicidal rescue mission. In 'The Solicitor' Roy's inimitable style causes trouble for the husband-wife legal team at Broadbent & Broadbent. In 'The Photographer' Roy spends a day getting to know Will Rushmoore (Bill Nighy), a local photographer who hopes to put on an arty exhibition at a big London gallery. Finally, in 'The Head Teacher', Roy stumbles into the internecine warfare that rumbles among the staff of King Edward VII Comprehensive in Ashford.


The spoof documentary has long been a source of television comedy, but few series can claim to have hit the target as accurately as the BBC's People Like Us. The six episodes of the first series offer moment after moment of well observed, thoughtful and hilarious humour. Taking the fly-on-the-wall documentary genre as its inspiration, it focuses on the everyday lives of a range of different people: businessman, teacher, policeman, photographer, estate agent and solicitor. The comedy walks the line between the observational and the absurd (much of the dialogue is similar to that used in The Day Today) but mixes the two to perfection.

The man behind the camera is the hapless Roy Mallard, played by Chris Langham, but he is seldom seen. It was the type of role that Langham was to reprise in the film The Big Tease but for now, People Like Us remains his finest hour. Have fun also spotting the number of actors who would go onto greater things in the likes of Smack the Pony and Rescue Me. --Phil Udell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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People Like Us follows inept reporter Roy Mallard (Chris Langham) as he explores a different job in each episode. In this, the first season, he visits the manager of a large company, a real estate agent, a police officer, a school master, a photographer, and a lawyer. Written by John Morton and based on the BBC Radio show, People Like Us is a perfect example of how television *should* be. The scripts are superb, John Morton weaves an unbelievable number of jokes throughout the show (pay particular attention to Roy's narration). A good script alone doesn't make a great show, but luckly for People Like Us, it's also blessed with wonderful actors. Chris Langham (Kiss Me Kate), the show's only recurring character, fits the role of Roy Mallard perfectly. The actors who portray Roy's subjects, or should that be victims, are of the highest quality. Look for future stars such as Sarah Alexander (Coupling). This first series of People Like Us- while not a huge hit- won much critic acclaim. The show only got better with the second series, but sadly it looks as if there won't be a third. I heard rumors that Morton wrote a third series which took place in America, but the BBC turned down the show. Buy this DVD, you won't regret it, and maybe the sales of the DVD will send a message to the BBC -We want more People Like Us.
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This is really one of the gems of the new style "subtle" comedy of recent years.
The 'fake documentary' format is of a much higher quality than other programmes (such as 'The Office'), and extends to the point that it was advertised and announced as a serious documentary, with the actors and actresses not credited as such. (Their names appear merely in a "With thanks to..." during the ending titles.)
This concept coupled with the typical eighties style theme music and "always unseen" presenter makes for an interesting gimmick, but not necessarily for an interesting programme. Amazingly, however, it is John Morton's script and directing which turns the series from a great idea to a fantastically high quality programme.
With the transfer to television from the radio series Morton has managed to utilise the visual medium to its advantage, most famously with the shyness of the presenter, Roy Mallard (played perfectly by Chris Langham), him not appearing on the camera at all, with only glimpses of his hand and the odd reflection in a window.
But it's not just Chris Langham who is good; *all* of the cast are absolutely excellent, especially as each episode features all new characters, with nearly all of the actors being unknowns. (Though admittedly since being in 'PLU' many, such as Sarah Alexander, are pretty well recognised!)
Think I've rambled on far too much, but the last note should be about the rewatchability of the series. The jokes are spread so thickly and yet discreetly that you can be watching an episode for the fifth time and notice a joke you hadn't spotted before ever, usually because you were laughing so hard from the previous line! Well, happens in my case, anyway.
Oh, forgot to say the sort of subject matter.
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Format: DVD
People Like Us is an unbelievably sucessful venture into the comedy realm.
Choosing "mockumentary" as its format, the show joins a new profession each week and tries to get to grips with it. The first series sees bumbling and distanced reporter Roy Mallard following a policeman and his team, a headmaster and his staff and numerous other professionals doing what they do.... well, supposedly, "best". People Like Us is also keen on satire as "The Photographer" shows: the photographer in question is actually just an unemployed simpleton who merely purports to be a professional (perhaps simply to be on TV?). Not too false an indictment for our current dumbed-down culture, I suspect.
It is unsurprising that "People Like Us" won the Silver Rose of Montreux for both the program and Chris Langham (Loud Mouth Larry from "Bottom") - but essentially the real credit here, other than the performers, must go to John Morton who writes with such assurance of his material that he succeeds with his spot-on jokes and jabs each and every time:
"What does that sign say?",
"er... 'pick your own...'",
"No, I mean, underneath that one?",
"oh, erm... 'strawberries.'"
In every case, also, Morton servse as director and achieves this with success displaying a real knowledge of his subject.
"People Like Us" is, quite simply, a brilliantly observed slice of observational and intelligent humour in a time when we need it most. I cannot praise this work enough. There is a second series still to be made available... can't come soon enough in my opinion.
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I was already a massive Alan Partridge/Brass Eye fanatic and couldnt believe my luck when i found something funnier drier and smarter. I have never laughed so much or so often....first time i saw the joy that is Roy Mallard on TV I actually thought it was a real documentary which only reflects its brillance...People Like Us is superb understated and brutally hysterically true ...from the over zealous PA in the Managing Director Epsiode to the folically challenged police big wig in the Police Officer Episode...The memory lapse client in the Solictor Epsiode...the progressive pupil centred teaching in the Headmaster Episode... and not forgetting the postcode hitler in the Estate Agent Episode (my personal favourite). You know someone like that or wish you did..... This is unmissable for anyone with a sense of humour...and will cure anyone else who hasnt....I see something new everytime I watch. I defy you not to want a Roy of your own after seeing this....
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