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People Like Us - Series 1 [DVD] 
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the funniest spoof documentaries you will ever see. Full of wonderful one liners... I couldn't remember if you wanted sugar in your coffee..so I put some in just in case. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Steve Flack
Funny! Great documentary style comedy that really lifts the lid off various businesses. We've all worked with some of these 'characters' so great to see them portrayed on film. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Moosa
Superb series that should have enjoyed much more exposure.Published 13 months ago by Lord Mortimer Roxbrough