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Steve Coogan in ... Coogan's Run
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The Steve Coogan catalogue contains a wealth of characters which weve grown to know and ....hate: Alan Partridge in Knowing Me, Knowing You (KMKY), Paul and Pauline Calf and Tony Ferrino. As if this wasnt enough, theres all the misfits that feature in this DVD.
In Death of a Salesman we meet Gareth Cheeseman, in the corporate jungle he is truly a tiger. With only 3 days left of the Microsell conference, Gareth will do anything to clinch the deal that will elevate him to super-salesman status. Natural Born Quizzers introduces us to trivia nerd half brothers Stuart and Guy Crump. The only aim for these top draw saddos is to right the wrong that was the 1975 Top of the Class quiz final, which they lost and its going to take kidnapping, explosives, 20 years in a psychiatric unit and a badminton racket to do it! As the Handyman for all Seasons, Ernest Moss is a one man stand against the unscrupulous property dealers that ride into Ottle town and their cowboy builder chums. The Curator is a sinister tale of the ginger-bearded museum man who loses everything. From then on, the cost of admission is murder! Mike Crystal is the entertainer going nowhere fast in Thursday Night Fever and its only when he invents himself the toughest agent in showbiz, Clint Stallone, that things start to turn around. The zenith of this collection of misfortune and oddity is Get Calf - Fat Bob, Mum, Julie, baby Petula Dusty and Grandma Calf are back too in Paul and Paulines red hot tale of blue robes, dark forces and shagging.
The six 30-minute episodes of Coogan's Run, originally broadcast in 1995, serve as a reminder that there's more to Steve Coogan than just Alan Partridge. Most Partridge-like here is the horrendous Gareth Cheeseman, the Ford Probe-driving sales rep in "Dearth of a Salesman", whose empty life unravels as spectacularly as his Norwich-based counterpart. Familiar from Coogan's stage act are handyman Ernest Moss, here accompanied by John ("Eccles Cakes!") Thomson, and Paul and Pauline Calf, whose "Get Calf" is the series highlight.
Perhaps because the other instalments venture into less familiar territory they tend to feel less successful, though both the writing and the characterisations are always strong. Paired with cowriter Patrick Marber in "Natural Born Quizzers", Coogan is a quiz nerd bent on revenge; in "Thursday Night Fever" saddo DJ Mike Crystal finds empowerment in a brash alter ego; while "The Curator" heads towards the spoof-horror territory later served up so disappointingly in Dr Terrible's House of Horrible. --Mark Walker
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1) Get Calf - featuring the further adventures of Coogan's original character Paul Calf (not to mention Pauline Calf) as he turns informer on the Parry brothers to spare himself jail and ends up on the run from the vengeful criminals upon their release. Its a wonderful episode, with great support from John Thomson as fat Bob, and its really funny. And George Costigan (Bob in the film Rita, Sue And Bob Too) plays Barry Parry's character so well.
2) Dearth Of A Salesman - This character is a bolshy full of himself salesman called Gareth Cheeseman, attending a sales convention hoping to plug his product and ingratiate himself with some of the industry big-wigs. Again, another wonderful episode and the Cheesman character is like some kind of Alan Partridge on steroids. I wish he'd done a few more episodes with this chararcter.
3) Handyman For All Seasons - Coogan goes back in time to the 50's or 60's (not sure which) where he plays quirky but meticulous handyman Ernest Moss, a pillar of the Ottle community, unaware its the target of land developers, wanting to rebuild the town for a richer clientel, and perceiving Moss as someone who will fight to oppose this, try to undermine his reputation and standing in the town. Although its not in the same vein comedy wise as the previous two episodes, its very well crafted and I thouroughly enjoyed it.
4) Thursday Night Fever - Mike Crystal, an average club singer, has trouble with the seedy and weird boss of his club (played by the wonderful Graham Fellows AKA John Shuttleworth) and seems destined to have his career slowly sink into the mire til he creates a brash alter ego, Clint Stallone (LOL!), who he uses as his manager to get him better deals from the club. I think this is a great episode, although its Shuttleworth's character that steals the show for me.
5) Natural Born Quizzers - Coogan and long time Patric Marber play two unhinged men still dressing up as nerdy schoolboys who are interred at a mental institution til they escape and plan to recreate their greatest failure - a TV quiz competition they lost whilst at school - with the original opponents and host, but with one change - they plan to win. Its an intelligent comedy, and a few Coogan regulars make appearences, but the episode falls a little flat in my eyes.
6) The Curator - Coogan plays Tim Fleck, a museum curator, intent on making his museum the best, by fair means or foul. The weakest episode in the set IMO, and not one i enjoyed much.
Still, its a great set as whole, with only one or two real duff episodes out of the six. But the first two are worth the price alone. Its also cool how each episode features a cameo by Coogan as a character from one of the episodes, for instance, Get Calf has Ernest Moss and Gareth Cheesman making a brief appearances. Love it.
Some of the characters now make me cringe but it is as was still a good show. I also recommend Saxondale which got buried away by the BBC but which was a classic in its own right
Fans of Steve Coogan will not be disappointed in purchasing this DVD. An absolute must! Steve Coogan is one of my top
favourite comedians. Undoubtedly deserves the 5 star rating!!
Some are hilarious, some amusing and others more of an entertaining drama. I guess these are best described as a collection of short films.
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