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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 1 July 2008
This is an *excellent* series let down only by Network's inability to properly encode a disc. Network have let us all down again with an exceedingly poor transfer indifferently encoded and packaged. I suggest you buy this set only if you cannot wait to record it from TV in what will be much better quality.

Image fidelity: 2/10
Visible under bitrate aliasing: 3/10
Colour quality: 3/10
Contrast/Brightness fidelity: 2/10
Overscan cropping: 0/10 (They just didn't do it)

So far Network have messed up every release of classic television to which they have been given the rights - with possibly the worst being Robin of Sherwood. I suggest content owners take note and stop providing priceless TV moments through a company who care little for professional pride or professional production. Alternatively, Network - I'll come to your office and show you how to correctly re-master analogue tape to DVD.
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on 1 February 2009
First off the actual show is great, but this is a review on THIS dvd collection.
The quality is awful & as the title says, you may actually have got better results if you DID record this yourself.
This was originally shown on ITV in the UK, so therefore you had an ad break half way through each episode. Now at the time programs used intermission cards to tell you that the adverts were coming up & again when the show was returning. Ridiculously this dvd actually includes the intermission cards..... both of them!
So each episode you actually get a 15 second intermission!?!
The sound quality is terrible. For example my standard volume level on my television is 10. To hear this dvd I have to increase it to 30!!!
The lack of subtitles means that my hard of hearing father cant watch this dvd either.
To prove how poor this dvd package is I borrowed a VHS version of this program from a friend of mine & hooked up my old recorder. It was better in every way quality wise. That cant be right!!!!
So to recap, great show, terrible dvd.
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on 28 November 2013
Rik Mayall is absolutely brilliant as Alan B'Stard, the Conservative MP for the fictional constituency of Haltemprice, who was a selfish, greedy, dishonest, devious, lecherous, sadistic ultra-right-wing Conservative back bencher. Alan B'Stard was the youngest MP at the age of 31, and was a distillation of the greed and callousness that were considered the hallmarks of new money Thatcherites. He was married to the devious Sarah (played by Marsha Fitzalan), a vain, bisexual nymphomaniac who wanted nothing more than for Alan to die so she could become a rich widow. The couple cheated on each other in perpetuity but remained in a marriage of convenience; Sarah because of Alan's money and Alan because Sarah's father controlled the local Tory Party and held Alan's seat in his gift.

B'Stard's sidekick in his machinations was the upper-class and old school (but incredibly dim-witted) Tory, Piers Fletcher-Dervish (played by Michael Troughton). Piers was essentially a very kind-hearted and hard-working MP, albeit one who rarely spoke in the house and was completely under Alan's control. Usually Piers was conned into Alan's schemes through trickery or bullying although he would inevitably cock up the simplest of instructions.

The sitcom was one of the most critically successful ITV comedy series of its day, and developed a strong following: the audience laughter was so loud and persistent that it apparently caused the show to overrun and the writers had to shorten the scripts to compensate. However, it was also regarded as very cruel and irreverent, treating all its subjects with black humour and violent slapstick. Rik Mayall said of the audience reaction he received "In the first series people were saying 'Gosh, isn't Rik Mayall good-looking?' but by the second they were saying 'Gosh, isn't Rik Mayall a good actor?' and that's all I ever really wanted." The programme was made by the ITV franchise Yorkshire Television between 1987 and 1992, although the BBC made two special episodes; one in 1988, the other in 1994.

I bought this DVD set for my dad as a birthday present and he really enjoyed it, and so did I. I had seen The New Statesman before as my dad originally had the first series on video which he bought from the now-defunct retailer Britannia several years ago, it was very entertaining then and it's still entertaining now, the humour hasn't dated at all. Very highly recommended.
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on 23 August 2010
The New Statesmen has aquired a sort of cult status in British comedy. It has nowhere near the recognition of other Rok Mayall productions such as the Young Ones and Bottom. Nor did it have the impact that Spitting Image had. And yet, for the most part, it is a fantastic show, which as a political nerd, I find hilarious.

The first series contains a few gems but was clearly finding its feet with a few brilliant ones alongside one or two less stronger ones. This first show features several characters who would be absent from later series such as Alan's father-in-law, the vile Roland Gidleigh-Park, Norma/Norma, Alan's confused partner in the crime and best of all, Bob Crippen, Labour MP and thorn in Alan's side.

The second series is by far the weakest with Alan's character progressing from cunning villain to cardboard cutout sadist. There are by my reckoning three good episodes with the rest hardly worth a second look. Some of the bit part charactes have gone and all of this is to the detriment of the show.

The third season is where the show really does take off with classic episodes showing Alan sabotage the career of a rival, destroy the poll ratings of all three main parties in order to pull off a stock market scam, attempts to kill his own mother to save himself a fortune, destroys the building industry to take revenge on a man attempting to de-select him and even trys international assassination for profit. All six episodes are simply brilliant.

The fourth season sees Alan trying to rebuild himself after being abandonned in Russia by Sarah and again, his stunts are ingenious as well as devious and downright evil as ever. From murdering his wife's new lover, sparking a uprising in the translation department at the EU to make a huge profit on a new motorway, posing as a Nazi to exhort money from the son of certain former dictator to having himself made Lord Protector.

These two final series alone make the boxset a worthwhile purchase, along with a strong first series and a couple of good ones from the second series. However, it has to be said that the quality of the DVDs is poor at best. The intermission cards and flashing bars that were used during and just before adverts are left in making it look as though you have recorded off the TV, stopping the VHS player during the break. There are no extras worth noting and the picture and sound quality are rather poor. Not that this should detract from three and half excellent seasons of comedy, but if a better versions comes along it would prove better than this.
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on 21 April 2001
Rik's dark side is played with such spite and viciousness you almost forget he's acting..this multi award winning series is absolutely brilliant. Everything from the fine cast, excellent script and classic one liners results in one of the funniest British tv series of the decade. Rik is the pompous Alan B'Stard who will do anything and kill anyone he sees that get in his way of him reaching his ultimate goals of power, success, money and glory. His side kick Piers is the butt of many of Alan's pranks and his adultering wife adds that little bit of spice to a very twisted political satire that keeps you on your toes. The New Statesman is the thinking man's comedy and essential for any Rik Mayall fan. And as Alan states... "In the good old days..you were poor....you got ill....and you died!"
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on 11 February 2001
I bought the first of the 'New Statesman' trilogy, and I spent three hours, glued to the TV set, roaring with laughter. This video is even better! Rik Mayall does an excellent job at playing the notorious Alan B'stard! This video really does see the funny side of politics, and makes fun of the the serious side of politics. Buy this video, and it will make you a Rik Mayall fan forever!
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on 21 April 2001
Finally one of the rarest episodes of the New Statesman is back on video. This episode is truly classic Statesman material. From Alan's near death experience brought on by his attempted assassination to his hilarious court room hi-jinx to his attempted murder of Piers results in an hour long frenzy of sharp wit, total hilarity and unstoppable mayhem that will have you punching that rewind button again and again. I watched this 8 times straight when i brought it and did not grow tired of it...The New Statesman is a very clever comedy that twists and turns to unexpected heights of sheer hysterics that many comedies these days can only aspire to. Rik Mayall remains brilliant in possibly one of his finest performances as Alan B'Stard in this episode and I can not stress enough how hard this video is to find and how essential it is for your Rik Mayall or New Statesman collections! Do yourself a favour and buy it now...you will not regret it.
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on 15 September 2000
In my opinion this is one of Rik Mayall's best performances. The character of Alan B'Stard is absolutely hilarious and strangely believable, Mayall's trademark lunacy has been watered down somewhat but this only serves to make the stories more intruiging. There are some absolutely classic gags and the diversity of characters allows the plots to go off in new and interesting directions. A strong supporting cast rounds off the series' brilliance. It's only downfall is its tendency to lapse occasionaly into political complexity. However, this is still an absolute must for fans of Rik Mayall and indeed for fans of British comedy in general.
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on 6 May 2009
Read the previous reviewer's comments about the low volume and silent intermissions to cover where presumably the adverts would be shown on Yorkshire TV. Both true, but didn't detract too much from the hours of fun and the set represented very good value. Lots of politically incorrect dialogue, bordering on the illegal by today's standards.
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on 29 March 2013
Classic Rick with brilliant script writing and acting. They just don't make comedy like this anymore! Shame Yorkshire T.V have made a dreadful copy onto dvd. Terrible picture and sound. It's like a vhs!
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