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At last the Beeb has reissued series 1 +2 in their entirety to replace the 50% selection they previously served up in "collection one". Consisting of 2 plastic boxes of 3 CDs each in a superfluous cardboard cover, we finally get to revisit the full narrative of this inventive series.

In series one, the Devil, assisted by the demon, Gary, starts to question his reason for being when an amiable Physics professor (who sees only the best in people) is condemned to the infernal regions solely on the basis of his atheism. The person who killed the Professor and died in the same car crash, Thomas Crimp, is a more typically nasty minded human. A water board chairman who really did sell his own grandmother, Satan has no issue with inflicting unpleasant tortures upon him! As a result Thomas goads Gary the demon to insurrection and inadvertently invokes the wrath of the almighty (Nigel) and it's a cold day in hell....

In series two, Satan is interviewing for the post of replacement assistant. Candidates include Chuckles the dolphin, the Emperor Nero and the ever eager to please, Scumspawn the demon. The professor, ever optimistic, tries to redeem Thomas.

Totally delicious, please can we have the full version of series 3+4 quick?
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I came by Old Harry's game by accident and what serendipity it was. In one word the series is excellent. That is an overworked adjective and to be honest does not do justice to the brilliant writer Andy Hamilton. I believe Hamilton himself has said that it could never translate to television and he is right. Television just isn't big enough for the sheer breath and depth of Hamilton's brilliant creation. Myriad characters from history flit in and out each with wonderful one liners or fantastic descriptions. Who else would depict Jane Austin as a foul mouthed slattern? Hamilton flits in and out of our world and has a 'satanic' view of the world. The cast is excellent and fully supports the world play, cut and thrust. And my how Hamilton can turn a phrase or joke. One almost has to stop the CD to let the laugh finish before another comedic equal gem follows. As to Hamilton for me he really brings a brilliant facet to his major part yet is generous to give the support cast fantastic dialogue. You finish each episode with regret rather than relief to some comedy shows I could mention. Everything is perfect in this hell setting in that it is overcrowded, funny, just in that certain types get there just punishments.. The 8 month pregnant Popes for one. Hamilton pokes just enough fun without it being too cruel. Cruel? Did I mention the punishments?

This series is an absolute gem and if you have just discovered it recently you're in for a wonderful ride thru the 8 series.
For once 5 stars do not do it justice. It's a perfect ten
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on 23 February 2009
This irreverent and hilariously funny series has everything - we loved every minute of it. It appeals to all ages too, my son and his girlfriend are now 'borrowing' our copies (so long as we get them back) The by the rest of the series are just as good - can't wait for series 7 I just hope Andy Hamilton works overtime...
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on 6 November 2008
I made the mistake of getting this and thinking it would pass the time on a long motorway journey.

Huge error on my part! I was discovered by a very kind traffic police officer on the hard shoulder of the M6 crying. He thought there was something terribly wrong with me! I had been laughing so much that I could not see and thought it best to pull over before I crashed and ended up face to face with the man himself.

The police officer let me go with the advice 'please do not listen to that while driving again.'

Following this experience I used to plan my week around the radio 4 airing of the next series (then series 3). I would sit happily for 30mins each week listening to this in my car - usually in a motorway layby or carpark somewhere. I cannot recommend this to cheer you up enough. A tonic for sure!

Can't wait to get series 3 and 4!

I would also recommend listening to it more than once as you will miss some jokes the first time around. A true joy.
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Finally the BBC have seen fit to release these series properly after years of making do with the pointless 'Old Harry's Game Volume 1', which contained only six of the twelve episodes presented here.

If you're reading this you probably don't need any introduction to Old Harry's Game. You know all about Andy Hamilton's excellent portrayal of the Devil, cynical and twisted with a voice like Anthony Newly. You know about Scumspawn, his most revolting and fawning demon, played by Robert Duncan. You're familiar with the most damned of damned souls, Thomas Crimp, and the Professor, who would be in heaven if only he believed in him with a capital H. You know this is a wickedly funny comedy, which follows Satan as he tries to win philosophical arguments with the Prof, whilst inventing cruel and unusual torments for those unlucky enough to find themselves in his realm.

For some reason, the BBC issued these two series years ago with half the episodes missing. This has finally been corrected, and all 12 are presented here. I really can't see why the cut episodes were removed, they are of an equally high quality as the ones which were issued, and indeed, in some cases are even funnier. It is great to have all the episodes at last, those of you with the old Volume 1 release, I would heartily recommend replacing it with this.

There are 6 discs in total, with 2 episodes per disc, collected into two three disc boxes, which in turn are held in a thin cardboard cover that serves very little purpose. There are minimal liner notes listing broadcast dates of the series and a track listing so you can skip to your favourite episodes.

Highly recommended to all fans of 'Drop the dead donkey', 'Chelmsford 123' and existing fans of 'Old Harry's Game' wondering if they should update their old Volume 1.
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on 20 May 2009
This is one of the funniest series ever written for the radio. No-one does radio comedy better than Andy Hamilton - the man is a god. Who would have thought that so much fun could be derived from a situation comedy set in Hell with a limited cast of characters? There are endless jokes here - from broad puns to witty topical allusions. It's the kind of thing that makes you welcome a long car journey, so you can listen to it all over again.
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on 5 November 2013
As a fan of Andy Hamilton, and indeed of radio comedy I've often listened to this on my bedside radio (for some reason, it often seems to be broadcast quite late - or maybe its just that I'm often listening at this time). whatever the reason, I thought it really funny.

If you don't know, its based on the premise that Andy Hamilton, as the Devil, resides in hell with his various demons (called Gary) and sidekicks, plus an irritatingly (for old Beelzebub, at least) logical, sensible and altruistic professor as an unlikely nemesis. Of course, quite how the professor, who is clearly an inherently decent, honest and honourable man has ended up consigned to hell for all eternity is all part of the fun.

The jokes and satire come thick and fast and stand repeated listening. A quality cast, well acted and produced, results in a highly amusing 'sitcom'.

I bought the boxed CD set to take on holiday to play during the long journeys with the caravan - it certainly 'shortens' the journey and eases the monotony nicely!
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on 22 February 2010
I bought the Volume 1 version (series 1 & 2 but only 6 episodes) as soon as I could. The most funny and entertaining long series listening I've ever enjoyed. I've been loving that and the rest on the radio. As soon as they came out to buy, I got them. From series 5 the discs were released as 'complete' and are all very good.

To now get the complete series 1 and 2 is a welcome re-invigoration of the original release. I'm enjoying it all again and will be giving my edited (original cd) versions to someone who deserves a laugh.

Off to buy the 'complete' series 3&4 (or volume 2) so I can have more fun with the demons of Hell and our beloved Satan (Any Hamilton, before you get ideas about me)

I would recommend this to anyone who wants an intellectual belly-laugh.

I can see if one HAD to choose 3 out of 6 for each of series 1 & 2 why the Eds chose the ones they did. However I really do appreciate the full story.

Buy this, laugh yourself silly!
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on 24 March 2009
After having the compilation from series 1 and 2 (good by itself) this is a welcome addition to fill in the gaps. Andy Hamilton has done himself proud and with series 7 now on the radio (and soon on CD) this combination of the first two series is timely and stands up to repeated listening.
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on 19 December 2010
Old Harry's Game by Andy Hamilton is now on CD with all of the episodes available. The premise is that of a saintly professor and a beastly business man arriving in hell to fond that not only they were involved in the same fatal car crash but the torments of one will be a lesson in the vileness of humanity to the other. Alright, I'm not the best reviewer but the CDs are well produced, the packaging is fine and Amazon's service was great as usual. If you missed any of the Old Harry's Game on the radio this is a great way to catch up.
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