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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 20 January 2005
I disagree strongly with any assertion that the 'Not the Nine O'Clock News' sketches are dated. They have, if anything, improved with time, and if you are new to the programme, or wish to revisit the series, this DVD is a great place to start. It contains such classics as the darts sketch (which had such an impact at the time it temporarily ruined the reputation of the sport), the racist policeman, and Rowan Atkinson's brilliant turn as a Conservative politician addressing the Tory conference. It is a reminder of what classic sketch comedy is all about, and what Richard Curtis was capable of in his early career (though he was admittedly only one of a vast number of writers - who included members of the public).
It's a shame there are no extra features - I remember watching a very good documentary about the impact of the programme a few years back, and wonder why it isn't included. However, this is still well worth buying - and better than volume two.
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on 12 September 2003
Although this comedy was made in the late 1970s/early 80s the writing remains fresh, the satire sharp, and the show itself hilarious. Obviously the picture and sound quality are not quite as crystal clear as recent releases, but the driving forces of inspired writing and fantastic performances (especially a youthful Rowan Atkinson)carry it along.
A minus-point is that the only special features are chapter selection (although there are only 6 chapters, and at least twenty sketches) - especially given its £15 RRP.
However, classic sketches such as 'Super Duper', 'Are You A Gay Christian?', and that one at the dinner table where everyone starts plugging products to the wall, whilst Atkinson looks on aghast (I don't know its actual name) are still hilarious and anybody that hasn't seen them are missing out.
This is obviously from the Thatcher period of British politics, however the core satire and political values remain fresh, sharp and hysterically funny - although perhaps the figureheads that it mocks have changed.
Despite it being a vanilla release, this is one of the best British comedies ever, and its stars Rowan Atkinson, Griff Rhys-Jones, Mel Smith and Pamela Stephenson have, for the most part, gone on to international fame. Sublime.
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on 7 July 2004
Firstly, Not The Nine O'Clock news deserves a 10 star rating IMHO, as one of the best comedy shows of the last 30 years.
But this DVD release is a pretty poor effort from the BBC.
This DVD is a DVD release of the 1995 NTNOCN video "The Gorilla Kinda Lingers" The only feature apart from the quality comedy from the NTNOCN team, is a "scene selection" which allows you to skip forward in chunks, however it only allows a certain selection of the material. Very disapointed to see no other footage available! It is well worth buying to replace VHS or if you dont have the video releases, but little to justify paying full price for it, apart from the main episodes themselves!
Not The Nine O Clock news deserves a better tribute than this!
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VINE VOICEon 30 March 2004
The marvellous comedy that is Not The 9 O'Clock News is now on DVD. Given the state of society as it is today, quite a lot of this material is now destined to live in the archives.
The show launched the careers of many people who have since gone on to do marvellous extra work. It's a shame that the show only lasted three years but then you'd never get away with this sort of stuff today.
The famous Gerald the Gorilla sketch is on here, as well as other delights such as the Tory Speech sketch, the "we are a Python worshipping country!" discussion and of course, who can forget the "the one course of action the authorities must take is to cut off their goolies" sketch discussing how to curb soccer hooliganism :) One other very amusing highlight is the "seven toilets" sketch ("Let's stick a toilet in the shower shall we, kill two birds with one stone as it were") :D Plenty of material to laugh at here, it's kind of ironic really that Atkinson is dressed up here in various roles that he would later go on to do for real, such as being in charge of a police force in one sketch. 16yrs later and we have The Thin Blue Line.
Chapter selection is pretty bland and doesn't seem to bear any relation to the individual episodes so feels pretty random. No special or extra features but there is an extra "bonus" at the end of the disk after the Super-Duper melody. I shan't say what it is - you can buy the DVD for that. :-)
4 stars then for this, one point deducted for the chapter selection thing which really could have been better executed and the chapters marked in a better way so far as the cut-off points are concerned. But a minor niggle really. :)
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on 6 May 2007
This show was practically compulsory viewing for teenagers and students in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It introduced the British public to Griff Rys-Jones, Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson and Rowan Atkinson. Chris Langham was in the first season but seemed to get replaced by G R-J after that.

It consisted of a series of sketches, some purely comedic, others with political overtones. The pizza parlour worker, played by Rowan Atkinson, sneezing on the pizza and declaring "Extra mozzarella" is the former, the close-up of a yobbish Griff R-J talking about him and his mates picking on some black blokes "because we 'ate 'em, right?" and the camera gradually pulling away during the monologue to show he's a uniformed policeman would be the latter.

Some great writing (Clive Anderson, Andy Hamilton, a pre-"Four Weddings and a Funeral" Richard Curtis), go-for-it acting and sketches that hit frequently enough to forgive the ones that didn't. The sketch with the trendy lefty social worker declaring the only way to deal with young men who misbehaved was to "cut their goolies off" is still a classic, as is Gerald the talking gorilla.
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on 28 December 2004
I've long been a fan of Not the Nine O'clock News, even though I recognise that it's pretty dated and I'm sure I'm too young to get half the references.
This DVD does contain many of the fantastic sketches - I was disappointed by the absence of one or two things but I think there is a vol 2 so I'll have to wait and see if they are included on it. As for the sketches which are present, although the poor film quality and a lot of the references are dated, the comedy truly lives on, and anyone viewing even for the first time cannot fail to find humour in Gerald the Gorilla or Question Time, among many other gems.
There were a few sketches which did fail to amuse me for their entire duration - the very first sketch about darts players really does drag on too long. But the DVD is definitely worth getting for the rest of the comedy.
So why did I only give it three stars? Because such a fantastic show deserves a much better release than this. I could easily believe that the whole thing was produced in a rush. Despite the fact that many more sketches could have been included, and perhaps even outtakes or interviews, there are no special features or extra material whatsoever. I would have really enjoyed a few things that weren't included when the series was aired. Even the scene selection is appalling - it just skips through random sections of the DVD, so when settling down to watch it, it is sometimes necessary to just sit and watch the whole damn thing from start to finish to make sure you don't miss anything. Not a problem for me, because I enjoy it too much, but anyone suffering it without being a fan is not going to like the fact that they cannot select specific scenes.
It certainly could have been done a lot better, and there must be some great material from this show that was sadly excluded. However, to anyone who did enjoy the programme in its day, I would definitely recommend this DVD because - who could live without this comedy? Well done Not the Nine O'clock News, not so well done BBC.
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on 14 December 2003
I can still laugh to tears in some bits. It's strange seeing Maggie back on screen, makes you feel a bit old.
As someone else pointed out, chapter selection is extremely basic, a real nuisance when you just want to show someone that particular bit about Gerald the Gorilla. That's the reason I knocked off a whole point.
I was livid when I discovered that open-heart surgery was not scheduled on this DVD, as it was my prime buying motive and a perusal of several websites had led me to believe I would find it here. This is a serious issue because my old tape is lost. BBC, please make volume 2 NOW and include open-heart surgery.
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on 10 November 2011
I was a little reluctant to buy this DVD, but today they are still as funny as 30 years ago.
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on 1 October 2009
After almost 30 years I was concerned that this would seem somewhat dated. Whilst many of the topics undoubtedly were, the laughter wasn't just canned with the product and fresh laughter was generated at almost every event bar the sinister one.
The Oswald Mosley piece, whilst being vaguely sinister at the time was frighteningly so this time as the laughter was stilled with the realisation of what the obituaries in the press said. Perhaps one should remember to watch the other sketch involving a dead politician immediately after the Oswald sketch!
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on 16 July 2012
I was trying to transfer VHS tapes of this series onto DVD but the age and quality of the original recordings did not do the content justice. So at a rediculously low price I invested my pennies. The sketches are as funny now as they were 33 years ago. It's a cliche I know but "Why don't they make them like this any more?" Maybe it's my age, but I think this is Clever Comedy. Oh yes delivery and condition on arrival were fine.
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