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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 28 November 2005
I stumbled across this show when it was shown earlier this year, and I tell you, I am mightily glad I did.
From the electro-pop synth-ed theme music, to the presenters' cheesy linking to each other, each of the first five episodes is set around a different theme, leading up to the "live" grand final (with a special appearance by Sir Prince Charles).
It's like the early eighties BBC TV show Tomorrow's World gone a bit sideways, as the presenters Jack Morgan, Peter Packard, Pam Bachelor and Pealy Maghti introduce us to the wierd and wonderful world of science.
Bottom line of this is personally, I don't care if there aren't any extras on the DVD (Although I hope there are) you should buy this DVD just for the pure comedy value, as it will have you screaming and howling with laughter!
Thanks Amazon - Thamazon!
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on 13 November 2006
I could end this review now by simply saying "If you like laughing, buy this DVD". But I need to say a bit more than that, because I think this show has been passed over by too many people, and it's ended up underrated and in the same "cult enthusiasts only" realm as Garth Marenghi's Dark Place.

Now that's a fantastic show too, and the two programmes have a lot in common. Not least of which in that they were shown without any major publicity and to limited audiences only. The other similarity is that they are both spoof shows. "Look Around You" is a spoof of Tomorrow's World, set in the 1970's, and it presents a kind of bizarre parallel universe in which the presenters look forward to inventions and new technology that they predict will change the way we live in the future.

It's hard to explain what is so funny about the show in writing, but on watching, I found it to be hilarious almost all the way through. Firstly, you can lose yourself in the show's supposedly "current" world where every high street has a much loved "casserole" chain restaurant, and people get robot John McEnroes for Christmas. Then you add to this the inventions featured on the show that the presenters predict will be changing all our lives for the better, such as the vegetable orchestra and the Memory Helmet. Throughout the show, further laughs come thick and fast from various interludes, like information on what programmes are coming up next, or the hilarious "Data Bank" that offers totally barking mini quiz questions.

The programme could have easily failed, however, without the talents of the performers who front the main show. The two original creators of the first series now appear on screen along with two new female presenters, and there are numerous cameos in each show, all of which are uniformly deadpan and convincing, the combined effect of which (with the four main presenters) is pure gold. Throughout the six episodes there isn't a single moment where any of the cast let the mask drop even for a second. Robert Popper and Peter Serafinowicz seem born to play the parts of the two male presenters and I challenge you to disbelieve the sincerity of Olivia Coleman (from The Office and numerous other mock-real life comedies) as she presents the moving and tragic story of "Cobbles", the disease which turns the sufferer into a pile of stones. Fourth team member Josie D'Arby does equally well, with an especially good line in fawning enthusiasm, be it over some truly dire computer games ("Diarrhea Dan") or in trying out a new sport called "Gonnis" (don't ask).

This show is so full of good ideas, i found it hard to understand why some reviewers have said the idea was being stretched too thinly. Each half hour show seemed to fly by for me, and I was laughing all the way. This second series is probably far more accesible to the casual TV viewer than the original show, which lampooned Programmes for Schools with a bit of Open University thrown in. I can't imagine there ever being a third series of this, although if there is, I'll be ready and waiting. But my advice is to buy both DVDs and treasure them.
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on 6 February 2006
Thank god the BBC finally got round to releasing this DVD of one of the comedy highlights of 2005, although if it had been out before Christmas all of my friends and family would have got the same present!
If you've never heared of this, just buy it now anyway. Think The Day Today meets The League of Gentlemen - in a 1980's Tomorrow's World format! The Invention of the Year live final is one of the great 30 minutes of comedy, and yes it really is hosted in the presense of HRH Sir Prince Charles.
And yet again, the Look Around You boys have packed the DVD full of extras.
Great stuff! Gruff.
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on 4 July 2011
Look Around You S2 takes the general theme set by its predecessor - a spoof of 70's educational programming for schools - but turns its eye on another iconic TV programme from the era. "Tomorrow's World" was a BBC popular science series which, on a weekly basis, explored upcoming "scientific marvels" but was more in the line of a progenitor to today's gadget shows. TW was broadcast live (why?) and was notorious for the way in which it's demonstrations of these gadgets invariably went wrong.

LAY2 follows this format in six episodes themed acording to music, health, sport, food and computers, with the sixth episode being the culmination of a technology competition, the prize being awarded by His Royal Highness Sir Prince Charles. As per S1, it is nostalgia humour done with a surrealist's poker face and may fall flat for those viewers who haven't experienced its subject. Unlike S1, however, it's a more flashy sort of production with a bigger cast: Serafinowicz, d'Arby, Colman and Popper get the Tomorrow's World presenters down to a cheesy, smarmy "T" and there is admirable back-up from the UK's TV comedy talent list (Harry Enfield, Mark Heap, Sarah Alexander, Kevin Eldon, Simon Pegg & Adam Buxton to name but a few).

It does the job easily as well as its predecessor although I think I would give S1 half a star for its more intimate feel and gentler treatment of its subject. I would certainly say that if you have one, you need the other.

Look out for the BBC continuity announcer's introduction to each episode, listing the mythical programmes to follow and check out the extras which include the world's scariest picture.

"Peter Packard: Well, unfortunately... only hours after that piece was filmed, Clive Pounds sadly died from complications following a wasp sting to his anus. And so, as a mark of respect, we will now observe a one-second silence."

"Continuity Announcer: Viewers may be pleased to know that Clive Pounds, who died during production of this program, has since come back to life."
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on 11 August 2006
The first Look Around You series was already a triumph, but series 2, by reinventing the concept goes even further. I guess the best tribute I can pay to Serafinowicz and Popper's opus is this: I'm not from England and I never saw the educational and scientific shows they are satirizing. Tomorrow's World was never showed here in Portugal. Yet, this is such a brilliantly detailed and loving recreation of an era and its dreams of the future, that anyone, almost anywhere, can get the joke. Look Around You starts is universal comedy at its best, the cast is just perfect and the delightful cameos from some of Britain's top comedic talents (Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, Mark Heap, Nick Frost, the voices of Matt Lucas and David Walliams) add to the brilliance. Look Around You 2 is a masterpiece of form and content: it really looks like a 70's-80's science show (and the Prince Charles cameo in the final episode is one of the most inspired, imaginative and technically amazing moments in Britcom History) and the text has the delightful absurdity reminiscent of Douglas Adams and, like Adams, there's poetry in some of the most outrageous concepts. And it's hilarious, hilarious as in "gasping-for-air-and-having-to-pause-the-DVD".
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on 12 January 2006
This is one of the most entertaning things you can watch - just sit back and slip into the parallel universe of 'look around you'.
It is simply pure fun and enjoyment from beginning to end and is full of huge laughs and intelligent yet highly surreal comedy. Co-written and produced by the man who brought you "The Timewaster Letters" (Robert Popper), Series 2 is the follow-up to the spoof educational programmes of the first series which appeared as ten-minute shorts on BBC2 with an array of bizarre experiments.
This incarnation takes the format of a studio-based show with a team of presenters along the veins of 'Tommorow's World' or 'Blue Peter', set in the 70's. We take a look at the future of such things as music, food, health and computers, each episode packed full of strange characters and bizarre situations.
Take another look at this DVD and if you haven't already seen it, buy it. This is one of the funniest, pleasing (and relaxing) comedies you'll ever watch.
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VINE VOICEon 19 March 2006
Look Around You is only marginally more ridiculous than all those old science and technology programmes shown in the late 70's but it's still pant-wettingly funny.
Written by Peter Serafinovich and Robert Popper, the programme displays a fine eye for the era, from hideous hairstyles and clumsy, nauseating graphics to the rather more innocent but patronising air of the presenters. The inventions are stupid, quaint, dangerous and always seriously off the mark. I loved the way "the future" was spoken of, as if it was one fixed point in time everyone was dying to reach. LAY also highlights, in a subtle and understated way, how Chauvinistic the 70's mindset was, with female presenters being required to feign delight when a male guest wishes to snog or grope them in the name of olde worlde chivalry.
Other pluses for the show are Synthesiser Patel and his penchant for burglar proofing his instruments, Computer Jones and his machine called Bournemouth that tells the world of Mr Jones love for kissing labradors and inventor Leonard Hatred, (played with his usual agitated aplomb by Mark Heap) whose mild eccentricity in the earlier shows boil over into Straightjacket Time during the final live programme. I won't reel off all of the hilarious moments as there are way too many of them but do buy this DVD if you like funny, absurd spoofs laced with clever nostalgia and naughty bits.
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VINE VOICEon 8 March 2006
It's not often that a truly original new comedy arrives, so when one does, the moment should be savoured; and so it should with "Look Around You", a delightfully off the wall spoof of cheesy '70s BBC science based programmes. It takes a little while to get accustomed to the programme's sheer weirdness, with the very first episode featuring such delights as the ghost of Taichovsky judging a music contest, and a man called Synthesiser Patel - because he collects synthesisers.
Once you get used to it, though, this is delightful stuff. Each episode feels fresh, and there are surprises round every corner. In terms of casting... well, just about everyone from "Spaced"/"Shaun of the Dead" seems to make an appearance at some point, which surely can't be a bad thing (the grumpy flatmate turned zombie in "SOTD" puts in a star turn as the gloriously wooden lead presenter, Peter Packard), and it's good to see that Josie D'Arby (from kids' TV about 12 years ago) is still getting work. Overall, the presenters' spot on cheesiness always adds comedy value, even on occasions where the script misfires (which it does from time to time). There is even an appearance at the end of the series by HRH Sir Prince Charles (sic).
The programme is not perfect, however. Some parts are rather unfunny and laboured, while I have never once found any of the questions and answers which flash up, remotely funny. On the plus side, though, each episode has so much packed into it that if you don't find one bit funny, then you only have to wait a second for another slice of bizarre humour to hit you, whether it be an investigation of Britain's first entirely computerised casserole restauraunt or an explanation of the game of "gonnis" (golf plus tennis rolled into one). I defy anyone not to be hooked, or at least mildly entranced, after two episodes of this.
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on 19 March 2006
Look Around You Series I was spoofing the Open University programmes of the 80s, this spoofs tomorrows world. YOu may have enjoyed series I, but this is just as if not more funny but very different. The best has to be the Computers episode, with the hilarious computer for women, (the Petticoat 5) and its designer Patricia ('I do have a last name actually but it's silent) a woman with enourmous teeth.
This is definitely not to be missed.
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on 25 March 2013
Not as funny as the first series, still has a few laughs in it, but not family watching as there are quite a few swear words in it.
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