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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 21 December 2006
Armando Iannucci is well known for his role in some of the best recent British comedy (Alan Partridge, The Thick Of It etc) but a lot of people seem to have missed this series. That's a shame as when he does his own stuff it's often brilliant, with a bit of a surreal edge. I watched most of the series when it was on telly and some bits stuck in my head for years so I was really pleased when it came out on DVD.

Each of the episodes is sposed to be on a particular theme, but you don't really need to know that! What is important is that some of the stuff in this series is genius. A common themes is people basically being rubbish and/or naff. The first episode has two brilliant bits - the witty bloke at a dinner party being literally fed his funny lines, and the 'tw*ts' bit (especially the bloke singing his song about Princess Anne's birthday). Other highlights are Armando The Great Adult, and when he does a comedy slot at the end of a conference using powerpoint slides to get across his jokes.

Sometimes - a bit like his Observer column! - the joke doesn't quite work or it goes on too long. So it's definitely a hit & miss DVD. But the best stuff is so good it's worth ploughing through to get to. And the extras are pretty good too - the commentaries are pretty funny. One word of warning - if you don't want to know the result of the Arsenal-Barcelona Champions League final don't listen to the commentaries...
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on 11 July 2007
Like most people I think I was out when this was on first time round (I assume it was put in the graveyard slot) so brought this on faith based on his previous work. I was not disappointed! There are moments of pure genius in this series and Armando Iannucci's delivery is fantastically dry. You get a real sense of a great comedic mind at work finding humour in everyday life and then transferring that into some of the most ridiculous situations imaginable and blowing it out of all proportions. If like me you missed this the first time round then make sure your mistakes are not repeated! However don't expect the controversy or shock value of his works with Chris Morris, the humour here is far more subtle but no less amusing.
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on 18 December 2010
Perusing the 5-star reviews of 'Little Britain' and the latest Michael McIntyre DVD in an act of cultural masochism, complete with the classic 'all those fans can't be wrong' comments, I remembered the genius of the Armando Iannucci Show. Popularity is sometimes the sign of quality, sometimes a sign of accessibility, and mostly a case of the lowest common denominator. What separates throwaway popular comedy, and music for that matter, from the deeper art is longevity. While Michael McIntyre's DVD will be snubbed by even car-boot sales in 10 years, something tells me that this show will only get more popular as its inherent quality is discovered. Part of the reason for this is that the show does not focus on obvious observations of current cultural phenomena, but takes a systematic and complex comic look at the human condition, which never changes. Every joke in the show starts with a basic idea and develops it, connecting it to the greater theme of the episode and Iannucci always pushes a joke to its comic conclusion. If anyone suggests watching Michael McIntyre, show them instead this, particularly the Ibiza Uncovered Opera, with iannucci's hilarious reactions from the balcony, or better, the PowerPoint presentation stand-up routine.
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on 2 May 2010
I don't want to bang on and on about this show like a twit so I'll keep this short. I bought this DVD purely as I was keen on getting hold of a copy of Brass Eye and this was in the recommendations. I'd never even heard of it before. This was in 2009.

It turned out to be probably the most informed piece of TV I have ever seen. Abstract yet relevant. I honestly felt a tiny bit changed as a person after watching this. And it's hilarious to boot.

Amazing. Fantastic. Brilliant. Genius. Everyone should watch this series, it should be available on TV on it's own channel all day for everyone in the world to watch. Except for viewers in Scotland.
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on 9 November 2006
Underrated, undershown, and finally released genious. There is no-one quite like Armando in the comedy world, and although the more recent 'Time Trumpet' was a little disapointing, don't let that put you off buying this masterpiece. Highlights include the East End Thug being deployed to solve fairly mundane problems, such as threatening a washing machine into working, Lucar the barber, and his bizarre tales of clangers and screaming fire, and the revelation that everyone with knowledge is being tipped off, either via bits of paper in their pies, or earpieces spewing football trivia.

Armando, we applaud you.
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on 17 October 2006
I am tempted to give this 5 stars as when these irreverent sketches work they really work. But some are intrusive and seem very long. But still, buy this for a number of quality moments such as the barber that talks drivel to a bemused Armando, the 'nostalgic' witterings of old man Hugh, racist police horses, an entire congregation that seduces the local vicar and many more. Surreal, random and very funny this is a forgotten gem that will appeal to anyone with a sense of humour that appreciates the absurdity and futility of the modern world. And if you've ever discovered your house is riddled with wombles.
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on 22 August 2015
Brilliant show, I used to think this was Iannucci's weakest work but as I've got older (and fallen in to his target audience) this has to be some of his most timeless work. A really funny, sardonic snapshop of life, with his analysis of middle-age particularly honest.

"I'm bored of bastards!"
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on 11 April 2014
15 years on this show has not dated. It is very funny indeed.
Armando Iannucci (along with Christopher Morris) is the creator of "The day today" - the show that revolutionised satire in the 90s and took it away from embarrassingly blunt rubbish (Rubberish?) Tv like "Spitting Image" and the ,frankly, dull "please-let-john-fortune-and-john-bird-be-on-soon" Rory Bremner (I'm not even gonna mention Ben Elton...damn).
He also (along with Patrick Marber and pop star Lulu) created Alan Partridge - The character who ruined and then revolutionised chat shows & then went on to revolutionise sitcom.
Tired of constantly spinning Iannucci came to rest here and created 8 shows based (awfully) loosely around themes that affect our modern lives. It is brilliantly funny, macabre and sometimes sad (You know, 'uncomfortable truths' n that). Like a Home For Middle Aged Men. OR a middle aged woman who, tragically, only has another 38 years to live. Please give - just Two pounds a week can keep this woman in sanitary wear for an entire week. Direct debit preferred.
It is not satire in a straight mold but I mention Peter Cook because Cook created work with very much the absurdist/surrealist attitude that Iannucci shows.
If you liked Chris Morris' "Jaaaaaaaaaam", "Brass Eye" or "Nathan Barley" you WILL enjoy this.
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on 27 February 2014
Armando Iannucci is a wonderful man and this DVD is a wonderful thing.

Carefully studied whimsical, profound and startlingly original ideas strung together on fragile threads of the human experience ( ! )

It was brilliant when it first aired on TV and it gets better every time I re-treat myself to it, every year or two.

I also dig out Bach's St Matthew Passion or the Well-Tempered Clavier at similar intervals, both of which have more than a couple of things in common with this DVD - see above.

They did go largely unnoticed outside Bach's hometown until about 200 years after his death.

I'm not sure how big Armando Iannucci is in Leipzig, but I truly hope he knows how well appreciated he is by the lucky 'few'.
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on 7 September 2014
Some scenes are much funnier than others but then that's illustrates the phenomenological perspective. Although they were screened on television only about fourteen years ago, I can recall very little from then. This DVD reminds us of the impact of Armando Iannucci on screen productions in the intervening years.
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