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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 2 December 2006
I'd already purchased the first three when this came out, but I got it anyway. There are five discs for four series, with series four comprising two discs, but really, the only thing I can see different is the box; there are no bonuses, unless you count the box.

Series one and two flow into each other quite well with recurring characters such as the yelling promoters of Utoxeter (Daaaaamn!!!) and Tony and Control of MI5, but it seems Fry and Laurie had not expected to continue on to three and four, and so came up with conclusions for many of their regular sketches. Holding this thought, series three has a very different air. For instance, there are more musical segments (like my favorite "Kickin' Ass"), and Mr Music playing out each episode while Stephen Fry mixed a strange (often frightening) concoction. I thought they had found their groove in this series... Only to lose it in series four.

Word is that the series was moved to BBC1, and Fry and Laurie lost much of their creative freedoms. For example, they now had guest stars, such as Caroline Quentin (Men Behaving Badly) and Robert Daws (Jeeves and Wooster), who didn't really play any vital roles. Hugh Laurie did a musical segment in each episode, all of which were wonderful and helped the series like a crutch. While series four was awkward, it still had its moments (usually having nothing to do with the guest stars). Why seven episodes had to be broken into two discs, I don't know.

While series one and two were united by recurring characters, series three and four were connected by Mr Music. But what made this programme "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" (besides Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, duh) were the vox pops between sketches.

This is definitely a must-have for fans of Fry and Laurie.
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on 12 September 2008
Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are two phenomenally talented comedian/actors. I'd first seen them acting in various episodes of Blackadder. Then one Friday night early in 1989 I stumbled across their first full "Bit of Fry & Laurie" series. From that moment I've been a huge fan!

There's a classic send-up of the OTT drama "Howard's Way", in which a Uttoxeter health-club is run as though it were a huge multi-national! There's hilarious, deliberate bad acting when Tony Merchison (Laurie) works for the Secret Service and reports to his incredibly naïve boss "Control" (Fry). But my personal favourites are the "one-off" sketches; Mr. Nipple is embarrassed about his surname so calls himself "Mr..." then drops a stapler on the table. Gelliant Gutfright tells us the spooky tale of "Pat Ferrick and his red hat". You'll find clever, original dialogue popping up in a Head-teacher's office, in restaurants, on airfields, in courtrooms, at baptismal fonts, around shopping malls and at a myriad of other locations. There's also convincing impersonations of David Coleman, Richard Whitely, Jonathan Ross, Robert Robinson, Henry Kelly and many others...

This tastefully presented boxed-set also contains some bonus material, such as the 1987 "Pilot" plus the 1982 "Cambridge Footlights Review", which includes Tony Slattery and the exceptionally talented Emma Thompson (Hugh Laurie's girlfriend at the time).
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on 18 February 2009
Wisely played with language, making a pun about just anything and anybody, 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie' makes one of the best comedy shows ever. It's the more sophisticated and edgier version of The Little Britain (or actually it is the very source of inspiration for the latter), yet in many ways subtler and more refined. It's a must-see for all comedy-lovers and people into British humour and culture.
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on 15 January 2008
I agree with the previous reviews. This box set is a must have.
I've discovered Hugh Laurie only in 2007 (yes, I know....) and saw those sketches in a place you know. If I had never seen the sketches on this place I wouldn't have known they existed.
It's a pleasure to have them all. I just have a complaint : there's no booklet with the titles of the sketches, the titles of the songs (once again, there's a place where you can find them...).
As I'm french, I appreciate the english subtitles.
There's another extra : The Cambridge Footlights review (1982) on disc 2.
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on 13 February 2010
Probably the funniest British sketch show of all time

probably

I have watched all four series about 20 times and will probably watch all four series at least another 20 times

probably

its worth buying the whole set for the Major Donaldson sketch alone
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on 15 November 2013
This is a wonderful comedy series, although it seems to sometimes get forgotten when looking back a great British comedy and I think that may be a testament to the genius of the men in question. Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are each polymaths in their own way. They've both had long and successful careers while becoming national treasures along the way and as such this series may get lost at times in the long list of triumphs that these men have accomplished.

I grew up knowing Stephen Fry as the author of those books on the shelves in our house and then as the host of popular BBC2 show QI. My first encounter with Hugh Laurie (even if I didn't realise it at the time) was probably in Stuart Little. Once I reached my teens and started to discover more material that these two were behind I couldn't believe the true brilliance they were responsible for, especially "A Bit Of Fry & Laurie". Their use of language and absolutely ridiculous concepts for sketches that only they could make work is extraordinary. I just knew Stephen Fry as that very intelligent man with the "schoolmaster image" as host of QI and then to see some of the things he said, impressions he mastered and characters he brought to life on screen in ABOFAL was a wonderful experience and made me realise how brilliant he is. The same goes for Hugh Laurie; I knew him as leading actor in a hit US TV series that we Brits didn't pay much attention to compared to the rest of the world and then I realised why. We know him as a comic genius in British comedy which he showed in ABOFAL, not to mention his fantastic musical skill. I found myself resting on holiday reading a Hugh Laurie novel while listening to a Hugh Laurie album, while a dubbed version of "House" was on the TV; amazing!

These two are one of the best comedy double-acts ever to walk the Earth and make more modern sketch shows seem cheap (excluding Armstrong & Miller and Mitchell & Webb of course, although I prefer the former). Their use of word play is wonderful to listen to, for example one of my favourites is during a sketch where Stephen Fry is telling a story while eating cornflakes with a knife and fork and he says "I stooped to pick a buttercup. Why people leave buttocks lying around I have no idea".

Some of the best sketch comedy ever made!

10/10
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on 23 March 2011
Having seen the pilot episode on TV i had to get the rest of the series. This is one of the best sketch shows ever made, and worth every penny!
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on 12 December 2011
I'm a big High Laurie and Fry fan ever since I saw them as Jeeves and Wooster. (It all actually goes back to my reading P. G. Wodehouse, but leaving that aside...) and so I really felt that I owed it to them to buy the entire collection of episodes.

Even though the style changes a lot from the first two series to the last two, the magic isn't all lost: the two are united by the recurring characters, the similar situations and the zeal of a beginning...and the last two series are full of musical bits that I find highly entertaining, especially since only now a lot of people are discovering Hugh Laurie's musical talent through the House MD TV series, while I feel like I knew his hidden" talents all along.

Of course some might consider their comedy bits outdated, but keep in mind that they were innovative at the time, and with that in mind, I still find them hilarious, no matter how redundant the skits are at time. It's British humour at its finest, and I don't know what other comedic duo will manage to recreate or match their compatibility and their witticisms! A must for all fans, definitely!
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on 24 January 2011
Having seen some of the original broadcasts, I was surprised at the high level of pleasure this Box Set still generated in me.
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on 23 August 2010
I bought this because I'm a fan of House, M.D. and had seen a clip of A Bit of Fry and Laurie on YouTube and thought it would be worth trying. What a great purchase! Each season gets funnier and funnier. I can recommend it to anyone who is a fan of British humour.
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