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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
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on 31 July 2009
Further to the reviews above, this is not laugh out loud comedy, however it is all the better for this as allows the series to focus on the storyline, development of characters and horror/thriller aspects. it is something refreshing for a change, rather than unfunny 'forced' studio bound comedy with canned laughter we tend to see all the time these days.

I have to say this has been one of my favourite programmes of 2009 if not the past few years, certainly the cliff hangers make you keep coming back week after week.

Let's hope the BBC realise what a gem of a progamme Reece and Steve have come up with and give them a second series!
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on 15 April 2017
Another brilliant programme from half of The League of Gentlemen. I watched this when it first aired it on BBC and loved it and then recently having got the Inside No9 box set decided I had to have Psychoville on DVD too. The characters and storylines are very well planned out and each of the characters hold up their end of the story very well. If you like Reece and Steve's other work you'll definitely enjoy this and I assure you it gets funnier, sillier, weirder and grosser as it goes on. There is a whole (brilliantly funny) episode just focusing on two of the characters in one room with a special appearance by Mark Gatiss. The story continues in the Halloween special and series 2 so don't forget those (if you make sure you get the right version of series 2 the Halloween special is included on that).
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on 4 November 2015
I love the series and bought it as a birthday present for a very dear friend who lives in an EU country, but he never had the chance to watch it as he passed away....
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on 18 May 2017
Wonderfully dark and funny.
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on 4 August 2009
A mysterious figure begins to orbit the lives of a group of diverse and extraordinary characters. A series of messages are sent by the mystery figure - a black gloved blackmailer - to these seemingly unconnected people, setting in motion memories of an incident from their past which is coming back to haunt them.

This is the basic premise of 'Psychoville', which unfolds over seven remarkable episodes of intrigue, humour & suspense, suffused through the multiple storylines of superbly realised characters. The series is one of engrossing brilliance and stands out as a creation of striking originality & dark imagination that could only have come from members of The League of Gentlemen - namely, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton.

The central characters are full blooded (sometimes literally) deeply felt & wonderfully realised. Each in their own way is driven by obsession. There is embittered children's entertainer Mr Jelly - a hook handed clown whose life has taken a downward spiral. His rage is directed towards his rival, Mr Jolly. Pudding bowl haircutted son David is obsessed with serial killers. He & his indulgent mother Maureen have a disturbingly close relationship. Oscar Lomax is a blind millionaire recluse whose life's purpose is his "holy of holies" - a collection of beanie toys. Disturbed midwife Joy is obsessively devoted to a sack clothed demonstration doll. So all enveloping is her psychosis that she treats it as if its her real child & she's driven by a dream to bring it to life. Finally, Robert is a dwarf appearing in a 'Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs' panto. He's in love with the company's Snow White. He's seemingly possessed of special powers which come to the fore when he's provoked to anger.

The Sowerbutts, Mr Jelly & Oscar Lomax are portrayed by Reece and Steve and they inhabit their characters so convincingly, giving superbly layered performances, by turns brilliantly comedic & touchingly poignant. They are extraordinary actors & these characters allow them to explore the full range of their talents.

There are pitch perfect performances from a wonderfully eclectic cast, including Dawn French, Eileen Atkins, Adrian Scarborough, Daniel Kaluuya, Jason Tompkins, Daisy Haggard, Lisa Hammond, Christopher Biggins, Elizabeth Berrington, Janet McTeer, Nicholas Le Prevost & featuring a brilliant cameo by Mark Gatiss.

'Psychoville' is a tv series of great ambition, maturity and complexity. There are boxes within boxes in terms of plotting, which up the tension and mystery, creating moments of startling surprise. It helps develop a depth to the characters and a context to the motivations driving their obsessions. The sprawling narrative is layered and textured, demanding the audience fully engage with what they are watching. Switching off & letting it wash over you is not an option. There are no simple explanations or expectations easily fulfilled. Its a comedy hybrid that asks you to work and concentrate. What it delivers in return is quite simply the best thing to happen to television comedy in years. Its just a staggeringly good programme - its very rare to see something this brilliant in any genre.

Each episode is superb with moments to cherish:Mr Jelly's array of hooks & inappropriate behaviour at a children's princess party;the online Ebay auction for Lomax's lost 'commodity', Snappy the crocodile;Joy stealing blood from a hospital blood bag & replacing it with Vitmo, singing 'When You Wish Upon a Star' as she does so;the technical achievement of episode four's stand alone 'Rope' homage - a mesmerising modern classic three-hander brilliantly performed by Steve, Reece & Mark Gatiss;demonstration doll Freddy apparently come to life and terrorising Joy;infamous serial killer waxworks serenading David in song;the especially dark episode six, which builds the horror, melancholy and poignancy to fever pitch;the hilarious interplay between Mr Jelly & an elderly woman handcuffed to him;Nurse Kenchington's sadistic treatment of her patients at Ravenhill and her emotional and physical victimisation of David.

'Psychoville' delicately balances its material on a knife edge between triggering laughter and jolting feelings of surprise. Comedy tips into poignancy or perversity subtly and distinctively. Its a difficult balancing act but one that the series achieves brilliantly, and something the writers are proven masters of.

A cinematic sensibility is realised through superb production values. The design, photography, editing, costumes, lighting and music are all magnificant. There is a cinematic sense of colour at work throughout the series, which is used to heighten the experience of a scene - like the bold, sumptuous colours of the clown court, giving a feeling of unreality to the nightmarish dream sequence. Likewise, colour is used to convey a mood or give a sense of meaning to particular characters - the low lit, green tinge of the scenes inside the Sowerbutt's flat being a prime example.

Brilliantly directed and produced, showing the care and attention to detail at one with the creators' vision and ambition for the series.

This presentational care can be seen with the dvd itself. It looks beautiful - a slipcase cover, 2-disc set housed inside a case complete with wonderful artwork. The menus are gorgeous, the extras insightful. Above all, there are commentaries for each episode by Reece and Steve. Their commentaries, like The League's dvds, are to be savoured and are almost worth the price of the dvd alone.

To be responsible for a series as groundbreaking and unique as 'The League of Gentlemen' is achievement enough that few can match. To do it again with 'Psychoville' is a testament to the exceptional talents of Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton. They can rightly feel proud of 'Psychoville'. A boundary breaking comedy hybrid, it leaves today's bland, predictable, dumb and dumber tv schedules looking even more redundant and pathetically feeble in its wake. 'They' must commission another series. Without fail.
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on 19 November 2010
Well what can i say simply amazing and worth every penny.... Psychoville is dark , funny and goes deep into the mind. The acting is so perfect ( episode 4 ) has to be my fave.
I cant recommend psychoville enough and for £5 what are you waiting for ? you cant go wrong for a fiver.
Best show on telle for a long time ! The dvd case is amazing too.
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on 7 July 2010
At first, I was unsure about whether or not to give this series a try, asking myself if it could possibly be anywhere near as good as the League of Gentlemen. It is, in fact, every bit as good, which I didn't think was possible. This series is a lot darker, more twisted and disturbing that the League, and still manages to be consistently and wonderfully funny. It follows the stories of 5 characters. The hook-handed clown Mr. Jelly, who is resentful towards his more successful rival Mr. Jolly, with whom he is regularly confused. Then there is Midwife Joy Aston, who is a loving mother to her son Freddy-even though he is actually a doll. There is also Oscar Lomax, a blind old man with an unusual collection, who enlists the help of a young "Tea Leaf" to help him find something he desperately needs. Panto dwarf Robert Greenspan , who has an embarrassing secret as well as an obsession with his co-star. And finally David Sowerbutts, serial killer enthusiast, whose faux pas at work leads to him and his mother Maureen embarking upon their own series of murders.
Each one has been blackmailed, but what about?
This series is a hilarious and twisted masterpiece by Reece and Steve, and is one of the best in years.
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on 2 September 2009
Good premise but lacks the down to earth humour of League of Gentlemen. All the characters are a little too quirky to make you care and the laughs are few and far between. Look forward to what they do next though as it is a talented cast.
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on 10 August 2009
If you're a fan of The League of Gentlemen then you won't be disappointed. If possible Psychoville is an even darker comedy and to me highlights how the Gentlemen (without Gatiss) have come of age - just like wine and cheese - even better than before.
I cannot recommend this comedy enough, it's very cleverly written and very well acted. The part of nurse Joy (French) is a welcome addition to this group of great performers who hopefully will continue with many more series to come.
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on 30 June 2010
After seeing the first episode on television, I knew this was going to quality. The story is dark, the characters are well observed and the writing from the great Steve Pemberton and Reece Sheersmith is classic. With a cameo from Mark Gatiss you have an extension of the superb League of Gentlemen, which I still watch over and over again. If you like comedy on the horrific side then get this, you'll be in for a real treat.
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