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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 25 August 2011
Well,better late than never ! How to add to what earlier reviewers have already said? Newley had a scattergun genius that often needed the calming influence of a Leslie Bricusse to give it direction , but "Gurney Slade" is long overdue for massive public recognition. It was indeed ahead of it's time , something that Newley's work often suffered from,and a massive influence on many other artists.This is a golden opportunity to see what all the fuss was about.......don't miss it.
Trivia lovers will also be intrigued to see the galaxy of actors who went on to fame.......the likes of Geoffrey Palmer,Dilys Laye,Una Stubbs,Peter Glaze,Hugh Paddick,Graham Stark, and others. As Anneka Wills recently said at the National Film Theatre launch of the DVD.........."Tony will be sitting on his cloud tickled pink !"
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on 4 May 2012
There's a difference between being brilliant and being brilliant in the modern world. Sometimes you just have to take a step back and appreciate what someone was doing at the time they were doing it, and note how many years ahead of themselves they actually were. Otherwise Neil Armstrong on the moon would be regarded as small fry compared to what has been achieved since re: Mars, Jupiter, the far end of the solar system and permanent space stations. But we all know he still achieved something incredible in 1969. This series, Gurney Slade, was simply years, perhaps decades, ahead of its time. In episode one alone, the character makes reference to his whole life being a TV show (decades later The Truman Show was apparently a novel idea) and 'big brother' watching him all the time (decades later....you get the picture - although I appreciate the book was written in 1948, the idea of a TV show wasn't). As with all ground-breaking ideas though, it was rough and ready and we can be oh-so-smug with 20-20 hindsight and point out where the flaws are today, but it still doesn't detract from the fact that this was new, innovative and cocking a snook at what had already become the 'old, tired format' of TV (even in its infancy) sitcom. Quite simply watch it to see what bravery is. A performer, a writing team and a TV production arm put their reputations on the line to show an apparent actor walking out of a stale old sitcom to find out that life can be far more surreal than that they are parodying on TV. He leaves the old world of comedy behind to try and discover something new. He finds that people are being affected by a plethora of outside influences and are dulling their own free will. He listens to thoughts instead of empty dialogue and reacts to what makes people tick rather than cliche ideas of such. It is almost TV/actor/comedy psychoanalysis. I have watched and learned. On the way, appreciating Newley's genius, Sid & Dick's brilliance and ATV's courage. I love it and am thrilled they have finally released the whole series on DVD. The booklet notes are also beautifully written.
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on 15 October 2011
Classic Telly, eh? Trouble with most British black and white shows is that they're on grainy films taken from the old 405 line system. Not Gurney Slade, though. For some strange reason they shot the whole thing on 35mm, even the trailers. Lew Grade must have been feeling especially generous. Either that or he was too busy counting his earnings to notice somebody spending a bit more of them than usual. Anyway, it means the show looks nice and sharp. I hear Network even made the DVDs from brand new prints. Pity about the crackly optical sound, but I suppose you can't have everything.

OK, so it looks good. What about the show? Is it really as funny as it thinks it is? Personally I found myself chuckling wryly rather than shaking with laughter, but on the whole I think it holds up pretty well. Some people have compared it to The Prisoner and Monty Python, but I think there's a lot of stuff here that wouldn't look out of place on The Twilight Zone. Especially the stuff about talking to animals and inanimate objects, the episode where Gurney finds lots of squatters inside his brain, and the end of the last episode, where Gurney realises what a dummy he's been.

The show obviously didn't catch on at the time, and the writers must have known it wasn't to everyone's taste when they wrote the episode where Gurney is put on trial for his life for allegedly not being funny. Ironically, that episode has one of the most genuinely funny endings in the entire series.

On the whole Network have done the series proud. The cover is nicely quirky, especially the back cover where almost everything except the barcode is printed backwards. (The ATV logo fooled 'em, though - that looks the same either way round). Inside, there's a nicely informative booklet about the making of the series and its critical (lack of) reception. The disc navigation is also eccentric, but it's not that hard to figure out - after all, there are only three menu options. The menu is even accompanied by a snatch of the theme tune, which is something Network don't always do. I would have liked the single version of Max Harris's theme tune to have been included as an extra, but once again you can't have everything. What you do get is a selection of trailers, which are every bit as weird as the series itself, and some slightly scratched publicity photos from the series (complete with a photo of the photo album!) and of Newley.

So, kudos to Network for rescuing yet another forgotten gem from the vaults, and long may they continue. Now if you'll excuse me, I think that lamppost wants a word with me.
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on 1 October 2011
I read that this show did for sitcoms what The Prisoner did for drama, and it's quite right. It came before Marty Feldman, the Pythons or any of the inner toughts/surreal shows of the 60s and blazed a new path for them to follow. I have in image in my mind of Gurney looking at the then rule book for sitcoms with his hand to his mouth in a pondering way, tut tut tutting....... then tossing it over his shoulder and proceeding on with own way. Discovering this show is like discovering a lost relative. You meet them and it explains so many things you wondered had came from in your family , why uncle so and so used to do this or that, where that idea came from, why you don't like clowns etc. You can see how this great show influenced so many other shows that came after it. I wish that it was more than six episodes, but as a wise man said... something only has to happen once to change the world.
Buy this and you won't regret it, only that it has been neglected for too long.
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on 2 September 2011
In 1960 I was a young man of 25 and already fed up with television entertainment and the continual " sensational" new programmes being shotgunned out at us on a weekly basis. So, I completely dismissed the publicity about the crazy new show. UNTIL my then-girlfriend ( bless her for it) dragged me home from a promising date to watch her "wonderful new programme". Result 1. She was afterwards left to wait while i followed each episode. Result2. The programme and the friendship ended. Result 3. Warm memories of both to this day. But I can now recover at least one; the other would require careful negociation with my wife.The Strange World of Gurney Slade [DVD]
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on 21 August 2011
I had never heard of this, but the numerous reviews that heralded the release of this dvd intrigued me. As a fan of 50's and 60's British satire and comedy, I felt I had a duty to have a peek at this, and I am glad I decided to part with my money. There is a welcome whiff of the influence of Flann O'Brien in the surreal philosophising of Gurney Slade (whether this comedy was influenced by O'Brien, I've no idea), and the comedy is, for the most part, not overplayed, but subtle: there are laugh-out-loud moments, but this is a largely thoughtful, smile-inwardly, without being too smarty-pants, sort of thing. Think Hancock and the Goons having a baby, and you're getting near to what I am trying to describe, or maybe not. It's brilliant, funny, and sadly, there should have been more episodes made.
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on 15 April 2012
this (elderly) lady has been longing, longing and longing for someone to release this gem to the world. And they have and in what style, too! The booklet is informative and entertaining in itself, the quirkiness of the cover intrigues, the whole is a package you cannot mistake for anything other than The Strange World of Gurney Slade.
50 years on and the theme tune was instantly recognisable, as was the slightly mournful often puzzled face of the delightful Anthony Newley in the role that was created only for him, no one else could have carried it off with such aplomb and should you say it? grace and charm. The scene where he walks out of the studio, busy ignoring everything everyone is saying to him is classic, something we all long to do at times, walk out of our lives into something else. (I know I did - not that long ago, too.) From then on the series just becomes more surreal and wonderful. It is such a treat to see a sharply defined film like this, the black and white photography leaps from the screen in all its glory, like high class black and white photographs do. Superb, it really is.
For anyone who remembers this amazing sitcom, buy this and watch it and keep your copy and watch it again and again and be grateful for the people who decided to release it so us 'oldies' could grab a piece of our past and relive it once again.
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on 23 September 2011
The Strange World of Gurney Slade is a must-see for anyone who is fond of early 60s fringe humour. Gurney Slade, fed up with his lot as a soap actor, leaves the studio and walks into his own world where posters come to life and animals communicate with him. Becoming more bizarre as the series progresses, it climaxes in the final episode with Gurney having to find lives for the characters he brought into being in his imagination. An imaginative series, probably ten years ahead of its time.
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on 23 January 2015
I must be missing something because I found this singularly unfunny and dated. It might have been ground breaking in the 1960's when it was made but it has not travelled well and appears immature, confused and messy. Maybe that was the aim ? Lasted just under half the episodes and sold it on.
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VINE VOICEon 9 September 2011
I was way too young to appreciate this show on original broadcast, but my mother had a single of the distinctive theme music by Max Harris which always intrigued and fascinated me, I would play it more then her Beatle singles!
Now after all these years I can finally see it, and it doesn't disappoint.
It's originality for the time is thoroughly breathtaking, and Mr Newly is cast perfectly for the role, for which he was also one of the shows creators.
It got moved to the late night graveyard slot after episode two because most of the audience just didn't "get it".
But the strange world of Gurney Slade, is a better world.
Originaly broadcast by ITV from 22 October to 26 November 1960.
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