The 'Complete Coogan' boxset is, put simply, essential viewing for fans of Steve Coogan's various comedy characters such as Alan Partridge, Paul and Pauline Calf, Tommy Saxondale and so on. Collecting previously released material with two exclusive discs, containing the hitherto unreleased 'Paul & Pauline Calf's Video Diaries / Three Fights, Two Weddings and a Funeral' and 'The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon', it's an impressive package.
'Knowing Me, Knowing You' and 'I'm Alan Partridge' are probably his best known work - particularly the latter, which has established itself as a modern comedy classic. But there's plenty of worthwhile material elsewhere in the set - Coogan's most recent BBC series, 'Saxondale' about an ex-roadie turned pest control operative, which although not a smash in the same way that Partridge was, still has some great moments. Then there are the anthology series 'Dr Terrible's House of Horrible', which spoofs old school British horror and shows, and 'Coogan's Run', a showcase for a variety of Coogan characters. Both have their ups and downs, but are well worth the effort - and fans of old Hammer / Amicus films will appreciate 'Dr Terrible' in particular, which is loaded with in-jokes and references which will go right over the heads of most viewers.
It's great to see 'Paul and Pauline Calf's Video Diaries' on DVD, as this was one of Coogan's earliest starring vehicles, and the Calfs remain a much-loved part of his live repertoire to this day. Slightly rougher around the edges than later, more lavish series, this is a neglected gem. Less essential is 'Cheese and Ham Sandwich', a live outing for the Calf siblings recorded for television, though it's backed up by a rather good 'making of' documentary which gives some insight into how Steve Coogan prepared for his return to live performance. Finally, there's 'The Tony Ferrino Phenomenon' - largely forgotten, but a pretty decent parody of cheesy star vehicles of the 60s and 70s. It's a shame Tony Ferrino never caught on as a character, but then, watching the programmes on this disc, it's hard to see what more could have been done with him.
Many of the programmes are accompanied by an array of special features - particularly the Partridge discs, which are pretty exhaustive in terms of their bonus content (and Series One of 'I'm Alan Partridge' also boasts a rather fun commentary from Alan himself, plus long suffering PA Lynn). Any fans of Steve Coogan's work should be well pleased with this set, and if you're not just buying this for the exclusive content, at the moment it represents excellent value for money.
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