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    The Best of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore

    BBC/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 100 mins . G . PAL


    Years ago my brothers were listening to Derek and Clive and I only knew the bits they repeated most often (The Coughing Contest, Please Sir etc.) because I was too young and might accidentally use words I’d picked up. And so, knowing that Derek and Clive were actually Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, I thought this DVD might be interesting and a chance to even the balance of the years. In part I was right. As to the rest, while it is obviously original and unique, I couldn’t find it funny as hard as I tried. I wanted to, I really did. But then, it’s kind of like when I finally got hold of a friend’s Derek and Clive CDs and listened to them while working a couple of months back. They were sporadic laughs between great bouts of sweary sailor talk. Man those guys could swear.

    I could detect inspirations for many more recent sketch comedy shows in here, particularly in the obviousness of the Thunderbirds sketch. This is without doubt my highlight of the DVD and way better and way more clever than the Fast Forward version done ten or so years later. At least these English guys did this stuff first.

    So in this DVD package there are definitely some gems (Superthunderstingcars, The Glidd of Glood, Anne Bargo among them) but the rest seems a bit too simple, a bit too topical of the time and a bit just unfunny. Which is a shame, because these two (now deceased) gentlemen aired this show for five years (1965-70) on the BBC to great aplomb from audiences.

    But I guess nothing lasts forever.

    I’ve been reviewing some of the new DVD transfers of Charlie Chaplin movies of late and these seem just as funny to me today as they must have been to folks of the time. Yet something like this, or Not The 9 O’Clock News just doesn’t seem to stand up to a modern 21st century audience. No doubt there will be naysayers among you who will scream blasphemy, but however objective I tried to be, I just didn’t see what was so funny. Sure they both have those gags that are incredibly witty and satirical, even silly, that still work today, but those are unfortunately few and definitely far between.

    And believe me, I’m as disappointed as you are.

    Oh, and not to mention the occasional grossly politically incorrect statement under the guise of comedy that is just uncomfortable today. And so happily, on this note at least, nothing lasts forever.


    Brought forth in a simple sketch format, we have the option of going straight to any chapter by its header sketch (often the better ones). It fluctuates between black and white and colour as the television industry was ramping up around that time worldwide with the introduction of colour, with a lot of the black and white stuff suffering the majority of time’s ravages. Soft edged and fuzzy, sometimes even the original camera speed couldn’t cope with quicker movement and we have here a sort of ghosting in some motion (the Leaping Nuns sketch for example).

    We also get a few artefacts around about, though the older b+w footage truly suffers more. Shadow detail isn’t always the best, if it’s any good at all, but at least the blacks look true and natural in this constant 4:3 aspect.


    What’s to review here? Not much. Mostly dialogue, this is okay generally, although some character accents get a little difficult to understand at times. Peter Cook’s accents are filtered through his impeccable English accent and he is always the more easily understood of the two. Dudley Moore sings a couple of times throughout and this is okay, although recording and delivery of this sort of thing wasn’t that great back then, so there’s occasional distortion. The few sound effects utilised are fine and naturally comedic, though they aren’t really worthy of note.


    Unfortunately in five years worth of shows we aren’t granted a single worthy extra and only 100 minutes of sketches.


    Again, while finding some moments of this collection quite funny with one genuine out-loud laugh, the majority are either too base or too leaden with information, distracting from the gag. I felt genuinely let down in what I expected to be quite funny, so my advice to those looking at purchase is attempt to rent it first to be sure. Unless, of course, you worship at the feet of these two legends, in which case you couldn’t care less what I say anyway.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3520
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      And I quote...
    "A disappointing collection of pieces culled from five years worth of BBC programming. And no extras."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
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    • Surrounds:
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    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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