Take a journey around Little Britain, a small and surreal parallel universe peopled by over-the-top eccentrics, lunatics an social misfits. Meet Vicky Pollard, the gloriously incoherent trailer trash teenager. And Emily Ho... more »ward, the world's least convincing transvestite. Then there's Andy, sitting all day in his wheelchair painstakingly looked after by Lou, who has no idea his friend can walk. Little Britain presents the breathtaking debris of modern life in all its glory.DVD Features:
'Little Britain' is more than a bit dated. Still, if you wonder why there's a dearth of gutsy British humor these days, it's because shows like 'Little Britain' are not the way public television or A&E wants to present Brit culture when we can all be wallowing in reaffirming the class system via 'Downton Abbey.' Comedians Matt Lucas and David Williams are an acquired taste. Lots of queer-baiting. A running joke about horny teens as wannabe granny-shaggers. Lots of relentless class war. Lots of dick and poop jokes. I like it!
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
Masters of the Running Gag
L. Hawkins | USA | 10/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After two highly successful seasons and a DVD release in Britain, BBC is finally giving us Americans the home version of the `less refined' nature of the British population. Not all "tea and crumpets" this or "jolly good" that, this comedy sketch series brings us two actors who morph into a myriad of more than one hundred and twenty different characters -- all who would give the Queen heart palpitations and are guaranteed to bring laughter to your living room. Although still foreign to most Americans these characters and their infectious catch phrases are already imbedded in the British lexicon. The whole show relies heavily on these character catch phrases and scenes full of running jokes repeating and trumping themselves in different contexts -- much similar to how real British `characters' act in real life just personified and embellished here by the amazingly diverse Matt Lucas and David Willams. Just reading the lines, situations, descriptions, and catch phrases won't do much for you. It's Matt and David's ability to bring these characters to life that will leave you laughing and repeating the lines with your friends. Walk into a pub, or grammar school, or store in Britain and you'll certainly hear many of them repeated. Share this series with your friends and you'll have a whole new vocabulary to share. A selection of characters follows:
"I want that one." Not-so-wheelchair-bound Andy, and his long-suffering, volunteer caregiver Lou are the favorite characters of many. Although the formula for their running gag is always predictable, that's the point. Will Andy ever learn Lou knows what he wants better than he does himself? Will Lou ever stop enabling Andy' s strange whims? Will Lou ever discover Andy doesn't need the wheelchair Lou's been pushing all these years? Probably not, and that running gag is the recipe for their relationship and humor. The boys up the ante early on in the running gag department when Lou memorably takes Andy to the public pool.
"Yeahbutnobutyeahbutnobut, Shut up!" Juvenile delinquent Vicky Pollard whose fast talking and nearly incomprehensible speech patter will have you grabbing for the remote to enable to subtitles option. Unlike Brits who watched this show on BBC, you'll actually be able to find out what she's rambling about. She'd swap her baby for a "boy band" CD and stabs out a cigarette in each episode. Part of the humor is the adults around her still trying to treat her babbling as normal communication and obviously missing some of the outrageous things that come out of her mouth -- things you'll just be able to catch. She's every parent's worst nightmare and is one character you definitely have to experience for yourself.
"I am the only gay in the village." Dafydd is convinced, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that he is the only gay in his small mining village of Llanddewi Brefi. The most funny part of these sketches aren't the sight gags of Dafydd's rotund body sausaged into the next rubber/mesh/pleather outfit (each one more outrageous than the last) and the village people's indifference to his appearance in them, though you'll definitely laugh out loud at their sight. It's the small mining townspeople's comfort level at saying the most colored, cheeky, and outrageous things to Dafydd while conversing with him. Although everyone in the village tries to identify other gays for Dafydd to socialize with, Dafydd's self-identity is based around being "the only gay in the village" and keeps him isolated from some really good fun.
"The Prime Minister is Gorgeous!" Government Aide Sebastian who is hopelessly in love with his boss the Prime Minister of Great Britain (expertly played by Anthony Head) gets it's humor from the audience trying to decide if the PM is aware of Sebastian's obvious crush and trying to decipher his dead pan looks. Each time Sebastian goes further over the line, you're convinced a sacking is next on the agenda.
"Eh, eh, ehhh." Anne the perhaps-not-so-mental patient in the Stephen Speilburg Hospital is under the watchful care of Dr. Morris. While `innocently' destroying everything around him/her, can only utter the phrase eh, eh, ehhh . . . unless talking on the cellphone with friends.
"Mayyyyybe yes, mayyyybe no." The looney Innkeeper of the Ye Olde Hotel in Scotland and his magic flute. He can never give you a straight answer to your questions but will punctuate his responses with a few puffs on his flute. The humor lies in the fact that everyone in Scotland acts like this, right?
"Dust is low in fat so you can eat as much dust as you like." Marjorie Dawes is the less than slender leader of the local chapter of Fat Fighters. In what can only be described as misdirected self-loathing she viciously belittles the members of her weight loss group who still keep coming back week after week. How this woman keeps her job is unknown. The acid interaction she has with the ever returning members of the group, especially Mira and Paul, provides the most humor.
Other reoccurring characters don't have catch phrases but still have their running gags nonetheless. Just a selection of these follow: The schoolteacher at Kelsey Grammar school who confuses his students more than teaching them . . . Royal correspondent Peter Andr who is in love with Princess Anne and also not right in the head . . . a quick peek behind the writing process will have you wondering how Dame Sally Markham ever became a famous novelist . . . Hypnotist Kenny Craig who is not afraid to use his talents to get whatever he wants. Just be careful not to look into his eyes . . .the former actor Sir Bernard Chumley who eats his invalid sister Kitty's Meals on Wheels. "I didn't push her," he claims even when not asked . . . Edward Grant is the schoolteacher who married one of his former pupils Samantha and still treats her as such. . . Dennis Waterman the pint sized actor who insists on writing and performing his own awful sounding theme tunes. The humor here is in the running "scale of objects" gag . . . Denver Mills the Olympic medalist who should really forget his new career in speech giving and stick to running . . . Des Kaye the ex-children's television star who's not adjusting well to loosing his show and taking a job at the "Do It Yourself" shop.
Other characters include Emily Howard the unconvincing transvestite who "is a lady and likes ladies things" still utters one of the most memorable and more quotable (though sadly not printable here) lines in the show when he's told before an getting an x-ray he must cover his `meat and two vedge' with a lead shield. "But I'm a lady," he protests, "I don't have (insert feminized version of `two vegetables' here). Jason, the bloke who fancies his friend' Gary's grandmother in the worst way is soooo wrong, very wrong, but you're compelled to watch anyway. Most of these skits veer deeply into the PG-13 category so you'd want to pack the little ones off to bed before breaking it out or you'll have you toddler repeating the most embarrassing phrases.
While the intro to each weekly episode is the same visually, it's the different voiceovers narrated by Tom Baker, of Dr. Who fame, that will elicit quite a chuckle. Baker introduces each sketch in a funny voiceover as well and closes each episode after a funny version of the latest, failed world record attempt. Baker's voiceovers are the glue that tie the whole show together and are just as humorous as the skits themselves.
For those of you who like Bonus features, you will not be disappointed here. There is a commentary track for each episode on this disk by Matt and David; surprisingly deadpan, you may miss the humor if you're not listening carefully. Also included are the Pilot Episode, Deleted Scenes, a hysterical television interview with Matt and David, a "Character Playlist" that will allow you to view an edited version of some of your favorite character's sketches in their running order. One warning when selecting "Lou & Andy." You'll have to tell Lou "Yes" twice that you want to "crash the disc" but NOT three times or your disc will indeed crash (it's not permanent). Try it once if you like and then simply eject the disc and reinsert to go back to the main menu. In the "Extras" section on the second disc, you'll get to see what Matt and David were up to prior to this series when you view the "Best of Rock Profiles" -- hilarious non-impressions of famous (and some local British) musical artists. "How to Make a Little Britain" is the behind-the-scenes feature that chronicles the filming of all eight episodes over the time span of 40 days. The "Teenage Cancer Trust Sketches" are fun to watch and the "Radio 5 Interview" will give you more inside scoop. "What Does Britain Mean to You?" is a collection of man-on-the-street interviews with the characters humorously answering the question while poking fun at themselves in the process."
I like it but yeah, but no but like yeah, no...shut up I was
Micheal Hunt | Hellbourne | 08/17/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Little Britain is one of the latest comedy sketch show's to come out of the UK from BBC. The BBC seem to be the only company still making decent comedies these days (I can garentee here in Australia it's all gone to hell)
2 guys who started off doing some radio sketches and a bit of the same thing on something else decided to go ahead and make it a TV series. With a range of zaney to bizarre charactors there is sure to be something in this season for everyone. Wether it be cross dressers, falling in love with women 60 times yoru age, the mentaly challenged or just plain weird, you are sure to laugh at this series. (if you dont, then EUHH EUHHH EUHHHH)
This show is much like League Of Gentlemen, only it's in sketch's instead of a consistant thing. I like this one better, infact, I didnt like L.O.G at all really.
The show is a riot, the comedy is original, and the entertainment is lasting.
The DVD is packed with great bonus features. Including the pilot episode and a live stage performance they did for some event. (those performances appear as sketches in season 2) and also a look behind the scenes, and a few other things.
The downs: The commantary is boring & The deleted scenes are not so much deleted scenes as to "original" or "alternate versions" of sketches found in series 1.
The ups: Complete season (nothing cut) bonus show, bonus live show, and the best thing is you can actualy pick which character you want to watch and just watch there bit's from the entire season!"
Bring It To The US!
Max Turner | Denver, CO, USA | 02/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I went home to my native Britain for Christmas, and was introduced to Little Britain by my sister.
It's yet another example of the wonderful comedic inventiveness, and uncompromising approach that British TV takes. This show would never get made in the US. Certainly not by major US networks.
That said, I know that if Comedy Central were to show it, and/or the BBC release DVDs of it in the US, it'd be a big success. Americans are starved for new and refreshing humour. I can certainly see the influence of The League of Gentlemen in their humour - such is the grotesqueness of some of the characters. My favourite characters are probably the projectile-vomiting bigot ladies, Lou & Andy, and the world's most unconvincing transvestite - Emily Howard!
Any show that can get Ruth Madoc to say some of those lines (which I can't type here as it'd get my posting rejected), gets my vote any day!"
Little Britain is the best.
Gary Morris | Portland, OR USA | 02/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're not familiar with the catch-phrases "You see, I'm a LAY-DEE" (screeched by a rouged-up, sausage-curled tranny in a Victorian pinafore) or "I'm the only gay in the village!" (petulantly intoned by a tubby queen in red rubber hotpants), it's probably only because you don't live in England. These are two of the popular taglines from Little Britain, a brilliant sketch comedy show that's a hit over there but almost unknown here. Debuting in 2003 and now in its third season, it's as good as any of the beloved British import comedies, but with a hipper, in fact screamingly queer, edge than most. BBC America hasn't picked this one up (yet), and given the raw touches - occasional full frontal nudity, a twenty-something slackerboy furtively sucking an old lady's big toe in close-up, blackface - it may never. But at least the first season of eight episodes is available on DVD. Included are a slew of extras including deleted scenes and interviews with creators and stars Matt Lucas and David Williams.
Lucas, who's queer in real life, and Williams, who's straight, play the girls (and various boys) of this parallel-universe England to comic perfection. Emily Howard (Williams), a determined but unconvincing transvestite, terrorizes incredulous locals with her vain attempts to put herself over as a Victorian "LAY-DEE." Dafydd Thomas (Lucas), a delusional queen in PVC fetish drag, jealously guards his status as "the only gay in the village" even when competing queens arrive to challenge him. Other memorable characters include unintelligible slutty teen Vicky Pollard and FatFighters' noxious group leader Marjorie Dawson (both Lucas), along with grunting, destructive mental patient Anne and Sebastian, the Prime Minister's assistant who can't hide his lust for his unfazed boss (both Williams). Even these simple descriptions show how relentlessly un-PC this show is.
Little Britain's been sold as a kind of gallery of grotesques, but what's most alluring is how essentially realistic, with a few exceptions, these larger-than-life characters are. They could be variations on the forlorn average Brits created by Ray Davies' or Mike Leighs, with dashes of Kids in the Hall's concept comedy thrown in. A standout in this regard is the Lou and Andy relationship, with phony-disabled Lou wreaking quiet havoc on his patient, loving, clueless pal Andy in a series of comic variations on sadomasochistic codependency. Lucas and Williams' skill at incarnating these characters makes them repeatedly watchable despite claims of redundancy by some critics. It doesn't hurt that these actor-creators are as gifted vocally as theatrically, with Williams' high-pitched shrieks as Emily, and Lucas's hyperspeed teen-girl babble as Vicky and cheery-nasty bellowing as weight-loss fascist Marjorie Dawes being high points.
Not every sketch hits the mark, and sensitive viewers may bristle at over-the-top characterizations of retardates, fat people, midgets, and minstrels. But the ones that do work are among the best in contemporary comedy, with Lucas and Williams capturing these endearing eccentrics in a few sharp strokes."
Hilarious British Comedy
Achieve More | New York, NY | 10/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I believe Little Britain is in its 2nd season in the UK, but this is relatively new to us in the US. Great stuff performed by essentially 2 guys doing different short skits. There is some "filler" stuff that is not funny, but you can skip it and enjoy Matt Lucas and David Walliams. This is for anyone who enjoys any irreverant Brit comedies."